An Interview With Annihilation: Scourge's Matthew Rosenberg!|
A Nova Prime Page Exclusive
Annihilation: Scourge will be scorching the spaceways beginning in November with Annihilation: Scourge Alpha! This one-shot will be followed by a series of one-shots involving Nova, Beta Ray Bill, the Silver Surfer, and the Fantastic Four. The conclusion of this epic event will come in the form of Annihilation: Scourge Omega in December.
The Nova Prime Page was able to ask the event architect and writer of Alpha, Omega, and the Nova one-shot Matthew Rosenberg a few questions about the upcoming series.
He was very generous and took time away from his busy schedule to provide some insight into the event!
The original Annihilation event was over a decade ago, what led Marvel and yourself to revisit Annihilation and how would you describe Annihilation: Scourge?
Well this year is Marvel's 80th Anniversary so there has been a lot of time spent looking back at the amazing history of the company, and with that a lot of things are getting a closer look and even a revisit. But more than that I think a lot of people felt it was the right time to put more focus back on the cosmic stuff. Doing a new Annihilation seemed like an obvious choice to tie a lot of things together and maybe create some new things.
I am a huge fan of the original and of the follow up Conquest. I think maybe I talk about those books too much in the office as examples of things we should be doing more of. So when the time came to do another Annihilation, I think they realized it was the best way to shut me up.
Annihilation: Scourge is the spiritual sequel to the original. We really wanted to capture a lot of what made those so great- the scale, the stakes, the disparate and desperate heroes coming together, and the grounded understanding of war that they brought to the cosmic universe.
But we also wanted to do something that felt different and fresh. We all worked hard to make a book that would feel like something new yet familiar to long time fans, but still be accessible to new readers.
Personally I'm really hoping this gets a lot more folks excited about the cosmic universe and gets a lot of people going back to pick up the originals.
Annihilation's title, in retrospect, gave a hint that the main villain was Annihilus. Does the title Annihilation: Scourge provide any type of similar revelation?
Well Annihilus is a big part of it, so that hint still works. But we also put him on the cover, so it's not so much a clue as it is a statement. But there is a new villain/group of villains in this that I think people will be shocked to see.
I'm not sure it can be figured out from the title alone, but I think once you know what it is it will all make sense.
With the number of alien allies and enemies Nova has made since Annihilation, what can you say about the threat that is great enough to bring them together, especially Nova and Annihilus?
This is "fate of the universe" stuff. Literally. A war is coming that will forever change things and it's thrusting a lot of unlikely allies together, because survival is a powerful motivator.
From the opening shots of the book, I think you're going to find some folks who don't normally get along have no choice here. And Nova is a big part of that. He doesn't want to go back to war. He doesn't want to side with some of these people. But he has no choice.
You're writing the Alpha and Omega bookend issues along with the Nova one-shot. How did you coordinate with the writers of the other one-shots (Dan Abnett, Michael Moreci, and Christos Gage) or was that left up to editor Darren Shan?
The overall idea for the series is mine and I offered up some thoughts on where things could go, but when you are working with writers of this caliber the smartest thing you can do is tell them to do what they want and build the bigger book around that.
It was a really fun exercise and I had some experience with doing stories like this from Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, and I coming up with X-Men Disassembled and Donny Cates and I putting Marvel Knights together.
But it was great working with Dan and Christos and Mike. They are all such great storytellers and all so different, that I think it makes the overall series much stronger. Each one shot works as a standalone story, but all offer big clues and reveals to the overall story of Annihilation Scourge.
And in the end it was just me, Darren, and our other editor Lauren making sure that everything lined up.
When you read it you'll see that it's all a bit more complicated than it first seems.
You're working with different artists on each of your three issues (Juanan Ramirez, Ibraim Roberson, and Manuel Garcia). As a writer, did you find yourself changing how you scripted an issue depending on the artist and how would you describe what each artist bring to the stories?
Yeah, I definitely do. Our marching orders for this were "big space action" so all of the issues contain that.
But I tried to play to everyone's strengths as much as I could. It's my first time working with Manuel and he is just absolutely killing it. And I only worked with Ibraim a tiny bit on X-Men, but he is a great fit for Nova and I think his work will really have people talking.
Juanan and I have done a bunch of stuff together in the past - Secret Warriors, X-Men. And he just draws action and chaos and craziness so well. He was the perfect fit to launch this series.
With Nova playing a major role again in an Annihilation event, how do you view Richard Rider as a character and have you always been a fan of Nova?
I have always been a Nova fan. I read New Warriors when I was a kid and just loved him from there.
I went back and read his solo books after that and always felt like he was underappreciated. Small town kid burdened with this great responsibility, becoming this guardian of space and pulling him away from his home, and in doing so he sort of loses his connection to his actual home. It's so compelling.
It wasn't until the original Annihilation and the Nova book that spun out of it that I think modern audiences got a real taste for what made him great, but also that book changed him in a lot of ways.
Following that the Cancerverse stuff really lead him to being, what I think of as one of the best characters Marvel has. He is this reluctant warrior, he's been to hell and back, and now he doesn't know anything but the thing he hates - the war.
He's this tragic hero, but buried in there is still the spirit of the funny teenager from Long Island who got in over his head but is willing to try and get out himself.
We're really trying to play with a lot of that. Who he was, who he is now, what he could be. He's a very damaged man when we find him. He is far from home, lacking in confidence, lacking in friends, trying to find his purpose again.
And if he survives all this, hopefully it puts him in the prominent position he deserves in the greater Marvel Universe.
Following the conclusion of the Omega issue, will there be any titles dealing with the fallout of Annihilation: Scourge?
Yes. But I think that's all I can say.
I'd like to thank Matthew Rosenberg for taking time for the interview! Annihilation: Scourge begins November 20th!