Since Dan Slott took over the Mighty Avengers title, the team and the comic have gone through a lot of changes. Not only did the roster get reworked after the shake-ups of Secret Invasion, but the team got a new headquarters under the leadership of Hank Pym in his new costumed identity.
With this week's Mighty Avengers#27, the title and the team go through their next big adjustment. As readers of last month's issue know, there's a new mysterious headquarters in the team's future and some unanswered questions about just why they're together in the first place.
And with this issue also comes a change in the creative team, as Slott starts to co-write Mighty Avengers with his former Avengers: The Initiative collaborator Christos Gage.
Newsarama talked to Slott about the changes, and found out there's a little nod to War of Kings coming, as well as a meeting between all the Avengers teams that are running around the Marvel Universe now.
Newsarama: Wow, Dan. Six months into this thing and you're shaking things up a bit, aren't you?
Dan Slott: Yes. Issue #27 starts the next phase of this run of Mighty Avengers. You're going to see a new headquarters, you're going to see the start of the title's first big, massive story arc. Up until now, we've had a three-issue arc to kick off, then we had a done-in-one story for #24, and for #25 and #26, you had a good, old-fashioned slobber-knocker between the FF and the Mighty Avengers.
Now with this issue, we're hitting our first big arc, and you're going to see an all new Avengers villain, along with a lot of other new things.
NRAMA: Let's start with that revelation. We're getting a new bad new guy for the team with The Unspoken?
DS: Brand new bad guy, and you're going to meet him at the top of the issue. And he's going to have a big effect on the Mighty Avengers, if not the world. This is an all-new bad guy who is part of Inhumans history. He has a strong time to the Inhumans. The same way you see stories about Hercules, and when Fred and Greg are writing Hercules, he'll relate myths and the myths don't quite sync up with historical fact, you're going to see the Inhumans version of that. This is someone who's a previous Inhumans king, and why isn't he a king anymore?
This story will also have a touchstone to War of Kings. So it's going to be the first time you'll see a "Dark Reign" book with ties to War of Kings.
NRAMA: And this is related to the mission that US Agent and Quicksilver are on for the Global Reaction Agency?
DS: Yes, the story is going to start with the mission that Quicksilver and US Agent are on, with a new character named Ban-Luck, which is an Asian form of the game Blackjack. So you can tell who she's linked to. She's linked to the guys from Blackjack, whom we met in Issue #24.
NRAMA: There are still a lot of mysteries from the stories you've done so far. One is the motivation for Loki to put together this team. Is that going to be revealed soon?
DS: In this upcoming arc, you will see a throw-down with the Young Avengers, since Cassie's going to bring in the whole team, and the Scarlet Witch, whom we know is secretly Loki. You'll see some set-up with Billy and Tommy.
And as the story progresses, you'll see something that's been requested a lot as people have asked, "When is Mighty team going to meet the New team? When is Mighty team going to meet the Young team? When is the Mighty team going to meet the Initiative? When is the Mighty team going to meet the Dark team?" We're building up to an Avengers-palooza. You will see Avengers of all shapes and sizes and stripes.
NRAMA: That's all in this next storyline?
DS: It's all part of this mega-arc. It's six parts, but there's something big happening in every issue.
NRAMA: Is Jocasta permanently gone now that she's joined with this technology used to create the new headquarters?
DS: You're going to see more Jocasta than ever. [laughs] But Jocasta, along with Jarvis, is really part of our supporting cast, back home at the base like Jarvis always was. But you know, we've seen some romantic stuff boiling with Hank and Jocasta.
NRAMA: Yeah, you've got to love it when people kiss robots. It's like an Avengers tradition at this point, isn't it?
DS: Yeah. There's a lot of robot love.
NRAMA: Does it creep you out when you write some of this stuff, or are you sitting there giggling with a maniacal grin on your face?
DS: [laughs] I'm having a lot of fun. But to me, some of the fun is, how freaky can we get it? There's a scene coming up in Issue #28 where it's just, oh that's wrong. You think we've done "oh, that's wrong" before, but no, it's just, "oh, that's really wrong."
NRAMA: Let's talk about Hank's character for a minute. Is he growing as a character as you write him?
DS: I think he's asserting himself more. He's taking on bigger and bigger roles. He's taking on bigger challenges. Yet he's still being this wonderfully messed up character that he is. There are some flaws you overcome, but there are some flaws you embrace. And that makes you who you are. You look at Hank's history, and so much of his history is about redemption and making up and atoning for past mistakes. I think we've covered that ground. Now it's about looking at what a fabulously weird character he is and rolling around in it.
NRAMA: You said we're going to see lots of Avengers stuff -- "newish," "darkish" type Avengers...
DS: ... newish, darkish, Resistance-ish stuff.
NRAMA: Ah, the Resistance too?
DS: Yes, if you've been following The Initiative, you know there's now the Avengers: Resistance as of Issue #25.
NRAMA: Are there any other characters that are coming up in future issues?
DS: Yes! One of the fun things we've been doing from the get-go with this current run of Avengers is hopping around the globe, so expect to see some heroes from China, who are the heroes of China. This is the next step. The last time we saw them, there was a group called China Force. This is the next evolution of that. Different name, different team, some new team members. You're going to see, here are what China considers to be their Avengers.
NRAMA: Another of the big questions that comes to mind after Issue #26 is, what did Reed see to make him hand over the... Dimensional Wave Inducer?
DS: Very good!
NRAMA: Yeah, I had to pause to get that one out.
DS: Dimensional Wave Inducer.
NRAMA: Will we see what Reed saw? Is that soon? Next issue?
DS: You might see that in this arc.
NRAMA: It's obviously something that was so awe-inspiring...
DS: ... the minute Reed sees it, everything changes. Up until then, Reed was saying, I'm not giving you this. You're Hank Pym. I'm not giving you this big science device. And then, the minute he sees that, he totally understands why Hank must have it.
One of the things you will see is that, in Issue #28, Reed is helping Hank explore the science of this. Reed's on hand as his I.T. guy. The greatest minds in the world are working on it, because it's that important.
NRAMA: And if Reed and Hank need help, they can turn to Valeria, before they'd turn to Amadeus, I guess.
DS: Oh dear. I'm not going to approach that. I sure hope Greg Pak forgives me for that.
NRAMA: Among all the big changes we're going to be seeing within the title, there's a big change coming for the creative team as Chris Gage joins. I take it you like writing with this guy, but besides that, why is he working on Mighty with you?
DS: I love working with Chris. When we work together, we produce stuff fast. We're really happy. It increases productivity when we're working together. We're like a hybrid mind.
But the reason for it is two-fold. One is that I'm doing the next big [Amazing] Spider-Man arc, which is a lot of work for me. It's going to be a big Mysterio/Mr. Negative arc. And 2, which was always the plan, Chris is going to co-write with me a mini-series that is Mighty Avengers-related. We can't reveal everything about it right now, but we're going to be working on a Mighty Avengers mini that because a natural fit, so we just thought we'd work together on the whole thing.
NRAMA: So is this permanent or at least for the foreseeable future? Or is it temporary while you're working on this Spider-Man arc?
DS: It's for the foreseeable future. I'll be doing Mighty Avengers with Chris and we'll be pulling out the old Avengers: The Initiative dynamic.
NRAMA: Is the mini-series going to be announced at San Diego?
DS: I don't know. It's coming up later this year and ties into Mighty Avengers, and it leads into a big event. And it should be a lot of fun.
NRAMA: And Khoi Pham is back now?
DS: Yes, he's back bigger and better than ever. And he's just firing on all cylinders. The whole sequence with the Unforgotten in Attilan way back when is beautiful. And when people see Khoi rendering the big, new Mighty Avengers headquarters, they're going to first be awed. They'll think, wow, that's amazing. And then they'll realize what an incredible jerk I was for inventing, because poor Khoi Pham has to keep drawing it.
NRAMA: I don't know that I'd want to be part of the New Avengers, and I definitely wouldn't want to be on the Dark Avengers, but man, I'd love to hang out with the Mighty Avengers. But these characters aren't exactly sure why they're part of this team yet, are they?
DS: Well if you look at the actual timeframe from Mighty Avengers #21 through Mighty Avengers #26, not that much time has passed. But you're going to reach a point, very soon, where the Mighty Avengers are all gathered around the big meeting table, and somebody says, "Why are we still together?" You know? We've been on this roller coaster, saving reality and going around the globe and fighting the FF to save your lab, but now that we have a moment to catch our breath, why are we the Mighty Avengers.
NRAMA: And that will be answered?
DS: That will be answered shortly.
NRAMA: It sounds like you've got several different layers to this story that are hitting during this next "mega-arc," Dan. For you to take some of your favorite Avengers characters and have a long-term plan like this has got to be a lot of fun for you, isn't it?
DS: It's fun to move the pieces all over the chess board as we build and build and build this stuff. But one of the things I hope we're doing well is, we're giving you big Avengers action. I remember as a kid reading the back issues where you'd have the Avengers-Fantastic Four two-part fight. And I remember globe-trotting adventures, particularly in the Stern run. Hopefully, we're hearkening back to that while