U.S.Avengers: All That Glitters

Ask any child, they will tell you: red might be a cool color but it doesn’t compare to gold.

Apparently, the newest villain of the Marvel Universe remembers those lessons of his childhood so while he shares a look with The Red Skull, he went the extra mile, sporting a bright shiny golden cranium.

Color sense, alone, however, will not conquer the modern Marvel Universe and The Golden Skull has no intention of not leaving the world tightly in his grip. U.S.AVENGERS writer Al Ewing reached out to us from his hidden bunker to let us know why the Golden Skull’s arrival may very well spell all our dooms.

Marvel.com: How does The Golden Skull differ in motivation and M.O. from the more well-known Skull, Red?

Al Ewing: In motivation…not that much. The Golden Skull’s aim is to create ruin and make money from the rubble, and the more people he can cheat, lie to, and steal from along the way, the better. It makes him feel clever. I suppose The Red Skull might actually at least pretend to himself that he believes in something—as evil and monstrous as that something may be—but I’m not sure the same is true for The Golden Skull. He believes only in himself. If the Red Skull’s soul is a bleak, shriveled lump of bile and ash, the Golden Skull’s soul is a howling void surrounded by golden mirrors that reflect it back, and there is nothing else in him.

In M.O.—I don’t think The Golden Skull uses any methods The Red Skull wouldn’t. Although I don’t think The Red Skull likes pirates as much.

Marvel.com: Without spoiling too much, can you vaguely describe Skull’s goal and why the U.S.Avengers in particular are the force set up to stop him?

Al Ewing: The Golden Skull is here to make money, and if other people have to suffer and die to make that happen, well, he’s more than happy to sneer at them about it. He’ll probably stockpile his ill-gotten gains in the form of gold, since the eventual endgame is to take his haul somewhere else and start the process over again. and gold is relatively universal among the alternate dimensions. That’s the nice thing about the Marvel Universe: there’s always another Earth somewhere if you burn this one.

As for why the U.S.Avengers are involved—Captain America 20XX, the Cap from the Skull’s future, knows and trusts them, and she’s worked with them before. All the other heroes in this timeline are up to their eyeballs in drama; Black Widow’s always got some spy stuff going on, Vision is not exactly the Vision she met last time, and her parents have all manner of things going on, as seen in their own books. Roberto, meanwhile, has just set up a giant super-spy organization. He’s the obvious choice to come to for a helping hand.

U.S.Avengers #2 cover by Paco Medina

Marvel.com: Given that Golden Skull comes from alternate future U.S. where Manhattan periodically floods and helium is in high demand, how much shock does he experience with the Marvel U’s mainstream modern NYC?

Al Ewing: Not much at all! Anywhere he can find a mark to con, he’s happy. If anything, this timeline is a paradise for him; the future timeline he comes from [has] learned a lot of hard lessons at great cost, and they’re currently in the “won’t get fooled again” phase. The Golden Skull can’t afford to wait decades for people to forget all about that, so he’s come back—and sideways—in time, instead.

Marvel.com: The solicits for U.S.AVENGERS #2 mention the death of Captain America—although not which one. Given that the only times we’ve seen Skull to date he was fighting or being beaten by a Captain America, what has his reaction been to the hero’s death?

Al Ewing: That’s at the start of issue #2, I believe. We kill off two of them! We don’t see his reaction, though, as presumably he’d have learned about it in history class, assuming he bothered to go. That’s right: we’re taking a close look at the mysterious Zero Day that started the world of 20XX!

Marvel.com: In general, how does Skull view and react to the heroes of the mainstream Marvel U?

Al Ewing: A collection of rubes, marks, and idiots, just like the heroes of his home dimension.

The fact that they keep beating him doesn’t change his assessment.

After all, how can anyone be on his level? He’s quite similar to Doctor Doom in that, although unlike Doom, the Golden Skull doesn’t “do” book learning; not even ancient tomes of mysticism.

Marvel.com: What is the single most important thing readers should know about Skull to understand him and the threat he represents?

Al Ewing: He is capable of anything—absolutely anything—in his own service. He will never reform. He will never change. And he will burn the world before he ever admits he’s wrong.

See the Golden Skull’s schemes begin to unfold in U.S.AVENGERS #1, available on January 4, and explode in issue #2, coming January 18, both by Al Ewing and Paco Medina!