With Mark Waid staying on as the writer of both Champions with continuing artist Humberto Ramos, and Avengers with incoming artist Jesus Saiz, both titles are already embracing a key part of Marvel Legacy by affording Waid a longer, unbroken run on each series. But they'll also embrace another Classic Marvel element - the superhero showdown driven by a "big bad" behind the scenes.
But riffs on the classics aren't the only component of Legacy - and according to Waid, there are more than a few surprises in store for both teams. Speaking to Newsarama after the reveal of the Legacy solicitations for Avengers and Champions (expected to debut under Legacy later this fall) Waid cryptically teased big changes - and secrets - related to both teams' rosters, as well as the return of classic Avengers villains "like you wouldn't believe."
Newsarama: Mark you’re sticking around as the writer of Champions going into Legacy, but what are the big changes that are in store? How will Champions fit into the “Classic Marvel” idea at the heart of Legacy?
Mark Waid: The kids of Champions may seem "new" to the Marvel Universe, but at least one of them has been around through most all of Marvel history and even some of the other characters like Miles/Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel have become experienced pros. The notion that young heroes really can get past their tyro mistakes and sit first chair is part of what Legacy honors.
Nrama: You’re also staying on as writer of Avengers – and bringing both teams together. What’s the Avengers relationship to the Champions at this point?
Waid: The team is far, far more aware of their role in the Marvel Universe not just as mentors, but as students. The Champions aren't the "farm team" anymore - their peers are the Avengers.
Nrama: When it comes to Legacy, what do you think the core tenets of Avengers are? What is required for the team to fill that “Classic Marvel” niche?
Waid: Good question. The Avengers really is the All-Star team of the Marvel Universe. Like all good super-heroes, they have to be willing to lay their lives on the line to save the world - but unlike in their individual adventures, they have to be able to trust each other to do the same.
Nrama: Judging by the Legacy variant covers we’ve seen, the meeting between the Avengers and the Champions later this year is an all out clash. What’s the straw that’s going to break the camel’s back and finally put them at odds?
Waid: As we've been hinting, there's more to the relationship between the Vision and his daughter, Viv, than is immediately apparent. More tension than you'd suspect. And this is the story in which all of that comes to a head.
Nrama: Following up on that, Mark, is this conflict between the Avengers and Champions something you feel is inevitable? How will the Avengers handle having to take on their younger counterparts?
Waid: The clash of youth versus experience is always inevitable. In this case, if any one team is a little more arrogant than the other, it's the Avengers.
Nrama: On that note, who comprises the Champions and the Avengers when they clash?
Waid: The Avengers are Hercules, Vision, Wasp, Spider-Man, Vision and Sam Wilson, the Falcon.
The Champions are the same roster of six at the first - but almost certainly not the same roster by story's end.
Nrama: Among those, is there a particular character you feel is your surrogate in the book? The one that represents your point of view?
Waid: For me, it's Cyclops, full stop. One of my all-time favorite Marvel characters. He's my doppleganger here - I always love writing most about the brainy outsider characters who feel the weight of responsibility
Nrama: We’ve watched the Champions grow into their role as heroes in your series – how have you and Humberto Ramos, who is also staying on, grown as a creative team? What’s the working relationship like between you going into Legacy?
Waid: As smooth as ever, if not smoother. Remember, Humberto and I have been working together for over twenty years now (YOW!) and we work hand-in-glove to the point where we can practically read one another's mind.
Nrama: We still don’t know how the Champions’ adventures in Secret Empire will wrap up, but it’s pretty clear they’ve been through a lot in their mission with Black Widow and their separation. How will that manifest as Champions enters Marvel Legacy?
Waid: The Champions have proven themselves absolutely worthy of fighting alongside their "elders," but the Champions probably aren't getting enough credit from the Avengers over what they were able to accomplish during Secret Empire, and that doesn't go down well.
That's going to have to change fast.
Nrama: We’ve seen the High Evolutionary on some of the Legacy variants related to this story. What’s his role in the conflict?
Waid: The High Evolutionary's actions bring the teams together. Our villain, the rogue geneticist, is the story's prime mover - and when I say "mover," I mean something's causing Counter-Earth (on the other side of our sun) to begin approaching our Earth at cataclysmic speed towards a shattering collision - unless the heroes can stop it.
Nrama: After the Champions, what will we see the Avengers going up against? Have you and artist Jesus Saiz discussed the return of any classic villains?
Waid: Like you wouldn't believe. I can count at least a dozen who are waiting in the wings, but to name names would be to spoil too much.
Nrama: And what will the Champions take on as they enter another year as a team?
Waid: Humberto and I are discussing this very thing right now! The potential change in line-up will dictate a lot of the forthcoming stories, so there's not much more we can say without spoiling events!
Nrama: What can you tell us about Champions in Legacy that nobody knows yet?
Waid: That the single most unlikely member of the team will be the one who's the story's most important player.
Nrama: Same question, but for Avengers?
Waid: The membership probably - no, certainly – isn't quite exactly what you think it is.