When Age of Ultron tie-in one-shot Ultron #1AU was listed in Marvel's April 2013 solicitations last week, the writer was listed as "TBD." Now, those consonants can be replaced with an actual proper name: Kathryn Immonen, specifically, the current writer of Journey Into Mystery and a regular at Marvel for the past few years. In fact, it was her stint on the most recent incarnation of Runaways in 2009 that made her uniquely equipped for the gig, as that book co-starred Victor Mancha, Ultron's cyborg son — the star of Ultron #1AU, who finds himself in the awkward position of seeing his father violently taking over the world.
Newsarama has the first interview with Immonen and editor Lauren Sankovitch about Ultron #1AU, who discuss the issue's artist Amilcar Pinna, the story's place within Age of Ultron, the inherent daddy issues at play, and provide a Journey Into Mystery update.Newsarama: Kathryn, I think a lot of people will be excited to hear that you're returning to Victor Mancha, albeit in a very different context than your Runaways run. How does the character in this story compare to the one you wrote a few years back?
Kathryn Immonen: I suspect that no one is more excited about this than me. Victor had a really great introduction story arc which set up a lot of really wonderful complexity. It made such a great addition to the Runaways as a team but it was never Victor’s (or any of the individual characters) book. This is.
Nrama: To get a bit broader, to whatever extent you feel comfortable at this point, what can you tell us about the story of Ultron #1AU, and how it relates to the larger Age of Ultron story?
Immonen: This is an opportunity to really take a close look at what makes him tick. He’s still the Victor Mancha that we know and love but we now find him in the most extraordinary and unforgiving circumstances. He’s got a lot of unresolved issues as they relate to his parentage and his biology. He needs to figure out what he’s capable of… good and bad.Age of Ultron
#4 cover.Nrama: Though you've been writing steadily at Marvel for a few years, this is one of the first instances of you writing a tie-in to a major event, other than I think your AvX: VS contribution. What has that experience been like for you? Age of Ultron in particular seems like an interesting once, since there is a higher than normal level of secrecy around it.
Immonen: So secret in fact, that Lauren says, “so you’ve probably heard something about this Age of Ultron biz.” And I’m all “The what of what?” You know, it’s exciting! But at the same time, the brief for this project is fantastically focused. So I’ve got this amazing backdrop already provided against which I get the opportunity to play a character that I’ve got great affection for, in a story that really has the chance to get to the heart of Victor Mancha and test his mettle.
Nrama: Lauren, as someone who has been deeply involved with many of Marvel's biggest recent tales, how important is it to have quieter stories that unfold under the backdrop of a major event?Age of Ultron
#5 cover.Lauren Sankovitch: These quote unquote quieter stories are really the heart of a lot of these event series. What is the human cost? How do these characters react on a personal, private level to the monumental events cascading down around them? Victor’s story in particular puts a human(ish) face on the great evil that is Ultron. He’s had to look at his whole life and wonder: “Am I gonna turn into that guy?” That’s some pretty heavy stuff to carry around in your teenage android brain.
Nrama: Kathryn, for you, what's appealing about a story like this — which appears to be a smaller, more character-centric story in the midst of a major disaster event? And who else might be involved beyond Victor?
Immonen: We’ve got that great moment early on in the Runaways where future Gert comes back and lets Victor know that he does in fact, as Lauren says, turn into that guy. So he knows he’s got it in him. That’s a horrible thing to try and live with or turn around.
And it’s Ultron. So I have to say that it’s not looking good for anybody.Age of Ultron #6
cover.Nrama: Amilcar Pinna is solicited as the artist for the issue. Though I know it's still very early, what has you excited about that partnership?
Immonen: Aw, geez. His work is so lively and beautiful. I think it’s going to be a strange and wonderful and unsettling thing to put that inside this world.
Nrama: Lauren, what made the creative team of Immonen and Pinna the right lineup for Ultron #1AU? And why is it an important story to tell?
Sankovitch: Knowing Kathryn’s previous history with the Runaways, she definitely made for an intriguing option out of the gate. Pair that with the high action and complex character work she’s been doing in JIM and, really, the lady was a shoe-in. Plus, she has an uncanny ability to take a seemingly straight-up superperson tale and make it both unsettling and familiar/inviting. I’m privileged to have her aboard.
This will actually be my first time working with Brazilian artist Amilcar Pinna. His Europop stylings and sheer attitude on the page were magical to behold and I think will provide a fresh take on both Victor Mancha and his megalomaniacal, genocide-bot of a father Ultron.
Considering this entire Age of Ultron event is devoted to said father, it was a pretty easy pitch to want to pop into Victor’s shoes for a spell. If your dad wanted to destroy the world, wouldn’t you have something to say?Nrama: Also in April, the second story arc of Journey Into Mystery starts — actually, based on the solicitation, it looks like a one-shot story. Kathryn, what can you tell us about issue #651?
Immonen: It’s a story that stands alone but which absolutely provides the concrete segue into our next arc. We’re embracing the fairy tale underpinnings of a certain corner of Asgardian lore for a bit. If I had to write the content warnings, they would read, "Strong Peril, Pervasive Volstagg, Mild Nudity, Strong Reactions and Dogs."More from Newsarama:
- What We Learned From MARVEL's APRIL 2013 Solicitations
- Brian Bendis Guards AGE OF ULTRON's High-Level Secrets
- THOR's Sif Embarks On Her Own JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY