by Jarrod Jones. It’s a game of strategy, one that’s set in the Marvel Universe, where icons such as Captain America, Spider-Man, and the Hulk are mere pawns in your hands. As you contrive all-new epics of action and adventure, these legends bend to your very will, their powers becoming the tools you’ll need to achieve victory. It’s Marvel: Crisis Protocol, the hit tabletop strategy game from Atomic Mass Games. Now Crisis Protocol is a new series of novels from Aconyte Books.
The opening salvo for the Marvel: Crisis Protocol series is Target: Kree!, a 400-page adventure from comic book luminary and former Marvel editor Stuart Moore, set in the world of Crisis Protocol and sets the stage for an outright crazy adventure featuring Ms. Marvel, the Avengers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The synopsis for Target: Kree! reads thusly:
The Avengers clash with the Guardians of the Galaxy in a desperate search for a planet-killer, in this action-packed novel set in the world of the Marvel: Crisis Protocol game!
Following the destruction of their world, a group of Kree refugees come to Earth to work for Stark Enterprises. But the Guardians of the Galaxy arrive soon after, believing that the world-killer is actually one of those Kree, now hiding out on Earth. But there are others after the killer too, and the Avengers have no choice but to respond – and both Tony Stark and Ms Marvel have to choose between the fate of the Earth and the people they care about.
Stuart Moore spoke with DoomRocket about his upcoming novel, which is set for a July 6 release. Courtesy of Aconyte Books, you can read the first four chapters of Target: Kree! below. See what happens when the fates of Marvel legends are no longer in their hands!
1. ‘Crisis Protocol’ is a tabletop game that allows players to create all kinds of scenarios for their collectable Marvel miniatures. The simplicity of that concept, where players dictate the rules of their own stories, seems like a fertile place to grow a novel, or even a series of novels. Was that your experience with “Target: Kree!”, having the freedom to spin a Marvel yarn from a genesis point of your own design?
Stuart Moore: The freedom, for me, was mostly the chance to mix and match all these big heroes. The only real constraint the game presented was that we wanted the major battle scenes to be theoretically “playable,” but that just meant a lot of evenly matched characters throwing down. Which I would have done anyway, in a Marvel book with a scope this big.
2. There are some crazy plot twists in this book, Stuart. Were there any barriers set up to keep you from going completely bonkers with these characters? Were there “no trespassing” zones when you were working on the outline of this novel?
Oh, there are always lines you can’t cross with the Marvel characters—as there should be. Each of the heroes has a moral code, and you don’t want to violate that. But I’ve written several Marvel novels, so I have a pretty good sense of where the boundaries are.
And Marvel gave me pretty wide latitude with this book. One of the major sources of conflict is that Stark Enterprises appears to be exploiting immigrant “alien” workers (Kree, to be precise). That puts Tony Stark, who isn’t always fully briefed on everything his multinational company does, in a very precarious position.
3. Tell me about Kir-ra, the Kree character at the core of “Target: Kree!” I believe she’s been created specifically for this book?
In a book starring Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and several other super heroes, you need an identification character. Kir-ra is sort of our everyman, or Every-Kree, I guess. She’s come to Earth after the destruction of her planet, to work for Stark Enterprises as part of a pilot program designed to help her people. Unfortunately, as often happens with immigrants, the reality doesn’t live up to the promises.
What is Kir-ra’s relationship with, for example, Ms. Marvel—or, say, Tony Stark? How do these relationships throw the story for a loop?
Kir-ra’s brother befriends Kamala (Ms. Marvel) after enrolling in her school. Both Kir-ra and Kamala have a slightly side-eyed view of Tony; after all, he’s a billionaire, and in this story something is not right with his company. But Tony has also recruited Kamala to the Avengers, so it’s complicated.
4. I was surprised to see how vital Gamora of the Guardians of the Galaxy was to the story of “Target: Kree!” What is it about Gamora that positioned her so crucially to your novel?
I was a little surprised by that myself. When I first outlined the book, I didn’t intend for Gamora to play as big a role as she does. But without spoiling too much, the Guardians’ failure in the early part of the book seemed to weigh most heavily on her. The character herself really stepped forward and said “Um? I think this book is about me, too.”
Did Gamora ever make a certain impact on you in previous comic stories? If so, which ones did you feel were important touchstones for informing her motivations in “Target: Kree!”, if any?
I mean, I like beautiful green assassins as much as anyone. I remember reading her first appearances in Jim Starlin’s Warlock series. She’s a lot of fun in the Guardians films, too.
5. This ‘Crisis Protocol’ novel offers an opportunity to explore the Marvel Universe on a micro level, where we’re allowed inside the minds of these various characters—a kind of access port to the ultimate thought balloon. Do you feel you get a better grasp on a given character when you write prose as opposed to writing a comics script?
It’s a very different process. On the one hand, yes, a novel allows you to delve much more deeply into a character’s inner workings. On the other hand, you can’t hop from one POV to another the way you can in comics or film. In prose, that comes off as disjointed and disorienting. This makes multi-character battles very tricky to write; you either wind up switching points of view in crosscut scenes, or else you, well, cheat. Usually a little of both.
6. Let’s say you’re playing a game of ‘Crisis Protocol’ and you have on your side a miniature of Spider-Man. Across from you is your adversary, and they’re playing with Ultron. What’s Stuart Moore’s strategy to come out on top?
Yell “Look, it’s Hank Pym!” and flick over Ultron with my finger while the adversary is distracted. I should probably stick to writing novels.
‘Target: Kree — A Marvel: Crisis Protocol Novel’ hits stores July 6. You can pre-order it now.
Read the first four chapters from ‘Target: Kree — A Marvel: Crisis Protocol Novel’ below, courtesy of Aconyte Books!
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