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DF Interview: Al Ewing takes A.I.M. at New Avengers
By Byron Brewer
In the wake of Secret Wars, the old order changeth – and Bobby DaCosta AKA Sunspot is just the man to changeth it. Welcome, gentle readers, to the All-New All-Different Marvel U. and its iteration of New Avengers from writer Al Ewing and artist Gerardo Sandoval!
At Avenger Idea Mechanics – A.I.M – Bobby heads a super-scientific global rescue squad of tomorrow’s heroes today. America doesn’t want them. S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn’t know what to do with them. But Earth might not survive without them.
To assemble (get it? lol) some answers to our questions about this new team, Dynamic Forces chatted it up with Al Ewing who disclosed the following classified info.
Dynamic Forces: Al, I was a great fan of your Mighty Avengers both in its story and its overall tone. It was truly a “classic” Avengers book … at least to me. What will the tone of this New Avengers book be like?
Al Ewing: Bigger, wilder, stranger. Mighty Avengers was more intimate, opening out to the big cosmic issues as the run went on – this one starts loud and gets louder. As everyone who read the first issue saw, this is full of big toys and big playsets – the Avengers as spectacle. Which isn’t to say we won’t be doing those small, human moments – you’ll find those sprinkled into the mix just like they were in my last Avengers book.
DF: I can understand A.I.M. with Sunspot in the Cap role. Why Sunspot?
Al Ewing: Well, he comes with A.I.M. already in place, so it’d be ridiculous not to have him. But in terms of his role in the book, he’s a great, multi-faceted character. He’s smart, he’s arrogant, he’s good-looking, he’s rich – but at the same time he’s a mutant, hated, feared and suffering from the same Terrigen Mist trouble the other mutants in the MU have got. In fact, there’s a rumor going around – I couldn’t possibly comment on its veracity, though I did start it – that he’s lost his powers. He’s definitely not using them at all. So we’ll be seeing what he brings to the table without them. Sunspot fans rejoice – your hero is going to be tested, and tested hard. That’s how you know a character’s being taken seriously.
DF: Tell us about the other members of this team, and a little ‘why’ if you can.
Al Ewing: Well, the ‘why’ is pretty simple – they’re good. That’s it.
Let’s go through the team – Hulkling is a super-strong shapeshifter who’s important to not one but two space empires. Wiccan is a reality warper who’s destined to one day rewrite the rules of the universe. Power Man is plugged into the spiritual and cultural energy of all human society. White Tiger is, to all intents and purposes, a prehistoric god of ass-kicking. Pod is the defense system of the planet. Squirrel Girl has taken down some of the world’s greatest villains, usually – as we’ve seen in her own book – by thinking outside the box. And then you’ve got a seasoned, experienced team leader in Songbird – not to mention Hawkeye, who’s not strictly one of Roberto’s picks, but who’s had what it takes since the ‘60s. They’ve all got it, and then some.
For those who feel this team is too “C-list” – it’s fair to warn you going in that the entire concept of “lists” gives me the hives. There’s something slightly desperate and unhealthy about that whole weird superhero class system – it’s like, when did we all become the bullies at hero high school, hanging around the lockers to give D-Man an atomic wedgie? So… we won’t be doing that. Just like in Mighty Avengers, everyone’s an A-lister in this book. Everyone’s an Avenger.
DF: Why so young?
Al Ewing: Roberto’s a young guy himself, and he’s not looking at the world through the blinkers of age. As far as he’s concerned, these are the Avengers of tomorrow, today – the next generation. Their time is now – no more training, no more academies, no more waiting for permission.
In terms of my own thinking… it’s called the NEW Avengers for a reason. I wanted the “New” to be as important as “Avengers” – which meant a roster of newer characters, which in turn meant mostly younger characters. And I like the idea of a roster with some fire in the belly, with something to prove.
DF: What are the Neohedron and WHISPER?
Al Ewing: We’ve got new heroes, we should have some new villains too – new to this universe, at any rate. So we have the Maker – he’s working behind the scenes, doing experiments, moving towards something, and WHISPER is part of that. The World Headquarters for International Scientific/Philosophical Experimentation and Research is filling in the gap A.I.M. left when it took a turn towards legitimacy and hived off a large portion of its workforce. WHISPER was born from the ashes of W.E.S.P.E., the European evil-science organization, and took on a lot of disaffected A.I.M. drones and other bad guys to become A.I.M.’s dark twin – THRUSH to their UNCLE. The Maker, and his plans, are at the center of all this.
But as part of his plans, he created the Neohedron – a half-gorilla, half-scorpion clone body housing a four-dimensional crystal consciousness. You’ll find out more about that in issue #2, but none of this is random or meaningless. There’s a method to the seeming madness.
DF: Can you bring me up to date on the Wiccan/Hulking relationship?
Al Ewing: They’re engaged, as far as I know. It’s a long engagement, admittedly, but I like them as a couple and they’ve had plenty of relationship drama already, so I’m giving them other types of drama for a while. Space drama, mostly. After that, we’ll see.
DF: If memory serves, isn’t Sunspot’s legal status kinda dubious right now? What will that mean for this new Avengers team?
Al Ewing: Well, they’re operating out of Avengers Island, an artificial island in international waters loaded down with mad scientists, super-planes and weapons. It’s a recipe for tension, to put it mildly, and the feeling is that if Roberto, or the New Avengers, set foot on U.S. soil, the crap will spectacularly hit the fan. Especially if they set foot on U.S. soil in order to directly act against S.H.I.E.L.D. for some reason.
I mean, I wouldn’t want to see that. Goodness, no.
That’d be terrible.
I’m sure in that eventuality the U.S. Government wouldn’t dream of unleashing a twenty-story radioactive mutate to stomp Avengers Island into the sea with one giant lizard foot. So we can all sleep soundly in our beds tonight!
DF: Finally, what does artist Gerardo Sandoval bring to this table?
Al Ewing: Raw energy. Gerardo’s art has that undeniable something that crackles off the pages and into the eyeballs, especially once Dono Almara adds his wonderful colors to the mix. It makes for a loud, electric style, and one that seems to be resonating strongly with a large section of the readership. I’m definitely planning on playing to his strengths in the issues to come.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Al Ewing for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. New Avengers #2 hits stores today!
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