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DF Interview: Kieron Gillen takes deadly aim at Angela: Asgard’s Assassin
By Byron Brewer
Just as Marvel Comics readers were getting used to a new iteration of its Guardians of the Galaxy team, into that book popped a heroine of great strength and beauty -- and great confusion. She seemed to think she, all of a sudden, did not belong in the 616. She was right.
That strife and others will be the focus of a new ongoing coming from the House of Ideas in December by writers Kieron Gillen and Marguerite Bennett and artists Stephanie Hans and Phil Jimenez, starring the former femme fatale from the Spawn Universe: Angela.
Dynamic Forces met in the Ninth Realm with scribe Gillen to get the skinny on this cosmic crusader and her new mag. Here is what he told us.
Dynamic Forces: Kieron, Angela is a fairly new character in the Marvel U. We know little besides she likes Gamora and has memories of "Heaven." Tell us about Angela in the 616.
Kieron Gillen: And who doesn't like Gamora?
Angela is finding her place in the Marvel Universe. That's kind of what the book is about, in many ways. The first story is structured in a way which takes her on a road trip through all the parts of the Marvel Universe that link to her -- we take her to the Nine Realms (which she only really knows through the myths of her adoptive people) to Earth (which is similarly mythical to her) to the cosmos (which is the area, thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy, she's most at home with) to big enormous fights which work as the climax to the story (because this is a superhero comic).
In the same way that this is about Angela finding a place in the Marvel Universe, the story also explains who Angela is, and how she works and why you should care about this towering redhead with the fancy weapons.
DF: You and Marguerite Bennett are sharing writing responsibilities on Angela's new magazine. Can you tell us about the process?
Kieron Gillen: For this first arc, I'm basically driving the main story of Angela and her friend Sera on the run (as illustrated by Phil Jiminez) while Marguerite is writing the secondary story (as illustrated by Stephanie Hans). I stress, this isn't a back up element -- the secondary story is a story-in-a-story structure, and used to forward the main plot. The way it's generally worked is that I give the outline of the story-in-a-story in terms of what has to happen in it for it to work in the larger narrative, and Marguerite has gone to town on it. She's done wonderful stuff.
As well as that, M and I throw things back and forth about higher level Angela concept stuff.
DF: Considering her now-revealed origin, what will Angela's relationship be with the citizens of Asgard? With her brothers?
Kieron Gillen: Somewhat fraught. How different characters react is very much key to the book. Angela's met Thor and Odin, and I like digging into those relations ... but the one which is entirely new is her relationship to Freya, her actual mother. I loved writing the All-Mother in my Journey Into Mystery run, so this is something I'm enjoying enormously. I'm getting to show different sides to Odin and Freya.
DF: Will Angela's new situation bring her into the path of either Loki or the new female Thor?
Kieron Gillen: Loki is certainly in the mix in the first arc. The Odinson is as well. In some ways, we're keeping this very focused on family for this part of the story.
I'm sure our new Thor will turn up eventually. Angela does like to meet people.
(Sorry - typo. I meant "beat.") laughs
DF: Why are artists Stephanie Hans & Phil Jimenez right for this book?
Kieron Gillen: I kind of just want to cut and paste the preview pages that have just gone out into the space, grab you by the lapels and scream LOOK AT THEM in response to this.
I've loved Phil's work from before I was even really reading comics regularly, from his work on The Invisibles. He's a consummate, imaginative storyteller with a grasp for action and specifically emotional inside-out character work. I couldn't wish for a better artist to grasp what we're doing in the main narrative. Stephanie basically provided the connective thread to Journey Into Mystery and the actual climax in JIM 645. That's probably the best issue of my entire Marvel career. She does myth, emotional and capital R Romance incredibly well -- and as her stories are embedded as these sort of mythic vignettes, she's perfect for it.
DF: Have we seen the last of Angela among the Guardians of the Galaxy? Good crossover material: Guardians versus As-guardians. (laughs)
Kieron Gillen: Heh.
I'm sure the idea of bringing the stars of the year's most excellent breakout sci-fi hit into our book is something that has never occurred to me. Not even once, and definitely not as a key part of the arc. Perish the thought.
DF: Can you tell us anything about supporting characters or perhaps the beginning of a rogues gallery?
Kieron Gillen: I'd rather not say too much at this point. The story very much positions Angela between Heaven and Asgard, and how that plays out is key. There're certain key players in the Nine Worlds who are going to be ... well, interested in her. There're also some threads Fraction and I left at the end of “Everything Burns” that I'm picking up and running with.
The most important starting member of the supporting cast is Sera, who is Angela's old friend from her days in Heaven. They haven't seen each other in a while, for a somewhat painful reason. She's very much everything Angela isn't, in terms of personality. She's actually the person who's telling the stories of Angela's past.
DF: So what can you tell us about Angela's storyline, going forward?
Kieron Gillen: Action and heartbreak across the ten realms and beyond, in short. The first arc is very much the statement of everything that Angela can be, and from there, we'll be spinning out the threads we introduce.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Kieron Gillen for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Angela: Asgard’s Assassin from Marvel Comics hits stores December 3rd!
Get your copy of Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1 Skottie Young Variant right here!
NEW! 1. 01/20/2020 - ROB GUILLORY
2. 01/17/2020 - DANIEL H. WILSON
3. 01/14/2020 - JON TSUEI
4. 01/09/2020 - BENJAMIN PERCY
5. 01/06/2020 - TOM MORGAN