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U.S.Avengers: Done in One

U.S.AVENGERS #4 arrives in shops and on stands on March 15, the first part of a…one-part story?

Yes, indeed. Writer Al Ewing and artist Paco Medina will be taking fans back to the old school with a tale so intense, so fast moving it could only be told in a single issue.

To enlighten us on the ancient art of the done in one, Ewing gave us a spot of his time.

Marvel.com: For you, what’s the key to delivering a single issue story that satisfies in general?

Al Ewing: Beginning, middle and end; a powerful opener and a slam-bang finish are obviously important, but every page in between needs to satisfy. Fortunately, by its very nature, the done-in-one story has to be dense. When you’re delivering a full tale in a short space, there’s no room for messing around.

In this case, we’ve got a beginning, a middle, another middle, and an end, because it’s a four-issue crossover in one comic! Short issues, admittedly—five-page chunks, even—but that just makes them all the sweeter!

Marvel.com: Specific to these characters and this book, what makes a strong single issue story?

Al Ewing: I wanted to go solo on Red Hulk; he got some play in [U.S.AVENGERS #1], but since then he’s been stuck in human form waiting for his “hour of power” to come around again, so I figured the readers deserved 20 full pages of smashing Red Hulk action! We get to see his idea of a stealth op when he’s tasked with infiltrating the small and fictional country of Lichtenbad—nestled on the borders of Latveria and Symkaria—to fight a rogue, rabid American Kaiju!

And what’s a crossover without guest stars galore? I hear that Deadpool guy is pretty big these days—he was in a film, as I recall—and he’s one of the few Marvel characters I’ve not actually written yet. Putting Deadpool in issue #4 is the new thing across all my books, as readers of ROCKET will soon come to learn.

U.S.Avengers #4 cover by Paco Medina

U.S.Avengers #4 cover by Paco Medina

Marvel.com: What can you tell fans about American Kaiju? Why, if they haven’t already, are they sure to fall in love with him now?

Al Ewing: American Kaiju is a giant lizard monster with the US flag painted on his face like Nuke. I think that answers both of your questions.

Marvel.com: What elements does Deadpool bring to this book? How does he alter the chemistry amongst the other U.S.Avengers?

Al Ewing: Well, mostly he’s bouncing off General Maverick, but it’s some fun bouncing, although we’ve made the classic error of taking away his power of speech for the bulk of the issue. It’s like I never even saw that movie.

But essentially, he’s there to poke fun at a couple of cherished genre conventions—I’m pretty sure that’s how it generally goes with a Deadpool guest spot—and he’s bringing along a fabulous new/old villain who’s the great-grandson of one of the forgotten heroes of the Marvel Monsterverse! Who could it be? There’s no telling, unless you’ve already read the solicits for this issue!

Marvel.com: From a creative perspective, what made you feel that it was important to deliver such a story at this juncture of the book?

Al Ewing: Well, we’ve just come out of the opening arc, and we’re about to go into an arc that’s even heavier as Secret Empire plays havoc with all our hopes and certainties. I felt like the readers could use a breath of air and maybe even something to put a smile on their faces. This is definitely going to be the lightest-hearted issue so far; and it’s also the most experimental thing I’ve done in a while in terms of format, what with the whole four-comics-in-one thing.

Hopefully readers will enjoy the fun before everything gets darker and gloomier.

Marvel.com: How did Paco Medina’s art aid you in delivering a single issue story that satisfies by itself and as part of the larger series?

Al Ewing: Paco is a genius when it comes to fun and action; he’s got a clear, clean, un-muddled style that pops off the pages, and every single panel just begs for dialogue. His art on this issue in particular inspired me to add in a whole bunch of additional gags that weren’t in the plot, and we’re passing the savings on to you, True Believer!

Seriously, I don’t know what I’d do without him on this series at this point; he’s set the tone perfectly on everything we’ve done together since CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS, and I’m pretty sure the readers agree.

Dive into the done-in-one action of U.S.AVENGERS #4 by Al Ewing and Paco Medina on March 15!

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Mighty Captain Marvel: Fighting Through

Carol Danvers has gone through a lot lately.

CIVIL WAR II definitely took an emotional toll, and now she faces the betrayal of Steve Rogers in SECRET EMPIRE. MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL writer Margaret Stohl filled us in on Captain Marvel’s headspace, and where she finds herself psychologically and emotionally these days.

Marvel.com: Carol found herself in a pretty dark place at the end of CIVIL WAR II. And now SECRET EMPIRE follows right on its heels. It must feel very draining for Carol psychologically and emotionally. Does watching things play out with Steve erode her faith in some of the things she has believed in even more?

Margaret Stohl: Watching Steve Rogers betray everything that Captain America has always stood for is a crushing blow, not just for Carol but for everyone. On the other hand, she’s also an experienced military leader, and she knows better than anyone that the loss of Captain America only makes the role of Captain Marvel that much more important. She steps up when others step down, and she always has. So no, Steve’s betrayal doesn’t erode her faith, it makes her all the more resolved to defend it—because if she doesn’t, who will?

Marvel.com: Steve left Carol and her team outside the planetary shield surrounding the Earth to face wave after wave of the Chitauri army. What kind of state of mind will she have when she gets back?

Margaret Stohl: Carol has her combat brain on now, which means she only has three things on her mind: how to keep her team alive, how to get them back to Earth, and then how to save it. Her first goal is her team’s survival, particularly the three young cadets—Glory, Dante and A’Di—who were caught outside the shield with her during their training at Alpha Flight. That is priority one. Part of what makes Carol such an effective soldier and leader is her ability to compartmentalize when she has to. Making decisions in the moment is tough, but when a leader doesn’t lead, the people fighting for her die.

Mighty Captain Marvel #6 cover by Elizabeth Torque

Marvel.com: Currently, Carol leads Alpha Flight and plays a major role in the Ultimates. So professionally, she seems to really have things together. But personally, she’s facing more challenges.

Margaret Stohl: Absolutely. Carol’s first arc in 2017 was all about her personal journey back from the events of CIVIL WAR II. This arc is much more of a combat adventure, though even the fact that there are teens on Alpha Flight just shows how much her relationship with the Kree child, Bean, from the past few issues, has impacted her. In general though, I think Carol’s emotions are on hold until she gets through the catastrophe of SECRET EMPIRE. If she ever makes it home, Carol Danvers will have to work to process what has happened—not just to her but to her planet.

Marvel.com: Carol had a falling out with Ms. Marvel during CIVIL WAR II, and America is distancing herself from the Ultimates to go to college. How does it affect Carol to see her protégés walking away?

Margaret Stohl: Carol is a lifer in her fight for what’s right. Like many other heroes, she’s seen plenty of teammates come and go, and while that wears on her, she knows it comes with the gig. That said, I’m not sure she’s ever recovered from the end of her friendship with Kamala Khan. Since Kamala moved on in her life, Carol has taken the time to foster a Kree child and train three Alpha Cadets. I think she deeply feels the loss of Kamala, and is still trying to figure it out.

Marvel.com: I would imagine the fall of Maria Hill has had a pretty significant impact on Carol, as well. The two have had their differences, but have often found themselves in similar situations, and frequently worked together. Does it make Carol feel like maybe the same thing could happen to her? Like she could be forced out of the organizations she cares about?

Margaret Stohl: Women in positions of power are always aware of the fates of their female contemporaries, but at the moment, Carol really is caught up in just getting her butt back to Earth. I don’t know how much time she’s spent thinking about it. She’s much more worried about Wendy, who is trapped somewhere on Earth and away from the rest of the A.F. team.

MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL continues to battle through Secret Empire as depicted in issue #5 on May 31 and issue #6 on June 28, both written by Margaret Stohl with art by Ramon Rosanas and Michele Bandini respectively.