Rick Remender on ‘Uncanny Avengers': ‘It’s Just A Matter Of Making The Most Fun Comic Book In The World’ [NYCC 2012]
Even with only one issue released so far, Uncanny Avengers has become one of the comics I’m looking forward to the most. The combination of Marvel’s two most well-known — and profitable — franchises may have seemed like a no-brainer, but writer Rick Remender came out swinging with a first issue that just went for it, and ended up being one of the most fun times I’ve had reading comics in quite a while.
And he doesn’t intend to stop there. Last weekend at the New York Comic-Con, I spoke to Remender about his approach to the book, where he plans to take his cast of characters, and why he considers it to be “the biggest, craziest thing I’ve ever written.”ComicsAlliance: What was the process of writing Uncanny Avengers? In your career at Marvel, you’ve done a lot of high-profile books, but you’ve also done books that seem like they’re allowed to be weird. Punisher has always been in its own corner of the universe, X-Force has its own piece of the X-Men franchise, but Uncanny Avengers is a very big, flagship title. Was it different for you to bring that interesting weirdness that you like to do to such a big book?
Rick Remender: No. I think that the people at Marvel hire you to do what you do. When I pitched the book, and as we started building it, those ideas came from there, and everyone got really excited about them. The big, wacky, pulpy, C-horror ending to the book and the things that I love will make my mainstream superhero books stand out and have a stamp, and hopefully feel unique. So no, everyone was really open to me cutting loose and doing my thing.
CA: That was such a great ending. I can’t tell you enough how much I loved that last page, and one of the things that I liked about it is that it was the perfect way to bring those two different teams together. They work on different principles, but you found a way to unite them. Did you go in with that in mind, or was it just picking a character that you wanted to use?
RR: It all comes down to the heart of the thing, which is Captain America recognizing that the Avengers never did enough to help the mutants, which is unquestionably true. So building it from there was just a matter of finding characters that would have natural context and fit the story, and of course the first one who plugged in perfectly was Alex Summers. Coming on the heels of AVX, Professor X was gone and so was Scott, so I thought it was an interesting time to put Alex in a situation where he had to step up and take the spotlight.
He’s always been one of my favorite characters, and as for the rest of it, it’s just a matter of making the most fun comic book in the world. My job is now to figure out how to intermingle X-Men and Avengers heroes and villains in a way that we’ve never seen, and the results are that we already have about 23 issues plotted and it leads into the biggest, craziest thing I’ve ever written. There’s no shortage of ideas when you mix those two things together, and hopefully it’ll be something that new and old fans of my stuff will gravitate towards and appreciate.
CA: As a fan, what was it that drew you to Alex Summers?
RR: I always put it like this: Scott Summers was like the star quarterback, the ace pupil, the leader of the team. Alex Summers always seemed like the kid who was under the bleachers smoking a joint. Alex was the black sheep, the younger brother, he was never looked upon to take a leadership role in the regular X-Men. Charles obviously pushed him to lead X-Factor when they were working with the government and Valerie Cooper, so he has a history with leadership. That’s just the surface level stuff.
I like Alex as an underdog character, somebody who seems dry and witty and sarcastic, but bright. He’s a character that I’m excited to write. I like his power set. Who doesn’t like a dude who walks around absorbing cosmic radiation?
CA: Were there any characters that you wanted for the team that you didn’t get to use?
RR: Yeah. When I was grabbing for characters, Storm and Brother Voodoo were on my list, but unfortunately they both played too many roles in other places. They were the two that I didn’t get, but there are still three more characters to be announced in issue 5.
CA: It’s an interesting mix of characters. If Alex is kind of the kid who has to step up and be the leader, where do the others fall in? What do you have in your head while you write them?
RR: Scarlet Witch is obviously on a redemption arc. She is a mutant who never served Xavier, believed in his ideals but was never an X-Man, her father is Magneto and she was responsible for M-Day. She has a lot to live up to and a lot to redeem herself for. Rogue is pretty destroyed about the loss of Xavier, and she’ll be going through a regression arc.
Thor has a huge role to play, based on a conflict he had with Apocalypse in the 11th century and some mistakes he made that’ll be the inciting incident for the second story arc. Captain America’s obviously trying to stand up and do more for the mutants, and Logan feels like he failed Xavier, especially given what he did on X-Force behind everyone’s back. He wants to live up to the ideals and do what he can, so he’s running the school and he’s got an Avengers unit where he’s trying to make the mutants more mainstream and acceptable.
CA: Thor vs. Apocalypse in the 11th century sounds pretty amazing.
RR: It came about in a conversation I had with Dan Slott while I was building the story, and then I called Jason Aaron, who was writing Thor in that same era, and worked it out so that it plugs right into Jason’s new continuity. It’s going to play a very significant role in the Marvel Universe in the next two years.
CA: Anything else you can tell us about that’s coming up?
RR: Obviously, the Red Skull stuff is going to be boiling. It’ll be a percolating, ongoing issue. We do a lot with a new status quo for Apocalypse, and then we discover what Kang, Immortus and Rama Tut want from the whole situation. That blows up in the third arc. So a lot of the big villains intermingling. Chocolate, peanut butter. Yin, yang. Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.