The new Secret Warriors were borne out of the fires of Secret Empire, but next they’ll be facing a different kind of threat: Mr. Sinister.
As part of this fall’s “Marvel Legacy” umbrella, November’s Secret Warriors #8 by Matthew Rosenberg, Javier Garron, and Will Robson follows up on the long-time X-Men villain’s brief cameo in last week’s Secret Warriors #5 with his interest in the burgeoning Inhuman population and an as-yet-unrevealed connection to Karnak.
Newsarama talked with Rosenberg and Garron about the upcoming arc – but be careful, spoilers for Secret Empire and the Secret Warriors issues leading up to #8 follow.
Newsarama: The Secret Warriors are being baptized in fire with Secret Empire, but with "Marvel Legacy" they're turning to someone who has a unique idea about legacy: Mr. Sinister. How do Quake and her team get in his sights?
Matthew Rosenberg: I think at this point it's safe to say the Warriors have been on Mr. Sinister's radar since they began. Everything is on his radar. But coming out of Secret Empire puts the Warriors in an interesting place. With no Royal family, no Terrigen Mist, the future of the Inhuman race is very much in question. And Sinister loves a genetic crisis as much as the next insane geneticist. So, when the Warriors emerge, fighting for Inhumans and fighting for a place in the world, it very much crosses his radar in a big way. Anytime something seems like the future to Sinister, he wants to take it apart and make it his own. That's what he wants here too. He wants to have a hand in the fate of the Inhumans, whatever that is.
Javier Garron: Well, it's complicated to avoid any cliché here, so please forgive me in advance, but it is a tremendous gift and pleasure to work on that character! You see, one of the main things I try to keep in mind when drawing any character is to reflect who he/she is in all the non-verbal communication, because, well, you have a writer precisely for all the words! Not only the facial expressions, but the body language and the costume design must reflect what makes that character special and unique.
Sinister in particular is a very rich villain. He's not an agent of chaos, he doesn't want to conquer, destroy or merely watch the world burn. He's a scientist pursuing final, absolute knowledge. He happens to have special attributes and a total lack of moral boundaries, using both of them in that search. He's not the kind of villain who screams and over-gesticulates. He is, to me, the kind of very, very evil guy who never raises his voice and sips his tea while he schemes.
So, we have a very ruthless, devious and cruel man, yet very intelligent and sophisticated. And everything is reflected in the way he looks. He always looks slick and polished, slightly outdated in terms of fashion reflecting when he was born and why he doesn't care about trivialities like what's hip these days, but always menacing in the way he armors himself and the color codes he uses. Is very interesting to reflect that calm but dangerous darkness he brings in visual terms.
Rosenberg: Also, it's possible that Karnak and Sinister have a relationship no one else really knows about. And, like all of Karnak's relationships, it isn't going great.
Nrama: How did the idea to bring in Mr. Sinister come about?
Rosenberg: I knew early on that we wanted the book to be about the future of the Inhuman race, but from a more personal place. We really wanted to show what it was like to be the last of a once great people, the final hope. And while our heroes deal with things on a micro level, we thought it would be fun to have a villain approaching that same idea on a macro level. I remember early on talking about this idea of a villain who was also interested in saving Inhumans in a way with my editor Wil Moss. I am pretty sure it was Wil who said "What if that was Sinister?" I am a huge X-fan and remember being kind of blown away by that. Sinister is such a great villain, and the idea of him taking an interest in Inhumans was amazing. And obviously the next logical question is how do Sinister and Karnak interact? Two of the most cold, calculating characters in the Marvel Universe, playing chess with the lives of millions of people. It's pretty fun.
Nrama: You’ve hit twice on this Sinister/Karnak situation. How will it affect the team and the book?
Rosenberg: Karnak is out of the picture. Sort of. He is definitely in the book, doing Karnak-y stuff. But the Warriors don't want anything to do with him. But just because people don't want Karnak in their lives doesn't mean Karnak won't be in their lives. They just may not realize he is.
But, yeah. He got an office job.
Nrama: [Laughs] Ok. I’ll take that with a grain of salt until I see it in the book.
So what is the status of the team as a whole at this point in the series, post-Secret Empire?
Rosenberg: They broke up. Some of them hate each other. Most of them hate Karnak. Now they are getting back together. They might have been better off staying broken up.
Nrama: Sounds like the X-Men during Mr. Sinister’s early appearances back in the 1990s.
But back to Secret Warriors… Javier, you're rejoining the book for this arc after a brief break. Some artists I see are jumping to other books - what do you like about Secret Warriors?
Garron: Let's start with them as a community. The Inhumans are extremely interesting these days, everybody is paying attention to all that is happening here, and there's a lot of passion, freedom and pure creativity being developed. From an artist's point of view, it's a really attractive cropland. We're making a book about resistance and hope in dark times, and it's just thrilling.
Then we have all these characters, as individuals. We have an explosive mix of classic and new characters, the best of each time frame, with seemingly opposite personalities between them, brought together in a very tough and radical situation. Each of these characters have a huge fan base of their own, very popular, and that's because they have been developed and cared by amazing creative teams in their own ongoing series. They're very rich characters before entering Secret Warriors territory, and they bring all that background into play here.
And of course, something crucial that may come unnoticed by the fans, but as an artist is probably the main thing: all the creative forces involved. You lean on them, they lean on you, every single day and week, long periods of time without days off, and you must know everybody in the team cares, respects and encourages each other. Not only they're all on the same page here, but also they're on the top their games, bringing tons of love and illusion to the table. From the most visible faces of the team, our simply amazing writer, color artist, and letterer, the just unbeatable team of stars that is Matthew Rosenberg, Israel Silva, and Clayton Crowles, to very heart and motor of the project, our just awesome editors Sarah Brunstad and Will Moss.
Nrama: Matt, what say you?
Rosenberg: How do you describe sunshine when you've lived in a cave your whole life, or winning a lottery you didn't even play, or the feeling you get meeting a puppy who can say your name? Javier is the best. Obviously his art gives our book life. His characters are so human, so relatable and full of emotion and pathos, yet so fun. But he is also a great storyteller. He gets so much onto a page, so many little details and so much epic action. It's such a joy to watch my nonsense spring to life every month. But more than that, he is a really great person. We all e-mail back and forth about the movies we're watching and how our days are going, it just makes making this book so much less isolated than a lot of comic creation normally is. But, mostly, Javier is awesome because you never know which character is going to get great facial hair when he draws them.
Nrama: Big picture, what are your goals with this arc?
Garron: We established the tone and direction of the series with our first arc. Once you set the base you just need to start building, and that's the whole point. Push it further, following the trail set.
Rosenberg: We want the Secret Warriors to be the greatest superhero team ever assembled, become the future for the Inhuman race and maybe all people on Earth, and save the world.
But we'll settle for them not killing each other.
Garron: On a visual tone, I started to develop a particular body language for each one of the warriors, according to their own personalities. Their facial expressions, the way they move their hands and torso, how those speak, when they interaction with each other. That's something really fun and interesting to work with.
In terms of design, all these characters are strongly stablished on their own, and being the kind of team this is, I don't think it makes a lot of sense to change the way they look. But I'm happy to explore little details, like props, and all the new characters that come into play. I love to design characters, re-design them or just add touches, but only when it's the right time to do so, when it makes sense. You can't be selfish as an artist with these things and do them just because of your ego.
Also, I'm always pushing myself to make the action more dazzling and the quiet moments clearer for the reader. Fans must always know where they are in terms of setting and character placement in that setting.
And, of course, if there's time, look into new brushes and techniques, anything to improve the storytelling, making it clearer and more appealing, panel by panel, page by page.
Nrama: And what does “Legacy” mean to the Secret Warriors?
Rosenberg: Well that's a tricky one. For the title, our legacy is the original Secret Warriors series by Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli, Brian Michael Bendis, Alessandro Vitti, and co. And we do owe a lot to that book- a group of disparate young heroes on a Quake-led team that is fighting a secret war that normal people don't realize is going on, being manipulated by people they trust. So, that is our legacy.
But moreover, I think “Legacy” to our characters is about their common legacy. Quake, Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl, and Inferno are part of a new generation of heroes. They all have a common thread, they are Inhumans, but they are wildly different in every other way. For them it is about respecting the legacy of the heroes who came before them- be that Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., Carol Danvers and the other characters who carry the "Marvel" name, or just the Inhumans like Black Bolt, Medusa, and Gorgon, who paved the way for them. It is about honoring those characters, but carrying the torch and pushing forward, carving out their own unique place in the Marvel Universe. For the Secret Warriors, "legacy" is as much about honoring what came before as it is creating a new legacy for the next generation of heroes and readers to follow.
Garron: “Legacy” means respect for the tradition, for everything that made us all fall in love with Marvel, and also at the same time the passion and excitement to continue that line of work, to broaden the horizon and explore the endless possibilities it holds.
For Secret Warriors it implies how various factors blend together. We have a special relationship with the previous incarnation of the team, more conceptual and spiritual than straightforward I think. There are traces here and there, and we're going to stay true to that spirit. We also have all the Inhuman history in our hands, both classic and the recent, and that's also another important factor that comes into play. Then there's the individual baggage of each member of the team. And finally the bigger picture, what is happening in the Marvel Universe these days that affects all of them. We go from the smallest of the particles and zoom out, paying attention all the steps of the way.
Team, family, friends and the bonds that tie all of us together in the world we live in. As someone far more intelligent than me once stated... 'Nuff said!
And here is the solicitation for this "Marvel Legacy" one-shot:
SECRET WARRIORS #8
MATTHEW ROSENBERG (W) • JAVIER GARRON & WILL ROBSO (A)
COVERS BY JAVIER GARRON
VERSUS MISTER SINISTER Part 1
Mister Sinister turns his experimental talents on the Inhumans! Sinister has plagued the X-Men for years in his attempt to jump forward mutantkind’s next evolutionary step. Now, he’s looking to evolve the Inhumans — by kidnapping and torturing them! It’s up to the Secret Warriors, the greatest team of Inhumans on Earth, to stop him. But what happens when their most fearsome warrior, Karnak, leaves to pursue his own agenda?
Editor's Note: Marvel Comics requested that the original cover shown at the top-right of this story be replaced with the one that appears now.