King in Black: Thunderbolts Writer Talks New Lineup and Space Dragon Battles in New Preview (Exclusive)
After months of teases, Knull has finally arrived on Earth, and as seen in King in Black, he's [...]
After months of teases, Knull has finally arrived on Earth, and as seen in King in Black, he's staking his claim quickly and with authority. Marvel's heroes have already taken on Knull's forces head-on, but they are quickly learning that the odds are not in their favor in the least. That's why others are putting their own teams together to combat Knull's forces, including the Kingpin, who has brought the Thunderbolts together to take on the threat, though it's not altogether altruistic knowing the Kingpin. Fans will see this battle play out in King in Black: Thunderbolts by writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Juan Ferreyra, and you can check out an exclusive preview of the issue starting on the next slide.
Even better though is the fact that ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Rosenberg about the series and what he has planned for it, and to kick things off we wanted to know what interested him about this particular lineup of characters.
"A big part of the fun of The Thunderbolts is seeing who they are in each new iteration," Rosenberg said. "You want new faces, clashing personalities, a good mix of the almost heroic, the redeemable, and the truly awful. Also I am a big sucker for the street-level characters who get in over their heads, and this has that in spades. But one of the best parts of seeing villains together is how they work or don't work well together. We all get that the Avengers are a well-oiled machine who have each other's backs. The Thunderbolts are almost the opposite- a bunch of loners who don't much care for each other. So you can great interplay between them because it's not one big happy family. For me, Taskmaster, Batroc, Star, Mister Fear, Snakehead, Rhino, and Ampere is that perfect balance of will they accomplish the mission or will they tear each apart."
"Thunderbolts is one of the best concepts Marvel has ever produced. It's a book that constantly reinvents itself in fun ways and it's a real honor to carry on that tradition," Rosenberg said. "I think we have a really wild premise and unique team, and letting them cut loose during the epic events of King In Black is going to be a really fun trial by fire for them."
You can find the official description for King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 below.
KING IN BLACK: THUNDERBOLTS #1 (OF 3)
Written by MATTHEW ROSENBERG
Art by JUAN FERREYRA
Cover by KYLE HOTZ
"KINGPIN'S KILLERS VERSUS AN ARMY OF UNKILLABLE DRAGONS!
An army of evil space dragons have come to attack Earth and are starting with New York. MAYOR FISK has a plan for that. Assembling a group of killers, mercenaries, and just generally pretty horrible people like TASKMASTER, RHINO, STAR, MR. FEAR, and BATROC THE LEAPER, Mayor Fisk tasks them with saving the city or die trying…or die right then and there. The fate of the entire world may rest in the hands of the absolute worst people in the Marvel Universe. What could go wrong?"
You can find more from our interview with Rosenberg and more preview images starting on the next slide! Let us know what you think of the upcoming series in the comments or you can always talk all things comics with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!
A Roster of Chaos
With a lineup this unique, Rosenberg has a bevy of contrasting personalities to play off of, though one character sits just a little bit above the rest.
"I kind of love them all. Mister Fear is so creepy and such an underrated bad guy. Taskmaster is obviously a legend. But for me Batroc is the real goldmine. He's so arrogant, so obnoxious, and so weird. It's a blast to write him," Rosenberg said.
Rosenberg pitched the editors a large roster of characters, and while he got quite a few of them, there was one other character he was interested in including to mix things up even further.
"As for characters I wanted? I sent our editors, Jake Thomas and Shannon Ballesteros, a list of maybe 20 characters," Rosenberg said. "Some were 'musts', some were 'wants', and some were 'this would be funny but you probably shouldn't let me touch them' candidates. I can't remember all of them, but I really would have loved to put Crossbones on here just to up the crazy and make sure we were the book with the absolute most skull faced guys. But as my old roommate Meatloaf used to say 'two out of three ain't bad.'"prevnext
In the preview art released thus far we've seen that the team is already suffering some losses in issue #1, and that anyone can fall mentality is a theme throughout the series.
"When The Kingpin put this team together it was clear this is not a team with a long life expectancy, unfortunately," Rosenberg said. "And when you are fighting a threat like Knull, who is basically evil Iggy Pop but with space dragons, having a guy dressed like a rhino and a guy who calls himself "the leaper" doesn't set you up for the big win. But who knows? Maybe The Thunderbolts are the ones that beat him. Or maybe space dragons eat all of them. Only time will tell."prevnext
A Visual Treat
4. Juan Ferreyra's seems like a perfect fit for this series, and they can draw a mean space dragon. Why did you want to team up with Juan and is there a particular sequence that you're especially excited for fans to see that you can tease?
As you can see in the preview, Juan Ferreyra's art is a perfect fit for this series, and it helps that he can draw one amazing space dragon. That said, he's not just skilled at big action.
"Juan is so good. I think we're making a book unlike anything else at Marvel right now, so it makes sense it shouldn't look like anything else at Marvel," Rosenberg said. "It's so beautiful and stylized and full of energy. And Juan just kills every part of this. The action is over the top insane. The characters are so cool looking. The comedic beats he nails completely. At least once every few pages Jake, Shannon, and I crack up at some joke or some little bit he puts in. And then on the next page someone gets their face kicked in and it's just brutal. I love all of it."prevnext
From Conversation to Reality
King in Black has been in the works for some time, and Rosenberg is enjoying playing in the sandbox that Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have created.
"I love watching Donny and Ryan's plan finally come to life," Rosenberg said. "I remember sitting in a diner at 2 AM with Donny years ago and he went through the whole thing and was like 'what do you think?' and I just said 'they won't let you do it.' And here we are. They did. Weird. But it's awesome and he paid for my dinner, so the whole thing has been exciting to me since then. It's big and ambitious and crazy and I know fans are going to lose their minds over every part."
Now, it can be challenging to craft a story in the midst of such a major event, one that is having an impact on just about every book Marvel releases. That said, Rosenberg managed to get all the good bits in Thunderbolts through a key strategy...and that is just to ask why repeatedly.
"As for what was the most challenging, I'd have to say convincing Marvel to let us make all the most important parts of the story take place in Thunderbolts," Rosenberg said. "Everyone argued that it should probably happen in issues of The King In Black, since that is the titular comic of the event, but I just kept asking 'why?' until they gave up and let us do it. Now that I think about it, it wasn't really that hard."prevnext
Now, it's become somewhat typical for any event involving symbiotes to feature heroes or villains getting their own venomized designs somewhere in the story, but don't expect that here.
"If I wanted to see the Thunderbolts get all covered in goo I'd... I don't really have an end for that joke. No. The Thunderbolts are here to stop Knull and his drippy army and they're going to win. Or die trying. Or die running away. One of those," Rosenberg said. "But they sure as heck aren't going to kneel before Knull."
King in Black: Thunderbolts #1 hits comics stores on January 13th, 2021.prev