Spiders, Scars & Super Heroes

Spiders, Scars & Super Heroes

By Jim Beard

Writer Chris Yost has his hands full with current and upcoming Marvel projects that run the gamut from hard-hitting military-style action and all-ages Avengers to the newest star of the Spider-Man universe.

Battle Scars #6 cover by Carlo Pagulayan

BATTLE SCARS, the six-part limited series that details the adventures of a U.S. Army Ranger named Marcus Johnston thrust into a dark world of conspiracy and super villains continues March 14 and wraps up April 11. Yost promises that in BATTLE SCARS #6, “All secrets are revealed.”

“We get the true history of Marcus Johnson, the final battle between Marcus and ORION, the villainous mastermind of the entire series, and major, major changes to Marcus that leads to a big change in the Marvel Universe,” he says of the series’ climax. “Which sounds like hype, but in this case it's pretty accurate.

“It's been great to introduce a new character from the ground up, and to get a different perspective on the Marvel Universe through his eyes. He's not a super-hero or god, he's just a guy. And he's been thrust into the insanity that is this world. I spend a lot of time writing mutants and Spider-Men, so it's been good to freshen up that worldview. And I'd love to write Marcus again, but at the same time it's always interesting to see what another writer might bring to the character as well. I'm pretty confident we'll be seeing Marcus again.”

Scarlet Spider #4 cover by Ryan Stegman

On the ongoing scene, the writer’s already garnered acclaim for his SCARLET SPIDER series, which spins Peter Parker’s clone Kaine into costumed adventures of his own. SCARLET SPIDER issues #3 and #4, also out March 14 and April 11 respectively, plunges the hero further into the sticky web of his dark past.

“I'm excited about it all,” Yost notes of upcoming issues. “The Assassins Guild, a nuclear bomb, the Kraven family, Roxxon, the Rangers—there's so much great stuff coming up. We are so incredibly grateful for the response to this book, and we promise: we're not going to let you down.”

The key to distinguishing the title from the others in the Spider-Man family, says Yost, rests in setting Kaine apart from his “brother,” the original web-slinger, and branding him with his own form of super heroics.

“Scarlet Spider is Spider-Man,” he explains. “He's got the DNA, but he doesn't have the moral code. The good upbringing. Spider-Man learned all kinds of life lessons from Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Scarlet Spider had an insane super villain named The Jackal. But now, for the first time, he's in a position where he doesn't necessarily have to be a villain.

“His future is wide open. So he's got a choice to make.”

Marvel Universe Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1 cover

Also kicking off on April 11, MARVEL UNIVERSE AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES #1 brings the writer full circle as he returns to working on the all-ages version of the Avengers he wrote for the popular animated TV show of the same name.

“The Avengers animated series was near and dear to my heart, so it was wonderful to be able to revisit that world,” he says. “I write a lot of mature, violent books, so it's great to write something that I can hand to my kids.

“This book is like fun little quick adventures, while the show did more involved, serial stories. With MARVEL UNIVERSE AVENGERS: EARTH’S MIGHTIEST HEROES, anyone can pick up any issue at any time and enjoy it. That being said, it's in continuity with the show. So if you're watching, you'll see where things line up and there's some fun Easter eggs. But knowledge of the show isn't necessary to enjoy the book.

Describing the title as “Fun, adventure, action, but mostly character,” he promises the very first story will involve a favorite Marvel villain.

“Iron Man's old foe The Mandarin comes to town to attack Stark Tower and this time, he's got a dragon with him,” Yost reveals. “It's the Avengers versus Mandarin and Fin Fang Foom. The Mandarin is a villain that we didn't get to in the series, but he's a major Iron Man villain. So I thought it was about time.”

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