When Soldier Zero was first announced by BOOM! Studios at last summer's Comic-Con International: San Diego, fans wondered how long writer Paul Cornell would be able to stick with the Stan Lee-line title, given his exclusive contract with DC Comics.
He's off scripting duties of the book as of issue #4, but with this week's #5 (preview here), the high-profile writing duo of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (Annihilation, Heroes for Hire) are taking over the well-received — the first issue was declared the highest-selling BOOM! Studios comic of all time — tale of Stewart Trautmann, a disabled combat veteran who bonds with an alien warrior.
Newarama talked via e-mail with the writers — answering collectively as DnA — to find out what's coming up next, how much Cornell's presence will still be felt in the near future, and what attracted them to the series.
Newsarama: Dan, Andy, the previous issue, #4, ended on a cliffhanger, and Paul Cornell is still credited in the solicitations for the next couple of months — is it fair to say that for the immediate future, you'll be working closely with Paul's plans for the book's direction?
DnA: Yes, in as much as we are following on from him and picking up his story threads, so we want to credit him for the strands we’re gathering. However, as we’ve worked on it, we’ve realized we’re making some radical departures from the basic through-line Paul was kind enough to share.
Nrama: That being said, obviously you guys are bringing your own voice and talents to the series. Tonally, stylistically, how will your run differ from what's come before?
DnA: We want to keep the tone close, so it doesn’t jar, but we’re broadening things out massively. Cosmically, you might say.
Nrama: Paul was only able to finish four full issues of Soldier Zero, and you guys are busy with a lot of titles at Marvel and elsewhere, which raises the inevitable question: is the plan to stick with Soldier Zero for the long haul?
DnA: Oh yes. We’ve having fun, and as the story path accelerates, we can see lots of potential we don’t want to miss.
Nrama: Given how full your schedules already are, what made you want to get on board with Soldier Zero? What attracted you to the concepts and character?
DnA: It’s a great looking character. It’s military SF. It’s cosmic. It’s a whole new universe ripe for development. It’s BOOM!
That ticked enough boxes for us… then you add Stan Lee, and, well… we’re into a different scale of wow altogether [Laughs.]
Nrama: You've worked with science fiction a lot, especially in recent years with Marvel's cosmic titles. How do the sci-fi elements of Soldier Zero compare to what you've written before?
DnA: It’s more grounded and Earth-centric for now, but the underlying themes of military SF and SF realism are there.
Nrama: For those who haven't read Soldier Zero and may be tempted with #5 due to your involvement, how accessible of a jumping on point is the issue? And for those who have been reading it — how about a hint (however vague you'd like to make it) of something to come?
DnA: We’ve tried to make it fully accessible. The story basically catches us up as it throws us in the deep end again! A brand new character, a brand new threat, and the start of the mystery behind Soldier Zero really opening up!
Nrama: Art-wise, it looks like Javier Pina is sticking around the title. How has the collaborative process been with him thus far?
DnA: Javier is great, and he’s delivered everything we’ve asked of him. Issue 5 looks fantastic!