Cover to Dark Reign: ZodiacMarvel’s “Dark Reign” is touching everyone.
No, seriously everyone from A (Avengers) and now, to Z with Dark Reign: Zodiac.
Written by Joe Casey with art by Nathan Fox, the three issue miniseries that debuts in June will take and twist villains named after the signs of the zodiac. Well…maybe. Don’t get the idea in your head of the classic Zodiac characters…
We spoke with Casey for more.
Newsarama: Joe, this project seems so...you, for lack of a better term with its roots in some very classic elements of the Marvel Universe being brought into the present. Just so we’re all clear, we're talking about the relatively low-level criminal group with members named after the signs of the Zodiac, here right?
Joe Casey: Nope. Those guys are history.
NRAMA: Alright – we’ll get back to who we’re talking about in a minute. But before that, how did you land on this? While, like we said, it seems right up your alley, it also sounds like something that you, being a fan of that era of Marvel would have pitched...
JC: I've probably pitched a villain-centric book to Marvel once every few years... between a Super-Villain Team-Up book to a Young Masters series back in '05 and finally over this Christmas Tom [Brevoort] and I found the right concept that fit with what was going on in the Marvel U. at the right moment in time. Now it's full speed ahead with what is probably the most brutal thing I've ever written for Marvel.
NRAMA: So who are the members of Zodiac this time around?
JC: Well, the former members of Zodiac -- in any and all incarnations -- are dead and buried by the time this series begins. Well, their bodies are buried. Their heads... that's another matter entirely.
NRAMA: How does this all tie in to Dark Reign? Are they tapped for action by Norman Osborn?
JC: Not even close. If anything, Norman and all those who work for him are prime targets. Here's how I see it: when the super-villains are, for all intents and purposes, running the world, doesn't that make them just as much of an authority figure as Nick Fury was or the Avengers were? And, if you're a super-villain who actually likes being a die hard, anarchistic motherf**ker, then this whole "Dark Reign" thing goes against everything you believe in.
NRAMA: That said, who will be standing against them in this miniseries?
JC: Tough question to answer, but I'll give it a try... Zodiac is the super-villain. It's the rest of the world that should be worried that he's standing against them.
NRAMA: What's your goal for the characters in this mini?
JC: In the current Marvel Universe, super-villains are trying to go respectable. They're trying to be heroes. They're trying to be bureaucrats. It makes me f**king sick. I wanted to bring out a super-villain that doesn't want to be anything but a super-villain, that wants nothing more than to ignore the rules, to be the personification of chaos and to f**k s**t up. To coin a term, a postmarvel villain, so to speak.
NRAMA: Given that this is a mini, are we looking at a definitive conclusion here? Three issues would be great start for a rise to greatness, but at the same time, it would be a nice sendoff as well...someone needs to serve as an example of what happens when you try to stand up to Norman, after all...
JC: Trust me. This series is just the beginning.
NRAMA: Finally, let’s end with a tease - what gets the ball rolling in issue #1?
JC: The brutal torture and murder of 100 H.A.M.M.E.R. Agents. And that's just the first three pages. 'Nuff said.