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Secret Empire: Underground: Digging Deeper

Infiltrate the resistance against Hydra with writer Jeremy Whitley!

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When you’re heading into the underground, you gotta go deep.

That’s our opinion at least, and it looks like its writer Jeremy Whitley’s mind-set, too, as he digs down into the heroes who’ll populate his SECRET EMPIRE: UNDERGROUND #1, out June 7. We dug him up to find out just how far into the resistance against Steve Roger’s Secret Empire he’ll go.

Marvel.com: Jeremy, what a collection of characters you’re working with in this one-shot! Do they have a common thread running through them, other than being Avengers?

Jeremy Whitley: This team certainly is a motley crew as far as Avengers go! Yes, they’ve pretty well all been Avengers at some point, but I don’t think any of them would be in most people’s top list of “When I think of Avengers, I think of ‘X.’” The fact is, in the midst of Secret Empire there is a job that needs to be done and with the world in the state it is, you have to take the people that show up. And that’s the one thing they all have in common: when things are bad these are the men and women that show up.

Marvel.com: Looks like Mockingbird’s out front?

Jeremy Whitley: Mockingbird is the team leader for this mission because…well…of course she is. She’s the one with the training and the experience ordering around a squad. While she’s the least powered of the group, she’s probably the most competent. Maybe that’s as a result.

Marvel.com: Who’s Bobbi going to look to out in the field when she needs a good soldier?

Jeremy Whitley: The dynamic that’s maybe my favorite in this book is the relationship between Mockingbird and Hercules. Mockingbird is all about leading the team and Hercules is all about fighting some dinosaurs. The result is that Mockingbird can point at dinosaurs and say “Herc, go hit that!” and Herc will say “Have at thee!” and charge into battle. Sam [Wilson] and Ant-Man are on board to follow Bobbi’s lead, but Bobbi and Hercules have that special bond that can only come from one person really liking to hit dinosaurs and the other person having dinosaurs that need to be hit.

And with Hercules I think the key is to have reasonable expectations. He’ll always be up to fight a dinosaur, which makes him the perfect teammate for this mission. Now, if you’re counting on him to help plan your wedding, you might be in trouble—unless you want to have your wedding at a gladiatorial contest. Then you might be okay.

Marvel.com: We can only assume that Pietro is going to be, well…Pietro.

Jeremy Whitley: Quicksilver is, as usual, one of the worst people to have as a teammate. He’s here for his own reasons and he wants the mission to succeed as much as anyone else if not more, but he hates taking orders from anyone and Mockingbird especially so. From his point of view Mockingbird is the least powerful of the group and he’d really rather see anybody else leading. Of course, if someone else were leading, odds are he’d probably have a problem with them too.

Secret Empire: Underground #1 cover by RB Silva

Marvel.com: And people tend to react to Pietro as badly as he does to them, too…

Jeremy Whitley: Well, Quicksilver’s attitude particularly rubs Sam Wilson the wrong way. Sam has had as bad a last few months as anyone in the Marvel Universe and is still dealing with being betrayed by his best friend and giving up his title as Captain America. Pietro’s need to bicker and question rubs him raw. And as soon as Quicksilver figures out that calling Sam “Captain America” gets his goat, you can depend on him to double down. Sam is a guy that it’s usually easy to be friends with and right now that’s not necessarily true. He’s really going through it.

Marvel.com: What about Scott Lang? Surely he’s a team player?

Jeremy Whitley: Ant-Man…well, Scott gets along with everybody short term, right? Doing a single mission with Scott is always bound to be fun. He’s got jokes and knows a few good tricks. It’s always just been having a long term relationship with Scott that’s hard, right?

Marvel.com: Who else figures into your line-up for UNDERGROUND?

Jeremy Whitley: Our team does have one more member: A.I. Iron Man. Sadly, as Tony notes, the Savage Land wreaks havoc on electronics and for the moment he is electronics. So while Tony is along for the ride, he won’t be joining the away team for this mission.

Marvel.com: Any chance that once the dust clears from Secret Empire that these folks could assemble once more?

Jeremy Whitley: Could these characters ever work together again? Sure! Well, there’s a good chance they might leave Quicksilver behind if they have more amicable choices. But I think Mockingbird and Hercules should absolutely have their own title. I’ve got a great pitch: every month Mockingbird finds something she wants to get hit and Hercules hits it. Boom!

Settle in the Savage Land with Jeremy Whitley and artist Eric Koda’s SECRET EMPIRE: UNDERGROUND, sneaking your way June 7!