Sorcerers Supreme: Nina in the Spotlight
Robbie Thompson prepares for the most mysterious member of his new team to take center stage!
The Conjuror comes to DOCTOR STRANGER AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME loaded for bear and with almost no interest in being a team player. She presents as taciturn and brutal, but reveals almost nothing of herself.
With SORCERCERS SUPREME #4 this upcoming January, however, writer Robbie Thompson and artist Javier Rodriguez will pull back the curtain a bit and officially introduce Nina to readers.
Before her grand opening, we spoke with Thompson for a quick glance at the team’s resident bad ass.
Marvel.com: With DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE SORCERERS SUPREME #4, Nina moves into the spotlight. From a writer’s perspective why did you want to put the focus on her at this point in the book?
Robbie Thompson: When [editor] Nick Lowe and I first talked about this book, we talked a lot about how to tackle a story with a big team. I hadn’t written a team book before, so I was really excited for the challenge. With so many characters, it can be tough to flesh them all out and give them all their due. In that initial discussion, we came up with the idea that, at least for the first arc, we’d use a bookend flashback structure—each issue beginning and ending with a flashback that shines a light on an individual member of our team. It was a great and efficient way to build out characters as well as suspense. So, in the first issue, we focused on Merlin, second on Wiccan, third on Kushala. I don’t want to give too much away, but things get pretty intense in the fourth issue, and so it was the perfect time to shine a light on one of our most mysterious characters, Nina.
Marvel.com: Brazil of the 1950’s is an unusual setting for comics. In creating Nina, what made that setting feel right for her place of origin? How does the era and country inform her disposition, approach to teamwork, and goals?
Robbie Thompson: 1950’s Brazil is a fascinating time and it definitely is a part of who Nina is. However, since we’re not taking place in that era—not yet, anyway—it’s only an aspect of Nina’s character.
She’s not defined by where she comes from. The key aspect to her character that is something that she shares with the team is that as a Supreme, she’s not used to working with others. There are major trust issues for Nina to overcome, and she has to overcome them or it could cost her everything—so that has a bigger impact on her disposition, teamwork and goals.
Marvel.com: What is it like to write Nina? What challenges and rewards does she present you?
Robbie Thompson: With each issue, I sort of fall in love with whoever is getting the spotlight flashback, but Nina has been a favorite from the beginning. I knew she was carrying a more personal connection to The Forgotten from the jump, and then artist Javier Rodriguez’s design just really made her pop. They’re all fun to write, but I do have a soft spot for Nina!
Marvel.com: How is Javier Rodriguez’s art aiding your storytelling? How is it influencing what you are showcasing in the book?
Robbie Thompson: I simply cannot imagine this book without Javier. He is the Sorcerer Supreme to me!
We’ve been in constant communication throughout building this book, and I had the good fortune to meet him Spain a few months back. He’s brilliant. A truly great storyteller. I write in a much looser style for this book and that’s all because Javier is so fantastic and brings so much thought and passion to the book.
My job is to set things up and get out of his way. I send scripts early to him to get his feedback right from the jump. And every time he’s always got a much better idea for how the story can flow, or a moment of great characterization, or an epic layout to really bring out the magic in the book. Nick and assistant editor Darren Shan did an unbelievable job assembling the artists for this book, and I’ve learned so much from everyone on this team.
Marvel.com: How do you see Nina’s role in the Sorcerers group? How is that role evolving and changing both within the book and for you the more you write her?
Robbie Thompson: I think she’s got the furthest to go in terms of becoming a true team member. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything from #4, but her judgment is clouded by her personal ties to The Forgotten. But I think she’s starting to see, especially watching Doctor Strange in action, that there’s value in working as a team. There’s value in trusting others. Unlike the other Supremes, Strange has been involved in a lot of teams and so he’s more open and trusting than the others. That affects everyone, for better or for worse, and it has a positive impact long term on Nina.
Marvel.com: She’s undoubtedly the most well-armed of the Sorcerers in terms of conventional weaponry. What motivates her to outfit herself this way despite her powers and what do you think it reveals about her character?
Robbie Thompson: I think it reflects how she likes to keep everything at a safe distance. These are not close range weapons! I also think it reflects how broad her magical knowledge is; she doesn’t just rely on spells. A lot of credit for that belongs with Javier, who designed the character and really brought her to life. I mentioned guns, but he came up with her whole get up and really fleshed the character out in a way you can see just by looking at her.
Marvel.com: You’ve previously mentioned a connection to Merlin. Anything more you can tease about that?
Robbie Thompson: You’ll see in the flashback that she fell into this story in a much different way than her compatriots—she’s on a mission, and that mission will be revealed by the end of #4!
Marvel.com: To switch the lens to the book in full, what is going on in #4? What are the other Sorcerers up to?
Robbie Thompson: It’s all been building to this issue, as our Supremes once and for all throw down with The Forgotten. There’s a ton of reveals in this issue, and an epic battle that Javier, inker Alvaro Lopez, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Joe Caramagna have done an unbelievable job in bringing to life. This issue rocks!
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