Jonathan Hickman has been talking about his new New Avengers series, and plans for moving the entire Avengers franchise forward. Are you ready for an Avengers team that "looks more like the world"?On today's "Next Big Thing" conference call and live blogs, Hickman said that his line-up for the Avengers book will ultimately reach somewhere around 24 members, with -- in a break with tradition -- an attempt to make the team more diverse in term of demographics. "By the time we get to 22 characters on the book," Hickman said, "twelve are either female or minority, and we feel like we've accomplished what we've set out to do, which is a book that looks like the [real] world."

The first arc of Avengers is called "Avengers World," he explained, saying that the team has to "become something bigger, something more, in order to do what it is that they're supposed to do. We open with them facing a threat that is larger and different than anything they have faced before." Editor Tom Brevoort, also on the call, described the series as "almost the Aaron Sorkin Avengers. Not in terms that they walk and talk a lot, but they're built around this idea of big ideas and idealism."

That's not so true of New Avengers, Hickman's companion title which relaunches in 2013. That series, to be illustrated by Steve Epting, features the modern incarnation of the Illuminati team that Brian Michael Bendis introduced during his own Avengers run (The modern version features Captain America, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Namor, Mr. Fantastic, the Beast - taking the place of the deceased Professor Xavier - and the Black Panther, who declined membership originally). "It's thematically much different than what's going on in Avengers," Hickman explained, saying that it's a title featuring characters that live in the world as it is, "dark and apocalyptic."

Describing the connection between the two series, Hickman said that both series "will work in tandem,You don't have to read both, but they are two sides of the same coin. Two different stories."

Part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, Avengers launches in December, while New Avengers begins in January.

[Via Marvel]

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