The foundation underneath the Unity Squad has cracks—literally and figuratively—November 8 with the arrival of UNCANNY AVENGERS #29 in stores. The figurative comes from the continuing fallout of Secret Empire. The unstoppable Juggernaut stands responsible for the literal.
Writer Jim Zub glanced away from his seismograph to answer our questions about the chances that the Unity Squad manages to stay unified against this formidable foe.
Marvel.com: We are promised—or warned—that the Unity Team is falling apart in UNCANNY AVENGERS #29. What is happening internally that the team is losing cohesion? Externally, what are some of the pressures accelerating the separation?
Jim Zub: Ever since Captain America—the evil one who steered the world into the arms of Hydra—disbanded the Unity Squad, they’ve struggled to stay together. That lack of formal structure strengthened the emotional bonds between them and kept them moving forward when they were looking to stop The Red Skull, or Ultron, or the Hand, but now they don’t have that singular goal and they’re looking for a direction. That coupled with tension between team members is eating away at the “unity” in our “Unity Squad.”
Marvel.com: One factor we know for sure plays in is The Juggernaut. What’s going on that puts him on the team’s doorstep with a commitment to destroy them? What is motivating Cain Marko to target them?
Jim Zub: Juggernaut has recently been battered around by the X-Men Blue team and Iceman and is now lashing out, itching to get revenge on everyone and everything. The Unity Squad inadvertently gets in his way and the results are destructive and brutal.
Marvel.com: As a writer, what attracted you to Juggernaut as a villain for this moment? What makes him the uniquely right choice to threaten the team right now?
Jim Zub: I’m writing Juggernaut a bit more like a force of nature than just a villain. He’s bulldozing through everything in his path and even with the heavy-hitters we have on the Unity Squad, they’re hard pressed to handle him, especially in their currently disorganized state. His rampage forces them to pull together once again, but it also brings some other tensions to the surface as a few members of the team don’t follow orders and something terrible happens because of it.
Uncanny Avengers #29 cover by RB Silva
Marvel.com: What do you think of artist Sean Izaakse’s rendition of Juggy? Overall, how is your collaboration with him helping you to establish the tone you need for this book right now?
Jim Zub: Sean’s a superstar in the making. He started off already incredibly skilled, but every issue we work on together I can see his skills growing even stronger. He draws action and emotion well—quiet scenes and epic ones. I can throw him ridiculous blowout fights and subtle emotional beats and he handles them both with the same care and attention. I couldn’t ask for a better creative collaborator.
Marvel.com: What kind of consequences would it carry for the rest of the Marvel Universe if the experiment that is the Unity Squad were to be ripped asunder? Where might that echo and how?
Jim Zub: The Unity Squad represents the Avengers, mutantkind, the Inhumans, the Fantastic Four, and Marvel’s mystic side as well. The team acts as connective tissue to the larger Marvel Universe and that’s why I think it’s so interesting and important. Without them, the different groups tend to drift back to their own closed off communities. “Unity” is their name and their mission.
Marvel.com: Without too much by way of spoilers, what makes this issue important to the book going forward? Are we on the precipice of a turning point here?
Jim Zub: The team is going to lose someone important in this issue and longtime loyalties will be tested. It’s an important chapter as we build toward [the weekly series] AVENGERS: NO SURRENDER arriving in January.
See if the Unity Squad can stop The Juggernaut on November 8 in UNCANNY AVENGERS #29 by Jim Zub and Sean Izaakse!