<li> <a href=/12577-heroic-age-3-view-f4-579-secret-avengers-1-tbolts-144.html?iid=000/055/327>
<li> <a href=/12588-1st-look-vengeance-of-the-moon-knight-10-secret-avengers.html> The secret's out.
This week marks the release of Secret Avengers, the new ongoing team comic being introduced to the Marvel Universe by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Mike Deodato Jr.
As fans of Brubaker's comics might expect, the writer said the comic will have a grounded, espionage feel, with its members going on secret missions directed by former Captain America Steve Rogers.
"[Secret Avengers is] definitely going to have a lot of the espionage plots and the Steranko influence, and the crazy Kirby technology," Brubaker told Newsarama when the comic was announced. "I hope it feels different than any Avengers team, ever."
Marvel kept the identities of the team members a secret for weeks, but they were eventually revealed to be Beast, War Machine, Valkyrie, Moon Knight, Steve Rogers, Nova, Black Widow, Sharon Carter and Ant-Man.
As the comic hits shelves, Newsarama talked with Brubaker to find out more about why he chose this group of heroes and what readers can expect from Secret Avengers.Newsarama: Ed, I think people are thrilled to see Beast back on an Avengers team. Were you a fan of his era on the Avengers?
Ed Brubaker: Yeah, that was my era of being an Avengers fan. Some of my childhood Avengers memories are those issues where it was Beast and Wonder Man or somebody just going to the movies. I liked him as an Avengers character. I actually knew him as an Avengers character before I knew him as an X-Men character, as a kid. I didn't, at first, make the connection when Beast was the blue, furry demon-looking guy on Avengers, and I didn't totally get that it was the same Beast when I was reading old issues of X-Men, when he was just a guy.
I always liked him as an Avenger. I always regretted that he never came back to the Avengers.
Nrama: What's his role on the team? Does he play the part of smart guy?
Brubaker: He's a little bit of the Spock of the team. [laughs] In some ways. Not really Spock, but every Avengers team, especially when they're tackling high-tech stuff, needs a science nerd. That's sort of his main function, and why I needed somebody like that. I needed somebody who could figure shit out and run tests on things, and that's not Steve Rogers.Nrama: Does War Machine play the Iron Man role?
Brubaker: Somewhat. The main thing is that, other than Beast, all of the characters on this team have some sort of military connection. Even, tangentially, you can look at how Ant-Man was a SHIELD agent with military training, and Black Widow was a Russian spy and then a SHIELD agent, and Valkyrie was an Asgardian soldier. So they all have that military edge and background. So that's what I was looking at when I put the team together. I wanted them to have that unifying theme of all being ex-military or some sort of soldier.
That was where War Machine came in. Obviously, he brings the Iron Man type weaponry. But the big difference between War Machine and Iron Man is, War Machine has actually been a soldier. Whereas Tony Stark is a playboy.
Nrama: You mentioned Valkyrie. What do you think she brings to the teamBrubaker: For me, that was the character that just sort of jumped out at me. I realized that, since we had brought back all the Asgardians, there was a chance to use her on a team like this. She wouldn't normally be the right person for this setting, but it gives us some cool moments, like in the opening of the first issue, you get to see her in a place where you would never see a character like that.
I like the idea of including a character you wouldn't normally see working on a team that does covert ops and things like that. I like putting this really powerful, ancient god-like creature in that position. I think it plays well. There's some humor to it, and you get to really know her character.
Also, she's really powerful, so she's an asset to any team. She is sort of the Thor on the team, in a way, but she's also this female character who can go under cover as a high-priced all girl if she needs to.
Nrama: I'm a Moon Knight fan, so it's kind of cool to see him included on a team. Was that your choice?Brubaker: Not originally. That was something Tom Brevoort pushed at me. "Use Moon Knight. Use Moon Knight." And I was thinking, "Well, he does have the military/mercenary history with one of his identities at least." But I wasn't sure that a guy running around in a cape and everything made sense on this team.
But then I started thinking that there's a lot you can do with a character like that on this team.
The way that I'm setting up the book, is that the team members aren't necessarily running around together all the time. , We'll see more of it in the first couple issues than we will in the rest of the series, I think. It's more of a coordinated Mission Impossible kind of thing. If you remember Mission Impossible, one person is doing one thing, while two others are doing something else.
It's not the same kind of "team dynamic" where they're all hanging out in a clubhouse, arguing about stuff all the time. It's a different kind of Avengers team.
So having a character like that who has Moon Knight skills, and he's at the point where he's seeking some sort of path toward becoming a hero, as opposed to everything he's been before. So him being on a team like this really fits.Nrama: Nova seems a little out of place in a covert ops kind of setting. What were your thoughts behind Nova being part of it?
Brubaker: Well, like I said, the team isn't hanging out together all the time. So Nova is one of those people who fills the role of, well, what if Steve Rogers needs somebody who can go into space and check something out? What if he uncovers a threat that's on a more cosmic level to the Avengers, or to Earth, and he needs somebody who can fly out into the galaxy, or who already is out there, to check on it.
That was where Nova came from for me. Sometimes you just need someone like that as an Avenger.
Nrama: Is that someone else you were a fan of when you were younger?
Brubaker: Oh yeah, I was on Nova from, like, Issue #1. That was really book as a kid, I think. When I first discovered that book when I was a kid, I was so excited. Even in the early '70s, it was rare that you could get in at the beginning of a series.
And you know, he's not in the book as much as I would have liked him to be because he's involved in so many other things. He's in his own series and other comics.
So he's got a really significant role in the first arc, but after that, it's going to depend on what they let me do.
Nrama: You've obviously written Black Widow quite a bit in Captain America. This sounds like it's her type of comic, since she doesn't have to deal with the "team dynamic" that much.
Brubaker: Yeah, she's doing her thing. She's going on covert missions. It's exactly right for her. Obviously, there's character interaction, but so far everything's unfolding organically.
Nrama: I assume you saw Iron Man 2? What did you think of Black Widow?
Brubaker: That was actually my favorite part of the movie, was her scene where she beat the crap out of those guys in that hallway. I'd never seen anything in a superhero movie where I thought that's exactly how that character should look when they're attacking people. She had that momentum to move through the whole crowd without touching the ground. I thought that was amazing.
Nrama: What's Sharon Carter's role?
Brubaker: She's running the tactical ops, so she's more in the floating headquarters. Everyone's feeding information back to her. We'll see her relationship with Steve progressing through all of this. But her role in the team is less in the field and more in a role of telling everyone where they're supposed to be, and what to look out for and everything. She's the ex-SHIELD agent, so she fit right in there. And it fits with what Brian's doing with his teams too, where there's a tactical ops administrator looking over every team.
Nrama: You mentioned the military connection for Ant-Man, but he seems like the least likely to work well in this team. What were your thoughts behind him?
Brubaker: You know, he's actually been the most fun to write, in a lot of ways. I originally wanted to use the original Ant-Man or get Hank Pym and have him be the original Ant-Man again. And that wasn't going to happen. But then a couple people said to me, you know, the one thing about the current Ant-Man is that he's an especially interesting character, and he's got a lot of baggage that comes with him from being a screw-up, and that makes him even more interesting.
And it also fits with what Steve Rogers used the Avengers for in some ways, which is to reform bad guys who weren't necessarily bad, like Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. So he sort of fits that slot, as the guy that Steve's going to take under his wing and beat into shape as a good guy.
He's a lot of fun to write too, because he's whiny and has some great lines. My only requirement, though, was I gave him back the original Ant-Man helmet, because I thought that was the coolest helmet ever.
Nrama: We've covered everyone but Steve Rogers. Does this tie in with the Super Soldier mini-series?
Brubaker: There is some connection between them. The villainous group we meet in the first storyline of Secret Avengers has a few ties here and there to the Super Soldier mini-series. They don't really reference each other, so you don't have to read one first to get the other or anything like that. There are just some Easter eggs. Some twists here and there that hint at a larger storyline I'm building within Secret Avengers.Nrama: As you pick up Issue #1 of Secret Avengers, what is Steve's role?
Brubaker: Well, this is post Captain America: Reborn and after Siege and his whole trying to fix the Marvel Universe, basically. Now it's his universe, so he's trying to do it the right way, or how he perceives to be the right way.
There are hints of some of the stuff that's he's worried about, about the future. The vision of a potential future that he saw at the end of Captain America: Reborn. He's trying to find clues to how he can prevent this future disaster.
But the goal of the Secret Avengers is a proactive group that's trying to stop threats even before they become threats. It's much more of a CIA group, actually. There are dangerous things in the world, and Norman Osborn having run the world for a year or two has let a lot of stuff between the cracks. These are dangerous things, and now they can be in the hands of really dangerous people.
For example, when H.A.M.M.E.R. is dissolved, they go in to look at Project Pegasus, and find that all the shelves have been looted, and those are all super weapons of mass destruction. They had all these dangerous things that have been let loose in the world. So Steve wants to try to stop this stuff before they're used.
So it's the problems that aren't so visible. They're not wearing capes and masks and standing on TV, saying, "I'm going to blow up such-and-such city!" It's about getting to this stuff before it becomes a problem.