In the few years since he’s joined the Marvel universe, Al Ewing has become one of the biggest names in American comic books, especially superhero comics ; not least of all because of his critically acclaimed work on The Immortal Hulk. However, his Marvel Comics history actually started back in 2013, and has since then spanned across many different characters and stories, from Loki to the Inhumans and even several different Avengers teams.
Ewing’s work at Marvel is not only noteworthy for often aiming to shake up the status quo of the Marvel universe as well as taking on cosmic proportions ; but also for his dedication to representation in his stories, especially queer representation in books like Immortal Hulk and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as having mostly non-white teams in his Mighty Avengers and Ultimates especially.
And although Immortal Hulk is approaching its end, Al Ewing’s time at Marvel seems to only be beginning, as he is currently heading the new era of Marvel’s Galactic stories, across titles like Guardians of the Galaxy, S.W.O.R.D., and Venom; and events like Empyre and The Last Annihilation.
Al Ewing’s very first Marvel work were two issues of Avengers Assemble during the Age of Ultron event in 2013, focusing on Ultron’s takeover of Earth as experienced by different heroes : Black Widow in #14AU, and Captain Marvel, Captain Britain and the MI13 in #15AU.
The Age of Ultron version of Faiza Hussain, aka Excalibur, reappears in Al Ewing’s Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders.
Collects: Iron Man: Fatal Frontier #1-13
Still in 2013, Al Ewing wrote a 13-issue miniseries (the first two issues co-written with Kieron Gillen) for Marvel’s “Infinite” imprint, publishing comics made for digital reading. Revolving around Tony Stark as the sheriff of Tranquility Gulch, a city on the Moon in the middle of a gold rush for a new element named Phlogistone, Fatal Frontier is Ewing’s only solo Iron Man work to date. However, it introduces several concepts he would come back to in later works : namely the evil Cortex Incorporated, as well as the idea of Ho Yinsen becoming Iron Man instead of Tony Stark.
Cortex Inc. reappears in Ewing’s Captain America and the Mighty Avengers.
A version of Ho Yinsen in an Iron Man armor appears in Ewing’s Captain Britain and the Mighty Avengers, as well as, to some degree, in his New Avengers and U.S. Avengers with the character of Toni Ho, his daughter.
Al Ewing wrote another “Infinite” series, Civil War II: Ulysses, in 2016.
Collects: Mighty Avengers (2013) #1-5
Ewing’s first ongoing series at Marvel was his Mighty Avengers, a new team of mostly non-white street-level heroes, forming as a volunteer organisation to help anyone who might need them. From Infinity to Original Sin, the Mighty Avengers battle Shuma-Gorath, Doctor Positron, and the Deathwalkers. In this run, Ewing introduces the Neutral Zone and focuses often on Blue Marvel and his sons, which are stories he will regularly come back to.
Collects: Mighty Avengers (2013) #6-10
Collects: Mighty Avengers (2013) #11-14
The Mighty Avengers reappear in Ewing’s Captain America and the Mighty Avengers.
Collects: Loki: Agent of Asgard #1-17, Original Sin #5.1-5.5, All-New Marvel NOW! Point One #1
Al Ewing picks up Loki after Kieron Gillen’s run on the character from Journey Into Mystery to Young Avengers Vol. 2, and writes them in a new series that takes the god of mischief on a journey across the Marvel universe, as Loki tries to reinvent themself. Although Ewing continues the story started by Gillen, he brings the trickster god in a new direction, as he asks the question: can Loki truly change ? (This is also the run in which Loki is canonised as being genderfluid.)
Around this time, as a tie-in to Original Sin, Ewing wrote a short S.H.I.E.L.D. story in Original Sins #5, which reveals that Dum Dum Dugan has actually been dead for years and is currently an LMD. (This story was continued a year later in S.H.I.E.L.D. #9, also written by Ewing.)
In Avengers #34.1, Ewing writes a great Superm- *checks notes* sorry, a great Hyperion issue, looking back on the character’s backstory as he sets out to save a kidnapped child.
Collects: Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1-7
Ewing brings back both the Mighty Avengers and Cortex Incorporated, which is revealed to be controlled by the Beyond Corporation. Meanwhile, Sam Wilson (now the new Captain America) and Luke Cage have been turned evil by the events of AXIS.
Collects: Avengers: Ultron Forever #1, New Avengers: Ultron Forever #1, Uncanny Avengers: Ultron Forever #1, Avengers #54-55
Doctor Doom brings together a team of Avengers from across time to stop Ultron from taking over the world, including Danielle Cage (daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, who appeared as a baby in Ewing’s Mighty Avengers) as Captain America from the year 20XX.
Danielle Cage and the 20XX Avengers reappear in Ewing’s New Avengers.
Collects: Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #8-9, Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #1-2, Avengers Assemble #15AU
The Mighty Avengers’ story comes to an end, and the rest of the Marvel universe does too, as Secret Wars approaches.
Blue Marvel and Spectrum reappear in Ewing’s Ultimates and Ultimates 2.
White Tiger, Power Man, and Blue Marvel’s son Dr Positron reappear in Ewing’s New Avengers.
During Secret Wars, Ewing wrote the tie-in series Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders. In the mashup of different realities that is Battleworld, Ewing assembles a team of Defenders consisting of Hobie Brown as Spider-Man, She-Hulk as Thor, White Tiger, the Age of Ultron version of Excalibur (now taking on the mantle of Captain Britain), White Tiger, Ho Yinsen in the Rescue armor, and his daughter Antonia Yinsen.
The Earth-616 version of Ho Yinsen’s daughter, named Toni Ho, appears in Ewing’s New Avengers.
Immediately after the end of Secret Wars, Ewing follows his Dum Dum Dugan story from Original Sins #5 in S.H.I.E.L.D. #9, in which the Dugan LMD is brought back to life by Maria Hill to lead the All-New, All-Monster Howling Commandos (set to star in their own series, Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Ewing used Dugan again later, in his New Avengers.
As part of the “All-New, All-Different Marvel” relaunch, Al Ewing takes the helm of three different team books : Contest of Champions, New Avengers, and Ultimates.
Collects: Contest of Champions #1-6, All-New, All-Different Point One #1
Various heroes are involved in a contest between the Collector, the Grandmaster, Maestro, and Punisher 2099 ; including Outlaw (the British Punisher) and Ewing’s own creation, the French vigilante Guillotine.
Collects: New Avengers (2015) #1-6, Avengers #0
Sunspot assembles his own AIM-sponsored Avengers team, including previous Ewing favourites White Tiger, Power Man, and Max Brasheer ; as well as Toni Ho (daughter of Ho Yinsen, created for this series), Pod, Squirrel Girl, Hawkeye, Songbird, and former Young Avengers Wiccan and Hulkling. In this first volume, Ewing not only brings back his 20XX Avengers, but he also plants the seeds for the future of the Marvel universe with the introduction of the Knights of the Infinite, a group of Kree-Skrull hybrids who tell Hulkling about his destiny as the uniter of the two warring space empires. Ewing also uses the Maker, a character from the defunct Ultimate universe, whom he also writes in his Ultimates and Ultimates 2.
Danielle Cage as the 20XX Captain America reappears in Ewing’s U.S. Avengers.
Collects: Ultimates (2015) #1-12, Ultimates 2 (2016) #1-9 and #100, Avengers #0
After the end of the Ultimate universe in Secret Wars, Al Ewing brings back the title with a brand new team from Earth-616 : former Mighty Avengers Spectrum and Blue Marvel, plus America Chavez, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel. Ultimates and the aftermath of Secret Wars allow Ewing to explore the cosmic side of Marvel, from the Living Tribunal to Molecule Man and especially Galactus.
In both of his Ultimates series, Ewing shapes his version of the Marvel Cosmos, both the current one and the ones that came before it. These are ideas he will come back to in his Immortal Hulk, where he writes a full issue set in the next Cosmos, after the end of the current Marvel universe; and in his Defenders, which explores the previous Cosmos, in which Galactus used to live. He also reuses concepts from the actual Ultimate universe, especially the character of the Maker; as well as concepts from the New Universe. And don’t worry if you don’t remember the New Universe, because no one else does either (somewhere in the world, Jonathan Hickman’s ears just rang.)
Al Ewing’s take on the Marvel Cosmos plays a role in his Immortal Hulk.
Blue Marvel and Spectrum reappear in Ewing, Waid and Zub’s Avengers: No Road Home.
Eternity reappears in the Ewing-written stories of Marvel Comics #1000.
Ego reappears in Ewing’s The Last Annihilation event.
Collects: New Avengers (2015) #7-11
The New Avengers go to war with S.H.I
E.L.D., including Dum Dum Dugan and the American Kaiju, while the Maker assembles his New Revengers.
Collects: Contest of Champions #7-10, Punisher #64
The Contest of Champions comes to an end, resulting in the creation of a new Europe-based superteam, including Outlaw, Guillotine, Ares, and the Korean hero White Fox.
The Champions of Europe reappear in Ewing’s U.S. Avengers.
The Grandmaster reappears in Ewing, Waid and Zub’s Avengers: No Surrender.
Collects: Civil War II: Ulysses #1-6, The Fallen #1, The Accused #1, The Oath #1
During the Civil War II crossover event, Ewing wrote a tie-in Infinite miniseries about the Inhuman character of Ulysses, who was at the center of said event, training with Karnak.
The Inhumans reappear in Ewing’s Inhumans Prime, Royals, and Inhumans: Judgement Day.
Collects: New Avengers (2015) #12-18
After being involved in the initial Celestial battle of Civil War II, the new Avengers fight both S.H.I.E.L.D and the New Revengers. While the New Avengers series ends here, most of the team comes back in Ewing’s U.S. Avengers.
Hulkling, Wiccan, and the Knights of the Infinite reappear at the end of Incoming!, before being at the center of Ewing and Slott’s Empyre event.
Collects: U.S. Avengers #1-6
The New Avengers become the U.S. Avengers, a new team working with S.H.I.E.L.D.. Ewing brings back a lot of the characters from his New Avengers, as well as 20XX Captain America and her nemesis, the Golden Skull.
Collects: Inhumans Prime #1, Royals #1-5
For about a year, Ewing led Marvel’s Inhumans stories, introducing a new post-Inhumans vs X-Men status quo in which Inhuman society becomes a democracy in the pages of Inhumans Prime #1. From there, in the Royals series, he sends the former Inhuman royal family on a quest to the destroyed Kree capital of Hala, in order to save the Inhuman race with the help of Marvel Boy.
Collects: U.S. Avengers #7-12
The U.S. Avengers and the Champions of Europe (now including a Ewing fave, Excalibur) are thrown into Secret Empire, before Sunspot decides to quit AIM and leave Toni as Supreme Leader.
The U.S. Avengers reappear in Ewing, Waid and Zub’s Avengers: No Surrender.
Collects: Rocket #1-6
In this very short series, Ewing writes Rocket as a noir detective/heist story, having fun with characters such as Deadpool, Blackjack O’Hare, or Murd Blurdock the Space Attorney.
Rocket reappears in Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Collects: Royals #6-12, Inhumans: Judgement Day #1
Ewing introduces the Progenitors, a race of cosmic beings who created the Kree, and who might hold the secret to save the Inhumans. Giving us a taste of what Ewing’s Marvel Galaxy might look like, he also begins his Snarkwar storyline, using characters from 80s Power Pack.
Marvel Boy and the Progenitors reappear in Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
The Snarkwar storyline is continued in Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy and S.W.O.R.D..
Collects: Avengers (2016) #675-690
Co-written with Mark Waid and Jim Zub, this Avengers story is, to some degree, a successor to Contest of Champions, using the Grandmaster as well as his daughter Voyager and his friend-turned-adversary the Challenger (both created for No Road Home). Mixing all the different Avengers teams from this time (including Ewing’s own U.S. Avengers), the story reintroduces the Hulk after the events of Civil War II, and is in a way the true beginning of Immortal Hulk.
By the end of the story, Toni Ho renames AIM to become R.E.S.C.U.E..
Voyager and the Avengers reappear in Ewing, Waid and Zub’s Avengers: No Road Home.
Hulk reappears in Ewing’s Immortal Hulk.
In Thanos Annual #1, Al Ewing writes a short story about Thanos destroying the peace of an alien civilization by killing their god.
Collects: Immortal Hulk #1-15, Avengers #684
Al Ewing’s critically acclaimed Hulk run begins ! The Hulk can’t die, and Ewing explores what that means for him and every other gamma-irradiated person in the Marvel universe, in a story that oscillates between body horror and cosmic horror. Either way, pretty horrifying. This is also the occasion for Ewing to bring back some of the cosmic concepts from his Ultimates run, and expand upon them with the Below-Place, where Hulks go when they die ; the Green Doors, that allows them to come back ; and the One Below All, ultimate incarnation of evil in the Marvel universe.
In Immortal Hulk, Ewing writes Bruce Banner and his Hulks as an actual Dissociative Identity Disorder system, with the emergence of the Devil Hulk alter. This Devil Hulk is a fatherly, protective figure for Banner, one that wants to “end the human world” (which is to say that he’s trying to save humanity from capitalism). Following Bruce is a cast of characters including Gamma Flight, newly formed to hunt him ; as well as Jackie McGee, a journalist who wants to learn more about him and about how to become a Hulk.
During the Infinity Wars event, Ewing writes the fusion of Thor and Iron Man in Infinity Wars: Iron Hammer. This character, and all the other Infinity Warps, reappear in the Ewing-written Secret Warps a year later.
Collects: Immortal Hulk: The Best Defense #1, Namor: The Best Defense #1, Doctor Strange: The Best Defense #1, Silver Surfer: The Best Defense #1, Defenders: The Best Defense #1
During that time, Ewing writes a short Cannonball and Smasher story for Merry X-Men Holiday Special #1 (December 15th), as well as a Quasar and Nova story in Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1, which plants some seeds for his upcoming Guardians run.
Collects: Avengers: No Road Home #1-10
In this spiritual sequel to Avengers: No Surrender, once again co-written with Mark Waid and Jim Zub, Ewing brings back (among a lot of other Avengers) some of his faves, including the Hulk, Rocket, Blue Marvel, Spectrum, and Toni Ho, to fight the Greek goddess Nyx.
No Road Home is not only used as the reintroduction of Conan the Barbarian to the Marvel universe, but it also serves as a prequel of some sorts to Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy run, setting the stage with the Greek Pantheon being decimated and Hercules going to space.
Hercules and the reborn Olympians reappear in Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Collects: Immortal Hulk #16-30
The Hulk and his allies fight the military, Roxxon, and Xemnu ; and Ewing flashes forward for a whole issue to show us Hulk having become the equivalent to Galactus in the next universe, floating across the cosmos destroying planets in a single blow.
Collects: Secret Warps: Soldier Supreme Annual #1, Secret Warps: Weapon Hex Annual #1, Secret Warps: Ghost Panther Annual #1, Secret Warps: Arachknight Annual #1, Secret Warps: Iron Hammer Annual #1
Ewing writes the sequel to Infinity Warps.
Collects: Valkyrie: Jane Foster #1-5, War of the Realms: Omega #1
In the aftermath of the War of the Realms, and co-written by Jason Aaron, Jane Foster becomes Marvel’s new Valkyrie. Like Immortal Hulk, Valkyrie is very much about the concept of Death, with Jane being able to see people’s demises coming, accompanying Heimdall’s soul to a place beyond afterlives, and fighting the Grim Reaper who serves as Mephisto’s minion. Ewing also brings back the character of Lisa Halloran, America Chavez’s ex from Ultimates, as a friend and colleague of Jane’s.
In Marvel Comics #1000, Al Ewing introduces the concepts of the Eternity Mask, the Enclave, the Masked Raider and the Three Xs, which he will come back to as soon as Marvel Comics #1001, but also in Incoming! as well as his Defenders miniseries. He also teases Korvac as a possible upcoming threat.
Collects: Valkyrie: Jane Foster #6-10
With some references to his own work on Immortal Hulk, Ewing writes Jane and a team of super-medics (including his fave Faiza Hussain/Excalibur) going to save Lady Death from her own Death.
Since Incoming! in 2020, Al Ewing has become the spearhead of Marvel’s Galactic universe, across a handful of different titles and stories. In Incoming!, Ewing sets up a murder mystery scenario to tease the upcoming Empyre event, using the Hulkling storyline he planted the seeds for all the way back in his New Avengers, as well as the mysterious Masked Raider from his Marvel Comics #1000 stories. He also sets up the Blue Marvel, Jimmy Woo, and Night Thrasher as the new Three Xs, a group closely linked to the Raider’s Eternity Mask.
The Masked Raider reappears in Ewing’s Defenders.
Hulkling and the Kree-Skrull Alliance reappear in Ewing and Slott’s Empyre event.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) #1-5
The Olympian Gods come back from their deaths in No Road Home, and Star-Lord sacrifices himself to stop them, which breaks apart the Guardians. Ewing brings back some of the supporting cast from his previous Rocket series, and crafts a new team of Guardians of the Galaxy with Rocket, Groot, Drax, Gamora, Phyla-Vell, Moondragon, Marvel Boy, Nova, and Hercules.
Collects: Empyre: Avengers #0, Empyre: Fantastic Four #0, Empyre #1-6, Empyre Aftermath: Avengers #1, Empyre Fallout: Fantastic Four #1
Hulkling is the King of Space, and his Kree-Skrull Alliance is headed to Earth. Co-written with Dan Slott, Empyre is *the* event that sets up the new status quo for Marvel’s galaxy, with Kree and Skrulls united under one leader, and the Earth’s space defense switching from Captain Marvel’s Alpha Flight to S.W.O.R.D., led by Abigail Brand with the backing of the mutant nation of Krakoa.
Hulkling and Wiccan reappear in Ewing’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Abigail Brand reappears in Ewing’s S.W.O.R.D..
After her death and resurrection in Empyre, She-Hulk reappears in Ewing’s Immortal She-Hulk one-shot.
Collects: Immortal Hulk #31-40 and #0, Immortal She-Hulk #1
The Leader is revealed as the Big Bad of the run, manipulating everyone behind the scenes. After the Hulk takes over the military’s Shadow Base, he is joined in his mission by Doc Samson and Dr Charlene McGowan, one of Marvel’s only trans characters, created by Ewing for Immortal Hulk.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) #6-12
In the aftermath of Empyre, the Guardians attend a meeting of the new Galactic Council, which results in a murder mystery for Rocket to solve. Star-Lord comes back new and improved, just in time for the King in Black event, after having spent years in another world (which allows Ewing to canonise Peter Quill as being bisexual and polyamorous). By the end of this arc, the Guardians of the Galaxy have become officially sanctioned by the Galactic Council, as a superhero team fighting to protect the people of every single galactic empire, effectively taking over the role of the Nova Corps.
Collects: Immortal Hulk #41-50
The end of the Immortal Hulk is here, and he’s going out with a bang ! Featuring Al Ewing’s take on Ben Grimm, which will make you wish he was writing Fantastic Four. As the end approaches, Hulk has to rely on his friends and allies, from Gamma Flight and Jackie McGee to the FF.
Before the end, Hulk appears in the King in Black: Immortal Hulk tie-in issue, a silent story set during the holidays. Another one-shot written by Ewing is Immortal Hulk: Time of Monsters, which gives a look at a Hulk from thousands of years ago.
Gamma Flight reappears in Ewing and Frasier’s Gamma Flight.
Betty Ross as the Red Harpy reappears in Ewing’s Defenders.
Collects: S.W.O.R.D. (2020) #1-6
As part of the Krakoa Era of X-Men comics, Al Ewing writes SWORD as not only the mutant nation’s space program, but also as the voice of the Sol System across the Galaxy. Although it isn’t written by Ewing, Planet-Size X-Men #1 is a recommended read here, as the events that happen in it during the Hellfire Gala heavily influence the direction of Ewing’s galactic stories and SWORD’s place in them.
Collects: Gamma Flight #1-5
In this miniseries co-written by Crystal Frasier, the Gamma Flight team formed in Immortal Hulk have their own adventure fighting the Abomination and his minions.
Collects: Guardians of the Galaxy (2020) #13-18
Hulkling and Wiccan join the Guardians of the Galaxy to protect their people. The new Guardians team also recruits Super-Skrull, Quasar… and Doctor Doom !
In the aftermath of the X-Men’s Hellfire Gala, Ewing begins his first self-contained galactic event, The Last Annihilation, mostly spanning across the Guardians and S.W.O.R.D. titles. Here’s the order in which to read it, and which issues were written by Ewing (and go check out Comic Book Herald’s The Last Annihilation Reading Order !) :
- Guardians of the Galaxy #15 (road to The Last Annihilation, written by Al Ewing)
- S.W.O.R.D. #6 (road to The Last Annihilation and tie-in to the Hellfire Gala, written by Al Ewing)
- Guardians of the Galaxy #16 (written by Al Ewing)
- S.W.O.R.D. #7 (written by Al Ewing)
- Guardians of the Galaxy #17 (written by Al Ewing)
- Cable: Reloaded #1 (written by Al Ewing)
- The Last Annihilation: Wiccan and Hulkling (written by Anthony Oliveira)
- The Last Annihilation: Wakanda (written by Evan Narcisse)
- Guardians of the Galaxy #18 (written by Al Ewing)
Collects: S.W.O.R.D. (2020) #7-11
With Storm acting as the new Queen of Sol, S.W.O.R.D. becomes a central part of the galactic political scene, especially for The Last Annihilation.
Currently, Al Ewing is writing a new 5-issue Defenders miniseries, using classic Defenders Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer, and Cloud ; as well as the Masked Raider from Marvel Comics #1000 and the Red Harpy from his Immortal Hulk. The story goes back to a favourite cosmic concept of Ewing’s, the idea of the cosmos that existed before this one and of the origins of Galactus.
Collects: Venom (2021) #1-…
In December 2021, Al Ewing and Ram V will begin a new cosmic run on Venom, with Eddie Brock as the new King in Black and his son Dylan as Venom ; as recently teased in Free Comic Book Day Spider-Man/Venom 2021.