Exclusive: Old Soldiers Fade Into A Legacy
Jul 12, 2017
by Vince Brusio
A hybrid that’s comprised of connective tissues would be a good way of describing Uncanny Avengers #28, and Editor Tom Brevoort and writer Jim Zub give their takes on how the title stretches across the aisle to latch onto both Avengers and X-men camps. The glue that is Uncanny Avengers is examined in this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview, in which we find out that issue #28, while nostalgic, can also serve as a metal detector for railroad tracks that are about to take Beast and Wonder Man to a new and wild frontier.
Vince Brusio: Just as one person’s interpretation of art isn’t the same as another’s, I’m sure you have your own take on how things are shaping up with things moving towards Marvel Legacy. In your opinion, does Uncanny Avengers #28 take one of the first steps in building a new bridge to the future for the X-Men and the Avengers in that Legacy landscape?
Tom Brevoort: That’s a mighty big goal you’ve laid out, one that I think may be beyond the scope of any single title to accomplish. But Uncanny Avengers will continue to be the series that operates “across the aisle” between the worlds of the Avengers and the X-Men (and also the worlds of the Fantastic Four and the Inhumans and just about everybody else). It’s not a new bridge precisely — and the fact that we’re turning our Legacy storyline on reuniting the vintage bromance of Wonder Man and the Beast underscores that. These guys have been best buddies for decades, with no divide between A and X truly separating them. Additionally, though, we’ll also be seeing some classic mutant villains in these coming issues, folks whom we haven’t often seen go up against any iteration of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. So yes, Uncanny Avengers will continue to illustrate on a monthly basis that the Marvel Universe is just that — a shared universe, and not simply a collection of individual publishing lines where never the twain shall meet.
Vince Brusio: How do you feel about your involvement in Uncanny Avengers #28? Are you comfortable with the brainstorming? Were any ideas left on the cutting room floor, and maybe you’d like to re-examine them at a later date?
Jim Zub: Every story I come up with generates a host of other possibilities. That's the nature of brainstorming. I'm always jotting down notes that don't get used in case they spark other story ideas for this series or for completely different projects.
Working on Uncanny Avengers is a blast because it draws from so much history and gives it a new spin. The series acts as connective tissue to the shared Marvel Universe. Characters from different groups and backgrounds, including some of the oldest and most recognizable in the entire MU, working together for the greater good. Getting to collaborate with incredible artists like Sean Izaakse and Tamra Bonvillain, who elevate those ideas and the script to make every page look so good, is better still. It keeps me inspired, striving to do my best to live up to their hard work.
Tom Brevoort: I feel like Jim and artist Sean Izaakse are crafting a series that will be of paramount interest to Marvel readers of all stripes, and one that will retain its relevance no matter which corner of the MU you might be the most interested in. They’re like the Beast and Wonder Man of the book (you can decide which is which.)
Vince Brusio: As this book looks at Beast and Wonder Man, and both heroes are about as old school as you can get when it comes to Marvel history, the “Stars and Garters” tag shows that there are plenty of insider jokes that could be swapped between the two, given their history. But new readers who may not be as fluent with stories that range back to the 70s could be left puzzled if too many references hedge on encyclopedic knowledge. So a balance is needed for this story, yes? How did you weigh such word chemistry when formulating the dialogue for these two heroes?
Jim Zub: There's that old adage about "every comic could be someone's first" and I try to think about that when I'm writing. Continuity is an incredible sandbox of ideas and shared creativity, but I don't want anyone to feel like they don't understand what we're talking about. This kind of nostalgia has to be rooted in context, not just "*- see issue XX" captions or the like.
What's important is giving a clear sense that these two characters have a shared history, a real bond of friendship and comradery. The specifics might go over the head of newer readers, but they'll understand the emotional part and that's the core of it. I don't need to know every in-joke to see that people are close.
In addition, it's important to make sure that it's not just navel gazing for the sake of it. Looking back and taking stock of what you've done has a purpose. It helps you understand how you got to where you are, and decide who you want to be in the future. Wonder Man and Beast are coming to a crossroads. It's a good time to look back before they move forward.
Vince Brusio: Beyond "Stars and Garters" as Beast's famous catchphrase, is there any other meaning there?
Jim Zub: Well, the term "stars and garters" originally refereed to the "Order of the Garter," which is the third highest order of chivalry in the British Knighthood. When you get that honor you get a medal with a fancy star. Since the 1700's it's been a slightly silly term of surprise and exasperation, but I expect Beast uses it because it shows his academic leanings. He's erudite and not prone to cursing.
That said, I think the title is a nice callback to that classic phrase Beast uses but also reflects our approach to the story. Beast is trying to reconnect with who he used to be after traumatic times and difficult choices in recent years and his friendship with Simon Williams is a big part of that. The Beast who was an Avenger was an explorer and adventurer with a keen mind and a good heart. He rolled with the punches with wit and an optimistic attitude. Marvel Legacy is also about acknowledging the past while looking forward with hope into the future.
UNCANNY AVENGERS #28
(W) JIM ZUB
(A/CA) SEAN IZAAKSE
STARS AND GARTERS
Part Avengers and part X-Men. Two of Earth’s mightiest heroes and two of Earth’s mightiest friends. And when it comes to super-heroics, Wonder Man and the Beast have seen it, done it, and they got the T-shirt. When the world throws you cosmic conflict, global calamity, death, rebirth and heartache aplenty, it's important to remember where your friends are. Join us for “A Pint or Two,” won't you?
Look for it in the August Marvel PREVIEWS!
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.