Spoilers for this week's All-New ALl-Different Avengers #4.
With it's first arc done and both "Avengers Standoff!" and Civil War II in the near future, All-New All-Different Avengers has a lot on it's plate -- including one new team member, and one current one possibly leaving.
Newsarama spoke to Waid about the role All-New All-Different Avengers will play in “Standoff”, and later in Civil War II, his working relationship with the artistic tag team of Mahmud Asrar and Adam Kubert, and the secret identity of the team’s latest nemesis.
Along with the interview wer have the first look at unlettered pages from February 3's #5.
Newsarama: Mark, let’s talk about who the Avengers are right now. So far, the Avengers have kept a fairly limited roster – kind of the opposite of their last iteration. We’ve seen that Kamala Khan may be on the outs with the team in upcoming issues. Are there any other roster shake-ups on the horizon?
Mark Waid: I'd count on at least one new member in the near future--and not one anyone's expecting, I promise.
The limited roster is by design. After Jonathan Hickman's epic multi-year Avengers saga that touched all time and space, editor Tom Brevoort and I decided that the way to go was smaller, not bigger -- and it allows for a lot more character interaction.
Nrama: After All-New All-Different Avengers #3, there seems to be a larger game afoot with the Chitauri and Mr. Gryphon. Will we see that thread continue as Avengers continues?
Waid: Oh, yes. We're not nearly done with Mr. Gryphon--who isn't at all who he seems to be. He's a very familiar character, actually, and I'm surprised no one's yet sussed out who he really is.
Nrama: Let’s talk about that kiss in this week's All-New All-Different Avengers #4 between Captain America and Thor. Is this a shock tactic, or the beginning of an unlikely Avengers romance?
Let’s be honest, there have been weirder pairings over the years.
Waid: I wish I could take credit for the image, but my memory is that Jason Aaron tossed it out during one of the creative retreats and I dived on it like a rat on a slice of pizza.
I knew exactly what to do with it and what it signifies, and all I can say is that the answer to your question is "yes."
When you're writing a team book where every character already has his or her own series, you don't have dominion over them as individuals--but what you can exploit is their relationships with one another.
Nrama: The Avengers have a big event coming up in “Standoff”. What role does the core team play in that crossover? Will you be handling any parts of the series beyond the tie-in issues of All-New All-Different Avengers?
Waid: Just the tie-in issues, but Gerry Duggan and I are working closely with Nick Spencer on those. It's our job to show the first meeting of the All-New All-Different Avengers and the Unity Squad from Uncanny Avengers, and to keep them from killing one another before “Standoff"'s Big Bad can take them all out.
Nrama: You’ve had great success with tie-ins before, such as your “Original Sin” story in Daredevil. What’s your mindset going into “Standoff”, and of course Civil War II later in the summer?
Waid: I always take those challenges as opportunities. I genuinely enjoy the puzzle put before me with a crossover -- how do I use this bigger piece of the Marvel Universe to tell a character-based tale I wouldn't normally think to tell? Marvel's always been very good about giving us all plenty of creative rope when it comes to doing tie-ins, and as of yet, no one's forced me to do a story I've not enjoyed telling.
Nrama: You’re working with Adam Kubert and Mahmud Asrar on All-New All-Different Avengers, which is kind of a murderer’s row of artistic talent. Do you tailor your scripts to each artist’s style? Is there a different working relationship when you’re working with two major talents instead of one?
Waid: The only real difference in the relationship is that Adam and I have known one another much longer and, thus, I think we have more in common in terms of reference and influences. But Mahmud's been great to work with, as well. I will say that while both of them can draw pretty much anything, we have tended to lean on Mahmud for more of the interpersonal issues and on Adam for more of the action blowout stuff--but we're switching up soon, and Mahmud's going to have the opportunity to draw corners of the Marvel Universe no one's seen in a long time.
Nrama: After “Standoff”, Marvel has Civil War II coming down the pike. Will these connect to an internal Avengers narrative, or with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes be tied up in these major events for the foreseeable future?
Waid: Both. The ramifications of Civil War II will have a substantial impact on all the Avengers teams, and while we'll still be able to tell our own stories, there's a real benefit to staying connected to the post-Civil War II Marvel Universe and what it has to offer.