The Siege You Saw Coming: Bendis Talks! Part 4

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Brian Bendis and Matt Adler wrap up their lengthy chat by looking ahead at what the three remaining issues of Siege will bring, and what that means for the Avengers franchise.

Previous installments:
The Siege You Saw Coming: Bendis Talks! Part 1

The Siege You Saw Coming: Bendis Talks! Part 2

The Siege You Saw Coming: Bendis Talks! Part 3

BF: So, without spoiling things, what do we have to look forward to as this storyline moves ahead?

What I’m most excited about is delivering on a promise that was made to most of the readers years ago. And with that comes ginormous change to the Avengers franchise, and not one made out of necessity, because the books are doing very well; it’s one made out of desire, and that’s the best.

When you don’t have to do it, but you’re doing it because that’s the way the story’s going, that’s the best. So in a few weeks, because Siege is such a boom-boom-boom-done kind of story, we’re going to see some announcements about what the Avengers franchise will be, who the creative teams will be, what those teams will entail, and I think that people will be hopefully delighted. I’m very excited for people to see the changes that are coming.

BF: Are you suggesting that you might not be part of those Avengers creative teams?

BB: I am ABSOLUTELY part of it. I didn’t come all this way to just give it up now, man! But I’m not the only one, obviously there are a handful of other creators. But even the way the books will be printed and everything will be different, and that I’m excited about.

BF: Obviously we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I would guess the promise you are referring to is the reunion of the Big Three, right?

Yeah, and I know for some people, they’re like “Well, isn’t that ruining the end of the story if you’re telling us that happens?” I’m saying it happens, but I’m also saying, “You don’t know if they’re going to get there in time.” The bomb has gone off.

BF: It’s like the people complaining that REBORN is spoiled, because we see Steve Rogers is back. But you don’t know HOW.

Well, number one, it’s called REBORN.

BF: [Laughs] Yeah, it’s kind of implied in there.

So, I’m promising you a reunion, and I’m promising a very fruitful one, but there’s a lot of damage done already; how much damage will be done before it all ends? And that will be answered very shortly.

BF: So, without giving anything away, is it daunting, or does it make you nervous at all to have the challenge ahead of you of writing ongoing stories with the Big Three?

No. I’ve been writing, obviously, Captain America the whole time, I’ve been writing Tony Stark the whole time. And I think one of the best things I ever had my name on was Civil War: Confessions, which was just the two of them going at it. That I felt very comfortable with. And the dynamic with Thor is going to be very, very exciting. And while I haven’t had the most Thor experience, I’ve had this exceptional opportunity being part of the Marvel Films creative committee and I’ve been working on Thor, or consulting on Thor, almost since its inception.

So, I’ve really gotten to sit in the room for hours and hours and hours with Kenneth Branagh, with all these other writers and artists who’ve been working on this, and it really has put my head in an exceptional place for Thor, and has just made me think about Thor in very big terms. And I get to apply that to this story and to future ones.

A scene from Civil War: Confessions

BF: And online, people are now saying in regards to the reported disputes over the fourth Spider-Man film, “Just let Brian Bendis settle it. He’ll write a good script.”

Yeah, I said something goofy online. I gotta tell you though, I gotta learn not to do stuff like this. It was late at night, I was full of chocolate, and I saw the news… and every writer in comics is just baffled by the concept that they couldn’t get this script together. And I have nothing to do with it, I’ve never read the script, I don’t know anything about it.

It’s not one of the movies that Marvel has its creative committee on, but as someone who has written Spider-Man for over 10 years, I believe me and a couple of my friends could get this together in a week if they needed to. [Laughs] So I just goofed around and wrote “I know what Spider-Man 4 should be” and put a smiley face on it. And of course everyone takes the smiley face off, and quotes it!

BF: Do you think we’ll ever see you on ASM?

Not now. Number one, because I get to write him as much as I want in the Avengers, and there’s actually a whole issue coming up with Spider-Man and Spider-Woman that I enjoyed immensely; I think people will really like it. It’s a book split by Stuart Immonen and the Spider-Man/Spider-Woman stuff is being done by Daniel Acuña. It’s gorgeous and really has a great tone to it.

And secondly, Ultimate Spider-Man is a book where I am allowed the freest of free rein, and I think that for me particularly, is a superior situation. And if I ever took over Amazing Spider-Man proper, it would just be judged against Ultimate Spider-Man, and probably not favorably.

BF: I have this crazy dream of you on Amazing Spider-Man three times a month, with Mark Bagley and John Romita Jr splitting art chores.

My career goal is, coming soon, maybe by March, I have a complete career fail; I just completely drop the ball on something, and I’m done. And then a few years from now, someone like you, or someone on my boards, actually ascends to become editor-in-chief. And then they immediately, in a fit of nostalgia, call me and Bagley to reunite us on Amazing Spider-Man, and it’s one of the biggest disasters in the history of modern comics.

BF: [Laughs] “It wasn’t as good as his last run!”

“Eughh, that’s terrible! What happened to these guys? Oy vey!” So I’m really looking forward to that, because I will of course have been overpaid. But that’s my career goal.

BF: One more question about what’s ahead for the Avengers: do you see the tone changing at all?

BB: Yes, there’s gonna be a massive tone change coming out of Siege. You’ve already heard talk of this “Heroic Age”; that is a thematic change as well. And it was where I was going anyhow; this is Joe’s baby, the Heroic Age, but I was headed towards this, because I’ve been writing a book laden in conspiracy and shadow because of Secret Invasion and the Skrulls and the hiding and the Civil War, all the undergroundness that’s been going on.

I’ve been writing that for years, and we’re past that. What was surprising about Secret Invasion is that everyone thought it was all going to be happy and flowers after Secret Invasion; but oh no, it got worse. And now it’s going to get better, but that doesn’t mean that nothing’s going to happen in the book; the adventures are going to be quite fantastic, but there will be a different tone to them which I’m excited about.

BF: Will it be a change from more street-level to world-level or cosmic-level adventures? I know you come from a background in crime fiction, you’re deeply rooted in that and you have a lot of comfort with that. Are you comfortable with doing more wild, out-there stories?

Yeah, I mean maybe people haven’t enjoyed them, but I’ve been doing them the entire time. Even the street-level New Avengers, half of them are powerhouses.

BF: But you keep them pretty down-to-earth despite their power levels.

Well, ‘cause they were in hiding, or there was a conspiracy-flavor doused over it. This will be a mixture of what I perceive to be real-world characterization along with ‘fantasticness’ in character and plot.

BF: I would think with Thor added to the cast, that would necessitate it, ‘cause it’s hard to see him skulking along some alleyway or something…

Well, Thor is going to convert to Judaism and it’s going to make him a lot easier for me to write; he’s going to have a metal yarmulke, and a lot of Yiddish, just so it’s easier for me to write.

BF: [Laughs] That’s great.

How great would that be, seriously?

BF: It would! There’s a million jokes in there.

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  • Richard Boom

    Richard Boom Jan 29, 2010 at 7:07am

    multo impressed by this interview! That Bendis can talk!!

  • Kris Bather

    Kris Bather Jan 30, 2010 at 1:44am

    I gotta say Matt, you and Bendis look like you hit it off. I'm not a massive Marvel reader, but this whole series was a really interesting read. Well done!

  • Matt Adler

    Matt Adler Jan 30, 2010 at 5:27am

    Thanks guys. Brian is a really nice guy, and easy to talk to. We have some more plans, so stay tuned!

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Feb 4, 2010 at 12:52pm

    Good job on this interview series Matt. A very open discussion that was hugely entertaining to read. Being a touch old school when it comes to these books, I'm very much looking forward to the promised change in tone in the franchise. The Heroic Age sounds intriguing.

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