Marvel’s Next Big Thing: Jonathan Hickman on AVENGERS & NEW AVENGERS

So, let’s sort out that Avengers Omega business from yesterday. We’re taking part in a Marvel’s Next Big Thing press call with Jonathan Hickman, incoming Avengers writer for the Marvel NOW! era.

First up, Avengers proper with artist Jerome Opena. Hickman’s calling it “Avengers World.” This opening story introduces an ensemble, mission statement and threat bigger than we’ve ever seen in the book. While most in the starting lineup should be familiar to most readers, we’ll see a lot more diversity as the issues progress. Starting with the seventh issue, Hickman promises to roll in an expanded cast, ultimately expanding the ensemble to two-dozen members, half of which will be “female and minority characters.” The level of diversity and the ability to reflect the modern world seem crucial to the writer. He’s eager to try something different with the Avengers name.

How to handle such a big team? Hickman describes the command structure as Captain America as primary leader, with Captain Marvel and Iron Man serving as his chief lieutenants.

As for New Avengers, Hickman reveals that the cast is actually the Illuminati group created by Brian Michael Bendis during the Civil War event. Where the Avengers exists as the “utopian, ideal” Avengers, Hickman describes the New Avengers as something a little more apocalyptic, a little shadowy. It includes original Illuminati members like Iron Man, Reed Richards, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Namor and even Black Panther who originally turned them down when asked to join. Hickman calls him the moral center of the book. It looks like Beast will also be tagging in for the departed Chuck Xavier. Obviously the fallout of AvX will play into many of these relationships. “Even though they don’t like each other and don’t get along, they have to save each other from stuff they know is threatening.”

As to the level of crossover, editor Tom Brevoort points to the symbiosis Hickman achieved with Fantastic Four and FF. They’ll work beautifully apart, but even better together. With Avengers shipping twice a month, the franchise won’t simply remain a centerpiece of the larger Marvel U story, but become even more prominent.

In terms of threats, it’s the classic mixture of new and old. Hickman remains tight-lipped as to just who we’ll be seeing in the coming months, but we do know that a major event in Wakanda will serve as an inciting incident for the New Avengers group.

Oh, that omega symbol? It’s just the new New Avengers symbol. Simple as that. Hickman suggests it relates to tone, Avengers represents day and light, while New Avengers is darkness and night. In the latter, “a lot of these guys will grow to hate each other. Immensely.”

Asked about cameos from previous projects, Hickman teases that characters and elements from Secret Warriors and S.H.I.E.L.D. will feature as the series progress. We’ll also see a ton of hints as to future events in Hickman’s final issues of Fantastic Four.

Avengers #1 and #2 hit in December and the book will continue to double-ship each month. New Avengers #1 and #2 follow in January, though the book will then transition to its regular schedule of one issue per month.

Let’s take a look at a few covers, including some Jock!


  1. I’m going to buy this, pretty hard.

  2. Looks like The New Avengers are the New Illuminati- Black Panther, Ironman, Namor, Black Bolt?, Mr. Fantastic, Beast, and ???

  3. New Avengers is $2.99? Well, that settles that. 🙂

    • Why the hell is Avengers $3.99 AND double shipping when New Avengers is $2.99 for what I’m assuming is once a month?!?! This is so ridiculous! Marvel is evil….EVIL!!!!!

    • I’m curious why it’s getting a digital code at $2.99. As far as I know none of the other $2.99 marvel now titles aren’t getting them

    • Well I know that for a 40page comic, DC charges $3.99 and $2.99 for 30 pages.I guess Marvel follows that as well.

    • I think it’s because Marvel knows people want to follow both books. Double shipping the headlining book at $3.99 a pop is just the way they do business these days (for better or worse).

      And while New Avengers certainly doesn’t sound like it’ll be a second tier book in terms of execution, Marvel’s reasons for giving it a second tier price and monthly shipping means folks like me will be more likely to buy both titles.

      This is the same pricing sceme as Hickman’s F4/FF runs have been, right?

      I mean, are people really going to complain about Marvel DROPPING the price on New Avengers and still including the digital code? (wait…I know the answer)

    • im think that will change at least for the first 2 issue remember x-men legacy said 2.99 but in the order book the first 2 say 3.99 and issue 3 is 2.99 like this if it is but i allowed cancelled because i thought i had to read avengers to understand new avengers.

    • I’d never complain about getting a digital code for less 😛 just curious is all. I hope it’s the start of putting a code in all their books, I prefer print still but I love having them on my phone for the bus and what

    • @stratychuk_s: Yeah, that was kind of a rhetorical question on my part, not picking on you at all. I’ve been enjoying the codes too. It’s made it very easy to re-read arcs without digging into a box.

    • I get the whole digital code thing, but Marvel isn’t looking at the people that already buy digital. I buy all my comics digitally which makes the whole 3.99 for a digital code pointless. So while print people get an extra thing for paying 3.99, digital customers get the shaft and just have to pay extra. It’s so stupid.

    • Avatar photo filippod (@filippodee) says:

      @KenOchalek Fantastic Four and FF were both 2.99 under Hickman and they will keep on being so under the NOW! banner.

    • Avatar photo filippod (@filippodee) says:

      @KenOchalek Marvel 2.99 books are not “second tier book in terms of execution”.

      For my taste, they are often better than the 3.99 ones.

      They are generally “second tier” in terms of the characters’ mass appeal, or supposedly so. The fact that they generally sell less than the 3.99 ones seems to confirm that.

    • @filippod: Sorry for being unclear, because I wasn’t trying to imply that $2.99 books have substandard executions at all. Hawkeye being the perfect example. Conflating “second tier” with “execution” was poor sentence design on my part.

      In the end, Hickman/Epting on New Avengers for $2.99 sounds awesome, and Hickman/Opena on Avengers seems like it’ll be worth $3.99, so I’m a happy camper, but continue to be insanely curious about Marvel’s pricing methods.

  4. I am beside myself with excitement for whatever Hickman does with the A and NA. Right now, I’m at the point where I’ll buy just about anything Hickman puts out.


    I am so proper excited about all of this & I’ve never even read an Avengers comic in my life, already bought on pre-order the first two issues so unless Hickman lets me down which I hope he doesn’t then this is gonna be a blast.

    New Avengers could be the best new series of 2013, hopefully it’ll kick ass!

  6. Is that Hyperion on the cover of Avengers # 4?

    Super excited for this!

  7. I will probably give these titles a shot, but I have not been able to enjoy Hickman’s writing in the past. He doesn’t seem to write three act stories; the action just meanders all over the place without coming to a climax. Come to think of it, that is Bendis’ problem, too. I can think of good single issues of The Avengers that Bendis wrote, (mainly because they were character oriented) but I never read a great Avengers story arc from Bendis. Admittedly, I stopped reading Bendis’ Avengers work regularly quite a while ago.

    I’m a lot more interested in seeing what Remender does on “Uncanny Avengers.”

  8. So when is Ultron War happening?

  9. Easily the most exciting news to come out of Marvel NOW to date, but with all the retitling, renumbering and with the admission that the “B” title is the Illuminati, why not call it “Avengers Illuminati?” I’ve never been a fan of having “New” in the title of comics (although New Mutants and New Warriors were a big part of my 90s reading list).

  10. Black Panther and Namor, the guy who destroyed his country, on one team. Uhm, what?

  11. Beast as a replacement for Charles Xavier! Are you freakin kidding me. Beast has bloody A’s on his gauntlets. He walked off Utopia. He’s no more of an X-Man than Wolverine. At least Hickman didn’t have Wolverine representing the X-Men. What a disaster that could’ve been

  12. I love Hickman, but I’m just not sure. and the 4 dollar price tag doesn’t help.

  13. I have never been more excited for the release of a comic book, can’t wait to read Avengers 1.

  14. Illuminati? with Black Panther?? YES!!!

  15. I am very excited about this book and MNow in general. I am a nerd it’s true. But 4 dollars and double shipping pretty much guarantees that I won’t be getting the second title as much as I would like to. Maybe this is strategy because they know this so even in the long run they make money even when people don’t buy the second title?

    Also, 7 issues is a long time to wait for a story thing as the article mentions. That’s three months if it’s double shipping! So i am being told don’t worry about this plot point because it will be over in three months? I am worried about decompression with Hickman.

  16. also, is anyone else laughing about Black Widow’s guns and Thor’s pose?

  17. The moment I heard New Avengers is about the Illuminati I instantly pulled it. Cause you know a secret group of heroes trying to shape the world is PERFECT for a guy like Hickman.

    All together I am down for this whole Hickman-verse for the Avengers. Although hearing that S.H.I.E.L.D. is involved makes me pissed that it hasn’t finished yet. COME ON HICKMAN!

  18. I had no idea that Avengers was shipping twice a month. Also, it sounds like you’ll need to buy both titles like with Fantastic Four. So, basically, it’s 3 Avengers books a month. That settles my decision to pass on it because I’m putting my foot down about this double shipping thing. With so much great indie stuff I can invest in, I’m going to use my money for that stuff. If it sounds like the greatest thing since sliced bread, I’ll buy the trades.

  19. I havent been this excited for the Avengers comics in a very long time. I added this to my pull before I even had a clue who was on the team. Beast, Iron Man and Black Panther all in one title is a dream come true. This is gonna be the thinking man’s Avengers.

  20. To live in a world where John Cassaday, Frank Quitely, Mike Allred, and Jerome Opena are drawing comics at the same gets me excited.

  21. Starting to get a little more fired up for Marvel Now. I have Aaron’s Thor to replace Gillen’s Journey into Mystery. And now Hickman’s Avengers/New Avengers to replace Fantastic Four/FF – although this will actually be the first time Ive ever purchased an Avengers comic. Throw in Bendis’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Hickman on Silver Surfer which no one has mentioned but would be so awesome as to epitomize the Platonic ideal of awesome and Marvel gets a net gain from me.

    Of course when DC New 52 launched I went from 2 DC books to 7. One year later I’m down to just 1. But its a new new 52 er 21 er whatever.

  22. Is this Avengers or The Army of Avengers? I wonder when they’ll start hunting down un-registered heroes and taking over governments? With the Illuminati behind them I can’t imagine these Avengers are the good guys. With all that has gone down in the past I can’t really see any marvel character as the good guy anymore. As far as I can tell if loyalty works for the characters agenda they’ll be loyal, if not they won’t be. I’m sure these Avenger teams will be riddled with double agents and the characters will be willing to switch sides at the drop of a hat.

    Looks like they are trying to go with what Cartoon Network did for the Justice League cartoon. I’m probably going to pass it. Marvel’s basic philosophy of hopelessness and the lack of morals and principles from the heroes drove me away a while back. “Female and minority characters” Sounds like tokens to me, introduced so that Bendis or someone else can kill them for shock value in the next big event. And being laid off there is no way I can buy any sort of tablet to read the digital anyway.

  23. I find it interesting that for leadership of the Avengers Cap has chosen Iron Man -who instigated the hunting of fellow heroes during cw- and Carol who carried out that hunt. The two most untrustworthy Avengers of all are now leading the people they hunted and threw into 42 for life. Doesn’t anyone in the mu remember that stuff? Does any of the writers?

    • I’m pretty sure it’s called moving on.
      Bendis already covered Cap and Tony’s trust issues in his Avengers stuff, and Ms. Marvel switched sides as soon as Osborn took over, so that was pretty much taken care of. Sure, that doesn’t cover everything, but hey, by this point, these people have fought together for long enough post-Civil War to trust each other again.
      Or, you know, Marvel could spend all their time making comics about people not trusting each other and fighting over old conflicts, if that’s what you want.

    • Yes, she switched sides and she can switch sides again just as easily. Avengers Prime didn’t settle anything. The only reason that everyone ‘moved on’ from the events of cw is that the writers wanted them too. You don’t get over a close friend hunting you down, beating you up and throwing you into prison for life. That there is no lingering resentment merely means that the writers don’t want to do the work dealing with that resentment.