Published May 31, 2017

Secret Empire: Celestial Navigation

Brave New World writer Magdalene Visaggio helps Starbrand find his way!

Image for Secret Empire: Celestial Navigation

In SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD #3 on July 5, writer Magdalene Visaggio and artist Sean Izaakse drag Starbrand back into the spotlight. In a world shattered by Hydra’s machinations, a being as formidable as Kevin Conner has the potential to truly change the balance of power. However, he might not want anything to do with Earth and its struggles.

Visaggio gladly agreed to offer some insight into Starbrand’s state of mind. As a writer, what draws you to a character like Starbrand as a POV in the midst of this massive crossover? What is it like to contribute to the stories of SECRET EMPIRE given its size of scope and possible consequences?

Magdalene Visaggio: So, the thing that really resonates with me about Kevin is his sense of disconnection; it’s sort of ambling through the universe as if it doesn’t concern him and he doesn’t entirely understand it. I’m autistic, so that’s basically how I roll on a day-to-day basis, anyway. It can get very hard to connect, to really inhabit the world and my body and my life, especially when things start to get heated or crazy or emotional. I sort of don’t understand human behavior or feelings a lot of the time, so the end result frequently turns out to be me standing in a room while everything happens around me, and I want to help, but mostly I’m in the way because I just can’t click with everybody else.

So in a real way, Kevin is grappling with all the craziness of SECRET EMPIRE the same way I would: by being totally overwhelmed but sincerely interested in lending a hand. And his process—look for the one thing nobody is doing and see if that works—is exactly how I operate.

As far as what it was like? I felt a lot like Kevin! This is my first time dealing with someone else’s continuity—it’s my first Marvel work—and they threw a lot of background material at me that I needed to quickly and systematically absorb and process and then turn into an original little story. I made a point of keeping my story small and personal, precisely because SECRET EMPIRE is so huge; when everything is big, it’s the small stuff that sticks the most. It is clear that Starbrand has some ambivalence about if and how to involve himself in events that have transpired. What’s going on with him as the story opens? What kind of emotional state is he in as he weighs his options? From his point of view, what does he believe and how does that inform his choice in the midst of this chaos?

Magdalene Visaggio: Kevin, at the start, is lost. He’s on the Alpha Flight Space Station, and everybody else seems to know what to do; Captain Marvel and Spectrum and Star-Lord are always working, strategizing, planning their next step. The people working on the station, the day-to-day crew, are keeping everything operational and providing support. And Kevin? Kevin is a living planetary defense system that can’t even get to his planet. He doesn’t know what purpose he’s even supposed to serve, and he’s so powerful he barely even knows what he brings to the table. Kevin’s whole [shtick] is that nothing in his life is clicking, nothing makes sense, and here he is in this giant mess, and he’s just in the way. So he wants to feel like he has a purpose up there. How does working with artist Sean Izaakse influence your creative process? How do you both work together to bring the story to life on the page?

Magdalene Visaggio: Usually, on my creator-owned material, it’s a super intense collaboration process. Here, though, they brought in Sean, and he started churning out these gorgeous pages, and I didn’t even really know what to add! He nailed the feel and the action, so there wasn’t a lot for me to bring into the process there once I turned in the script. I just got to enjoy the pages coming in and squealing with delight when I saw the Captain Marvel on the first page. Stepping around me to speak directly to fans, why should they snag the book?

Magdalene Visaggio: If you like awkward teenagers with superpowers feeling awkward about how super they are, boy do I have four pages for you.

Help Magdalene Visaggio and Sean Izaakse check in with Starbrand in SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD #3, due out July 5!