Announced during the Mondo Marvel panel on Friday in Chicago, Avengers & The Infinity Gauntlet, a new four-issue mini-series that begins in August, updates the classic tale for all ages as part of the Marvel Adventures imprint. Featuring art by Brian Churilla of Rex Mundi fame, the series is a space-based adventure starring well-known Marvel heroes, and a few fun surprise guests, as they fight to save the universe against the immense power of the Infinity Gauntlet.
Since this is Clevinger's first gig for Marvel, the writer was excited to share some details of the story he'll be telling in the mini-series, so Newsarama talked with him about Avengers & The Infinity Gauntlet.
Newsarama: Brian, since you're re-telling Infinity Gauntlet for a new audience, will you be using some of the same sci-fi fun that you have in your approach to Atomic-Robo?
Brian Clevinger: Oh yeah, absolutely. Nathan made it clear from the get-go that he didn’t want this to be just a straight re-telling of Infinity Gauntlet. He wanted it to be like Atomic-Robo, where you go out there and you have crazy fun. The only thing he really said I needed to have was Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet. Everything else was up for grabs. I could have any roster of Avengers, the way that the fights happen was up to me, and really, the way that everything happens was totally up to me. Yeah, it was great to have that kind of freedom. It took so much pressure off.
Nrama: Where did the idea to re-tell this story for the Marvel Adventures line originate? Was this something Marvel was working on and asked you to do it?
Clevinger: Yes, [editor] Nate Cosby read Atomic-Robo one weekend, and that Monday he called me saying, “Hey Brian, I’ve got this project for you.”
Nrama: And this is your first work for Marvel, so was that pretty exciting for you to get that call?
Clevinger: Yes, in fact, when I was talking to him on the phone, I didn’t realize it until I hung up, but my hand was just gripping the phone so tightly I couldn’t use it for the rest of the day.
Nrama: So what's the story that you end up telling in this mini-series? Does it mirror the original Infinity Gauntlet story?
Clevinger: Essentially, we boiled it down to just the bare essentials. Thanos has gotten his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet, and he is going to wreck the galaxy and remake it in his own nefarious image, and he starts off with throwing everything into chaos by killing off half the people in the universe, and that includes the classic line-up of Avengers. So the Earth has to gather up the heroes that are left and send them into space to find out what's going on, because no one really knows yet, in the first issue.
So what the story tells is how these rag-tag Avengers go out into space, find Thanos and make him stop using the Infinity Gauntlet for evil.
Nrama: Who is this rag-tag group that’s going to go? Can you tell us any of the characters that you’ll be concentrating on?
Clevinger: It’s Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, Ms. Marvel, and Dr. Doom.
Nrama: Well, that’s not exactly a rag-tag group –
Clevinger: Yeah, I make them rag-tag, Spidey isn’t really suited for cosmic venturing, and neither is Wolverine. Hulk is a little too stupid to be in the situation he’s in. Ms. Marvel’s got it going on. She’s tactical and has great powers for space. And Dr. Doom has his own agenda.
Nrama: Yeah, how does he get involved?
Clevinger: In the very first issue, Thanos essentially kills half of the life in the world. And so Earth just turned into chaos because half the people are dead or missing, and that includes heroes and villains and ordinary citizens. So it’s just total chaos all over the globe.So when the heroes are getting together trying to figure out how are we gonna deal with this, Dr. Doom is like, "I'm going to be in on this because Doom does not trust you people to fix it. "
Nrama: And of course Thanos is a focus, right?
Clevinger: Somewhat. He starts off the action of destroying and causing all this chaos, but we mostly focus on the heroes and them getting to him and figuring out what’s going on. He just has these occasional asides where we cut to him and he’s doing the typical villain, saying, "I’ve all ready won, I’m so great, blah, blah, blah." We get away from the original motivation from the original series, that weird love affair with Death, because this is a Marvel Adventures title, and we that was a little too morbid for kids. So he’s just being sort of a fill-in-the-blank bad guy.
Nrama: How’s it been writing these characters? Do you know their voices pretty well from being a reader?
Clevinger: Yeah, I think so. I went out of my way to pick some of my favorite characters, and that’s helped tremendously. And I’ve been reading Marvel since I was a kid. That was all I read. I was a total Marvel fanboy.
Nrama: Atomic-Robo comes across as "all ages," so are you having to alter the way you write at all or are you pretty much sticking with what you did with Atomic-Robo to make this "all ages?"
Clevinger: No, I’m writing it exactly as if this was an Atomic-Robo script. Spidey’s acting like the Robo, Wolverine’s acting like a grumpier Robo. Dr. Doom is Dr. Dinosaur if he wasn’t insane. [laughs] It’s a very slight change of my standard formula, and it’s been a tremendous amount of fun.
Nrama: Have you talked with Brian Churilla about the artwork?
Clevinger: Yeah, I talked to him through e-mail a few times and he’s read the script. I think it’s going to turn out pretty good. I’ve been a fan of his since his work on The Engineer, and that was a lot of weird monsters and big space age, and so on. So I think he’s gonna be fairly well suited to this sort of big cosmic adventure.
Nrama: Is there anything you can tell us about what the heroes might encounter out in space that Marvel fans might like in particular?
Clevinger: We're using U.S. Archer, who is probably a character that no one cares about anymore, although he recently appeared in an issue of Deadpool. But we're using this space trucker incarnation to get the heroes them from earth out to space. And they'll run into his big nemesis, Baron Von Zepplin, out in space. He’s a space pirate, and it’s ridiculous and it’s stupid and it’s wonderful.
Nrama: It sounds like a lot of fun. For fans of your work, does this give us hope for seeing more of your stuff?
Clevinger: Yeah, I’m working on a couple small things for a big event this summer, for Marvel.
Nrama: Great, but we’re still going to have more Atomic-Robo, right? You just had a trade come out, and the new volume just started?
Clevinger: Yeah, we just started releasing the issues for Volume 4, and they're coming out now. So yeah, we’re still trucking along.