The Avengers are in the midst of a transformative story, and after Infinity, it's time, as Cap and Iron Man have said, to "Go Bigger."
With the new ongoing Avengers World, Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer are teaming with Stefano Caselli and taking the statement to its literal head, declaring that all of Earth is "under the Avengers' protection," as Spencer told us, and making that statement pay off.
We talked exclusively with Spencer about the plans for the titles, the threats they'll face within and without, and how it fits in with Hickman's existing Avengers and New Avengers titles.
Newsarama: Nick, The "Avengers World" concept has been teased since the beginning of Jonathan's run. Starting easy, what can you tell us about what precipitates the need at this point to go all in with it?
Nick Spencer: Well, it's a big statement. That this world falls under the Avengers' protection, that they act as its representatives. Not only that, but that their presence is something special, something unique, that makes this world exceptional. That's a statement that would most definitely not go unchallenged, both from without and within. And those challenges to authority are really the driving force in this book.
Nrama: How did you get involved, and what do you feel you bring uniquely to the table with a "globe-spanning epic" for the Avengers?
Spencer: Hopefully, I bring an ability to guide a number of moving parts, a focus on character-first storytelling, and an understanding of and appreciation for this pretty incredible Avengers saga that Jonathan is building. I really believe in what's being done here, I think it's something special and unique in comics today, so to be asked to be a part of it is a huge honor. We worked together on Avengers for a bit before and during the run-up to Infinity, and we all felt good about we did there, I think, so it was natural to consider what came next-- and those conversations evolved into Avengers World.
Nrama: What's the writing process for the pair of you sharing duties here?
Spencer: It's a little different than the collaboration on Avengers; I'm in the driver's seat more, and running the ideas by Jonathan and locking them into the broader Avengers narrative. I'm very aware of the fact that is his team and that this fits into a bigger story that spans multiple books-- as such, he's been really helpful in just making sure everything is consistent and coherent.
Nrama: To be clear, is this a new title or supplanting one of the existing Avengers books?
Spencer: It's a new title, that both stands on its own and fits within the framework of the other two core Avengers books. To my eyes, this has been working really well with Avengers and New Avengers; you can read them separately and they're great, but when you read both together, there are a lot of cool connection points that make for a very rewarding reader experience. Avengers World will operate in the same fashion – it will be it's own thing, but if you're reading the other two books, it's that much better.
Nrama: What kinds of "new threats" as mentioned in the announcements will the Avengers be facing? What can you tell us about the villains we'll see here?
Spencer: There are some big new challenges that emerge in the first issue, in very quick and catastrophic fashion. New empires are born, new armies rise up. The Avengers are very much caught off-guard by it. To me, it's exactly how big revolutions always occur-- seemingly overnight to the rest of the world. The Avengers and SHIELD have finally put aside their differences and are back to working together closely. But it might have come a day too late.
One thing we have tipped our hand on -- keep an eye on AIM. That organization, led by the new Scientist Supreme, has been gaining in power and prominence over the last few years -- and it looks like they might be ready to take that next step and become a dominant force. AIM is a group both Jonathan and I have worked on recently, so if you've been reading Avengers, Secret Avengers, or Jonathan's FF run, you'll see some very nice payoffs here.
Nrama: "Avengers World" sure seems to imply an even larger roster – is this building on the already extensive group in Avengers, or is the title more about them facing threats around the globe?
Spencer: We feature the same lineup you see in Avengers -- everyone from the classic lineup, like Cap and Thor and Iron Man, to the new faces like Hyperion and Smasher. And a big part of this book's focus is in making sure we spend some quality time with this cast, really get in their heads and see what's pushing them forward. We'll use a lot of flashbacks and personal interludes to hammer that home. While this is a big, epic story, it's really built on character development first.
In addition to the team's lineup, you'll also be seeing a lot more of Maria Hill and S.H.I.E.L.D. here, as the book really explores the relationship between that organization and the team, good and bad.
Nrama: The explosion of new powered individuals with Inhumanity is happening at the same time as this launch – will you be dealing with the Inhumans here at all?
Spencer: Avengers World is obviously about the change face of Marvel Earth, so yeah, safe to say a big, transformative event like Inhumanity will be reflected here.
Nrama: Is there a particular genre of storytelling you're using for the first arc? What would you liken the story to?
Spencer: It's a very big, epic high-adventure that should feel right in line with Avengers, New Avengers, and Infinity. If you're digging those books, hopefully you'll like this, too. The scale of it is pretty impressive, I think-- we really use the whole canvas, the entire globe, and transform it fundamentally. By the end of the first issue, the world is a very different place, and that's just the beginning. It's a book about nations and armies and empires, so it's massive in scope. But at the same time, we see all that through the characters' eyes, and how it relates to them individually, on the ground.
Nrama: The Avengers have had international adventures before, what makes this different for "Earth's Mightiest Heroes?"
Spencer: Yeah, it's not just, the Avengers go to Asia, or the Avengers go to Europe. It's really about taking the map and blowing it up, just scaling everything upwards and exploring what the presence of these powers, these gods, these inventions would have on our geography. What it would mean in terms of hegemony, and borders, and international relations. The Avengers have gone out and spoken for the world; now the world is going to answer back.