While Kot has been co-writing the current run of "Secret Avengers" with Nick Spencer of late, today the publisher revealed at New York Comic Con that he'll take the title solo this March with an all-new #1 as part of their All-New Marvel NOW! campaign. For the series, Kot will welcome his "Zero" launch artist Michael Walsh as well as new cast members including Spider-Woman and some sinister, shadowy players.
CBR News landed the exclusive first interview on the series, and below, Kot discusses his learning curve on the book as co-writer with Spencer, how the new "Secret Avengers" #1 will built a new story on the fallout from the current Mockingbird arc, how Spider-Woman's S.H.I.E.L.D. life will impact the series and why espionage, the greater good and Walsh combine to make the book its own thing.
CBR News: Ales, you're taking on "Secret Avengers" full-time in March with the new #1, but you've already been working on the book with Nick Spencer for a minute already in the latest of these kind of collaborative hand-offs Marvel has done lately. What's it been like to start the book alongside Nick as he wraps his story, and how has that impacted what yours will be?
Ales Kot: It's been a most excellent experience. Nick and I plotted the arc of "How to Maim a Mockingbird" together, and I write the scripts by myself. I love that I am able to play with so many moving parts -- I am interested in pattern recognition and that's very useful when it comes to successfully wrapping up such a complex storyline.
As for the impact... without saying too much, the events of "How to Maim a Mockingbird" do significantly alter the structure of the team and they will also very much alter the way S.H.I.E.L.D goes about its business.
From its earliest iterations, "Secret Avengers" has done larger arcs and some slick, single-issue storytelling. As someone who's doing a lot of one-shot storytelling in "Zero," where do you'll feel you'll play this Marvel monthly on that spectrum?
One to two-issue stories that will have strong connective tissue. This means that, over time, things that might have seemed unimportant at first gain much significance, creating a bigger story. "Hawkeye" does it very similarly.
In particular, I know the All-New Marvel NOW! launches are taking a particular focus on delivering an issue #1 with a big hook. After working on the book for a while, how are you setting off your first solo issue to show your own mission statement for the series?
A rogue A.I.M. cell attacks a Russian spa. Or, more specifically, it attacks certain Secret Avengers in it. [Nick] Fury Jr. and Phil Coulson are solving problems in space. And Maria Hill is trying to figure out what to do with the new member, very secret member of the team -- without realizing that a hired hitman is after her and already inside the S.H.I.E.L.D headquarters.
"Secret Avengers" #1 will ideally feel like a combination of James Bond, "Breaking Bad," "Arrested Development" and superheroes, and that's also the tone I want to build upon overall. The mission statement is rather simple: run the mission. Don't get seen. Don't blow up the world. And maybe save it.
You are adding some new cast to the series including traditional S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers mainstay Spider-Woman. What do you see in Jessica as a character that works so well for the book, and what else are you doing to expand the team?
I was eating ramen with my editor, Lauren Sankovitch, and she asked what I thought of Spider-Woman as a possible addition. I went with my gut and immediately said yes. Spider-Woman fascinates me because she's a character who is trying to learn how to have a life she can be happy with while juggling many different pieces of her life at once. She's occasionally confused and she very much wants to grow. I find that very relatable.
As for what else am I doing to expand the team... there's a very, very dangerous and strange character joining the team. I believe you will love the reveal.
A really fun thing about this book under Nick has been the inclusion of villains in the mix as S.H.I.E.L.D. assets. What about that side of the series excites you?
Oh, how I wish I could tell you who is coming on board in #1! But I won't because nope, no way! What I will tell you, though, is this: what excites me is the (super)human condition, ethics and what they mean to people who move in the not-easily-defined zones of secret government squads and the men and women in their crosshairs. I am interested in exploring new worlds that emerge as consequences of our decisions, in exploring the concept of the "greater good," in exploring all shades available. Including characters who are not easily definable as good or bad helps with that a whole lot.
Lastly, you're re-teaming with your "Zero" launch partner Michael Walsh on the book. What's the best part of continuing a collaboration (and on a book with some similar DNA to boot)?
Pretty much everything. I love working with Mike. We have established a clear creative connection and that means we trust, respect and believe in each other. Mike's work is similar to some of my favorite creators' work -- Sean Philips, Charlie Adlard, David Aja, just to name a few -- yet it is also unmistakably his own, developing, finding its own ways of communicating intent. I love the simplicity and clarity of Mike's storytelling. I love his enthusiasm and openness to experimentation.
"Secret Avengers" #1 arrives in March from Marvel Comics.