Spinning out of the events of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers as it hurtles towards ‘Infinity,’ Avengers Assemble, too, shall slip the surly bonds of Earth. With a four-part story unfolding in that title and Captain Marvel starting in August, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick revels in the wonder and majesty of interstellar travel.
“I am so excited to go to space!” says DeConnick with palpable glee. “Oh my god!”
She’s taking artist Barry Kitson and some of her favorite Avengers along for the ride. With Hawkeye and Captain Marvel off in the latter’s self-titled series, Avengers Assemble #18 and #19 serve as launch pad for Spider-Woman and Black Widow, picking up on a dynamic explored not only in DeConnick’s recent issues of the book, but Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye series.
“I don’t think you can ruffle Natasha,” the writer says of hurling the former spy out of any perceived comfort zone on Earth and into deep space. “I think Natasha is as comfortable as she can be. But she’s also always vaguely irritated. I enjoy that. She’s a weirdo. I don’t think she’s cold, but she’s cool. It’s not that she’s without human emotion, but she’s somewhat annoyed by people who can’t control theirs. I think she feels a lot, but she is a master of keeping it all in check. ”
Maybe less so for Spider-Woman Jessica Drew?
“Oh, god yes. She’s a train wreck,” says DeConnick with the bemused exasperation usually reserved for an old friend. “I love her to death. She’s one of my favorite characters to write because she’s super damaged. Everything is at the surface and she wants so badly to trust everyone, and she really doesn’t.”
Given Spider-Woman’s history at the epicenter of past cosmic struggles like ‘Secret Invasion,’ there’s even more emotional weight. As DeConnick puts it, “her baggage has got baggage. Not only with events like that, but her whole history. And to get romantically involved with another Avenger? That was just dumb. That is just advanced class kind of stuff for relationships, and Jessica is not ready for advanced class relationships.”
Don’t get us wrong. There’ll be aliens too. This is a romp.
When she first pitched for Avengers Assemble, the writer offered a musical analogy. “Jon [Hickman] is doing prog rock. I wanted Assemble to complement it as stadium rock. This is AC/DC. Stand up in your seat stuff. But then the more I read of what he’s doing…I realized he’s doing Wagner.”
It is a grand space opera after all.
DeConnick didn’t grow up reading science fiction and fantasy novels, but anyone who’s read her depiction of Carol Danvers can likely sense a deep fascination for aeronautics, particularly the unsung heroines of the Women Airforce Service Pilots or WASPs. That passion carries over here as she describes the opportunity to journey out into the Marvel cosmos so teeming with alien life, high adventure and possibility.
“It’s the hubris of the human spirit. That we will scream ‘We are here!’ That we have the will to defeat gravity.”
Avengers Assemble #18 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Barry Kitson takes off this August.