Marvel's 'Vengeance' Brings On The Bad Guys

It looks like the crowded summer event season just got a little more crowded with the arrival of Vengeance, a 6-issues miniseries starting in July. Series writer, Joe Casey, artist Nick Dragotta, and Editor Tom Brennan were on the call today to drop some hints about the upcoming mini that will be running concurrently with Fear Itself, and according to Brennan it will be “An exploration of villainy through the eyes of the next generation of heroes and villains” in the Marvel U in what appears to be a story about the new crop of legacy heroes and villains at Marvel.

As has been par for the course with recent events, Marvel is scarce on details but has plenty of teases about the actual shape of the story. According to Casey—who somewhat echoed Brennan’s sentiments about the plot—it’s about the new generation of heroes and villains reacting to what’s happened in the villainous landscape over the years: with villains dying, becoming heroes, or carving out new roles for themselves. As evident by the covers, it’s the impact of characters like Loki, Magneto, and the Red Skull that will be considered in the story. The villains that have been chosen reflect the fluidity and evolution of the 616 over  time.

Into this mix, we’ll be getting what the group of creators is calling a new “teen brigade” of heroes who are reacting to an upset in the order of the Marvel Universe and must consequently go on a quest spanning time and space to “fix” whatever the this new crisis is. In the first issue alone, the story will jump from Area 51, Nazi-era Germany, the 6th Dimension, and a homeless shelter.

According to Casey, the focus on Fear Itself has allowed him and his team to tell an epic story with a kind of “kamikaze approach” where they can get away with a lot and allow the story to crash and burn on its own merits. Adding to the size and scope of the story, Dragotta boasts that so far there have been 17 character redesigns of existing characters for the series with more tweaks to follow, featuring a plot that bounces all over multiple Marvel Universes.

Each issue would, in part, focus on one of the heavy-hitter villains on some way tracing who they are now against the things they’ve done in the past. Does becoming a hero after being a villain for so long erase past acts? How would a character who admired Magneto react when the mutant terrorist becomes a hero? At the same time, we’ll also get a look at how some of the new crop of villains perceive the classic heroes. One villain(ess) who was name-checked is Lady Bullseye, who’s now the sole character bearing that moniker since Daredevil killed the original during Shadowland.

When I heard that each issue would focus on a particular villain, it sounded like something of an anthology series, but Casey and Brennan were quick to point out that it’s one long, overarching story, that just happens to be impacted greatly by these larger-than-life villains.

Similarly, there’s a question of how and why Marvel has decided to make a story based on legacy characters—something typically done by the competition across town. Not to say it doesn’t happen on occasion (Young Avengers, Spider-Girl), but for the most part, Marvel characters tend to either stick around with their original incarnation or with another adult jumping into the costume. Brennan says that at Marvel, the approach to their legacy characters is to make sure that they fit into a good story first, and then finding the value in changing the character under the mask so that the whole process is organic.

What this all means for Vengeance, of course, remains to be seen, or even why the story is called Vengeance. The crew clammed up quickly though, when another reporter asked what ties this might have to Acts of Vengeance -- which coincidentally featured many of the main villains here -- so there just might be something to that. Any, we’ll just have to wait until July to see when issue #1 drops.

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