Ed Brubaker on the Return of "Winter Soldier" in January


By now, you’ve probably had a chance to read last week’s issue of Marvel’s Fear Itself--number 7.1--by longtime Captain America writer Ed Brubaker and artist Butch Guice. The issue, centering on Cap preparing for the funeral of Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier, slain in issue 3 of Fear Itself involves a twist leading into January’s new Winter Soldier ongoing. Brubaker and Guice are teaming up again to chronicle the not-dead-quite-dead-yet Bucky as he travels the globe, taking out WMDs spawned by the Soviet-era program that brought him back and brainwashed him into a deadly assassin.

Mr. Brubaker was kind enough to answer a few questions about the reveal in Fear Itself7.1, why Bucky couldn’t remain Captain America, reacting to comment culture online, as well as throwing out hints about Bucky’s future in his new solo series and some updates onthe Criminal movie in development with director David Slade.

MTV Geek: What was your reaction when a lot of professional “angry on the internet”-types like myself expressed their frustration with Bucky’s death in Fear Itself #3?

Ed Brubaker: Well, I try avoid stuff like Twitter anymore and I only spend about 1% of the time that I used to spend looking at internet message boards, and usually that’s those moments where I said “Oh, I’ll just glance at the message boards and see what they thought of the issue,” or whatever. And we all have a mantra among our circle of comic book writer friends which is “Don’t read the comments.” [Laughs] You can’t. Nobody would have ever gotten anything done back in the early days if they were looking at message boards. You’re not going to avoid that stuff.

For me, the hardest part was seeing people freaking out all over Twitter about it and knowing that I was going to do this exact same story in Captain America. I was going to end the “Gulag” arc with it being an issue longer and it would appear that Bucky got killed. And I would have kept him dead in Cap for four or five months, and then revealed that the whole thing was a fake-out. So, I would have milked all of the sympathy out of the fans that I could get, while having laid out the clues that—when you went back and looked, it would have been like “Oh my God!” That’s what I would have done differently.

Matt was doing so much in Fear Itself that he didn’t have time to lay out as many little red herrings as I would have done. And then, the way Stuart actually drew the death scene—I remember when Matt sent me those pages—and I was like, “Oh my God, I didn’t know you were going to make him that dead!” I mean, he looks really dead there. So there was a little bit of making harder to make it believable that the whole thing was a fake-out.

It made me change the story a little bit which ended up making [the 7.1 issue] a little bit stronger in some ways. And plan has always been, for years now, that Steve was going to come back and be Captain America again and Bucky was going to become the Winter Soldier again, and go through the trial and get sent to a Russian prison and have to fake his own death and become the Winter Soldier again and get his own series. We’ve been talking about this for two or three years now at our meetings. And this is something I’ve been building towards since ever since Bucky became the most popular new Marvel character since Wolverine and Deadpool.

None of us ever expected when I brought Bucky back that he was going to become a popular character. We just thought we’d be lucky if people didn’t hate it. And instead, initially everyone as resistant and then he was embraced by fans. And when he became the new Captain America, he became even more so. We had no idea people really grabbed onto this character, and then we were like, “We have to give him his own series.” He went from supporting character to most popular. I never thought this would happen when I first started Captain America, but when it happened, it became like f***, should we give him his own series, and then how long should we wait before we do it?

Because he’s really popular right now, to the point that he’s in the Captain America movie this summer, and that’s my Bucky in there. (Read about how Brubaker consulted on the Captain America movie at MTV Splash Page) That’s my version that’s the older, sniper rifle, super badass. And I talked to the writers of the film and the director (Joe Johnston), and they all said without the “Winter Soldier” storyline, without the comics that I wrote, Bucky wouldn’t have been in the movie at all. But it changed the way that everyone looked at that whole relationship and that whole character entirely.  

For me, and my long-winded answer to your question, I knew that the whole thing was a fake-out from the start, so it was painful to see people freaking out that badly, but it was also like “Wow, they really like this guy.” And I just thought 90% of those people were probably mad that we brought him back to begin with originally and he became one of their favorite characters, so hopefully I’ve engendered enough good will among those people so that when it was revealed that it was all a fake-out and he’s really alive and getting his own series, the vast majority of them will be like “Oh thank God,” and come and buy the new book.

Geek: For me as a reader, part of the draw of Bucky as Cap was that wearing the costume and being in that role seemed to be rehabilitative after years of effectively being a villain. Why do you think he needed to shed the costume and reclaim the Winter Soldier identity?

Brubaker: Well, I thought it was sort of important for him to take back that name. You know, it’s like, I used to work at The Stranger in the early 90’s—I don’t know if you know who Dan Savage is, but he’s a sex columnist and he’s become a well-known political commentator—

Geek: Yeah.

Brubaker: His “Savage Love” columns, all the letters are written, “Dear f****t,” or “Hey f****t.” And I remember talking to him about it, you know, 20 years ago, and the whole point was that he was taking back the word. [Laughs] He was making it not a bad word anymore, because he’d been called it so many times in his life by people out of hatred.

And I, you know, thought, the Winter Soldier’s such a—I mean, there’s toys with Bucky as the Winter Soldier and it’s a cool name, you know. And it’s sort of become his identity, and I didn’t want to have to create a new identity for him, or make him become the next Nomad or any of that stuff. He’s haunted by the things he did, but he can’t deny that that stuff actually happened. So he’s taking back that identity because that’s when he shows up at one of those dark corners and some weapons dealer who knew him from 20 years ago sees his face, they’re going to s**t their pants because the Winter Soldier showed up. He’s not going to deny that all this stuff happened, even though he wasn’t in control of it—he’s going to use all of that to his advantage now.  

Geek: One of the things I’ve always loved about your work, one of the recurring themes, is that the past is always afflicting the future. What draws you back to that in your writing?  

Brubaker: Boy, I honestly don’t really know. I’m not really a navel gazer. I think you’re a writer, you have certain things that continually crop up in your work whether you’re thinking about it or not. And I’m a mystery writer at heart, you know, and mysteries are all about something from the past that you wish never happened or you wish you could forget that’s coming back to haunt you know. It’s the theme to a lot of good stories and it worked for Shakespeare. And it’s something that draws in the characters a lot.

Personally, I made a lot of decisions in my life early on that I wish I could go back and do differently. I’m haunted by my own past in a lot of ways, and I think it’s just part of what I write about, from Criminal to Fatale to Winter Soldier to Captain America. Especially with characters like Cap and Bucky—they’re so steeped in the past, and Cap is one of the first superheroes and literally fought in World War II for five years and so did Bucky. And so, so much of what makes them who they are is what they’ve done. And Bucky was in the Cold War, too. There’s just this rich stuff to explore.

Geek: I’ve always thought of Cap as something of an aspirational character—like he’s the best of all of us as a nation. Do you feel like that still holds nowadays, particularly with the heightened divisiveness about what’s “best” about our nation?

Brubaker: You know, I never really thought that he—I’ve always really seen him as a person and not a symbol. He tries to be a symbol of the American dream in a lot of ways and the American pulse, but I’ve never seen him as being a political tool necessarily. But certainly, the mood of the country and what’s going on in our country right now are things that you’re going to be seeing reflected in the Cap book moving forward over the next several arcs. Because Cap the series really lends itself to being able to reflect the real world a little bit while still being a few steps removed because it’s Marvel.

The thing that I always liked about Captain America as a kid was my dad was in the military intelligence and I grew up in Navy bases all around the world—I started school in Gitmo, actually. I spent my youth sitting at the sidelines of these cocktail parties listening to career military people talk about politics and politicians. So I knew that people from that world aren’t necessarily right-wing or left-wing, and a guy who was raised during the Great Depression and spent most of his adult life in going to be a much more complex character than right-wing or left-wing fans want him to be. He’s going to know about things that happened that the American public isn’t going to want to know about or shouldn’t know about, and he’s also going to be from that New Deal America. He’s going to have conflicting views on a lot of subjects and he’s going to be a complex person—he’s not going to be some one-note right-wing or left-wing character.

I guess, in some ways, it’s somewhat how I view the world, so that’s always what’s appealed to me about that character. I felt like there was a similarity to the things I witnessed as a kid and [Steve Rogers’ experience]. If that makes any sense.

Geek: You characterize yourself as a mystery writer at heart. Could you tease out a little of the central mystery of the first arc of Winter Soldier?

Brubaker: I don’t want to reveal too much because we’re putting out the first two issues in February. I don’t want to reveal too much except to say “The Trial of Captain America” and the “Prisoner of War Book” collecting “Gulag” and other stories, that’s the place where I was trying to lay the groundwork for this series, and I had already started to do that stuff beforeFear Itself came out and we decided to do the death of Bucky inside Fear Itself. So, there’s a lot of groundwork being laid and if you go back and read “The Gulag,” there’s a lot of stuff there that sort of leads into what we’re doing.

The first arc of the book is about these Cold War sleepers, which actually the kind of thing that you read about in the paper today—guys who’ve been living here since the 80’s, and they were Russian spies. But when the Cold War ended, they stayed here. But we’re taking it to the Marvel comics level of it being characters that Bucky trained as the Winter Soldier, characters trained to pass as Americans who have the same kind of combat training as him who’ve been kept in stasis, and they were just never awakened when the Cold War ended. They’re human weapons of mass destruction that are being sold on the black market. And what the first arc is about is Bucky trying to track down these human weapons and prevent them from destroying this country. They’re like Cold War weapons that went unused, and now someone has bought them.

We’ll find out who at the end of the first issue and what they’re up to, but Bucky and Black Widow have no idea what they’re up against, really, and that’s one of the first mysteries of the book: who’s got these guys and what are they trying to do with them. And by the end of the first arc, we’ll have created some new villains that tie into this Cold War mythology of the Marvel universe.  

[Apologies to the incredibly gracious Mr. Brubaker and our readers, but the last third of this interview, where we discuss some of the early stages of prep for his upcoming Criminal film based on the “Coward” arc with director David Slade, was lost thanks to an unreliable (and now destroyed in a fit of exasperation) recorder. Below you can find some of the highlights of that conversation that I was able to salvage.]

On working with David Slade: Brubaker is meeting daily with the Hard Candy/30 Days of Night director about updates and iterations to the script. In the process, it has been a learning process for Brubaker in terms of learning how to bring his visions to the screen. They’re starting the casting process and looking to start shooting soon. (Read more about David Slade's Coward movie with Ed Brubaker at MTV Splash Page)

On sound: Working in the print medium for so long, Brubaker says that he’s come to take sound for granted. For instance, Criminal features extensive narration from its leads, however that storytelling can in turn be covered by music and sound in the film.

On working outside of the studio system: When pitching Criminal to studios, often they would get notes like “could we make it more like Die Hard 4” which lost the spirit of the source material. Working outside of that system has allowed Slade and Brubaker to keepCriminal close to its original vision without being slavish.

On working with producer James Patricof: Brubaker knows that working with Patricof,Criminal will avoid the route of so many comic-to-film adaptations that languish in development hell, thanks in large part to the producer’s lengthy resume of completed projects.

Winter Soldier #1 will be on shelves starting in January.


Scott Lobdell Interview with Newsarama

To say that Red Hood and the Outlaws #1 made an impression on readers is an understatement.

The issue by Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort was filled with action and energy, and it had its share of fervent supporters. But the issue got most of its attention from the portrayal of one of its lead characters, Starfire.

With the DCU relaunch, a lot of characters have seen drastic changes. But fans of Starfire voiced concern about the unexplained changes that seemed to portray her in a more sexual way than she had been shown in the past. In fact, the character was shown to be offering herself as a sexual partner, and it surprised some readers.

Of course, it didn't help that the issue hit the same week as a couple other sex-charged issues from DC. As a result, everyone from bloggers to podcasters to retailers began discussing everything from how female characters are portrayed to whether superhero comics should have sexy scenes.

As DC is releasing Red Hood and the Outlaws #2 this week, Newsarama talked with Lobdell about all the attention his first issue got, what he thinks of Starfire, and what's coming up in the series.

Newsarama: Scott, the first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws had a high level of action, energy and sexiness. Was that the tone you were hoping to achieve? And will that be the style of the story and art going forward?

Scott Lobdell: Certainly that was the tone for the first issue... but there is an old saying in writing: "You can't end every sentence on an exclamation point!" That is, if every issue had the same tone it is bound to get boring really quickly.

I know as of right now, the action shares equal time with the emotional core of the characters in issue #3, issue #4 and #5 is more horror but still maintains a high level of action, and issue #6 is as close as this series will come to a "love story" as we learn how Jason and Kori first met.

The issue is called "Before" — and it is actually planned to be a quasi-ongoing series of stand alone issues throughout the series where we'll be going back and revealing things that happened before the events of issue one.

Nrama: Can you describe the type of team they are and will become?

Lobdell: I don't think of them as a "team" in the traditional sense. It is like you and your friends get together and go to the movies or go bowling or go hiking on the weekends. That doesn't make you a team — it makes you and your friends doing things together.

Jason has an agenda and Roy and Kori are often on hand because they enjoy each others company — in the first issue it was actually Roy who was the impetus for the adventure. Issues four and five will have Kori at the center of the action. But the idea that they are a "team" where they'll ever show up and say "This time you've made a mistake! This time you've incurred the wrath of... the Outlaws!" will never happen.

Nrama: Let's talk about Jason Todd. He was shown with a bat symbol on his chest, yet he obviously wants to distance himself from the Bat family. Now that the nature of his character has been revealed in issue #1, how would you describe his motivation and status in this series?

Lobdell: I think Jason sees Batman — his mentor — as an exceptionally flawed hero obsessed with cleaning up the streets of a city that will, frankly, never ever be cleaned up.

To that end, as far as Jason is concerned, Batman is on something of a fool's errand trying to accomplish something that will never happen. To that end, Jason sets much smaller and manageable goals for himself. Break Roy out of prison, check. Investigate slaughter of ancient assassin monks, check. Destroy the Untitled, check.

When Jason sees a problem, he's going to deal with it — with a degree of finality that a Batman does not, because of his rather rigid moral code.

In issue #6, we'll learn exactly why the bat is on his current costume.

Nrama: There seems to be almost a "buddy movie" type relationship between Roy and Jason. Were you going for that type of feel? And will we find out more about their dynamic in upcoming issues?

Lobdell: Phew! This is twice now you asked if I was going for the feel that came through in the book — and twice now I can say "Yes!" I must be doing something right!

Like most "buddy movie" relationships, they work because the two guys come from two different places. Jason, as we saw in the first issue, is a planner. He's always ten steps ahead of everyone else — he didn't even step foot into the prison until he made sure he had back-up in place in case things got crazy. (Could he have planted explosives along the road from the prison? Sure. But he didn't have to because he had asked Kori to join him on this adventure and he knew she was infinitely more effective than C-4.)

Roy, on the other hand, is much more impulsive. Give him a target and he'll hit it... he's not real big on the details. Also, there is a very David versus Goliath quality to Roy: In issue #3 we see him go up against a threat that we don't think he can possibly prevail — and yet he throws himself into the fray without a moment's thought.

That said, they are not Ollie and Hal who used to butt heads over big weighty issues like poverty and war. They like to keep their personal interactions mostly easy breezy. For now.

Nrama: Scott, I'm sure you've heard about the negative reaction some fans had to the portrayal of Starfire in Red Hood and the Outlaws #1. Did it surprise you?

Lobdell: It didn't surprise me that there were some people who didn't like it.

What surprised me was that it almost caused the Internet to melt. Mostly, what has surprised me has been the very vulgar way that people believe they are coming to the defense of Kori: they hurl words like "slut" and "whore" and expressions too disgusting to repeat here that are only used to demean women.

Lets consider an imaginary woman who has more than one or two lovers. Is it fair to label her with dismissive and derogatory language? Because we disagree with the choices she makes, to do what she wants with her own body? Are we still at a place in society where we're going to call a woman — any woman — names that reinforce gender inequality?

The good thing is that the story has gotten people to talk about issues they are passionate about — and that can only ever lead to a better understanding on everyone's part.

Nrama: The character is obviously very comfortable with nudity and sex, which isn't exactly new to her character, but was really played up in the art here. Was that the intended message behind the way she was visually portrayed?

Lobdell: I'm not really sure one draws a Koriand'r in a bathing suit on a tropical island without making her sexy.

Also, I don't think a beautiful and confident woman needs to apologize to anyone for the way she dresses, on a beach or off.

Nrama: How do you see Kori in the first issue? Was she meant to come across as a little weak as she leaned on Jason for decisions and offered sex to Roy, or was there another meaning behind her actions? What can you tell us about how she acted in the story — and why?

Lobdell: I think in a courthouse this would be called "leading the witness. " In the first issue Kori shows up only when she is needed to rescue the guys. Once that is accomplished — between panels as a way to show how her sudden appearance completely changes the power dynamics present so far in the story — she politely asks her friend if there is anything else she can do to help. Polite is the new weak? Would it have been a better portrayal of the character if she had said "I will fly ahead and kill everyone in your path, Jason?"

Nrama: How would you describe Starfire going forward? What's her current personality like, and do you plan to show a journey for her?

Lobdell: I wouldn't describe her going forward, any more than I'd stand up in a movie theater and shout out the ending — or lean over the shoulder of someone reading a book in a coffee shop and saying "You'll be really sad when he dies in the end."

I will say that, of course, every character in this and all the books I'm writing are on a journey. For anyone who has ever loved Kori — as I have, from her very first appearance — I would say, stay tuned.

Nrama: What was the thought behind the story description of Tamaraneans as not seeing humans as much more than sites and smells? Does that mean she doesn't remember things that may or may not have happened in the past? Or was there another meaning behind that statement?

Lobdell: I love the fact that Kori is an alien. She and the rest of her race have been described of being descended from felines and we all know that humans and cats have different ways of perceiving our environment — so it stands to reason that Humans and people from Tamaran see things differently.

Now, as Humans we might fall into the prejudicial and xenophobic trap of applying a judgment onto other races that they are somehow lacking or even "stupid" because they see the world from another perspective. But I'd like to think that as comic book fans we can all accept that not everyone in the galaxy sees each other as we do.

I'm not sure how you draw your conclusion — she doesn't remember things from her past — from your first question — does she view them as sights and sounds — but rest assured, Kori does possess the ability to remember events in her life. Having "a short attention span about all things human" and having the memory of a goldfish are two completely different things: like comparing apples and pipe wrenches.

Nrama: Issue #3's solicitations indicates we'll hear a lot more about these characters' "memories" and their revamped pasts in this DCU. Is that the issue readers should watch for explanations? Anything you can tell us about what we'll see in #2 and #3?

Lobdell: I think with each issue we'll learn more and more about each character — as is the way with most monthly comic book series since the creation of serialized adventures. Not only would I tell readers they'll learn a lot more about the characters in issue #3, I'd tell them they'll learn more about the characters in every issue.

But to answer your specific question, issue #3 is going to show us why Kori is someone you want on your side, always — both in the present and the past. We also pick up some more clues as to Roy and Ollie's original relationship, and a cameo from a Batman character who helped turn Roy's life around at his lowest ebb. Also, we get to see what's really important to a guy like Jason who tires to make it clear that he finds very little sacred or worthwhile.

Nrama: We've seen solicitations for issues #4 & #5 as well. What can you tell us about those issues, and is there anything you want to tell fans about what future stories bring for your cast of characters?

Lobdell: I'd rather not, for the same reason I wouldn't want my waiter to bring out my ice cream and steak with my appetizer. I'd much rather the fans savor each issue of the series confident that the same care and attention is placed on every page that Kenneth and I put into the first issue. But, since you asked...

Issue #4 again shows us why Kori is a particularly difficult person to kill. Roy starts to get glimpses of just how much Jason pulled it together or his stint as a superhero... and starts to wonder if maybe Roy couldn't have made some better life choices along the way. All this and the introduction of a new team member!

Issue #5 shows us Roy at his most bad ass — and his version at most chivalrous. For everyone who has thought Roy is something of a sidekick to Jason... well Roy drives home the point how awesome he is. All this and we get to see exactly how much Jason learned during his time with the All-Caste! Honestly, I would love to write an entire mini-series about Jason and Essence and the All-Caste!

Nrama: Then to finish up, is there anything else you want to tell fans about Red Hood & the Outlaws?

Lobdell: To all the Hoodies out there having a blast with the series, I just want to say thank you for your support!

And all the people who have not liked the series for any number of reasons, I'd say I am sorry that it is not your cup of tea — but thank you for picking up the first issue, giving it an open and fair-minded shot, and taking the time to enter an ongoing dialogue.

Source: Newsarama


Lobdell Talks About Starfire



(This is only an excerpt of the portion pertaining to Starfire)

Mike: Obviously the big talk for this month has been the stuff with Starfire. Can you tell us a bit about who she is to you, maybe even who she's become to you now in light of the uproar over her characterization?

Scott: Who she is is pretty much who she is in the first issue. She is an alien who doesn't see the world the same way we do. Shocking! LOL!

Okay, maybe not so shocking.. considering that even on Earth there are many different ways to see the world around us. Heck, people have actually gone to war with each other over their interpretations over who God loves more. I've been to the Middle East where there were three doors to be seen in the entire town, and I've lived in doorman buildings along Central Park -- and trust me when I say that the people who live in each have very different outlooks on things like community and possessions and family.

She is a princess from another world who spent years as a slave in some of the harshest death camps in the universe. To think that we have any idea how her unique world view has been forged by these experiences feels otherworldly to me.

And while I know this is going to make some people angry, the constant wailing and gashing of teeth and tearing of clothing and the shouts of "Unclean! Unclean!" that have made their way across the internet have not altered the pending storyline at all.

How could it? Imagine you are watching a movie and some people in the audience start shouting at the screen... so one character on the screen starts doing what the audience tells her to do. Then another group starts shouting, no, she should do this instead! It would be chaos! LOL!

The story that was pitched is the story that is being written and we'll see how people feel about it when the story is read in its entirety.


My Dreams Have Come True *___*

When the .1 issue of Uncanny X-Men came out (534.1, IIRC), I completely fangirled over the creative team, as I'm sure some of you probably remember. Said creative team was Kieron Gillen with writing duties and Carlos Pacheco on pencils with my absolute favorite colorist ever (sorry, Sonia!), Frank D'Armata.

Well, I finally realized today after re-reading the solicit for the renumbered Uncanny X-Men, that the creative team on that book is those mentioned above. So needless to say....I'm freaking hyped.


Paramore Releases Studio Version of "Renegade"

For those of you who have been paying attention, Paramore's been talking about the release of their newest single "Renegade" ever since they played it during the encore of the FBR 15 (the Fueled By Ramen 15th Anniversary concert). They have now made Renegade available for purchase on their official website as part of a bundle deal and somebody has been kind enough to upload it to youtube for your listening pleasure.


Generation Hope #12 Preview


The smoke clears over Utopia. Schism is over. But there's little time for celebrations and little to actually celebrate. Who leaves? Who stays? Who joins? Who kisses who? The fallout will rupture the tightest group on the X-Side of the Marvel Universe.


Batman #1 Best Seller in September as DC Takes 17 of the Top 20

Courtesy of Bleeding Cool

The Batman monthly comic from DC Comics is usually regarded as a solid, reliable seller, published every month whatever, which is why Diamond Comic Distributor make it the standard against which all other comics are measured – they don’t release the sales figures, just how each comic performs against each other.

Well, Bleeding Cool has received an advance look at the Top Twenty sellers through Diamond for the month of September, DC’s relaunch, and it’s a revelation. DC have claimed seventeen, with Marvel’s Fear Itself coming in at the eighth best seller in volume (though at $3.99, it’s the sixth best seller in terms of revenue). More surprisingly, the heavily hyped Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 only comes in at ninth place.

This month, Batman #1 became literally the standard against which all other books are judged, the bestselling comic of the month, just ahead of Action Comics #1 (in sales if not dollars) and well ahead of all the other books, and DC have grabbed seventeen out of the top twenty places on the chart. It’s a rout.

Bleeding Cool also reported that DC have beaten Marvel in marketshare for both unites sold and for revenue – but only just on the latter, despite their million dollar promotional effort. Of course DC published around half the comics Marvel did for September.

Also, this may be the first time John Constantine has appeared in the top twenty for quite some time…

12100.00BATMAN #1
4568.60FLASH #1
5462.83SUPERMAN #1 [*]
6754.87DETECTIVE COMICS #1 [*]
8649.37FEAR ITSELF #6
101145.24BATMAN AND ROBIN #1 [*]
121243.25BATGIRL #1 [*]
134540.45WONDER WOMAN #1
141339.68GREEN LANTERN CORPS #1 [*]
154939.10TEEN TITANS #1
161638.36AQUAMAN #1 [*]
175138.33BATWOMAN #1
181038.18AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #669
192135.32RED LANTERNS #1 [*]
202433.36JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1 [*]