Mark Brooks: Designing the Young Masters

Mark Brooks: Designing the Young Masters

Mark Brooks

Marvel is getting a new young super-team, but it's not clear yet whether they're good guys or bad guys.

Artist Mark Brooks is drawing the new group of rebellious superpowered characters who will be showing up in Dark Reign: Young Avengers, a new five-issue mini-series beginning in May by writer Paul Cornell. When the new super-team shows up in New York wearing the title of "Young Avengers," it's not going to sit too well with the already established team.

It's all part of the Dark Reign story affecting much of the Marvel Universe. Now that Norman Osborn has been anointed by the government as the sanctioned superhero leader, he's replacing the heroes that don't follow him with new ones that will.

While there will be plenty of the beloved Young Avengers in the mini-series -- Hawkeye, Stature, Hulkling, Patriot, Speed, Wiccan and Vision -- this new team of "Young Masters" will turn the table on the heroes, forcing the real Young Avengers to play the part of responsible, experienced heroes dealing with rebellious youngsters.

This isn't the creative team's first experience with these characters, as Cornell and Brooks worked together on Young Avengers Presents #4. Cornell has since established himself as a fan-favorite writer on Captain Britain and the MI: 13, while Brooks is just coming off a run on Ultimate X-Men, drawing the series finale in March's issue #100.

As we walked by Brooks' table at the New York Comic Con, we got his attention and asked if he'd take some time to talk about Dark Reign: Young Avengers. In between sketches and signatures, the artist explained the idea behind the new characters and gave a little insight into their designs.

Newsarama: You designed this new band of superpowered teens, right?

Mark Brooks: I designed them visually. Paul had them in mind and gave me some great character descriptions of them. And I basically went to town on them. Because of the way Tom Brevoort at Marvel is and the way Paul is, they really let me experiment and do some things differently. I followed what Paul said as close as I could, but I did take some liberties. But Paul was cool with it. So it ended up being kind of collaboration.

NRAMA: Can we talk about the team and how you designed these characters?

The Young Masters - click for the full-sized image

MB: Sure. Let's pull out the designs for the Young Masters and take a look. I need to make sure I don't miss anybody. Let's see... we have The Melter.

NRAMA: He's the one who can melt stuff, right?

MB: Yeah, he can melt stuff. It's a pretty useless power, and there's a whole thing that goes along with that in the story. But he's also kind of your natural leader. The way Paul described him was an "everyman," with really no costume. So I kind of threw him together, and if you look closely, it's pretty much all things from my closet. So I just went to my closet and said, OK, what would this guy wear?

NRAMA: Those are your shoes on his feet, aren't they?

MB: Yep. The Vans are my signature shoes. So while the character isn't based off me or anything, the costume is based off my wardrobe somewhat.

NRAMA: Coat of Arms?

MB: She's kind of your cold-hearted bitch. I don't want to give too much away about her. Obviously, she has six arms. But there's a lot more to her as well.

NRAMA: Paul said she's an artist?

MB: Yeah. She's probably me and Paul's favorite character. So I think there's going to be lot of stuff going on with her.

NRAMA: Big Zero?

MB: Big Zero is going to be your stature-wise -- uh... "stature," no pun intended -- is going to be your smallest person on the team. But she's the one that can grow and shrink. So even though she's the smallest, she can become the largest. She can increase her size to about 100 feet. There's a lot of really cool backstory with her.

NRAMA: She's the one Paul told us wants to overthrow the government. You went for a tough look for her?

MB: Yeah. She's tough. She's got a lot of attitude. A lot of anger.

NRAMA: Executioner?

MB: He's kind of a mysterious character. Even I don't know too much about him. I know he likes to keep to himself. And I know he likes to fill people with lead. A lot. He's this ruthless vigilante. But other than that, I think even I'm going to be learning more about him as the issues go on.

NRAMA: Egghead?

MB: Egghead is an android.

NRAMA: He looks really different for an android.

MB: He does. There's a lot of mystery behind him. We don't really know where he came from. There's a lot of things we're going to learn about these characters. You see him team up with Big Zero a lot, and Big Zero is always kind of holding onto him and working on him. He's almost like a gladiator from distant times that is just kind of broken.

NRAMA: What's the reason for the hole in his chest?

MB: Well that's part of the broken. You can see, there are just wires hanging out. Originally, the way Paul had envisioned him was to be made out of metal or steel, but he was also saying he was cracked and broken. So I thought about how his name is Egghead and decided to go with the white design with all the cracks all over him. The floating head, I like, because it kind of gives that egg-shaped look to him.

NRAMA: Enchantress?

MB: Enchantress is your standard Asgardian goddess mixed with Paris Hilton. She's very sexual. And we come to find out in the book that Enchantress and Melter are lovers.

NRAMA: And what are her powers?

MB: You'll have to wait to see that. But she is the Asgardian god Enchantress. She's the only one on the team that has a past in the Marvel Universe that people could look up. Everyone else is new, and you'll kind of learn more about them as time goes on. And you'll learn where she's been and what's been going on with her.

NRAMA: But you're also drawing the normal Young Avengers characters, right?

MB: Yes. But when the book opens up, these guys show up as the Young Avengers. And you really don't know what's going on. Why are these the Young Avengers? What's going on? And by the end of the book, the true Young Avengers make their appearance.

I think it's going to be really cool because what we don't know is, are these good guys? Are they bad guys? Are they going to be teaming up with the Young Avengers? Are they going to end up fighting them and be foes? I think it's going to be really interesting to read. I think anyone who was a fan of the Young Avengers previously, or even if you've never read the Young Avengers, you're going to dig this.

I got the first script and just sat there with a big grin on my face the entire time I was reading it. Great, great book. So I just hope I do it justice.


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