Captain America may be one of the best team players in all of superhero comics, but he’s also an adept solo operative. But when he’s sent into the dark heart of Russia after a crash-landed space station, he meets a World War II-era Russian ally that has some unfinished business with America’s flagship hero. And that’s not to mention the secret experiments that space station has within its hold, and the alien forces it’s also brought to Earth.
Launching rapid fire in October with two issues before going to a monthly schedule, Captain America: Living Legend teams Losers writer Andy Diggle with artists Adi Granov and Agustin Alessio on this Tom Clancy-style thriller that threatens to reignite the Cold War and new conflicts against some extraterrestrial forces. Originally announced back in 2010 as Astonishing Captain America, the story is finally being told.
Newsarama: This book is a long time coming Andy, so what can people expect?
Andy Diggle: I guess I'm supposed to say, "the unexpected!" I wanted to do a "tough guy on a mission" story and really play up the "super soldier" aspect of the Captain America mythos. Instead of being surrounded by the rest of the Avengers, we send him off on what is supposed to be a low-key, a one-man stealth mission.
Nrama: So how would you describe the style of this?
Diggle: It starts out as a somewhat grounded, Tom Clancy-esque spy-fi action thriller. Of course, this being a Marvel book, things get noisy fast.
Nrama: How does Russia get involved in this American operation?
Diggle: An American orbital research station has crash-landed in a long-walled-off "forbidden zone" in Siberia, and Cap is racing the Russian Army to get to it first. They quickly end up fighting for their lives against something very strange and alien.
Nrama: What was this orbital research station up to out there in space?
Diggle: It's called "DEUS" - a Dark Energy Utilization System. Our universe is permeated with "dark energy" but scientists currently have little idea what it really is or how it works. We just know it must be there, in order to make sense of our astronomical observations. The purpose of DEUS is to find out how to access this "hidden" energy grid and utilize it for civilian purposes. In theory it could be a source of limitless clean energy. In theory...
Nrama: In the solicitations for this book, it teases some alien force that brought now the orbital research station. Cap isn’t too well known for dealing with aliens (outside his Avengers stories), so what can you tell us about these aliens he’s coming up against here?
Diggle: It ain't little green men, I can tell you that. I wanted to create a sense of weird alien dread, where initially the horror is implied rather than overt. Once this intangible alien force begins to manifest itself, you'll see some really quite mind-bending imagery as it learns how to manipulate physical matter for the first time. Men and machines melded together. It ain't pretty. Except of course it is, because Adi and Agustin drew it!
Nrama: Cap has some unexpected ties to this due to an acquaintance with a WW2-era Russian officer named Volkov. Can you tell us about that man and his ties to Cap?
Diggle: They first meet during the closing days of World War 2, as the Russians and Americans race to get their hands on Nazi rocket scientists. Both sides know that rocket technology is going to be the key to power in the second half of the 20th century - the ability to hurl atomic weapons around the world. Volkov is an idealistic young Sergeant in the Russian Army, whose secret mission butts up against Cap's squad in the Carpathian Alps. After that brief meeting, the two characters take very different paths. Volkov becomes a hero of the USSR while Cap is frozen in the ice.
Nrama: This book ties together both the modern age as well as the WW2 era Captain America came from. How do the two time periods mesh in this story?
Diggle: I know this is a sucky answer, but the truth is I don't want to spoil it! Let's just say Volkov has unfinished business with Cap...
Nrama: As we mentioned early on, this series was originally announced back in 2010 as Astonishing Captain America with Adi doing all four issues. Can you explain the hiccups in the schedule?
Diggle: I believe Adi was called away to do some production design work on The Avengers movie. I don't begrudge him that in the slightest. When Joss Whedon calls, you answer!