Comics: Jonathan Hickman Talks Avengers, New Avengers

Marvel NOW! is starting in just a few short months. The company, while not doing a complete overhaul style reboot, has simply gone the root of relaunching many of their key titles and hopefully a few surprise ones. In the wake of this happening, long time “Fantastic Four” writer Jonathan Hickman has been given free reign over “The Avengers” as well as the “New Avengers.” Not much is known about either of the books except that “Avengers” will be a twice monthly series launching in December and “New Avengers” will start in January.

CBR caught up with Hickman and talked to him about the books and his approach to the series while following Brian Michael Bendis’ extensive run.

I was pretty honored to be asked. Obviously, with everything that’s gone on this summer with the movie and the track record [departing "Avengers" writer] Brian Michael Bendis has had over the past, oh, countless number of years, it’s a big responsibility, but one I’m pretty excited about. I know what I want to do and everyone seems to be onboard with it. It feels big. It feels ambitious. We’re positioning it as the next logical step of the Avengers, which is both pretty interesting and what I think what we should be doing — figuring out what’s next, right? What comes after a billion dollar franchise?

With his series picking up after the events of “Avengers vs. X-Men,” Earth’s mightiest heroes will be looking to expand their ranks. 

The idea is that the Avengers have to get bigger,” Hickman told CBR. “That means bigger in every sense. That means the roster has to be bigger, and the missions have to be bigger, and the adversaries and scenarios they find themselves in have to be larger. I’ve played with this stuff a little bit over in the Ultimate Universe. Obviously, it’s a completely different weight class here, but in a lot of ways that’s the kind of velocity that the book should have. We (Tom Brevoort and I) also felt like that if the book was going to be about an Avengers world, it should look more like the world. Of course there are complications starting out when the necessary movie characters are five white dudes and a white lady, but, you know, bigger roster. Frankly, I’m really, really excited at how we address that. The lineup is killer.
 
The way I’ve set this up is we’ll do bigger stories where our entire cast or almost all of our cast take part in a really big adventure.We’ll do around three-issue arcs of bigger stories, and then we’ll do three done-in-one issues where we focus on a smaller group of characters. It’s not a problem getting to everyone, and it’s not a problem making it feel like everybody’s important. 
 
CBR also adds that after a recent editorial retreat, editor Tom Brevoort said that Hickman’s current outline for “The Avengers” is about 63 issues long.
 
Since ‘New Avengers’ and ‘Avengers’ are closely related, we’ve got this kind of super-structure for where we’re going down the road. Where I was going to end up was always a fixed point. One of the first things I pitched was where we end up. That’s how it works for me. I understand the end point, and I work backwards from there. So the fact that I know where I’m going to be at in issue #63 is not unnatural or odd for the way I do these things. At this point, I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do for the bulk of the ‘Avengers’ and ‘New Avengers’ issues, but I’m leaving myself a lot of room to play, for things to grow, for me to fall in love with different characters and let them shine and to just have a really good time.
 
I’m pretty much done with everything else, so this is the only place my head is at. I can tell you that, right now, it feels much stronger than ‘Fantastic Four’ or anything else I’ve ever done at Marvel. And while I’m very excited about ‘Avengers’ — that it’s a very strong book, and I don’t think I could have started it off any better than the first issue, and I love where it’s going — I think ‘New Avengers’ is going to be the sleeper hit of the year when people see what it is.