The Marvel-Netflix Universe's Misty Knight and Colleen Wing finally got together in Iron Fist season 2 - and with this week's Daughters of the Dragon #1, writer Jed MacKay and artist Travel Foreman are bringing them back together on the page as well.
Diving into a mystery tied to Colleen's past, the pair plowed through crazy Kung Fu cyborgs, a California death cult and more. With a second issue to come on December 12, Newsarama spoke to MacKay about his approach to Marvel's most badass BFF's, building a rogues' gallery for Colleen and Misty, and what's to come in Daughters of the Dragon #2.
Newsarama: Jed, how’d you get the chance to reunite Colleen Wing and Misty Knight for this new Daughters of the Dragon Marvel Digital Original Series?
Jed MacKay: Misty and Colleen were the first Marvel heroines I wrote, in a team up with Dazzler way back in X-Men: Serve and Protect #4, so they and their world have always been on my mind. After Edge of Spider-Geddon #1 came out, I asked Nick if he had anything for me, and as it turned out, he needed to fill a spot on this new Daughters of the Dragon book. Remembering the old story I wrote as well as a pitch for Power Man/Iron Fist I had written a while back, he saw fit to sling it my way! It was great to get the band back together - Misty and Colleen work better together than they do apart, I think, and I don't mean that as a slam on either character. There's something about their friendship and partnership that sings, two great characters together.
Nrama: This first issue didn’t miss a beat in establishing Colleen and Misty’s dynamic, even though they’re mostly speaking on the phone across the country. What was your inspiration for their rapport?
MacKay: I like characters when they can bounce off of one another. I wrote Daughters with no internal narration, no captions, because I like how Misty and Colleen constantly argue with one another, make jokes, give each other grief over petty things and I wanted all that out loud. It's a lot of fun to write people who have been friends for such a long time that they are entirely too comfortable with one another, that get on each other's nerves the way only your oldest, best friends can. I wanted their friendship to feel lived-in, and think it came off pretty well.
Nrama: Speaking of which, Daughters of the Dragon #1 leaned heavily into Kung Fu and movie and anime tropes – the touch of death, the philosophical quotes, the gonzo action, the cyborg puppets – What were your touchstones for those elements?
MacKay: It all kind of hearkens back to the Marvel stuff I've always really liked- international supercrime, spy-fi craziness and kung-fu cool. I reread Master of Kung-Fu for the first time since I was a kid while I was writing Daughters, and as a result a lot of that is in the book's DNA- I suppose you could call it a love letter. Daughters #1 wears that pretty openly, as well as being slightly tinted by Pynchon's Weird California (I say "slightly" because I'm not so good a writer as to think I could successfully channeled Pynchon), which I drew on when setting it in Topanga Canyon.
Nrama: What can you tell us about Lime/Bunraku, the villain of this series?
MacKay: Robert Lime/Bunraku is only villain of the first double issue! Lime comes from that long lineage of spy-comic gimmick assassins- guys with killer robots that pretend to be flower-sellers or model planes that shoot real bullets, that kind of thing. I've always loved that type. Now, he's posing as a psychedelic mentor to America's disaffected youth, a neo-hippie guru with a sinister interpretation of the American Dream.
Nrama: On the topic of villains, it seems Lime is hinting at a bigger threat to Colleen from her past. Can you shed any light on that?
MacKay: That one, you'll have to read on for. This mysterious figure is the through line for the series.
Nrama: You’re working with Travel Foreman and colorist Jordan Gibson on Daughters of the Dragon and they’re bringing their A-game. How do you tailor a script to a madman like Travel?
MacKay: It's kind of like taking the tiger by the tail, really! Travel is such an accomplished artist that I come up with things and hope that they're interesting enough. Working with real talents is something that makes me push hard to make my side of the job shine- punch up the dialogue more, add more gags, come up with more interesting ways to show things- as I want to make sure it matches up!
Nrama: There’s a sequence in #1 where Colleen gets drugged with a psychedelic poison that has some very memorable visuals. Was that all Travel and Jordan, or did you all confer on how to depict that? I won’t ask about “research…”
MacKay: When writing the hallucination sequence, I tried to come up with a few interesting ideas and visuals, but after that it was all Travel and Jordan. There's no need to overwrite something that the artist would have much better idea of how to render to suit their style.
Nrama: The Daughters of the Dragon aren’t the best known Marvel characters, but they’re definitely fan favorites. What’s their niche in the Marvel Universe?
MacKay: There's something about Misty and Colleen that appeal to people. They're women of color, street-level characters who generally don't deal with the big world-ending stuff- instead, they get into those other corners, the martial arts, the crime, the spy areas. One has a sword, the other has a robot arm. They are two characters who could have very easily become relics of their time or faded into the background like others who were introduced as supporting characters, but they've persisted because they strike a chord in people.
Nrama: What can you tell us about what’s coming up in Daughters of the Dragon #2 and beyond?
MacKay: Super spies. Dirty lies. Orbital weapons. Mordillo. HYDRA. Nick Fury Jr. Mini-golf. Henchmen. Car chases. Desperate raids. Hollywood. Issue 2 is called "Old Weapons" and it has it all. Issue 3 is called "Holiday"... and that's all I'll say. Issue #2 is drawn by Joey Vazquez, who has been putting out serious work on this book.
Nrama: Several Marvel Digital Original series have operated on a “season” model, where they’ll release an arc every few months. Do you have plans for Daughters of the Dragon to keep going?
MacKay: I don't know if Marvel has plans for Daughters to continue, but I certainly do! Nothing would make me happier than to take these characters out for another spin (and I'm not just saying that, another run of Daughters of the Dragon is my #1 Christmas wish).