The Politics of Power Behind U.S. Avengers

by Vince Brusio

Imagine the FBI being told that they had to turn over their internal memos to the CIA. It wouldn’t be a good day at the office. Organizations, government or private, typically don’t like to share their information with outside entities for a variety of reasons. The same holds true if you asked S.H.I.E.L.D. and A.I.M. to talk to each other. It wouldn’t be a love fest. Interesting internal politics are the backdrop for Al Ewing’s upcoming U.S. Avengers #1 (OCT160723) for Marvel NOW! In this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview, Al Ewing hints that sometimes the workplace culture for heroes can be almost as mind-numbing as the bad guys that want them dead and buried.

U.S. Avengers #1 (OCT160723) is in comic shops January 4.

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Vince Brusio: One minute you’re writing about crazed killers in The Ninjettes, and the next you’re writing about heroes that give us hope. So how did this gig happen, Al? Give us the dirt on how you got the green light to write U.S. Avengers ?

Al Ewing: I've been building up to this particular plot beat for some time: the endgame of the ongoing A.I.M./S.H.I.E.L.D. war in New Avengers was always to have A.I.M. come into the fold, so to speak. They were never going to be on the run forever, and the options were either return the organization to villain status — which I didn't have much interest in doing — or complete their redemption arc, and have Roberto Da Costa lead them into a new era of heroism. 

So I was already looking to retire the yellow jumpsuits, and when I heard that the title "U.S. Avengers" was floating around the ether, as these things do, it caught my imagination in terms of a direction to follow. Red, White and Blue jumpsuits! Why not?

Vince Brusio: You’ve said previously that some people like the idea of U.S. Avengers and others don’t, given what’s happened since Standoff and Civil War II. Could you elaborate further on that statement? How do the politics of the moment affect this team’s formation?

Al Ewing: Well, it's the Marvel Universe, and not everyone agrees. We're folding S.H.I.E.L.D. and A.I.M. a little tighter than I figured at the earlier stages, but there are still going to be people within S.H.I.E.L.D. that don't like the idea of A.I.M. being involved with their work at all — and vice versa. So there might be some interesting internal politics that develop there. Will Roberto be able to retain full control of A.I.M. now that they're the establishment, or should he have been more careful with what he wished for?

Vince Brusio: Describe for us some of the egos in the new team. What impasse may lie ahead for certain individuals?

Al Ewing: Roberto Da Costa has been the outlaw for a long time, and now he has to start playing by the rules more. So there's that. Will he be able to keep the same free-wheeling, seat-of-the-pants modus operandi now that he has people to report to and paperwork to fill out? And will that lead to some of his underlings — who fell in love with their Supreme Leader's supercool style — feeling a little cheated? We'll find out.

What else? Sam Guthrie is wondering if he's even an Earthling any more, never mind an American. Dr. Toni Ho is struggling with the change from backroom boffin to the awesome Iron Patriot. And I'm not even mentioning the all-new Red Hulk... or the return of American Kaiju!

Vince Brusio: Are there any particular stories in the Marvel universe that may have had an influence on your storytelling? Anything that may have served as a reference? The way a story flowed, or turned on itself? What’s made an impression on you that helped you draft your own roadmap on how U.S. Avengers would unfold?

Al Ewing: Well, the biggest influence in terms of tone is probably the early S.H.I.E.L.D. stories, which in turn points back to Man From U.N.C.L.E. and the various other James Bond pastiches and spoofs that informed that. I'm also taking some inspiration from old Captain America stories from the past —  that sense of writers in dark times exploring what their country meant to them —  and a few yet to come. The U.S. Avengers are going to have their role to play in the future.

Vince Brusio: You’ve worked before with artist Paco Medina, going as far back as Contest of Champions. What does he bring to the table with his illustrations for this book? As you know his strengths, how do you think he’s going to dazzle us in the pages of U.S. Avengers?

Al Ewing: Paco's a joy. His art style is wonderfully clean and clear, but also fairly glam — he's got a great way with an action beat and a character reveal. We're getting pages in the inbox from U.S. Avengers #1, and I feel like he's taken a leap forward - he's just getting better and better all the time, and I can't wait to see what's next.

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Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.

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