“Everything Burns” In Epic Nine Part “Thor” and “Journey Into Mystery” Crossover [Interview]

Beginning in August, when it comes to Marvel’s Norse gods Loki and Thor… Everything Burns. A nine-part epic arc teaming writers Matt Fraction (The Mighty Thor) with Kieron Gillen (Journey Into Mystery) will cross over their two titles, with art by Alan Davis & Carmine Di Giandomenico, covers by Alan Davis and special 50th anniversary cover by Steve McNiven.

But what happens, you ask? After an old foe returns to wreak vengeance on the nine realms, Thor and Loki have to team up to take him down. But things don’t go as planned, as Asgardian secrets are revealed, Thor finds himself in over his head, and Loki may find all the lies he’s set up over the course of Gillen’s run crashing down on his head. Oops.

To find out more about the crossover, we chatted with Fraction and Gillen about the “secret” villain, what this means for the titles going forward, and just how bonkers this is all going to get:

MTV Geek: Not to ask you guys about spoilers right up front, but we hear, “an old foe returns,” and the title of the arc is “Everything Burns…” It’s Surtur, right? If so, what’s your take on the villain? And if not, why are you pretending it isn’t Surtur and clearly lying to me?

Matt Fraction: Look, I’m gonna quote Walter Simonson here, the bard of THE MIGHTY THOR, when he once wrote DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM and let that say it all for now.

Kieron Gillen: You jump to conclusions, Alex. In terms of the nine realms, burning doesn’t just imply Surtur. The Asgardians are notoriously fair skinned, and this epic crossover is the story of them heading to Miami for Spring Break with insufficient sunblock. 2012: the year the True Believers thrill at the sight of Volstagg peeling skin from his belly…

Yeah, as a glance at the preview art will show, it’s Surtur. Or at least, Surtur is key in it. But a glance at the preview art will also show that there’s a bunch more going on here than just Mr. Tall, Dark-hearted and DOOM!-y. It’s an epic (I’ll use that word a lot when discussing this) that brings in all the key elements of our runs so far. And Surtur? I think we’ve got a take on him which both takes the key parts of his previous nature and puts a violent and unprecedented twist on him. He’s always been a primal force, and as such he’s resisting the shape of something as simple as Ragnarok. This is much worse than a Ragnarok. This is an unprecedented DOOM.

Geek: On a slightly more serious note, Mighty Thor and Journey Into Mystery have already had a nice back and forth on plot points and characters so far, but what’s it been like coordinating more fully on this? And are we going to be seeing each title running its own train, or is this an old school, back and forth, nine-part crossover?

MF: Pretty bonkers, honestly — this is an old-school back and forth, mega-epic sorta super-story. it’s all interwoven, i think our names are gonna be on each other’s books, we’re each doing little bits of each issue… it’s an all-in adventure that takes the invisible bonds that tie our two books together and puts ’em all front and center.

Then sets them all on fire.

KG: This is the closest we’ve worked on anything, really. We’ve both intensely plotted the event, and then bounce back and forth between the two books, before splitting for two complimentary-yet-separate epilogues. Matt writes the Thor issues and I write the JIM ones, but it’s completely our story.

Well, I say we divide the scripting by title, but it’s a little more complicated than that. There’s a few tweaks we’re doing there. The most obvious will be that each issue has its own mini-epilogue which sets up a major reveal for the following one, which the other person will be writing. So Matt writes all the JIM-epilogue-scenes and I write the Thor ones. But, really, we’re getting our hands all nice and bloody in the guts of each other’s books. NARRATIVE SURGEONS, BRINGING OUR HEALING TOUCH TO THE WORD.

Geek: What about tone? There is crossover already in characters and plot, but JiM is all about playing with the comic book form, and takes off from Kid Loki’s trickster personality; while Thor is more rock and roll/action movie. How do you meld the two, and will we see any playing around with the tones in the books on both ends?

MF: We sorta internally summed it up as JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY being the King Crimson record, and MIGHTY THOR being the Sabbath record. And now you just scramble the tracks into a NINE ISSUE (it’s nine right guys?) MEGAMIX. And yes; while each book remains, uh, prog-y or metal-y, the nature of the thing means chocolate and peanut butter shall be INTERTWINED.

KG: Dark and – here comes that word again – Epic. There is a tonal difference between the books, but it fits well with the structure of the thing. This is a war which sets the nine realms aflame. Thor is on the frontlines. Loki is playing his usual spy-intelligence-sneaky games. Between the two, we’re getting a picture of the true extent of the conflict. It shows the best of both books, I think.

I will also note that Matt went for the music metaphor, not me. For once.

Geek: Where is Thor at the start of this, and where will it take him by the end? And the same for Loki?

MF: Thor’s trying to put out a church fire, and at the end HEY WAIT WHY THE HELL WOULD I TELL YOU THAT.

KG: And Loki is watching Thor put out fires and at the end… NO, NOT GETTING IT FROM ME EITHER.

Geek: Okay, okay. Kieron, I realize this again might be edging further into spoiler territory, but you recently said there is an end-point you have in mind for the Kid Loki story… Is this it? Or is there more to tell (assuming he survives, of course)?

KG: Wait and see. Suffice to say, after this, nothing will be the same for Loki.

Geek: For Matt, given Thor’s power level it’s always difficult to find a threat so big he can’t handle it… But here, it sounds like he’s in over his head. How do you create a challenge for a guy who doesn’t get nervous even when he’s lost his memory, inside of a god-eater, trying to break its heart so he can get back into reality? IS there any challenge big enough to break Thor?

MF: Lots of staring out of windows and wondering what it’d be cool to see Thor hit. And much of this is drafting off of Gillen’s Loki story; it’s Gillen’s war and Thor is Asgardia’s general. I have no idea if that makes ANY sense to anyone but us.

And yes. Thor was MADE to be broken. And remade. And broken again. It’s what makes him a hero among gods.

Geek: What about the rest of Asgard? Where are they in all of this?

MF: Asgardia is right in the heart of it all. That Yggdrasil runs through the center of it does not help keep it safe.

KG: I’m going to say the word “Epic” back in. Pretty much every significant character from my run comes into play with this baby.

Geek: Alan Davis & Carmine Di Giandomenico on art… That’s pretty awesome, right? This is barely a question, sorry about that.

MF: HIGH FIVE.

KG: MY FIVE IS ALSO HIGH.

Geek: Before I let you guys go, any stand-out moments to look forward to in “Everything Burns?” Anything you can’t wait for fans to see? Other than your take on Surtur of course OKAY I’M DONE NOW.

MF: The long-lost history of the Aesir-Vanir war is revealed. The Asgardian civil war that tore the heavens apart once heats up again. Just WHY did the All-Mother go away? Is Loki a good guy or a bad guy or what? How many huge amazing things can Thor hit with a hammer in nine issues? ALL ASKED AND ANSWERED.

KG: Loki’s been lying his little heart out for my entire run. Eventually, some of it has had to catch up with him. This is it. This is the pack of lies that he’s released hunting him down and trying to tear him limb from limb.

THOR/JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY: EVERYTHING BURNS begins in Mighty Thor #18 in August, and runs through Mighty Thor #22 in October, alternating issues with Journey Into Mystery #642-#645. Got that?

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