Marvel Comics' Avengers are a large group of individual super heroes that have joined forces to protect the world from threats they cannot face alone. The idea of individual costumed champions banding together for the greater good is a simple but powerful one, and by aligning the Avengers haven't just protected their world -- they've changed it. There are now super teams all over the globe with an interest in protecting the people of their home nations and the world from weird and fantastic menaces.
This January, writers Nick Spencer and Jonathan Hickman and artist Stefano Caselli will examine that global impact of Earth's Mightiest Heroes and how complex and dangerous the act of saving the world really is when they kick off their new ongoing All-New Marvel NOW! series "Avengers World." CBR News spoke with Spencer about the series, which was announced by Marvel yesterday at their "Avengers" panel during New York Comic Con.
CBR News: Nick, how does it feel to be returning to an Avengers book after the brief co-writing stint you did with Jonathan Hickman on the stories leading into "Infinity?" Did you know you were going to come back to the Avengers franchise when that collaboration began?
Nick Spencer: Not at first, but as we went along I think everybody was feeling good enough about it and enjoying working together. So we started talking about what should happen next. The discussion became, "How do we follow this up?"
Is your collaboration with Jonathan on "Avengers World" similar to what you guys did on "Avengers" where you'd get an outline from Jonathan that you world turn into a script and then the two of you would go back and forth making additions to that script?
It's a little different this time. I'm more in the driver's seat and Jon is sort of special counsel on the book. This is his team and these are his characters so I run a lot by him. We had some general parameters of what the book should look like and what this third part of the core Avengers franchise should focus on.
So we had that and then from there it was really about me tossing ideas around and us talking through what would work, what wouldn't, and the different directions we could go in. In terms of the "Avengers" stories we worked on it's probably closer to issues #12-13 than the prelude to "Infinity" arc.
So "Avengers World" is a series that will exist along side the books Jonathan is doing on his own, "Avengers" and "New Avengers?"
Yes, this is intended to be the third leg of that chair. So it's very much connected to and interacting with those two books. It really locks in the next phase of everything.
Is "Avengers World" part of or tied to the larger story Jonathan is telling in "Avengers" and "New Avengers?"
In places it will be in the exact same ways you see in "Avengers" and "New Avengers," so that you could be reading either of those books and still get a rewarding story. I think "Avengers World" will be just like that. If you're reading "Avengers" and "New Avengers" there will be some nice pay offs and some things being fleshed out in "Avengers World." At the same time though you can pick up the book, read it on its own, and it would stand as its own story.
Can you comment at all of the significance of the title "Avengers World?"
What the book is all about is really in the title. This is a book about geography. Its about what Marvel Earth looks like now. Obviously we've seen the Avengers make a pretty big statement about this world being under their protection and them being the representatives of our world. So it felt like it was time to do a book about what that planet looks like; not just Marvel New York or Marvel Space, but what does Marvel Europe, Asia and Africa look like right now?
So it was a chance to do a story that was really global in scope and go some places that maybe we haven't been to before and really play with the idea of what that changing landscape would look like.
So will it have just as much in common with a book like "The Ultimates" as it does with "Avengers?" It sounds like one of the things you'll deal with is the global ramifications of an American-based super team saying, "This is our world to protect."
I think that's a very astute comparison and I think we're going to explore some similar themes and ideas that you have seen in "Ultimates." We're definitely looking at the Avengers influence across the globe and how it's received in different places. There will be different reactions to their existence. So this is a book that really goes big in scope.
How does that scope compare to your cast size? Are you dealing with a cast as big as the one that's currently featured in "Avengers?"
Yeah, it's the whole team. We've got everyone from the legendary roster of Cap, Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk to the newer faces like Hyperion, Smasher and Manifold, and then everyone in between. We're working from that same canvas.
Jonathan dealt with that team by featuring the big name Avengers, but often the characters that got the spotlight in "Avengers" were ones that did not have their own solo titles. Will you spotlight the cast of "Avengers World" in a similar way?
Yeah, I think you'll see a continuation of some of that here. Another focal point for us when developing this book was that we wanted to use it to get inside these characters heads a little more, to spend some more time with them and see where they come from. It's similar to what Jonathan did in his interlude arcs and issues of "Avengers."
So there's definitely a continuation of that here, where a lot of these issues, while still furthering the broader story and developing multiple points, will also focus in on a character and really give them some quality camera time. We've got a big cast here and it's really important to us that people bond with these characters, feel an emotional connection towards them, and want to see them prevail in these conflicts. So that was a major mission statement for the book.
What can you tell us about the event that kicks things off in "Avengers World" #1? What's the initial arc all about?
It really kicks off with a very bad day for the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. It happens very, very quickly and the entire world really does change. That's the kind of hyperbole that I know a lot of comic readers are familiar with, but by the time you get to the last page of the first issue the Marvel Universe looks like a very different place. That's not hype either.
So that's fun. To move the needle like that and make some changes that are lasting and substantial is pretty cool. It's a first issue that's pretty ground shaking and it will set off a chain of events that will lead to transformations that are different from what you see in that first issue, but are just as lasting.
What kinds of obstacles and enemies will the Avengers be up against in "Avengers World?" What I've read and what you're telling me suggests that this is a book where the foes will be things like rogue nation states, large high tech terrorist groups and secret societies.
One that we kind of tipped on our hand on is that you're going to see a continuation of some of the A.I.M. stuff that I've been building in "Secret Avengers" and Jonathan has been building both in "Avengers" and "FF." So you're going to see that organization in particular take the next step up and it's also something that will have pretty serious repercussions throughout the Marvel Universe.
Beyond that, yes, this is a book where the obstacles and opponents that arise are substantial in scope and size. It's not three guys in costumes. This is a book about empires and armies. So it's playing on a different level.
"Avengers World" reunites you with Stefano Caselli, whom you worked with on your "Avengers" stint. What do you feel he brings to the title?
I am such a huge fan of Stefano's. I'm in love with his work and have been since "Secret Warriors." He's a guy I always ask to work with and he was really the perfect artist for this. As you said, we worked together on the prelude to "Infinity story of "Avengers" and I definitely wanted to keep working with him after. Because he does such a fantastic job of storytelling and action, and he's so great with character designs. He has such a great, distinctive style that's all his, but at the same time feels like a classic Marvel artist. So he's my guy. I love working with him.
Finally, "Avengers World" is still three months aways, but if this were a Hollywood movie it would be a great time for a teaser trailer for it. What would the teaser for your initial "Avengers World" story look like?
[Laughs] Oh man! That's a good one. I think what you would see in a teaser trailer for "Avengers World" would be dots on a map becoming explosions, then craters, and then new civilizations. So you would see the world as it was change into something completely new. If we had 30 seconds and that's all we could show you, that's probably what we would do.
"Avengers World" #1 arrives in January, and stay tuned to CBR News for all the news from New York Comic Con.