It’s raining Skrulls all over the Marvel Universe—and Dan Slott might just be one of the reasons they’re everywhere. Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion is in full effect—Skrulls are coming out of the wood work where they’re least expected…or have they been there all along? Slott’s work on Avengers: The Initiative seems to indicate that he may know more than he’s letting on.Issue #16 hits stands this week (see the preview pages to the right)—Mutant Zero, Trauma, Bengal, Constrictor and Ant-Man are facing off against Skrull Spider-Woman. Also, 3-D Man and the Skull Kill Krew continue their transcontinental wholesale slaughter of Skrulls—as a classic Avenger joins the book’s regular cast. Newsarama spoke with Dan Slott about Avengers: The Initiative and some of the finer points of the series during the advent of Secret Invasion and beyond. Newsarama: How close is Avengers: The Initiative from being in a post-Secret Invasion environment? Dan Slott: You know, right now, the book is deeply entrenched in the middle of the Secret Invasion. In the past, when we took part in World War Hulk or we touched base on Back in Black continuity or One More Day continuity—it’s only been for an issue or two; now that we’re in the middle of Secret Invasion—we’re involved in this big war story—the whole Marvel Universe is. For the Initiative to work—to be this big book that hits every corner of the Marvel Universe—when something like Secret Invasion happens, they should be on the front line. It’s exciting to do this with Chris [Gage]—we get to tell all these war stories and they’re going to be building and building to something really big. NRAMA: Avengers: Initiative has the right blend of characters—there are veteran characters as well as new characters—and this book also has a body count! Most books don’t have one of those… DS: We do! One of the things I think we do well in the Initiative—for all the blood we leave on the floor—we’re very good at character conservation. We’re creating new characters and putting them into play in the Marvel Universe. We’ve done what—16 issues to date? #17 hits shelves this month and we’ve done an annual. In that space, we’ve created like 20 characters that are now in the Marvel Universe; that’s kind of exciting. NRAMA: What can you tell us about upcoming events in Avengers: Initiative post-Secret Invasion? DS: Well—first off—Avengers: The Initiative will exist post-Secret Invasion. They’ll all be Skrulls—saluting the Skrull flag and eating Skrull food now that the Skrulls have taken over the Earth; it’ll be called “Skrull-vengers: The Skru-nitiative.” Seriously, the book is going to be around after Secret Invasion. NRAMA: Well, there are so many characters from so many other parts of the Marvel Universe involved in this book. You’ve got a number of old-school members of the New Warriors on the team—is there going to be a return on that in the near future? Will there be more crossing of the streams? DS: Hmmmm. You will see Avengers: The Initiative characters make forays into other Marvel titles. Already, you’re going to be seeing War Machine being sent out into his own book. Readers are going to see more and more Initiative characters in other Marvel titles. NRAMA: What about new additions to the Initiative? DS: We’re germinating and pollinating the rest of the Marvel Universe! You have to; all the other writers are killing people off—we’re the only guys making new ones! (laughs) NRAMA: Back on track, Dan! (laughs) Are there going to be new members to the Initiative? DS: Hmmm—are there going to be more new members? NRAMA: Well you did have a status quo change or sorts in the 12th issue with a whole new batch… DS: We had a whole new batch come on. You’re going to start seeing some of our now established characters from the first batch are going to be showing up again in Secret Invasion; and, dare I say it, one of the characters from the first batch is a Skrull. This entire time… NRAMA: Slapstick?!? Really? No, I’m kidding… DS: (laughs) No, but we always knew this character was a Skrull since the start of the series. NRAMA: Hank Pym’s a Skrull—will the real Hank Pym be involved with the Initiative later on? DS: What do you mean? NRAMA: Will the real Hank Pym be showing up in the pages of the Initiative? DS: Well, all I can say—is that if he did…he’ll be showing up in one of the coolest stories I’ve EVER written! (laughs) He might just show up—wait and see. NRAMA: Where is the ongoing storyline in terms of a culmination point within the book currently? DS: It’s been revealed that Hank Pym has been a Skrull since before Civil War, right? So, the Hank Pym who came up with concept of the Initiative has been a Skrull the entire time. So Skrull-Hank designed, constructed, and chose the teams of all the 50 States Initiative—he’s done everything before Secret Invasion. He’s put together a system that has put into place 50 teams of superheroes in 50 States knowing that there would be a Skrull in every state’s Initiative. NRAMA: That’s pretty big… DS: He laid the ground work for all of that. NRAMA: That’s a lot of sleeper agents… DS: Not just sleeper agents—it’s a very important part of the Skrull master plan. So the initiative to start The Initiative was conceived, built, and implemented by a Skrull knowing that the invasion would one day occur. And…I will say this to get brains buzzing—that what Skrull Hank has eventually done with the Initiative is going to utilize a piece of Marvel continuity—that creepy way this series always does—to implement his master plan. A piece of established Marvel continuity; something truly horrifying! NRAMA: Who are the characters from The Initiative to really keep an eye on during Secret Invasion? DS: Of the current batch? Right now—if we’re really focusing on any characters during Secret Invasion—the characters we’re focused on are on three fronts. We’re focused on 3-D Man, who is out and about with the Skrull Kill Krew, going state to state; Ant-Man, who is behind at Camp Hammond—because he chose the cowards way out by not joining up with the grunts; and Crusader, our poor America loving Skrull, who is fighting with his adopted world against his old, home world on the front lines. NRAMA: Any surprise appearances in The Initiative during the Secret Invasion storyline? DS: Well, in the not-so-distant future, we’ll be seeing another one of Mutant Zero’s powers—and readers will also see her out of costume. There are going to be more and more clues as to her identity during the course of the book. We’re also going to see the return of a classic Avengers character with some severe Avengers history. NRAMA: How classic are you talking? DS: Classic enough that George Perez has drawn this character. Wait and see!
Dan Slott: Life After Invasion
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