FOREVER EVIL: A.R.G.U.S. vs. S.H.I.E.L.D. & Their '4th-Worldly' New Headquarters
CREDIT: DC Comics' November 2013 solicitations
As DC has been defining the New 52 Universe over the last two years, one organization is clearly being developed by the publisher as a key entity in the DCU — A.R.G.U.S.
The organization has played an important role in the events of this summer's Trinity War event, and this fall, the group will get its own mini-series called Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. by Matt Kindt and Manual Garcia.
The six-issue series kicks off in October, after most of the Justice League members have been killed. In the absence of heroes, the DC supervillains unite with the Crime Syndicate of America from Earth 3 to control the world.
While Forever Evil will tell the story of a few villains who unite to fight against the CSA, the A.R.G.U.S. mini will show how agents from A.R.G.U.S. will lead the resistance from non-superpowered humans.
The team is led by Steve Trevor, who's also known as the man who found Wonder Woman's island. And according to Kindt, his love for Wonder Woman will fuel his anger toward the supervillains, as he tries to avenge her death.
As DC gives the organization its own mini-series, it's notable that A.R.G.U.S. has also shown up in the television show Arrow. And because that series will soon be spawning a Flash spin-off show, there's a good chance that A.R.G.U.S. is being consciously branded by DC. With a Superman/Batman movie on the radar and a Justice League film expected soon after, it's possible that A.R.G.U.S. will become DC's version of Marvel's well-known "S.H.I.E.L.D." property (which is getting its own series soon).
Kindt has a full plate in the coming months at DC. Not only is he writing several September issues for Villains Month, but he's helping out with Justice League of America during Forever Evil, as well as writing the Suicide Squad issues that tie into the event. And that's just his DC work — as fans of the writer know, he's got a current hit series from Dark Horse called Mind MGMT, which has a movie adaptation in development.
With all those high-profile projects at DC, it's clear that Kindt is a trusted writer for company. So what's he going to do with six issues about A.R.G.U.S.? What sets this organization apart from Marvel's S.H.I.E.L.D.? And what this "new headquarters" that DC keeps hyping for the mini-series? Newsarama talked to Kindt to find out.
Nrama: Matt, solicitations indicate that the headquarters of A.R.G.U.S. are decimated and the Justice League is dead. We know now that the Crime Syndicate plays a role in what happens, but how do the events at the end of Trinity War and in the first issue of Forever Evil lead into the story you're telling in the A.R.G.U.S. mini?
Matt Kindt: The new A.R.G.U.S. is really born from the ashes of Trinity War — actually, literally born from the ashes. The events at the end of Trinity and beginning of Forever Evil are the tipping point — or the spark that is going to re-light A.R.G.U.S. and really push it into something we've never seen before in the DCU. A.R.G.U.S. is going to become something a little more...interesting. Plus they get a super-cool new HQ that is going to be insane!
Nrama: We've seen the cover to your first issue. What can you tell us about the A.R.G.U.S. agents on the cover?
Kindt: They're all characters you've seen before in various roles — but the world has kind of ground to a halt and A.R.G.U.S. is in pieces, so Steve Trevor has to sort of improvise and patch a team together with the resources he has on-hand. That's going to push characters like Gunn and Etta Candy into more prominent and interesting roles. It's really going to make stars out of supporting characters in a way. The death of the Justice League has left a huge vacuum.
Nrama: The cover also shows the villains that, I assume, are the focus of the mini-series. It's obvious that Cheetah plays a key role. Can you tell us about the main adversaries your team will be facing?
Kindt: I don't want to spoil too much, but at the end of this storyline, you'll have a newfound respect for Cheetah. She is going to be doing some crazy stuff and one of my goals is to really make these evil bad guys...really evil and bad. Scary, you know? More than just villains for the sake of villains — I want to make them real. And Cheetah for real? Is going to be scary.
Nrama: Besides the obvious villainous threat, what challenges are the team dealing with during your mini-series? What are you, as a writer, throwing at them to help define who they are?
Kindt: Again, they're really all that's left that stands between the bad guys and regular people. As much as "normal" humans were afraid of all super powers — now that the buffer of the good guys has been neutralized, A.R.G.U.S. is one of the few big powers left that can stand to defend everyone. But they're going to need an HQ and some kind of fire-power, so it really sets up to establish not just the team, but the headquarters is a character as well — it's as much a player in this story as any of the live characters. And it's super-cool. I promise.
Nrama: Obviously Steve Trevor also plays a key role, and we've seen a lot of sides of him over the last couple years, from romantic to secretive to action hero. How would you describe Steve Trevor as you're writing him?
Kindt: He is angry. He had what is probably the coolest girlfriend on earth (Wonder Woman) and she's been killed. So he's out for revenge. He kind of snaps, in a way. I won't spoil too much because you'll find out in the first issue, but he runs into the Cheetah and she's got something of Wonder Woman's...and Steve is going to flip out. I feel bad for any villains getting in his way, really. Well, I don't really feel bad for them — they're villains. But they shouldn't 'a did what they did.
Nrama: Wow, that doesn't sound good for Wonder Woman. You mentioned that Wonder Woman is his "girlfriend," but the last time the interacted in Trinity War, they weren't really getting along. As you take over Steve's story, how would you describe the relationship between Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman?
Nrama: So she doesn't play a role in your comic at all?
Kindt: She plays a huge role — not literally, but she's going to be on every page, in a way. She's the spark for Steve's motivation and the key to beating the bad guys.
Nrama: As I'm sure you're aware, there's another comics publisher out there that has an acronym organization that's very familiar to superhero fans because of movies and an upcoming TV show. Is it fair to say A.R.G.U.S. is similar to that organization? Or if not, what makes A.R.G.U.S. unique?
Kindt: A.R.G.U.S. has 100% less patches. But we have way more scars. I think the thing that sets A.R.G.U.S. apart from any other regular-person espionage team is going to be their source of power. The headquarters and the technology that supplies them with power and mobility. That reveal — the heart of A.R.G.U.S. — is something that could only exist in the DCU. It's not otherworldly really — but it is Fourth-Worldly.
Nrama: Ah, now I get what makes the headquarters so cool. Well let's talk about your thoughts about something a few message boards have been discussing — the acronym itself. I tried to look up "Argus" to see if there was another meaning, and I ran into a few Greek mythology links. Just out of curiosity, do you see any similarities between any Argus myths and the organization you're writing? Has that come into consideration at all?
Kindt: Sure. I think the name and the logo are really loaded with meaning. So there will be echoes of that — the super hero genre is filled with mythological elements already — and to me, A.R.G.U.S. is really about the mortals fighting the "gods."
Nrama: You're working with the talented Philip Tan on this mini-series. What's it been like working with him? He's always so enthusiastic when we interview him. But super-nice.
Kindt: Yeah, I'm putting him in the running for nicest guy in comics. Honestly, I've never met anyone as excited to be doing what he's doing. And the guy can draw!
Nrama: What's the overall tone of the comic? All-out action? Spy story? Mystery?
Kindt: Ha!...the answer is "yes." Really at it's heart it's a story about mortals standing up to something bigger than them and standing up to that bigger thing...with super-cool gadgets. And it's also a personal story — Steve Trevor's butt-kicking journey of self-discovery.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S.?
Kindt: Supervillains, spies, gadgets, alien-technology — I honestly don't know what else I could put in this book to make it cooler.