As Marvel continues to develop its younger heroes, the publisher is turning to writer Sean McKeever again, this time tying into the publisher's summer event with Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt.
The six-issue mini-series begins in May and teams the Eisner Award-winning McKeever with artist Mike Norton, who has worked with him on other teen-centered comics, like Gravity and The Waiting Place. In Youth in Revolt, the creators will work with Gravity again, uniting him with characters from Avengers: The Initiative.
“With Youth in Revolt, we’re taking a look at how a palpable sense of fear and despair can affect the younger generation of heroes,” said McKeever when the series was announced by Marvel. “In the first issue, they’re deputized by the federal government in anticipation of terrible things to come, but what then? When they’re rushed into action without any strategy, who suffers? When things get out of hand, who will step up and who will crumble? And how well can they stand up to their own fears?”
The series picks up threads from McKeever's Onslaught Unleashed, the miniseries that included some shocking news this week, revealing the fate of the current Nomad, the young female hero who has recently appeared in Captain America.
Newsarama talked with the writer to find out more about Youth in Revolt and what's coming next in Onslaught Unleashed.
Newsarama: Sean, you're working with the Young Allies in Onslaught Unleashed, but it looks like they're working with a different set of heroes in Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt. What characters play a role in the comic?
Sean McKeever: We have a number of young heroes in the mini-series. Most of them are characters that you know from Avengers: The Initiative. We have Komodo, Hardball, Cloud 9, Thor Girl, Ultra Girl, Prodigy. We also have of course, Gravity and Firestar.
Prodigy and Thor Girl play pretty major roles in it. Gravity also plays a big role. And there will be a lot of surprise characters.
Nrama: Do the characters all work together?
McKeever: Spinning out of Fear Itself #2, there comes a revelation that The Initiative needs to be reinstated, not as forced conscription, as it was, but rather as a U.S. Marshall deputizing situation, as federal agents. So they'll be out in this uncertain world where everybody's afraid and confused and things are getting chaotic. And they'll be out there trying to maintain the peace in this frightening time.
Nrama: Where does the title "Youth in Revolt" come from?
McKeever: That comes from Lauren Sankovitch, my editor. But it also comes from the fact that there will be a divide coming in this story. We've short-handed the plot as Initiative Civil War.
Nrama: OK, what does that mean? The Initiative is divided?
McKeever: You're going to see characters on two sides. There will be characters with the same ideals and morals, but with very different takes on something that happens in the story. Something that's precipitated by Thor Girl, who has obvious ties to the main event, with her Asgardian look and being an honorary Asgardian.
Nrama: Why do you think Marvel is spotlighting young heroes as part of Fear Itself?
McKeever: I guess you'd have to ask Marvel, but the earliest conversations I had about this were last fall, and my editor on Onslaught Unleashed and Young Allies, Lauren Sankovitch, was talking about how this event was shaping up and that she felt there was a place for some of the young heroes in that.
So once more of the details were available that they could share with me, we started to really talk about what this would be about and who would star in it.
The Intitiative characters made a lot of sense because they've been through a lot of trials already, but nothing quite this scale. It will be interesting to see how they react this time around.
For instance, Cloud 9 has retired from superheroing altogether. As soon as she knew that the Initiative was no longer a government requirement, she tore up her registration card to take off and have a normal life. So that will be really interesting going into this.
And I think using these characters, who have kind of gone to the background since the Initiative, will be a great thing, because I think Dan [Slott] and Christos [Gage] did some really innovate stories and made some neat characters. It would be a shame for them to just wind up in the Z-list, only showing up every once in awhile.
I'm hoping this allows us to have these characters spotlighted a bit more, and hopefully they'll be showing up more regularly beyond this.
Nrama: You've written comics before that were specifically aimed at a teen audience, but this appears to be more targeted toward people who are already reading Fear Itself. Does that make a difference in the way you write it?
McKeever: No. I talked about this a lot when I was writing Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane. People would often ask about how it's aimed at teen girls, but to my mind, that's really more of a Marvel/marketing consideration. I just write what I want to write. Sure I have constraints around it if there is an age rating. But when I'm writing a comic, I'm not saying, "OK, I'm writing this for a fanboy" or "I'm writing this for a teenager." I'm just writing something I would enjoy, something I think is compelling. Somewhere in the back of your head, you do have a little bit of an expectation about who will be reading it, but I try not to. I think that leads to talking down to the intended audience, or targeting them a little too succinctly. Anybody can see that kind of pandering a mile away.
Nrama: You've been writing teen characters for a while now, and I see you a lot on Facebook. Is that because you're trying to pick up the teen lingo, to make your young characters so realistic?
McKeever: I don't go hunting around for the most current slang or anything. What's critical for me is having an ear for speech patterns, and remembering all too well the terror and awesomeness of growing up. Which I am still in the process of doing.
Nrama: When you listed the characters in your Fear Itself mini, it included two Young Allies members. But it didn't include the other ones. Since they're appearing in your current mini-series, Onslaught Unleashed, does that mean we should be worried about what happens to them?
McKeever: You should read a couple more issues of Onslaught Unleashed! Stay tuned.
Nrama: This week's issue of Onslaught Unleashed had a surprise about Nomad?
McKeever: Yeah, we had a major revelation in this week's issue of Onslaught Unleashed. According to Onslaught, Nomad is not alive. She already died.
And that is going to spin the story in a very surprising direction for everybody. And by everybody, I mean, not just the readers, but the characters in the book.
By the time it's over, it will have affected the way that the Young Allies interact and feel about things, in such a way that it will be prevalent in Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt.
Nrama: What else are you working on? Are you doing things outside comics?
McKeever: Yeah, I'm working on a video game that I really can't discuss right now. And I wrote an episode of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, which will be Episode 24 of Season 2. I don't know when Season 2 starts up, but sometime this year. And I have another project from Marvel that should be announced soon. It's a comic book, but it isn't. I think it's really cool. It's a throwback to the '90s, in a neat way. And aside from that, none of your business.