Beta Ray Bill is a cult-favorite Marvel hero – an equine space warrior who wields Stormbringer, a hammer comparable to his ally Thor’s Mjolnir. And now, the semi-obscure but always awesome Bill is getting a spotlight as part of Annihilation – Scourge courtesy of writer Michael Moreci and artist Alberto Albuquerque.
Pitting Bill against seemingly insurmountable odds (what’s new?), Annihilation – Scourge: Beta Ray Bill sends the “Norse Horse” into the Negative Zone and into the center of the Marvel Universe’s latest cosmic saga.
Newsarama spoke with Moreci ahead of Annihilation – Scourge: Beta Ray Bill #1’s December 11 release about what’s in store as Stormbringer brings the thunder to the Annihilation saga and Bill crashes back into the Marvel Universe.
Newsarama: Michael, you're writing a starring role for Beta Ray Bill as part of Annihilation – Scourge. How does the famed Korbinite hero fit into the larger Scourge story?
Michael Moreci: When we find Bill, he's doing this kind of galactic Heroes for Hire thing with Lockjaw on a distant planet (though, of course, not for actual hire - Bill would never take money for his good works). They're protecting a planet as heroes do, when Scourge comes to them. And Bill, he's seen this threat before. And he doesn't care for it.
Nrama: What's Bill's status quo going into Annihilation – Scourge?
Moreci: He's recently separated from the Guardians of the Galaxy and, like I said, he and Lockjaw are going around the galaxy, helping planets and people in need.
Nrama: Beta Ray Bill is a fan-favorite character, but he's also somewhat obscure in the larger Marvel Universe. What do you see as the core tenets of who Bill is and his place in the Marvel Universe?
Moreci: He's the Norse horse! I mean, he's pretty similar to Thor in many ways, but I'd say Bill's "worthiness" is more overt. He's so very motivated to do what's right and what's best, and he wears that on his sleeve. He lost the people he was meant to protect, and that wound motivates much of who he is and what he does. He doesn't have much space to be anything but his best at all times.
Nrama: What's Bill going up against here, specifically? How does that factor into Annihilation – Scourge?
Moreci: Wellllll, that's kind of a secret. It may be revealed by the time this interview runs, but I'm not at liberty to say! It's a fun surprise, and anyone who's familiar with the original Annihilation will recognize some familiar villains and know where they're from.
Nrama: What's it like bringing a character like Bill into a larger, Cosmic scale Marvel event?
Moreci: It's the absolute best. For real. I love Beta Ray Bill - he's a favorite of mine, and to be writing him my first time out with Marvel, and making him go big and cosmic (and if you know my work, you know big and cosmic is my jam), is a dream. He fits so well in that role, because space is filled with oddities, and Bill's kind of an oddity. But, both Bill and the things us sci-fi writers put into our space stories, it's all deeply human. That's why it works.
Nrama: You've got Alberto Alburquerque drawing this one-shot. What does he bring to a character like Beta Ray Bill, and to a story like this?
Moreci: Exuberance. Alberto draws with such vigor and passion, and you feel it in every page, in every panel. He was made to draw stories like this - big, larger than life. You can't ask for better.
Nrama: The solicitation for Annihilation - Scourge: Beta Ray Bill implies he could be overtaken by the Scourge. How bad are things gonna get?
Moreci: Well, it's not the final issue in the series, so we're certainly not seeing the good guys win...
Nrama: Bottom line, what can fans expect from this Beta-Ray Bill one-shot?
Moreci: It's the Beta Ray Bill we all want! Big, cosmic, filled with fun and action. If I were a Beta Ray Bill fan, which I am, this is the story I'd want to read.