Marvel’s Next Big Thing: SECRET AVENGERS with Rick Remender & Gabriel Hardman

Secret Avengers #22 Cover

Secret Avengers #22 Cover by Art Adams

Today kicked off the first in a week long extravaganza of Marvel’s Next Big Thing press conferences. First up was Secret Avengers and joining us on the call was writer Rick Remender, artist Gabe Hardman along with editors Tom Brevoort and Lauren Sankovitch.  With the upcoming release of Secret Avengers #21.1, with art by Patrick Zircher, Remender begins is run on the book which until Warren Ellis’ run, was a book that really hadn’t connected with audiences yet.  Brevoort explained that while he was thinking of who should follow Ellis, Remender was top of mind. But before he could offer the book to Remender, Remender asked if he could pitch it.  Remender explained that much of what he was doing in Uncanny X-Force with the upcoming story arc would fit nicely into an Avengers book and Secret Avengers seemed like the best spot for it. Rounding out the creative team is Gabriel Hardman, who after his work on Hulk, impressed Marvel’s editorial and they pulled him for his take on the team book.

So what can fans expect from this new look Secret Avengers? Visually Hardman touched on his approach in making each of the characters look visually unique.  “Trying to find the way to interpret these characters, all of whom I’ve never drawn before…sets up a situation where I have to find visual personalities for all of these guys” Hardman explained.  Beast was called out as the most challenging of the characters to draw, because of the different ways the character has been presented by previous artists.  “I basically just decided to draw him as Lemmy from Motorhead.”

On the story side of things, Remender shared his approach, which is not too different than what he’s done on Venom and Uncanny X-Force recently, in that he focuses on characters to drive the story.  The team’s lineup changes a bit with Hawkeye taking the leadership role, and the addition of new members such as Captain Britain and with so many people involved Remender clarifies his take, “It’s a balancing act. You want to make sure you’ve got a core cast because you want to start building the soap opera…and if the cast is always changing, it just becomes a kaleidoscope of colors.”  Remender further explains that there is a group of characters that are core to him, and then other characters will come and go as needed as changes happen.  “Characters serve a story point…They just didn’t come out of ‘I want that character!’ They came out of stuff I was doing on Venom or X-Force. Those guys are in there for a reason.”  Brevoort did reveal that second arc of Secret Avengers would be a crossover with Avengers Vs. X-Men and Remender revealed that the board would get shaken up with different characters, including the return of War Machine.

The first story arc of Secret Avengers appears to spring out of the upcoming arc of Uncanny X-Force, which introduces The Descendants, a group of robots who have evolved into sentience and currently live under the earth in a place called The Core.  Remender revealed that the work of author Ray Kurzweil and the Singularity theory inspired much of this story as each robot from the Marvel Universe, ranging from Doombots to Sentinels, have achieved sentience and are now living, free-thinking beings, which as Remender explains is something, “that will be problematic for the entire Marvel Universe.”  The first story arc of Secret Avengers focuses on the evolved Adaptoids, but Remender promises a glimpse of the entire cast of of Descendants.

But the biggest news coming out of the press conference was from the astute questions from one member of the press about the role of Captain Britain. Both Remender and Hardman exhibited pure excitement around the inclusion of Captain Britain.  Remender touches on the aspects of Captain Britain’s characterization that makes him so compelling, “I like the fact that he was a scientist that had to accept magic existed…I see him has iconic and important to the Marvel Universe as Thor.”  The establishment of Captain Britain in the fantasy realm, powered by magic and his degree of confidence in magic was something that drew Remender, a former Dungeons & Dragons player to the character.  Add in the connection to the Omniverse, as a member of the Captain Britain Corps., and Remender is psyched, “Here you’ve got a dimension outside of all dimensions. The origin of magic. It’s got a place called the ‘Starlight Citadel’, which is actually pretty cool even though it has the word ‘starlight’ in it, because it’s got the Tower Omniverse…which is an endless tower of doorways that leads to every possible dimension in the Omniverse…I could write that for a 1000 issues, there’s nothing better in my mind.”  But it’s not just the fantasy element that attracts Remender, but it’s the specific character of Brian Braddock as Captain Britain.  “I love the idea that every once in a while, this mild mannered guy who is trying to be noble and upstanding, gets drunk and goes nuts! And throughout his history, occasionally he snaps. I love it!”

Artist Gabriel Hardman agrees with Remender about the value of Captain Britain, “I’ve grown to enjoy the character as I’ve drawn him.”  Hardman didn’t at first take a shine to Britain’s protector, finding his visual representation not ideal, describing it as “A goofy ice cream cone costume, that’s very bright and very conventional” It was a costume that Hardman had a hard time relating to.  But Hardman was turned around as he explained, “I went back and read the Alan Moore stuff and paid a little bit more attention to the character and have come to appreciate him.”

Secret Avengers is gearing up to be one of the most anticipated new titles of 2012 from Marvel and it’s clear that both Rick Remender and Gabriel Hardman are gearing up for what’s going to be a great run.

Check out this preview of Secret Avengers #22 as well as the covers to upcoming issues:


  1. I’m a big CapBrit fan, so I’m glad to see him getting some love from one of my favorite writers AND one of my favorite artists. I’m glad they put Brian back in the “ice cream cone costume” too. Curious to see how Brian plays off of Fantomex in the next UXF (Two of my favorite characters in one room!).

  2. I want this so badly, but I’m holding out on all Marvel till the trades come out. Their individual price point is to high and I’m growing to like the idea of graphic novels more as I can read a complete story in one sitting. REALLY looking forward to this.

    • Same here. I can tell from Remender’s podcast appearances that I would love this book (as well as X-Force), but I’m trying to “vote with my dollars” and not buy 20-page comics that cost $3.99.

      Except Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine and The X-Men. Because I am not perfect. 🙂

    • @ken–yeah i feel the same way. I really want to check this out…looks and sounds pretty good but its a tough pill.

  3. I was wondering why they made such a big deal about Captain Britain becoming an avenger in that mini when the Heroic age started, but he didn’t show up on any of the teams.

  4. Hell. YES.

  5. I don’t want to get my hopes up too much… But I really can’t remember the last time I was this excited for an Avengers comic.

    Could there possibly be a better team than Remender/Hardman for an Avengers title??? If so, I really can’t think of it.

  6. The more Ive been hearing about this the more excited I’ve been getting, I can’t wait especially since I currently don’t have any Avengers in my life due to me dropping Bendis Avengers and New Avengers

  7. Can Marvel please stop calling every press release they make their “Next Big Thing”? I mean really, everything they do is the NBT? Everything?

  8. This is beyond bad-ass… this like maxim model, badonkadonk booty, wrapped in bacon, and sprinkled with little cheddar flavored magic pixies! GEEK-BONER!…sorry guys…someone had to go there.

  9. arrrgh, i’m so excited for this! can’t wait to read those few pages of character interplay and the cover with venom on is great!

  10. I’m not gonna have to read X-Force to understand these villains, right?

  11. I’m currently reading the first Fear Agent trade, and Remender is entertaining me so far, so we’ll see about this one.

  12. After Fear Agent and Uncanny X-Force, I will pretty much just throw money at anything Remender does.

    • seconded… although, i will admit i was less than captivated by his venom run, and was forced to drop it. Fear Agent and UXF have been nothing short of BRILLIANT!

  13. This comment worries me greatly “I love the idea that every once in a while, this mild mannered guy who is trying to be noble and upstanding, gets drunk and goes nuts!”

    As such a long time Captain Britain reader I HATE when people mischaracterise the guy as a drunk based on a few scenes in early Excalibur, where Brian is drinking on the grief of having seen what certainly appeared to be the death of his twin sister shown on TV (X-Men: Fall of the mutants).

    This doesn’t make him an alcoholic. At all.

    • I think you might be worrying about nothing. Reread the quote you quoted. Remender said “every once in a while”, not “he’ll polish off a pint on every page”. Between his comments here and in the recent Talksplode podcast, it sounds like Remender is actually a huge Captain Britain fan.

    • Getting drunk every once in a while doesn’t make you an alcoholic, certainly not in England. It’s just part of our culture.

  14. I’m very stoked for this series. It has the potential to be amazing.

  15. I don’t know if I’m just easily influenced by the community here, but Hardman is quickly rising up my list of favorite artists. This looks absolutely gorgeous.

  16. “Who would win in a wrestling match Lemmy Beast or God?” “God” “Wrong. Trick Question. Lemmy Beast *IS* god”

  17. As an English fan of Rick Remender’s previous work who counts Beast as his favourite Marvel character and grew up loving Venom. I’m pretty happy about this whole set-up. You may proceed…

  18. This is a must for me because only of Rick Remender. If anybody else was writing this book, I could of waited. The fact he is connecting all 3 of his Marvel books together is a plus since I pick up all of his books. I’ve dropped alot of 3.99 except for X-force. Add another book to the list. Can’t wait for the X-force vs Secret Avengers crossover.

  19. Marvel will just not let me drop this book.

  20. I WANT THIS SO BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Roster changes! Only an amount of time when the “secret” is out of the Secret Avengers.