Daisy Johnson is one of the brightest young agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Marvel has partnered her with three promising creators to open the door on the next chapter of her story with this week's Quake: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary.
Capitalizing on the popularity of Daisy’s TV popularity as the star of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., writers Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon are teaming with artist Daniel Warren Johnson to explore some new mysteries regarding Daisy’s origin, her family, and her place in S.H.I.E.L.D.
Newsarama spoke with Rosenberg and Kindlon to find out what it’s like joining the ranks of the Marvel Universe, and what’s in store for Quake as S.H.I.E.L.D. enters its next 50 years.
Newsarama: Patrick and Matthew, you’ve worked together on a number of projects. How long have you been writing together?
Matthew Rosenberg: We've been writing together for a few years now but a lot of stuff we've been working on is just coming together and coming out now. We have a book out called We Can Never Go Home from Black Mask Studios that people seem to like. And we have another book called Menu coming out next year. Both of those are from a few years ago.
Patrick Kindlon: He's the wind beneath my wings.
Nrama: Daisy Johnson is one of the youngest, most successful S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in Marvel history. How do you capitalize on her youthful energy while still honoring the classic S.H.I.E.L.D. legacy?
Rosenberg: Daisy is a fascinating character because she is thrown in the deep end so young by Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., yet she seems so confident and self possessed. We really wanted to explore a bit of what is underneath that. She is a bit cocky, she is more than capable, but underneath it all she has some self-doubt. She is as good in the field as any S.H.I.E.L.D. agent or any Avenger but she doesn't trust that 100%.
Also, at the end of the day S.H.I.E.L.D. are spies. They operate in the grey area that superheroes tend not to, and that comes from being a bit jaded and having a certain worldview. Daisy just isn't all the way there. She is more idealistic and more headstrong than S.H.I.E.L.D. would probably like. She straddles the line between spy and superhero, and in a lot of ways it's because she is young and trying to figure herself out.
Kindlon: Some of the classic S.H.I.E.L.D. characters are great because of how they fully they evoke the smooth spy or rugged soldier archetypes. Daisy is interesting for the opposite reason. She's conflicted at times, and she's not able to be smoothly filed into any category.
Nrama: The solicitations for Quake: S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary mention a “family reunion.” Is it safe to say we’ll see Daisy’s father, Mr. Hyde pop up?
Rosenberg: No actually. Without giving too much away, the family reunion is a little more... bizarre. It's something that will surprise people I think.
Kindlon: Yeah, I'm about as big a Hyde fan as they come. The Peter David and Sam Keith issue of The Incredible Hulk is one of the most fun books from my youth. But, like Matt says, we went for something a little more mysterious than a full-on reunion.
Nrama: We also know Daisy will be dealing with Inhumans in your story. Given her status quo on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show are we in for any big revelations in this one-shot?
Rosenberg: If you watch the show and read the comics I think there is one thing that will definitely be a big moment. The Daisy of the comics is a little different than Skye is on the show and we bring them a little closer together. This is still very much the Daisy we all know from comics, but we dig a little deeper into where she comes from.
Kindlon: I was really pleased with the latitude we were given in telling Daisy's story. We were able to tell our mostly self-contained story while hinting at the larger issue Daisy needs to address.
Nrama: Give us some insight into your writing partnership. How do you split up a script?
Rosenberg: We actually approach every project differently. Sometimes we send outlines and scripts back and forth endlessly until we are both happy, sometimes we really work as editors or sounding boards for each other's ideas. We kind of wing it. I think the key to why we work well together though is that we don't really have the same taste. There is a lot of overlap in the stuff we like, but we approach things very differently and are looking for very different things from the work we like and the work we make. So if we can both walk away from something satisfied we don't really care how we got there.
Kindlon: A lot of it is checks and balances. Writers fall in love with ideas and can sometimes follow them off a cliff. If you've got someone you trust, who shares enough of your sensibility without mirroring you exactly, you have a voice to stop you and say, "Indiana, let it go."
Nrama: You’re working with artist Daniel Warren Johnson on this issue, who is also doing some of his first Marvel work. His artwork has a real edge. How does that play out with the story you’re telling?
Kindlon: Dude is the full package. He's got an indie sensibility with Big Two storytelling clarity. Perfect fit for us.
Rosenberg: Well Daniel was at the top of my list of artists I wanted to work with, so finding out that our editor Jon Moisan liked him too made it an easy call. The thing I love about Daniel is he does big, bombastic, and monstrous so well. Everyone gets that from him. But when you look at his storytelling and the way his characters express things and emote, he is really brilliant. We wanted to do something that could really shows both sides of what he can do and just let him cut loose. So you get great character moments with Quake, Captain America, and Iron Man, but you also get the chaos of a full on war. And of course Daniel nailed both.
Nrama: Daisy Johnson is seen by many as the future of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Marvel Universe. How does it feel to be part of the team that in some way sets the stage for the next 50 years of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Rosenberg: It's an honor. I grew up loving S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Marvel U so getting a chance to mess around with that stuff is beyond words. But, you're right, it means something extra to be doing a Quake story. I think characters like Quake and the Young Avengers, Spider-Gwen, the Runaways, all prove that the best is yet to come from Marvel. Secret War and Secret Warriors cemented Quake as a favorite character for me and hopefully our issue will do that for other readers. The amazing thing about Marvel is the meeting point between rich history and new ideas, that's what makes it matter. S.H.I.E.L.D. is such a fascinating chance to tell all kinds of stories and I think for new readers there will be no better guide to that world than Quake.
Kindlon: Yeah. No baloney, this is a character people care about and is new enough that her mythos is still being built. A lot of responsibility, but we're responsible dudes, mostly.
Nrama: What should readers expect from the two of you in the future? Any more Marvel work on the horizon?
Rosenberg: The first volume of We Can Never Go Home will be in comic shops in November before it comes back for more issues in 2016. I am co-writing the Archie Meets Ramones for Archie. And we are launching a few new creator owned books in 2016 as well - a dystopian political story called Our Work Fills The Pews, and a really weird post apocalyptic adventure about a boy and his dog called Menu. And we are working on a bunch more stuff we can't talk about yet. Sorry.
And hopefully we will do more work at Marvel. So far this has been one of the highlights of my writing career and maybe my life, so I would love another chance at it. I have loved these characters since before I could read, so I have a lot of things I would love to do with them.
Kindlon: Mystery. Always a couple books you can't quite mention. But, trust us, lots of books coming. We'll be pitching Marvel on anything they ask for. This book was that fun. The Yelp review would go like this: Editor ruled. We were treated like true contributors to a big universe. Got to work with a great artist. Five stars, would write again.