Published November 23, 2016

Declassifying the Secret Warriors

Writer Matthew Rosenberg pulls back the curtain on the new team debuting next year!

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Inhumans Vs. X-Men promises to completely reimagine how the two groups get along in the world. Before the event even gets properly underway, however, we’ve gotten a bit of a look at things to come when IvX finishes up.

Though still being kept under tight wraps, SECRET WARRIORS debuts in May 2017 from writer Matthew Rosenberg and artist Javier Garron. Ms. Marvel, Karnak, Moon Girl, Devil Dinosaur, Quake, and more will band together after the Royal Family leaves Earth behind, but for what purpose?

We conferred with Rosenberg about putting this team together, working with Garron, and maybe a few other secrets about his warriors. What would you say the mission statement of SECRET WARRIORS is?

Matthew Rosenberg: When we first meet them their mission statement is to survive. They come together at a crazy time and they are thrust together by necessity. There is a lot going on and they won’t always agree with what they should be doing or how to get it done. They are going to be taking up a fight that a lot of other heroes won’t or can’t. So surviving is job one, and figuring out how they can be most effective is job number #2. What kinds of threats will the team be facing in their early adventures?

Matthew Rosenberg: Death. That will be a pretty big one. Seriously though, when they start out there is a lot stacked against them. The missions they undertake wouldn’t be easy under normal circumstances, but a lot of people are going to be out hunting for them. And that is a big part of the book. Whether they can operate better striking from the shadows or leading on the front lines.

As for specific threats? There will be some familiar faces and some familiar threats, but handled in a pretty new way. I can’t really say much more than that right now. Does the lack of a Royal Family nearby change what it means to be an Inhuman in the post-IvX word?

Matthew Rosenberg: Oh totally. The Inhuman nation, their very identity, is in flux. They are a strong and proud people, but they have always had strong leadership. And now that is gone. Their departure will echo throughout the Marvel Universe in general and SECRET WARRIORS in specific for a long time to come. How our team, who are young and didn’t necessarily identify as Inhuman or grow up looking to the Royal Family for guidance, reacts as opposed to how other Inhumans deal with the change will be something we keep coming back to. What was the process like for nailing down this line-up of Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl, Quake, Inferno, Karnak, and a few surprises?

Matthew Rosenberg: The process was pretty straightforward. Wil Moss, my editor, and I talked about using a bunch of the younger Inhumans in the book. He suggested some, I suggested some, and I think we stopped suggesting when we hit a point where we were really happy with the dynamic that all these characters would create together. As for individual characters, it was important that each one really adds something to the group and the story.

I have a very soft spot for Quake because my first full issue for Marvel was a Quake one shot I wrote last year. I love SECRET WAR; Brian Bendis did an amazing job of making her this very mysterious and fun force of nature. And obviously she is an important character to the original SECRET WARRIORS series, and Jonathan Hickman really further [fleshed] her character out. She is a spy, a super hero, and an Inhuman. She really is seeing sides of things that no one else will.

MS. MARVEL is hands down one of my favorite comics of the last few years simply because she is one of the best characters. I get the same feeling from her I got when I first encountered Peter Parker. G. Willow Wilson and [the book’s artists] do an amazing job of making this normal girl seem truly extraordinary and this extraordinary hero seem very relatable. It’s that balance that I love. I think a lot of people will see themselves in Ms. Marvel in this book.

MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR is such a great book and she is so fun. Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder are good friends of mine, so I’ve been really rooting for that book since it was first announced, and they killed it. Having Moon Girl on the team has been a fun challenge because she isn’t as much of a traditional super hero as some of the other cast. Obviously we don’t want to change who Moon Girl is or what she does, so finding the right role for her has been a really fun challenge. She is really fun and sort of serves as the brains of the team.

And we knew we wanted someone from Charles Soule, Joe [Madureira], Ryan Stegman and company’s INHUMAN series. Inferno was the perfect choice because he is a good middle ground between Quake and Ms. Marvel. He is just an average guy with this power thrust onto him and he is still trying to find his way. He wants to do good, but he isn’t sure he wants to be out there calling himself a hero. He will have to figure out who he is and he has to do it quickly.

And Karnak’s role will be a bit of a mystery. Because he’s Karnak. We hear there will also be non-Inhumans on the team. What brings them into the fold of the Secret Warriors?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, we have some team members who are still under wraps. As for what brings them on board, they aren’t just fighting Inhuman problems. In the same way that the X-Men don’t only deal with mutant issues, the Secret Warriors are a group of people forced to work together because they have a chance to do something about some problems no one else is dealing with. They will take any help they can get.

Secret Warriors by David Nakayama

Secret Warriors by David Nakayama What’s the dynamic like with this group? Many of them have been on teams before, but not together.

Matthew Rosenberg: Bad? They are all pretty young, smart and headstrong, and they kind of all came together my happenstance. The way Quake approaches a problem isn’t really going to be the way Ms. Marvel does, and without a clear leader—or clear to them—tensions will grow and grow. But they are all good at what they do and their mission is too important to let personal squabbles get in the way. You’ve got a pretty classic teen hero team set-up here. What were some of the previous Marvel teen hero books that influenced you?

Matthew Rosenberg: Wow. Okay. I love so many of the Marvel teen hero books. Obviously X-Men is a huge influence for me, the reason I write comics even. I love the X-Men in all their different permutations, but they resonate with me the most when they are still kids who are trying to figure out their place in the world. The original UNCANNY X-MEN, NEW MUTANTS, YOUNG X-MEN, WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN, ALL-NEW X-MEN. All of those books.

RUNAWAYS was a complete game changer for me. It introduced new characters in the Marvel Universe and did a great job of giving them their own space to play and grow, while still making them feel really vital and relevant.

Kieron [Gillen] and Jamie [McKelvie’s] YOUNG AVENGERS was a great book. It really felt like they were doing their own thing, but it made sense. It’s fun, stylish, cool, and super weird. It has this great cast and it’s full of heart. That is a pretty big influence on me.

Both versions of Ultimate Spider-Man are amazing. I’ve said this before, but I honestly think that the Peter Parker run on ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN may be the greatest super hero arc of all time. By the end of it you know Peter as well as you have ever known any character from fiction, as well as you know some of your friends. Better even, probably.

And I would be doing the book a huge disservice if I didn’t say the original SECRET WARRIORS. I know it’s not what people will think of as a “teen book,” but they are all young and in way over their heads. The teen angle is subtle, but so key to why the book works so well. It never panders, never talks down or patronizes, but it fully explores what it’s like to be exceptional kids in a world that both desperately needs you and will wholly take advantage of you. It’s a pretty dark take on the teen book, but I would definitely put it up there with the rest. How has it been working with Javier so far?

Matthew Rosenberg: It’s been amazing. His work is so fun and exciting, without ever sacrificing character. I think he can do those over the top moments we need just as well as he can do the subtle, character-driven stuff. I am incredibly lucky to get to work on this series. It pushes me to give him bigger action set pieces, better character moments, just make this really dynamic book. But in the end I feel like mostly my job here will be to give him cool stuff to draw and then get the hell out of his way.

Want more SECRET WARRIORS details? You’ll just have to keep an eye on and our social channels as they become fit for public consumption!