Vengeance is coming, but not the heroes of the Marvel Universe… For its villains. The old generation of Marvel villains, including Magneto, Bullseye, and The Red Skull have all gone good, are dead, or are really, super dead. And the new generation isn’t going to take it anymore. Six young villains go up against six older villains, and then… Some stuff happens. To clarify, writer Joe Casey chatted with us about the series connection to the old Marvel crossover Acts of Vengeance, the origin of the Avengers, and much, much more:
MTV Geek: Okay, Joe, let’s talk Vengeance. To kick it off, you’re introducing a whole new – but not entirely new – group of villains into the Marvel Universe?
Joe Casey: Oh, it’s a lot more than that. We’re taking the whole order/chaos dichotomy to a ridiculous extreme, pushing it much further than the Marvel Universe has ever experienced in its fifty year history. That definitely relates to the phenomenon of superheroes vs. super-villains, but exactly how it relates is something we want to save for, y’know, the actual comic book.
Geek: Is this a pre-existing group? Or are we going to get to see them come together over the course of the series?
JC: Funny you should ask. We do see a pre-existing group -- if, by “group”, you mean, “more than two people” -- in a slightly salacious and possibly sordid situation. But whether or not readers “get to see them come together”… well, you’ll have to buy the book to experience that particular money shot.
Geek: Hm. I'm starting to get some very dirty pictures here… But why does the Marvel Universe even need new villains? It already has some great ones, he asked, teeing up Casey to detail the concept of the series.
JC: Hey, there’s always room for Jello -- I mean, for new villains…
Besides, all the good villains are either stone dead, completely impotent or they’ve turned into good guys. I mean, damn, you can’t depend on anything anymore…!
Geek: This series has – so far – been shrouded in secrecy. However, we do know there’s an Acts of Vengeance connection, is that correct?
JC: Lemme tell you something… The “secrecy” is nothing more than confusion and chaos on our part. None of us on this side of the curtain are entirely sure exactly what kind of book we’re doing here. But there’s something glorious to be found within that chaos, and I, for one, intend to ride this wave all the way to the shore. No one’s paying attention anyway, so hanging on by our fingertips seemed like the right way to go, creatively speaking. As for any connection to that Turn-Of-The-Eighties crossover extravaganza… I wish I could claim one, but we’re all still shivering in the long, cold shadow of that beloved, four-color classic.
Geek: Okay, so maybe no AoV connection… But what does Vengeance mean to you? Why does it work as a title for this series?
JC: Okay, the title. I only wish I could take credit for thinking of it. So I’m going to adapt something Dragotta said in that watershed moment during the phone press conference: This is a comic book that sets out to kick some ass… with a vengeance!
Other than that, your guess is as good as mine…
Geek: Though this isn’t strictly a Fear Itself tie-in, there are some roots in the Event for this series, right?
JC: I begged them to let us suck off the teet of the latest Marvel Monstrosity Event, but to no avail. I figured it’d help us sell at least two copies of this thing… But since that ship has sailed, we’re just pressing onward with the usual, incredibly low expectations.
Geek: We also know there are six covers highlighting famous Marvel villains, and each one will tie in in some way. I’m not going to ask you to spoil their involvement (unless you really want to), but I’ll give you a rundown, and you give me a word or phrase that comes into mind about your take on them in the series:
JC: In VENGEANCE, we learn he takes Viagra. Special, mutant Viagra.
JC: Innate sense of dance.
JC: He’ll always be Satipo to me…
JC: Somewhere, Tom Hiddleston is looking at the latest issue of JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and asking himself, “Since when am I ten years old?!”
JC: We’ll reveal his most heinous act.
JC: How does a Latverian rave sound?
Geek: Like there's going to be a lot of Doombots with glowsticks in their mouths, wearing teddy bear back-packs. Okay, so we know Magneto plays a key role in kicking things off, what can you tell us about that?
JC: Well, specifically, he shows up to throw a Dad-sized bucket of cold water on a hot sex party taking place in the penthouse of a respected Beverly Hills hotel. Is this the kind of behavior we should expect from reformed mutant terrorists? Apparently so…
Geek: And The Red Skull, according to the first issue solicits, is “pulling the strings.” Whose strings?
JC: Well, I didn’t write that particular solicit copy, so I couldn’t tell you. But now that it’s out there, I may have to write a Bela Lugosi/GLEN OR GLENDA tribute somewhere in the series…
Geek: There’s also six characters you’re either introducing, or reintroducing. We don’t know all of their names, but I’m guessing these are the members of the Teen Brigade? Or am I totally of-base there?
JC: The very concept of the Teen Brigade is so much bigger than any random collection of characters we’re previewing for this comic book. The Teen Brigade is an absolute good. The Teen Brigade is life. All around their margins lies the gulf.
Geek: Regardless, there’s two major things known about previous incarnations of the Teen Brigade: the first is that they were led by Rick Jones; the second is that The Avengers got together because of them. Are we going to see either element play into this series?
Geek: All righty then. Let’s talk about – again, what you can – the “new” characters in the series. Again, don’t know their names, so I’m just going to make some up. And tell us what you can about:
JC: Clearly, if you’ve seen the character, it’s obvious we’re putting the “tween” back in the In-Betweener.
JC: I don’t know where the “Dark” came from. He’s just Nighthawk. The one and only. Can you dig it?
JC: Isn’t she dead? I thought someone told me she was dead…
JC: Love this character, even if I don’t understand him at all.
JC: Not sure who you’re referring to here… But I like the name. I may use it for my next creator-owned book…
JC: Taking an old name and updating the concept. And it’s actually Miss America Chavez.
Geek: There was, of course, a villain team launched a little while ago, The Young Masters; and there’s at least one of their member on this new team. Are they not long for this world?
JC: Not only are there TWO members of the previous Young Masters team showing up here, they’ll be joined by three more all-new members. Since Paul Cornell signed exclusive with DC, I feel it’s perfectly acceptable to wrench that concept back to a place where it probably should’ve been all along.
Geek: Lots of writers claim the Marvel Universe will never be the same after their series is done: why should we believe YOU, Joe? Huh? What’s going to make it stick this time?
JC: I may have been misquoted there. What I actually said was that Marvel will never be the same… Mainly because Tom Brennan might actually get fired for letting this book happen.
Geek: And more than that, fans are overly hesitant to read something they feel "doesn't matter;" in this case, that the characters will show up here, and nowhere else. Are there already plans in motion for these characters beyond Vengeance, or is that too far out to talk about right now?
JC: Oh, this series definitely “doesn’t matter”, in the traditional sense. I’m looking at it strictly as a great excuse to spray some hot stickiness all over the Marvel Universe. Nick and I are pulling out all the stops precisely because no one will be buying this book. That means anything can happen… And it will.
Geek: And you’ve teased that the first eight pages of issue one are insane. What’s going to hook us for the rest of the series?
JC: Ah, that was just marketing bluster. Except for Magneto, the Red Skull and Angel Salvadore, there are no movie stars in this series. There are some deaths, but most of the good kills in the Marvel Universe have already happened. So, at the end of the day, it’s just two guys -- myself and Nick Dragotta -- throwing sticks of dynamite down the well and seeing what kind of damage we can do. If anyone’s interested in seeing that… Well, here we are, storming away for six jam-packed issues.
Vengeance #1 hits stands in July, but you can take your exclusive sneak peek at some of the art below!