TOM BREVOORT on LEGACY Longterm, Future of Events, and the Return of the FANTASTIC FOUR?
Marvel's Executive Editor Tom Brevoort has helped guide Marvel's line for years, and has been instrumental in the company's journey from Secret Empire, to Generations, and now to "Legacy" - stories he considers three parts of a whole.
With Marvel Legacy #1, written by Jason Aaron with art from Esad Ribic and numerous other artists, now just days away from its September 27 release, Newsarama followed up with Brevoort after our previous conversation aboutSecret Empire to find out in Brevoort's own words what "Legacy" is, what it stands for, and what it means for a few very important titles.
In the course of our conversation, Brevoort also talked about "poisoning the water" with a villainous Captain America, whether Marvel 2-In-One will reveal what's next for the Fantastic Four, and Marvel's outlook on what he calls "capital-'E' events" for the foreseeable future.
Oh, and of course, the nature of that big return that we know is coming in Marvel Legacy #1.
Newsarama: Tom, "Legacy" has some obvious immediate effects – the return of original numbering, classic stories and characters returning – but what does it mean for the Marvel Universe in the long term?
Tom Brevoort: “Legacy” is, in essence, the third act of a larger superstructure. In setting up the re-propagation of these classic characters, we had a lot of them who were replaced, or removed, or displaced, and now we’re going to bring all of those threads to fruition and propel those characters into tomorrow.
What does it mean long term? It kinda means what it always means. It means we’re going to tell stories that take these characters in a new direction that we haven’t seen before, and that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.
Just like Secret Empire begets Generations begets “Legacy,” it’s not like now we’re just gonna be “Marvel Legacy” forever. There are things coming up in the next few months that’ll change some things up again and we’ll evolve and move forward, and reinvest in all the characters of our universe. And some of the stuff we’ve wandered away from in recent years, that’s fallen to the wayside as other things have come to the fore – a recommitment to roots, as it were.
Nrama: Earlier this year, Marvel SVP of Marketing David Gabriel said in a presentation to retailers that, following Secret Empire, Marvel would be moving away from these kind of events for the foreseeable future. Given that you just told us you’ve got some big things coming down the pike, being set up in “Legacy,” is that still the plan?
Brevoort: Yes – although you have to understand the context of what’s actually being said there. Some people read that and think he’s saying there are gonna be no big stories, no crossovers, no nothing whatsoever – and that’s not the case at all.
In fact, one of the taglines of “Legacy” is “Every series is an event,” every series has big things planned in its own pages. But for the moment, no, we’re not planning any big, linewide events along the lines of Secret Empire for the foreseeable future.
We’ve got smaller things planned, though. Venomverse is a great example, that just started coming out, and that’s a smaller “event” story, such as it is. That term “event” gets thrown around in a lot of different contexts, but what I’m talking about are these smaller, character driven stories that still occupy more than one title.
There are a few of those kind of things in “Legacy,” even. There’s the “Mojo Worldwide” storyline between X-Men: Blue and X-Men: Gold, and Avengers and Champions are crossing over in “Worlds Collide.” So there will still be big things happening, but there won’t be those kind of capital-“E” Event type stories for a while.
I don’t want to give a specific timeframe because some folks will take it as “Oh he said it’ll be 10 months, so in month 11 there’s definitely going to be something!” or “Well he said 10 months and it’s been 11 so he’s a liar!”
At the moment, we’re not planning anything, but that could change. We’re completely subject to the whims of the marketplace. Like I told you when we talked about Secret Empire, the last three issues of that series were all in the top ten - so more people were buying them than anything else we were doing – which is a pretty good indicator that people maybe want some of that, so we’ll see. But what David said – in essence – still holds. We’re not planning any linewide events for the foreseeable future.
Nrama: Knowing that “Legacy” is the third part of this roadmap that you laid out at the beginning of Secret Empire, was “Legacy” as it exists now always the plan to close out these three parts?
Brevoort: It was certainly always the plan for it to follow Generations. “Always” in terms of Secret Empire is a little dodgier – we started from Standoff, and from there we built into the story that became Secret Empire.
At that time we didn’t necessarily know it would be a linewide event. We suspected it was going to be, and as we firmed up the plans, and what everyone was going to do in their specific titles, it kinda locked into place. And once that was the case, “Legacy” was always the plan to follow it up. So I don’t want to say “Yes this was always the plan,” because that makes it sound like it was going to happen from day one, from Standoff.
We plan far out, but we plan flexibly, and not in a way that the plans can’t or don’t change and evolve as we move along. And then Generations became the bridge from Secret Empire to “Legacy.” I think “Legacy” may have existed as an idea before Generations even did.
Nrama: Last time you and I spoke, we talked about Captain America. With Steve Rogers’ return marking the kickoff of “Legacy,” How will we see that “Legacy” ethos borne out in Captain Americaas we move into this new era?
Brevoort: It’s been now four or five years since we’ve had the baseline Steve Rogers headlining Captain America. That’s what people thought they were getting after Standoff – and they were pretty excited about it at the time. They’d been without Steve and wanted him back, and we completely poisoned their water with the “Hail Hydra” reveal, really threw everyone for a loop.
But I think all of the things that make Captain America the character he is were still there - his determination, his forthrightness, his never-say-die attitude, his ground level, homespun demeanor. He’s a man-out-of-time who somehow embodies the quintessential best traits of being an average American, whatever we consider that. He finds a way to go up against foes that are much larger than him wielding only a shield and come out on top.
All of these things are things that still resonate with people, that people still like. So going into “Legacy,” we’re gonna see that again, and see that character front and center for the first time in years – since the end of Rick Remender’s Captain America run.
But that’s also tainted with all the experiences, and all the things that have happened since then. This is a Captain America that’s got to kind of prove himself again, and find his way – not as a man out of time, but a man out of step. He has to deal with the fact that his doppelganger led people off the metaphorical cliff of Hydra. So he has to ask himself what he’s representing, what he’s selling, so to speak. What is he putting forth by being this icon, draped in the flag, who can be used symbolically for nefarious ends?
So hopefully what we get are some new Captain America stories that have insight into the character and the world he inhabits in a way that we haven’t seen before. And, we’re getting back to the things people have been asking for for years.
We’re getting back to Captain America punching Nazis.
Nrama: Earlier this month, Newsarama revealed the details of the revived Marvel 2-In-One, in which Ben Grimm and Johnny Storm reunite to find the Richards family in a story called “The Fate of the Four.” Knowing your relationship to the Fantastic Four as both a fan and a creator, what does this story mean for you? Is this the moment so many fans have been waiting for?
Brevoort: If it was, I wouldn’t tell you right now in this interview! [laughs]
We’ve seen – as we hoped that we might – absence has made the heart grow fonder for the Fantastic Four in some ways. I say this with no rancor, as I edited Fantastic Four longer than anyone, and I love that series, that was always a title and book that occupied a certain place in the Marvel Universe, but wasn’t that crucial to people, that central to their reading.
But now that the FF has been gone for a while, people have started to miss them like they missed Thor when he didn’t have a title for a couple years after “Avengers: Disassembled.” And then when Thor actually came back – with the excellent creative team of J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel – people seemed to be ready to get back on board for Thor in a way that they might not have been had business just continued as usual.
Similarly, the pump seems to be primed right now for more stuff that is Fantastic Four related – and Marvel 2-In-One is definitely that. It leans into the legacy of the FF in a huge way, and it’s a very important book for us. I hope the creative team that’s on it – writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Jim Cheung – would help to showcase what it means to us.
But is this the thing that leads to the thing? I’m not gonna tell ya that right now. I want you to read the comic books!
Nrama: With Marvel Legacy #1 under a week out, what can you tell us about the one-shot that no one knows yet – especially about the big return that’s been teased?
Brevoort: I’ve said a lot about Marvel Legacy #1 – but I’ll tell you this, that one-shot is really good. Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Matt Wilson, and all the other artists involved really went to town on it. It’s a phenomenally good comic book. I’m very happy with it, and I think everyone that picks it up will be as well.
The one thing I can tell you for certain about the big return is, the internet is certainly going to spoil it before it goes on sale. So if you wanna be unspoiled, stay off the internet come that Monday 'cause it’ll be everywhere.
I don’t think it will disappoint.