Captain America just wants to travel across America and right the small injustices that he has often missed. A simple wish, a noble one. And one the brand new Swordsman has no intention of letting Cap achieve without a fight.
Mark Waid took a moment from learning blacksmithing to tell us about the new villain, give credit to his collaborator Chris Samnee, and continue to promote the rehabilitation of Steve Rogers.
Marvel.com: To start from a broad perspective, as a writer what about creating a new Swordsman appealed to you? What kind of challenges did the character present in terms of being revamped and reintroduced?
Mark Waid: To be honest, it was Chris Samnee’s suggestion. The challenge was to introduce and motivate him quickly to make room for a dynamic sword vs. shield battle!
Marvel.com: As much as you can, without spoiling things, what does this new Swordsman have in common and how does he differ from his predecessors who used that name?
Mark Waid: He looks very much the same—I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some relation to the original Swordsman—but this one’s different in that he’s basically an extortionist. That, and he may or may not be being played by someone else.
Marvel.com: As an antagonist, how does he fit in with the overall theme of this opening arc of Steve reconnecting with himself and rediscovering Captain America?
Mark Waid: Cap has to fight Swordsman to save an entire small town from destruction. As is the ongoing theme of this book, this is about Steve Rogers connecting with and saving ordinary people in the heartland, the kinds of people he doesn’t often encounter in New York or Washington.
Marvel.com: Given your history, it is clear you and Chris Samnee make an excellent team. On creating the new Swordsman, how did that collaboration work? How much did Chris help you determine things like the character’s personality, motives, and such, and how did you help him to craft the character’s look?
Mark Waid: Straight up, this is 90% Chris. I’m terrible at design, so I always leave that to my collaborators—but giving the Swordsman a unique voice was my challenge to face.
Marvel.com: To stay with art for a moment, Matthew Wilson’s coloring, in collaboration with Chris’s art, favors something sunnier and more open than with previous team ups for Daredevil and Black Widow. How does that help you to realize the themes of the arc? How does it inspire your conception of the action, set pieces, and so on of each issue?
Mark Waid: Cap doesn’t live in a dark, foreboding world–or if he runs across it, he provides a light. That’s it in a nutshell.
Marvel.com: What makes this issue a great point to jump on to the book?
Mark Waid: It’s a clean done-in-one story that hits home the ideals for which Captain America stands and what his physical limits are. If you like Steve Rogers on the screen, you’ll love him on the printed page.