Captain Marvel Returns

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With everyone’s favorite Kree warrior starring in his own book again as of this month, BF decided to grill series writer Brian Reed for some answers.

BROKEN FRONTIER: How did this miniseries come about? Were you approached before Mar-Vell's appearance in Civil War: The Return or afterwards? Was this miniseries always the intended outcome of that special?

BRIAN REED: Marvel Editor Stephen Wacker called me up one day and asked if I'd be interested in pitching for the mini-series. This was some time after The Return had hit shelves, but the idea that there would be a mini had always existed. Just exactly what that mini would entail was what was up in the air. 

BF: Can you tease the general storyline? Last time we checked in with Mar-Vell, he was the acting warden of the 42 prison during Civil War.

BR: Captain Marvel went missing during the Battle of Times Square, and Tony Stark has been looking for him ever since. When they finally find him, he's spending his days in the Louvre, staring at a painting by Charles LeBrun called "Alexander Entering Babylon." Mar-Vell is pretty quickly pulled from his artistic pursuits and drawn back into the world, where he stumbles straight into the early stages of the Secret Invasion. 

BF: Lee Weeks is the artist on this project. What's it been like collaborating with him?

BR: Lee has been fantastic. I wrote the first issue not knowing who was drawing, and I sort of half wrote it with his style in mind. The fact that he accepted the job, and that he is as excited about it, and bringing as much energy to it as he is, is absolutely flattering.

BF: One of the issues of New Avengers: Illuminati, which you co-wrote with frequent collaborator Brian Michael Bendis, dove somewhat deeply into Marvel Boy's backstory. Are we going to see him or any other familiar faces pop up over the course of the mini? Maybe the Hulkling or Carol Danvers?

BR: Carol will be around, especially since she's leading the Avengers right now, and the idea of having Mar-Vell on her team is pretty appealing. I wrote an entire issue dedicated to Hulkling and Mar-Vell, which comes out in February as part of Young Avengers Presents. As for Marvel Boy... hrmmm... Marvel Boy... 

BF: Jim Starlin's The Death of Captain Marvel is one of the most seminal chapters in Marvel's publication history. Does that add any added pressure or do you see this as just an unexplored chapter in this beloved character's history?

BR: Man, my first thought when I agreed to even pitch for this book (let alone the actual act of writing it) was "I cannot screw up The Death of Captain Marvel." If I didn't think we came up with a good story, something that can exist alongside the TDCM without invalidating it, then I wouldn't have wanted to do this.

Part of the reason we went for time travel rather than revival was so we didn't take away the emotional punch of his death. Captain Marvel is still dead. But right here, in the present, we have Captain Marvel back with us for a short time. 

BF: Having a superhero die from cancer is a bit of a rarity in mainstream comics. Does that change the way you approach the book and force your hand towards a more somber tone? 

BR: It's certainly different than dealing with a character who was dissolved by the Cosmic Cube, or zapped into an alternate dimension never to be seen again. The personal nature of the original story, and my own real-life encounters with friends and family battling cancer and sometimes losing-- you want to be smart and serious with the subject matter.

Opening the series with Reed Richards shining a laser beam on Mar-Vell and saying "well, that cures your cancer, now let's go punch some Skrulls" would have been cheap and a total cheat. I like that even though Marvel's big brains can travel through space and time and alternate dimensions, there's still this big scary, very real thing they cannot battle.

BF: Is Captain Marvel going to return to the past at the end of this series or are we going to see him stick around for awhile in present day continuity?

BR: As they say... "stay tuned, all will be revealed." 

BF: This is the third miniseries you've written for Marvel counting Illuminati and Spider-Woman: Origins. Do you prefer these shorter runs to your ongoing stints on Ms. Marvel and Red Sonja? 

BR: They're different jobs entirely. With Ms. Marvel, I've been able to weave plot threads through the background of the individual arcs for two years now. I'm constantly bringing in things that won't get resolved for a year or more, and that's a lot of fun.

But with a mini-series, you have to be more compact, really get your beginning/middle/end down pat and make sure by page 22 of the last issue, everything is tied up with a pretty bow. Both things are fun and challenging to do and do well, but I love them both equally.

BF: Illuminati is steeped in the Marvel Universe's past and Mar-Vell was literally ripped out of the timeline. Is it a coincidence that you've often gravitated towards projects connected to the overall history of the Marvel U?

BR: It has been something of a case of "right place, right time." But it's also been a bit of my writing things that play with ideas I first read in Marvel Comics as a kid. Mar-Vell's death, the Secret Wars, the Infinity Gauntlet (both from Illuminati) are things that came from when I was first really getting into comics, so it's a bit of an honor to be asked to update these ideas and bring them to a new audience.

BF: Brian Bendis' upcoming mega event, Secret Invasion, focuses heavily on the Skrulls, one of the Kree's oldest foes. You've also laid the groundwork for that event in the first issue of Illuminati. Will we see any crossover or lead in to that event here? And if not, can you hint at whether or not Captain Marvel will even play a role in Secret Invasion?

BR: I promise you, this series (while it might not seem like it at first) plays a big part in Secret Invasion. Starting with page one of issue 1 and going all the way through. As for his role in the Secret Invasion event itself... well, a lot of those questions are answered in this mini-series, while a few others have to wait until Secret Invasion to get answered.



Captain Marvel #1 goes on sale next Wednesday, November 14, through Marvel Comics.

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