Overview

The Road to Secret Invasion

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Recently it was revealed in the pages of Avengers: The Initiative that there were Skrulls in every state sponsored superhero team in all of America. Shortly after, Marvel announced that Christos Gage was joining Dan Slott as co-writer of the series. We spoke with both of them and got an overview of the Initiative and a peak at the future of Camp Hammond.

Broken Frontier: Can you tease a little bit about the plot of the next storyline, "Killed in Action?" Are we going to be dealing with the death of a single character or will you really be thinning the herd?

Dan Slott: It's not going to be a question of who dies. It'll be more like, "Who's still alive?"

Christos N. Gage: I tried to stop him, I really did. But that Slott fellow is bloodthirsty. He's gone mad, I tell you…mad!!

DS: Grrrr!

BF: In Issue # 8, the Irredeemable Ant Man joins the team. Can you tell us how you acquired that character?

DS: Kirkman called me up and asked me if I could stick Eric O'Grady in an "Avengers Initiative Lifeboat." Basically, stash him somewhere safe, before some other Marvel writer could pull a "Bill Foster" on him.

BF: Does Robert Kirkman have any say over his future?

DS: Nah. So it's a pretty crummy lifeboat to be in right now. (Kirkman, you know we love you right?)

BF: And what are your plans for the world's most selfish superhero?

CG: Well, within two minutes of getting off the bus he disparages the dead and punches a teenage girl. So it's safe to say he's no less "irredeemable."

BF: What has the co-writing process been like?

CG: Really quite smooth, actually, from my end. We seem to complement each other well - for instance, Dan finds plotting easier than I do, while scripting comes more naturally to me than to him.

DS: That is the understatement of the year! Chris turns in killer scripts at killer speed. I am SO envious of that!

CG: But when it comes to our love of the Marvel Universe and the kinds of stories we want to tell, we're totally on the same page.

DS: Totally. Between the two of us we've got every inch of the Marvel U. covered. We've each got our favorite corners though. He's got Moonboy, I've got Moon Knight. On the licensed side, if Chris could, he'd bring back the Shogun Warriors. For me? It'd be Rom.

BF: Christos, you've worked on so many Marvel one shots and limited runs-- House of M: Avengers, Thunderbolts: Breaking Point, World War Hulk: X-Men-- what's it been like switching to an ongoing format?

CG: Well, I have done ongoing books before in StormWatch: PHD and, more recently, the upcoming Man With No Name title for Dynamite. So it wasn't that much of an adjustment, especially because Dan, like me, really likes to give readers a satisfying chunk of story in each issue. Decompression is not something either one of us is interested in.

DS: Though there are guys out there who tell one big story over six issues and produce some really stellar stuff. It's just that the two of us really dig putting out a chunky monthly. Wow... that sounded kinda gross. Hey, Sal, try saying "chunky monthly" three times.

BF: Chunky monthly, chunky monthly, chunky monthly…. Yeah. So The Annual saw the return of Initiative washout Armory. Was this side story just a neat wrap up to her story or can we expect to see her to make a return at some point? <crickets chirping>

DS: Next.

BF: The Skrull reveal at the end of the Annual was pretty major. How much will Initiative play into Secret Invasion as we get closer to its release date?

CG: Very much. Very, very much. I can't say more because I'm sworn to secrecy now that I know who the Skrulls on base are…whoops, did I say "Skrulls," plural? I am in such trouble…

DS: Big trouble. Okay, you want us to ruin it? Fine. EVERYONE on base is a skrull. Except Stingray. And he has to fight them all. Underwater. With a chainsaw. Hey... That's not bad.

BF: In Issue #7, J. Jonah Jameson says how much he hated the old 90s Spider clones. Also, your trio of black ops Spider-Men is called the Scarlet Spiders. Obviously you're winking at a portion of continuity that's pretty infamous. And since so many of the old clones are still presumably alive- Kaine, Spidercide and the Gwen Stacy clone at least- any chance we'll be seeing those characters in the pages of The Initiative?

DS: On the clone side? You'd probably stand a better chance of seeing Clor. Though that's not a promise. Just sayin'.

BF: Issue #7 was also touted as having an incredibly important Spider-Man appearance that would play into Brand New Day. In that issue, the Scarlet Spiders cast some doubt over whether or not Peter Parker is actually Spider-Man, and the opening McNiven cover has a billboard in the background that says "Masked Menace" insinuating that Peter's identity is once again unknown to the public. So will the Scarlet Spider explanation be used to undo the Civil War unmasking or can we expect some kind of magic Devil powers over in One More Day to handle that? <spiders chirping with the crickets>

DS: Next!

BF: You've said in previous interviews that the original trainees, Cloud 9, Hardball, and Komodo among others, are about to graduate. Will we see what states they're assigned to and will the book continue to follow their exploits? Or will The Initiative stay mostly focused on Camp Hammond?

CG: All of the above. In issue #12, we will discover what states the graduates are assigned to…that is, the surviving ones…

DS: Ones? As in plural? That's being optimistic.

CG: But that won't be the end of their story by any means. However, we will also stay with Camp Hammond.

DS: You mean "the charred remains of Camp Hammond." "Killed in Action", it's gonna be huge!

BF: Why should readers who aren't currently reading The Initiative jump on with "Killed in Action?"

CG: For one thing, it's a perfect starting point - new cadets arriving, the beginning of a new storyline with major repercussions, and for those interested in getting caught up, the hardcover collection of the first several issues just came out! Also, if you start now, you'll be able point and laugh at everyone who's scrambling to get caught up when Secret Invasion hits.

DS: What he said! Issue #8 is the perfect spot to jump in and get your feet wet... with BLOOD! AHHH! Seriously, I am so happy that the last page we go out on in 2007 is the splash from A:TI #8, Page 23! Our artist, Stefano Caselli, really nailed it. It's the creepiest, freakiest, messed up thing in the book to date! And if you want to see it, check it out on the 28th.

Avengers: The Initiative #8 goes on sale 28th December from Marvel Comics priced $2.99.

       

 

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