Giants are a key part of Asgardian legend – and they’ve also been part of the Marvel Universe since Hank Pym first used his Pym Particles to become the colossal Giant-Man. Now, as part of War of the Realms, those giants of myth will come to Midgard with Malekith’s army. But waiting for them is not just one Giant-Man, but a whole squad of size-changing superheroes.
With War of the Realms now in full swing, writer Leah Williams and artist Marco Castiello are embarking on a journey of larger-than-life proportions with the current Giant-Man Raz Malhotra, the current Goliath Tom Foster, the current Ant-Man Scott Lang, and Erik Josten a.k.a. Atlas of the Thunderbolts all in tow.
Newsarama spoke to Williams ahead of Giant-Man #1 (of 3)’s May 15 release to find out what’s in store for these various size-changers as they venture into Florida’s Frost Giant territory (you read that right), what it’s like being a part of Marvel’s largest summer event in years, and even if Hank Pym himself will make an appearance.
Newsarama: Leah, the title of this series is Giant-Man, but there's more than one hero in this story. What's the tale behind the title, and who are the major players here?
Leah Williams: I think it’s okay for me to say this, but it’s titled Giant-Man because we needed to renew the trademark for that title in particular, and with timing of this aligning perfectly with War of the Realms; there was just a great opportunity for this story to happen and kind of knock out two birds with one stone. Our team consists of Atlas, Goliath, Giant-Man, and Ant-Man. It’s called “Giant-Man” and not “Giant Men” because of the trademark and brand recognition reasons (audiences know what to expect when they see the name “Giant-Man”, and because the actual, current Giant-Man is in this.)
Nrama: This series is happening during War of the Realms. What are the circumstances that bring these heroes together?
Williams: They’ve been recruited by Freyja for a very specific task. I don’t want to say exactly what just for spoiler reasons, but these men obviously share a unique talent and Freyja sees an opportunity for this.
Nrama: I was very excited to see Erik Josten, Atlas, on the cover of Giant-Man #1. Have you developed a particular favorite Giant-Man while working on this series?
Williams: Oh, yes. People will be able to tell exactly who it is, too. My editor and I have seen from miles away who the fan favorite will be in the group.
And it’s not that I’m disproportionately favoring this character, it’s that he’s someone who doesn’t currently command the same level of adoration that someone like Scott Lang already does, so he just stands to gain a lot more fans because of the way I’m writing him in Giant-Man.
Sometimes I connect with characters in ways I really never anticipated, and they end up kind of knocking me on my ass. It’s Northstar in X-tremists and it’s Atlas in Giant-Man.
Something about placing this meathead among science geniuses like Scott, Raz, and Tom made me really feel for him and want to balance out what he brings to the table, too. He doesn’t have the same level of higher education that the rest of the guys do, but he obviously has other strengths and an interesting approach to morality, so it meshes well within the group dynamic.
Nrama: Speaking of Atlas, one of his old Thunderbolts allies – Moonstone - is also in this story. What can you tell us about that?
Williams: These two are really interesting because their morality isn’t as strict as, say, Scott Lang’s or Raz Malhotra’s. Tom Foster, even with his revenge narrative behind him, is also someone who I’d say falls more along the lines of “doing good just because it’s the right thing to do” in terms of his sense of justice.
But Erik and Karla on the other hand have completely different character motivations - it’s so interesting to see it at work within this miniseries, and with each other. They aren’t villains, but they are fully capable of doing villainous things because Erik is all about being on the winning side, and his compassion can sometimes get in the way of that and make things difficult for him.
But Karla is about Karla. She’s shrewd and self-assured, and detests not feeling in control. War of the Realms is a terrifying prospect for her in a completely different way than Scott, Raz, Erik, or Tom are processing how it’s terrifying.
Nrama: War of the Realms is your first big Marvel event outside of the X-Men franchise. What's it like stepping into the wider Marvel Universe in this way?
Williams: Daunting! But also refreshing. X-men is...it’s just a completely different user experience to read and write. I’m sure people who read X-men comics know exactly what I mean when I say that. X-men comics are different.
They are strange and weird in highly specific ways that you don’t often experience outside X-titles. So it was daunting but thrilling to enter a world with a team that has a completely different dynamic and feel for the first time, but as a result there was just something completely oxygenating about this miniseries. I get to play in a totally different kind of sandbox for the first time. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever written before for Marvel.
Nrama: You're working with Marco Castiello on Giant-Man. What does he bring to a larger than life series like this?
Williams: He brings a commanding proficiency of perspective, and thank $%#@ for that! This book looks great. Each character has a unique look even while disguised as Frost Giants, so we can recognize them by their silhouettes.
This is really important - we’re constantly playing with sizing shenanigans in inventive ways with each action scene (and there is a lot of action), so being able to recognize our guys from afar while still understanding the perspective and scale of how huge or small they are against the landscape is critically important!
The book was already going to look great with his art style in particular, but Marco also went above and beyond with the perspective in it too. It’s going to make the miniseries all the more enjoyable to read.
Nrama: The last time we saw the original Giant-Man, Hank Pym, his body was part of Ultron while his soul was being devoured in the Soul Stone. Will that come up here?
Williams: No, unfortunately he’s not in this! Hank Pym is still wrapped up with the consequences of being Ultron, and it’s why he wasn’t available for this story.
Nrama: The solicitation for Giant-Man #3 mentions a mole in the group - should we be worried about what's coming up for one of Marvel's size-changers?
Williams: Well, people should be worried for all of them! If readers don’t care about these characters and what happens to them, then I’m not doing my job right. But, also - Atlas is not the mole! I saw lots of fan speculation about that, but I’m happy to report that it’s not Erik.
I can say that because so far it looks as if folks seem to have no idea what’s actually in store or who the mole is, and I’m breathlessly excited for that issue to drop in part just so I can see people react to the mole reveal.
Nrama: Bottom line, what does Giant-Man have in store for fans of this corner of the Marvel Universe, and for War of the Realms readers?
Williams: We’re going to have a lot of fun and make a lot of people happy.
This is a very small, singular view of everything that’s happening within War of the Realms overall, but this is three issues of a high-octane, action-packed undercover mission starring Marvel’s literally biggest dudes. They are giant men undercover as Frost Giants in Frost Giant territory, painted blue, wearing loincloths, and trying not to get caught while as tall as mountains.
Also, it’s set in Florida. Shoutout to “Florida Man.”
Also shoutout to my editor Chris Robinson for having this brilliant miniseries concept idea to begin with, and for somehow getting away with putting this on the first cover.