Marvel Heroes Defect to the Dark Side in Upcoming Avengers & X-Men: Axis
Marvel heroes will turn evil in the upcoming superhero comic mash-up Avengers & X-Men: Axis. The second act, titled Inversion, will feature heroes giving into their dark sides and villains using their powers for the forces of good in what Marvel calls "the recalibration of the Marvel Universe's moral compass."
"The fun of something like this in my mind is to constantly subvert expectations and surprise people with exciting new things," said Axis writer Rick Remender. "One of the things we came up with and fell in love with at the retreats is the inversion aspect, where I put on my dungeon master's cap and start twisting alignments around. Which isn't as cut and dry as you think. I think that inverting the characters kind of shows you the antithesis of what they normally are, which I think helps to shine a light on their character."
Remender explains that the "inversion" essentially involves the heroes losing sight of their conscience, and the villains gaining one. "An inverted character, if you're Sabretooth for example, you're no longer going to kill somebody to achieve your goals, you're going to save somebody and take the hit. He's basically the same person, with the same memories and everything, only that Jiminy Cricket in his head is giving him different information. His moral alignment, his guts, who he is as a human is now aligned in a different way. So, he's not capable of killing, at least not the way he used to. Imagine if you're a serial killer, and you're an amoral sociopath, and you wake up one day with an ethical compass and a conscious and you're all of a sudden recognizing that, hey, this is wrong and I am spreading pain across the world, and I'm making life awful for people, and I'm not helping. And all of a sudden, he's got the moral compass of a superhero, but he's still the same guy. It's not mind control. They're acting, and they're making choices, but their moral alignments and the choices that they would normally make is informed by different sets of personality traits, because what they normally have has been turned upside down."
Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor will all be corrupted and degenerate into the worst versions of themselves. Iron Man will revert to his ignominious beginnings as a self-serving, morally bankrupt arms dealer, and Bruce Banner will turn into "Kluh," who is described as "the blackest, darkest, most evil thing that was born of the rage of an abused Bruce Banner as a child… the Hulk's Hulk." Thor will also be seduced to the dark side, as this comic is meant to be the springboard for the next Thor series, in which a woman will take up the mantle as a result of the current Thor being "unworthy" of the power of the hammer. "Thor's nobility becomes selfishness, and his willingness to put himself in the way of harm becomes his ability to avoid conflict in service of others," said Remender.
Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort also confirmed that this series will give rise to spin-offs for Spider-Man villains Carnage and Hobgoblin, who will attempt to embark on the road to redemption, while Remender promised significant changes in the status quo for the X-Men, Spider-Man, Avengers, "really for everybody."
The Axis series will follow the Avengers and X-Men as they enter into an epic battle with Captain America supervillain Red Skull, who recently implanted parts of Professor X's brain into his own and gave himself telepathic powers. It will be "a nice cathartic chapter in the history of the Avengers and X-Men at the worst moment in their lives," said Remender. "Writing it, there were a couple of moments where I banged on my desk and said, 'Yes! Yay, nerd!' and I got excited for it."
Axis will come out in October, while the Inversion arc will begin with the fourth issue in November.