As announced in the Avengers NOW! panel, Angela is not only joining the Avengers, but will have her own series. It’s called Angela: Asgard’s Assassin, written by Marguerite Bennett and Kieron Gillen, with art by Stephanie Hans and Phil Jimenez, and it debuts in November 2014.
Some think Angela is the new Thor since she was recently revealed to be Thor’s sister through the events of Original Sin. And being in this series does not excluse her from being the new Thor as some characters do have multiple books. Really, they are trying to keep the fans guessing as to the identity of the new Thor.
Marvel.com spoke with writers Bennett and Gillen about the new series on Saturday. Gillen started out by giving an introduction of the character of Angela, since many fans may not be familiar with her. Gillen jokes that she “is a character who has relatively few stories published but has an incredibly complicated history.” Gillen is referring, of course, to the fact that Angela started off as a character in the pages of Image Comics’ Spawn title, but – long story short – Neil Gaiman came away with the rights to the character, and she landed in the Marvel Universe. Gillen describers her as the “Asgardian Black Widow” in terms of how she acts, fights, moves, and has “a lot of red in her ledger.” She’s also obsessed with the concept of debts – what people owe her and what she owes people.
Her background as Thor’s newly revealed sister is that during the ancient war between the Angels, who raised Angela, and Asgard, Angela was lost. Now that she’s back and has been revealed to be the daughter of Odin, she’s been ostracized by the people who raised her. They despise the Asgardians, and she doesn’t have much love for them either. “…so she’s kind of like a girl without a home.” Gillen says.
Bennett adds that Angela is “terribly tied to her ideology. It almost supersedes her personality in a lot of ways, traditionally.” She goes on to say that Angela battles with her own ideology after the revelation of her past and her birthright, so now she has to figure out how to bring these two parts of her together and gain an understanding of who she is and who she was supposed to be.
“And she fights things.” Joked Gillen. Bennett followed suit saying “And she fights things. And she has a sassy friend.
As far as the title of the book goes, it has various connotations, and those will be a part of the book’s concept. Is she an assassin for Asgard, or is she an assassin of Asgard? “Her status quo is open when we join her, and, as I mentioned the fact of Black Widow earlier, her background was as an assassin, but she really isn’t one anymore.” Explained Gillen.
Hans chimed in on the art side of things, saying “it’s all in the attitude” when asked about working with the different design aesthetic. “I’m trying to let the reader see the person behind the costume.” Speaking of working on such a large team, with two writers and two artists, Hans said they all live in different countries, and in a way that makes things easier. “I really want to focus on my part of the book, which is to give the right painting to the script. Being one page or one hundred, you always do it one at a time.”
The team is keeping a tight lid on the details of the plot of the book right now. Gillen did say, though, that Angela is on the run for reasons that become clear right away, and she’s trying to achieve something. So this gives her the opportunity to interact with a lot of people, and that gives us a chance to really see who Angela is. We see how she interacts with Asgardians, with Angels, with the Guardians, etc. He compared the first arc to “Lone Wolf and Cub,” saying the first arc has a pretty hard twist. He then decides to give some clues, noting that it spins off certain Asgardian stuff Gillen has done before in Journey Into Mystery and Matt Fraction’s Thor, and of course Original Sin. But it’s still its own story as well.
Hans wants to draw the new Loki to make him sexy, while the writers are still finding their way. Bennett explains that each story will feature a part told by Sara, Angela’s new sassy companion. They’ve known each other for a long time, but Sara has been lost. So when she resurfaces she brings knowledge of Angela to the reader and tells these tales that are interwoven into the plot. “They’re not backups, they are authentic and organic to the story as it functions. And she spints out these legends and cautionary tales and dire warnings of the idea of who Angela was and how she’s known, and the great myths that have sprung out of her wake.” Said Bennet.
Art-wise, Jimenez is doign the main story and Hans is doing the myth stories. So there’s a difference between the art styles of the tales to differentiate them. Hans said Jimenez’s style is more strong and solid, while Hans has “a more ethereal rendering, which should fit the tone of the smaller stories.”
When asked if Angela is just Punisher with a sword and wings, Gillen replied that “She’s not as sure about stuff. When she chooses the fight, she’s pragmatic and has very little joy in it anymore. She used to have joy in it, and that’s one of the things with the character we’re trying to reconnect: Why the hell am I doing this, anyway? I’m the best in the universe, what does that matter?” Bennett added that the Punisher is born of self-righteous anger, while Angela balances the scales, giving people what they deserve. “There’s no room for pettiness or revenge in her, but there’s also no room for mercy, necessarily.” Bennet compared her to Stannis Baratheon of Game of Thrones. “She doesn’t always like living by this code,” Gillen added, “and that’s the problem with having a code, and there’s some of the most interesting parts of the character.”
Both writers said that Angela: Asgard’s Assassin will be very accessible to new readers or readers not familiar with Angela. It does build on stuff that came before, but it’s a fresh start for the character. And the secondary tales will help integrate the backstory as needed.
You can read the entire interview here.