February 1, 2010

Alex Zalben talks Thor and the Warriors Four!

Coming to a comic book shop near you in April is a new limited series from Marvel titled Thor and the Warriors Four. This four issue story is written by Alex Zalben (Hulk Team-Up #1) and illustrated by Gurihiru (a team of Japanese illustrators- Sasaki on pencils and inks and Kawano is the colorist). I had the pleasure of “electronically sitting down with” Alex Zalben to get some of his thoughts on this new series!

COMIC ATTACK: Was Thor and the Warriors Four an idea that you pitched to Marvel or that Marvel brought to you? If the latter, who was it that initially contacted you to take on the writing duties?

ALEX ZALBEN: Editors supreme Jordan D. White and Nate Cosby talked to me about the idea of bringing together Thor and Power Pack… From there, it was up to me to figure out how they came together, and why. And after a bunch of back and forth, we hit on an idea we were all excited about. That idea was what became Thor and the Warriors Four. And that idea is so powerful, it will CHANGE THE WORLD FOREVER. Okay, maybe not forever. Just for four months.

CA: Why did you agree to be a part of this project?

AZ: Are you kidding? The Mighty Thor? Power Pack? Two of my favorite runs on comics, ever, are Walt Simonson’s seminal run on Thor, and Louise Simonson’s original Power Pack. The chance to bring them together, and pay homage to these greats made me so excited, I ran around my living room in a circle like a little doggie. This may be true.

CA: What can you tell us about the plot?

AZ: Power Pack’s grandmother is dying, and they realize the only chance they may have to save her life are the mythical Golden Apples of Idunn, which grant the Asgardians their immortality. Knowing that Thor is an Avenger, and a Norse God, they head off in search of him. Along the way, they may or may not cause the end of the world. Oops!

CA: Who will be the artist on the mini-series?

AZ: The incomparable Gurihiru. Seriously, I can’t say enough about them, they’re one of the most underrated art teams in comics. Their characters pop, their inks and pencils are just dynamic, and their colors are spectacular and clean. When I get pages back to look at from them, they’re so good I forget I’m reading a book I wrote, and end up reading it as a fan. They’re also hilarious… I wrote a bunch of tiny jokes throughout the script, but they added a ton more. Each panel is packed with hilarity and awesomeness. And I know it sounds like I’m puffing them up too much, but really, I’m not. Wait until you see the cover to issue #2 they did, which is honestly one of the best covers of all time, no joke.

CA: Are you a big Thor fan? If so, what are some of your favorite Thor moments and stories?

AZ: I love the big guy. As I mentioned, I’m a huge fan of Simonson’s run… All the apocalyptic stuff, the sound effects, and making Thor a truly epic hero sold me on the character. I’m also a big fan of Matt Fraction’s Thor: Ages of Thunder, which reveled in making the thunder god into the heavy metal hero he could be. I’ll also say in advance, with no explanation, that I love Beta Ray Bill… Even if it may seem like I don’t. Stay tuned.

CA: Can you tell us a little bit about who the villain is going to be?

AZ: Heh. That would be telling.

CA: Does Loki factor into this arc at all?

AZ: Oh yes.

CA: What about the supporting cast? Do Heimdall, Balder, Sif, etc. show up? Anyone else?

AZ: There’s a good amount of Asgardians in here, and whoever didn’t fit into the story definitely makes cameo appearances in… One form or another. You’ll also get to see a bunch of characters straight out of the Norse Myths that I don’t think have ever popped up in Thor before. As is, though, I tried to keep it very focused on Power Pack and Thor himself, with Beta Ray Bill and our mystery villains taking second billing.

CA: Will this story feature Thor full-time or will Dr. Donald Blake be making an appearance as well?

AZ: Heh. That would be telling.

CA: I’ve heard the Pet Avengers will be showing up at some point in the story and I’m sure it will be one of those “aawww” moments. What will their role be?

AZ: I hope that “aawww” is followed up by a “yeah!” to make an “aww yeah!” because The Pet Avengers are the butt-kickingest mammals the world has ever seen. They show up in the first issue as a crucial first step in Power Pack’s journey to finding Thor, and maybe later on as well? Who knows? I certainly don’t.

CA: How do you hope this series will impact Thor and the Power Pack in future story arcs?

AZ: You know, to get all serious for a moment, I do think one of the great things about doing this storyline with Power Pack is that they’re kids. Most of the other characters in the Marvel U have had multiple experiences with death, but when you’re dealing with young characters, they’re going through this for the first time. And when you experience things for the first time, the feelings, the emotions are a little more raw, real, and powerful. Without spoiling anything, I would say Alex and Julie Power, in particular, come through this with a changed relationship, a changed view on each other, and a different dynamic for the team. Jack and Katie definitely step up as well, but a lot of the book is the story of how you stay a team, stay a family in the face of the death of a loved one.

Also, punching! And lot’s of ‘sploisons! Yay!

CA: Are there any other comic book characters from Marvel that you’ve taken an interest in and would love to work on in the future?

AZ: Heck yeah. Anybody who knows me knows I’m a huge Doug Ramsey fan… I know, guy loves Power Pack AND Cypher? Is he single? I’m not, by the way, but New Mutants was another seminal book for me, and how can you NOT identify with a nerdy kid totally in love with another nerdy girl (Kitty Pryde), unable to tell her, and feeling like he’s just not as good as the other people around him. That’s just good comics there.

There’s another character, too, that I crazily have almost two years worth of stories plotted out for, if I ever got a chance to work with him. But I’d rather not say in case, you know, I get the chance to work with him. Let’s say it’s a character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. That’ll narrow it down!

CA: Any final words on Thor and the Warriors Four?

AZ: Gurihiru’s spectacular art, epic adventures in Asgard, AND a back-up story featuring the Incredible Hercules and Power Pack by the incomparable Colleen Coover? What’s not to love?

A big thanks to Alex for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk with and provide us with this inside peek at Thor and the Warriors Four, due out in April!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. If Zalben is as humorous with his writing in this mini as he is in this interview, the series will definitely be an entertaining read!!

    Despite not knowing anything about the Power Pack and little about Thor, I’m totally on board for this!

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by azalben: “Alex Zalben talks Thor and the Warriors Four!” at Comic Attack –

  3. Drew

    I actually have collected the complete run of ‘Power Pack’, they’re just swank, a lot of fun. Very much looking forward to this team up (not to mention the art is gonna kick some ass).

  4. billy

    Looking forward to this series. I think its going to be a lot of fun.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by David Gallaher, Neill Cameron, azalben, John Mulder, and others. said: @azalben Thanks for talking with us about your upcoming book "Thor and the Warriors Four"! #comics #thor #marvel […]

  6. […] ComicAttack: Alex Zalben talks Thor and the Warriors Four […]

  7. […] not only the Son of Odin himself, but the juvenile hi-jinx of Power Pack as well. I did an interview with writer Alex Zalben a while back about this mini, and he was courteous enough to send us links to the previews for […]

  8. […] because I’ve (and my daughter) been waiting for this book with a lot of excitement. I did an interview with the writer (Alex Zalben) and was also given a preview for the next two upcoming issues as […]

  9. […] here to read a review of issue #1 and here for an interview with series writer Alex […]

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