The latest team of "Dark Avengers," formed by Norman Osborn in Avengers and New Avengers, is taking over Thunderbolts in June. Title and everything.The series is continuing its original numbering, but with issue #175, it's getting a new but familiar name — Dark Avengers — as Dark Scarlet Witch, Dark Spider-Man, Trickshot, Ragnarok and Skaar all join the book. But that doesn't mean the end of Thunderbolts as you know it, as the creative team of writer Jeff Parker and artists Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey remain in place, as does Luke Cage at the center of it all. In the first inteview on the change, Jeff Parker tells Newsarama about what the new Dark Avengers might look like, what elements of Thunderbolts will remain in place, and the consistency brought by both Luke Cage and the book's art team. Newsarama: Jeff, the rather obvious question is, what can you say about the decision to transition Thunderbolts to Dark Avengers? Was "Thunderbolts vs. Thunderbolts" the planned climax to the Thunderbolts story you've been telling for the past couple of years? (And are you prepared to deal with the onslaught of angry Thunderbolts fanatics displeased that the title is going away?)
Jeff Parker: "Thunderbolts vs. Thunderbolts" gets us to one of the major moments of this ongoing story, but Dark Avengers takes us all the way there. And no, of course I'm not prepared!
Nrama: Luke Cage is remaining a focus on the series. Was it important to keep him around as a bridge between what came before and what's coming next?
Parker: Oh yes. This is where a lot of elements all come rushing back together, and Luke is at the center of it. He's the heart of the book.
Nrama: Also, it looks like Luke's role will become even more central and personal, given the Dark Avengers story running in Avengers and New Avengers. What's motivating him in this new role?
Parker: The overseers of Thunderbolts obviously knew who they were picking when they recruited the Dark Avengers for this upcoming mission, it's not some random choice that happened to be the last people on Earth Luke would want to see again. And Luke isn't into being manipulated like that, so he's staying on.
Nrama: On the flipside of that, will we see any of the rest of the Thunderbolts cast in the book outside of Cage, or is it pretty much a clean slate?
Parker: You'll see everybody — our story has been building to this with all of the cast so far. And you'll see Man-Thing again!
Nrama: Of course, there are a lot of new characters coming into the book. How have you enjoyed writing the new cast? Are there any of the new team members that you've particularly taken an interest to?
Parker: I was surprised that Trickshot was fun to write.
Nrama: What can you say about the set up for the series? Is it similar to the previous Thunderbolts premise, where they're criminals working towards of redemption?
Parker: That would be giving too much away, to tell what their deal is — I'm sorry!
Nrama: It looks like Skaar is in a unique role in the series and within the team — what's your take on that character?
Parker: There looked to be a lot of violence in store for this new Thunderbolts team, so naturally Skaar signed on.
Nrama: Declan Shalvey and Kev Walker are both sticking with the series. For you as a writer, how vital is it for you to keep that consistent team over the past couple of years, especially as the book enters a totally new era?
Parker: As you'll see, it works great — Kev is still drawing the lost Thunderbolts, Dec is drawing the new ones. Those guys have made this book a real pleasure to work on, there's nothing they can't imagine and make happen.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!