The week of Marvel NOW! cover reveals with words from their respective teams rolls on with Captain America and X-Men Legacy. Cap will be written by Rick Remender with the polarizing John Romita Jr. on art. X-Men Legacy will feature stories by Simon Spurrier with Tan Eng Huat on art.
Rick Remender spoke with iFanboy about his new run on Captain America, and it sounds to be a huge step in another direction than what Ed Brubaker did with the star spangled man. Remender touches on the tone shift between Brubaker and himself:
Tonally, it’s very different. It’s a hostile takeover. It’s a complete shift from what Ed was doing and I loved what Ed was doing, but if I were to try and emulate that or to continue that tone, it would be Ed light. It wouldn’t be the same thing. So I’m leaning in to what I like to do, which is high adventure, sci-fi, with spy fantasy, with a heavy focus on the man under the suit. It’s very character-focused conflict stuff. One of the mandates I have to myself is, I don’t want to touch the World War II stuff. I think that that has been done, now, and it’s been done perfectly. To go back and to keep focusing on Cap in World War II at this point, again, would be following too closely to what Ed has already done. What I’m doing is spending a lot of time in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 20s and 30s, showing Steve grow up. The first arc is 10 issues, and it’s called “Dimension Z.”
Remender says that a large portion of the Dimension Z arc is Cap dealing with Arnim Zola. He compares it to what he did with Apocalypse in Uncanny X-Force. You will see Zola rebuilt and re-imagined to shape him into a big and important character.
The writer also talks about how he will interpret Steve Rogers. He plans to explore who he is, how he became so strong, and what he is fighting for. Part of that will be explored in Steve Rogers’ childhood.
To me, without telling too much, the story that we’re telling in Dimension Z, in the first 10 issues of the series, is going to be an examination of the core of Steve Rogers, and how this son of immigrants, this kid who grew up on the Lower East Side in the Depression, became this person. It has a lot to do with his parents and his grandfather, and the neighborhood he grew up in, and the conflicts that he was thrown into. To tell exactly what it is I feel leads to that would be giving away a lot of stuff that’s coming up, but I will say that I wanted to show his very first character arc.
We take him from the age of four to about the age of, I think 11 or 12 and, in that span, hopefully define what it was that happened, and how he was raised, and the situations that he had to persevere through that then create this guy who had such a strong heart and such a noble spirit that, no matter what his physical limitations were, he was still going to do the right thing and fight against the bullies, and fight against evil to protect the innocent and stand for liberty.
Here’s the most interesting bit of the interview though. Remender talks about the introduction of a new character. We will be seeing THE GREEN SKULL! Yes, the Green Skull will be introduced. He isn’t Red Skull with the stomach flu, he’s an actual character who wants to turn humanity into soil for plants. Here, I’ll let Remender explain:
The Green Skull is somebody that I want to seed here, and he’ll be popping up a little bit later. We get a taste of the tail end and sort of like a classic Indiana Jones style cold open, we get a taste of who the Green Skull is, and Cap dealing with the end of his first encounter with him, which I thought was a fun way of handling that.
He’s seeded here. He is someone who believes that humanity is the cause of all problems on earth and he wants to turn humanity into soil for plants. He’s got a chemical agent that can do that. We open with Cap dealing with sort of the classic 007/Indiana Jones cold open where he’s dealing with trying to stop that.
It really is a big seed for what’s coming up into year two more than anything. It’s exactly the 007 cold open where we get a nice bit of action and then he’s on to the next complication. We’ll see that kind of bubble up in the C story and then come to light probably next year. When you see who he is and we get into him and define him, it’ll obviously open up a can of worms with Red Skull as well. This is somebody who is P.R. minded as well and he wanted something that he thought could. The green representing obviously plant life, and ecology and stuff, and then the skull representing death. This guy is a contrivance and he’s aware of it. I’m trying to dance around it because pays off a couple few times. Without giving away too much, no — he’s not connected to the Red Skull. Yet.
In a less expansive interview with MTV Geek, Simon Spurrier talks about X-Men Legacy. The new book will feature the son of Charles Xavier and Gabrielle Haller- Legion (David). The character has severe mental illness, including multiple personality disorder. Each of his multiple persona control one of his multiple superpowers. Spurrier touches on the book’s new direction.
I’d go so far as to say the title’s historically had a second constant too: a certain focusing of perspective; an earnestness and personality-led truth which comes from experiencing things through the eyes of a single character rather than bouncing between all the members of a team. It’s a more direct narrative POV, essentially. In the past the title has been principally preoccupied with Xavier, then Magneto, then Rogue… Now it’s David’s turn. The whole point of doing things this way is that we get a really unique perspective on the Marvel Universe in general and its mutanty side in particular. I tend to think things take on a richer, more truthful flavour when they’re being processed through a character’s direct filter, and it opens the door (or in David’s case, ha, doors) to a lot of interesting new stories. As for the vibe you identifed – the (literal) legacy of the x-verse – yeah, that’s still hugely important. We’re going to be bumping into a lot of surprising but familiar faces and concepts along the way. Part of my original pitch was to treat one half of David’s tale as if it were a homage to Claremont-era X-Men, then juxtapose and strike sparks off it with the other half. Which I can’t really talk about at all.
Legion is such a unique character. With his personality, or rather personalities, it will take some work to tackle the character. Spurrier talks about trying to accomplish this feat:
Does he have a core personality? Yeah, definitely. It’s debatable whether that’s something which has historically always been the case – he’s passed through so many writers’ hands and been characterised with so many different psychic flavours – that I’m not sure it’d be possible to really say “this is what he’s always been like”. But there are clues in the mix, and recurring themes, so this title is really our opportunity to coalesce everything and say “this is the definitive David Haller.” I hesitate to say too much about him because part of the journey we’ll be taking is about meeting this amazing guy properly for the first time. But there are a few obvious notes you’d expect to see: he’s haunted by the trouble he’s inadvertently caused in the past, he’s shaped to a certain extent by his relationship with his father, and he’s constantly anxious about his own mind. He’s got a fascinating setup: he’s one of the most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe but he can’t trust his own brain. That’s a fantastic, and often spooky, tension.
You can read the interview in their entirety by clicking here for Cap and here for X-Men Legacy. Remender has done a great job on his X book, but the Green Skull and JRjr on art has me worried about his Cap’s new direction. JRjr can be really good or really disappointing, and this cover is disappointing. I’ll give it a chance, but this is the book I’m least excited about. X-Men Legacy on the other hand sounds promising. Legion is a character with a lot of potential and Spurrier sounds to be up for the job. What do you think about Remender and JRjr’s Cap and Spurrier and Huat’s X-Men?
Cody "The Thorverine" Ferrell
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