In anticipation of the epic “War of Kings” storyline, which details the clash between the intergalactic empires of the Kree and Inhumans led by Black Bolt and the Shi’Ar lead by Emperor Vulcan, Marvel Comics ran advertisements asking “Who Will Rule?” For months now, fans have clamored for an answer to that question. This fall, they’ll finally get one.
At last weekend’s Wizard World convention in Philadelphia, Marvel announced “War of Kings: Who Will Rule?”, a one-shot by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and artist Paul Pelletier, which will wrap up the massive tale of outer space warfare and establish the new status quo of Marvel’s cosmic titles. CBR News spoke with Abnett and Lanning, collectively known to their fans as DnA, about the project.
“War of Kings” is currently unfolding in the pages of a titular six issue miniseries as well as “War of Kings: Ascension” — a miniseries starring Darkhawk — “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “Nova,” all written by DnA. Obviously, readers have invested a significant amount of time and money into the tale, and the writers have worked extra hard to make sure “Who Will Rule?” brings it to a satisfying close.
“One of the things we’ve been most pleased about with the readers’ responses to ‘War of Kings’ is how much they’ve enjoyed all the political machinations and character relationships. We always wanted ‘WoK’ to be an epic space opera along the lines of ‘Dune’ and concentrated on giving all our vast cast of characters cool moments and personal intrigues. What we wanted to primarily do with ‘Who Will Rule?’ is to see how the fallout from the end of ‘WoK’#6 effects those characters as well as examine it’s impact on the cosmic landscape and the Shi’Ar and Kree Empires in particular,” DnA told CBR News. “The story really does center on the question of ‘Who Will Rule?’ and closes this specific chapter in the ongoing cosmic saga, but it also sets the scene for what will follow and serves as a dramatic way to put all the pieces in place and into play for the next events that will unfold.”
The first major casualty of “War of Kings” was Lilandra Neramani, the former Empress of the Shi’Ar Empire. Before the story concludes it’s quite possible there will be more major deaths. All of the fallen in the “War of Kings” will be remembered and mourned by the survivors in “Who Will Rule?” “Without giving too much away, you could sum up the whole series as ‘One Wedding, a War and a Funeral,'” DnA teased.
“Who Will Rule?” is definitely a “big picture” book in terms of the status quo of the Marvel Universe, but DnA are keeping the focus of the book intimate by concentrating on how the outcome of the “War of Kings” affects the story’s cast of characters. “Its ramifications for the rest of the Marvel Cosmic Universe is something we will be following through Nova’s series and the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and any other books we can get up and running,” DnA said. “This exciting new status quo is a rich source of ideas and situations and we’d like to explore as much of them as we can.”
The surviving Kree, Inhuman, and Shi’Ar characters are given special attention in “Who Will Rule?” and the book will also have a dramatic affect on the other cosmic characters and titles like “Nova” and Guardians of the Galaxy.” “Nova and Guardians are certainly caught up in the consequences of the War’s dramatic end, but these will play out in their own titles as their adventures continue,” DnA stated. “We’d love to tell more stories about these great characters and so far, the success of both ‘Annihilation’ and ‘Conquest’ has afforded us that opportunity. We’re already hip-deep in plans for the stories that will rocket out of ‘WoK,’ and we have more than enough ideas for the cool characters now in play.”
Because “Who Will Rule?” completes the tale of “War of Kings,” DnA thought it was vital that the one-shot feature artwork by the team responsible for the “War of Kings” miniseries. “Paul Pelletier, Rick Magyar and Wil Quintana have all been at the top of their game for the miniseries and it wasn’t even an option not to have them do the ‘epilogue,'” DnA explained. “They’ve shown over the course of the six issues that they can handle everything we throw at them, and then some! From vast galactic scale action to small intimate character interactions and moments, these guys can do the lot!
“‘Who Will Rule?’ ranges from the vast and sweeping action of cosmic conflict, right down to the personal and subtle character interactions so we’re looking forward to some more awesome visuals from our A Team!”
“War of Kings” was a massive tale and a huge undertaking for Abnett & Lanning, and bringing the storyline to a conclusion in “Who Will Rule?” was both difficult and immensely gratifying. “We have a great sense of satisfaction in finishing the storyline which, in many ways, was started some three years ago with the work we did on ‘Annihilation,'” DnA explained. “But we also had a lot of ground to cover in 22 pages and could have written another six-issue series on the events following the conclusion to ‘War of Kings’ and how it affects the Marvel cosmos and cosmic characters. What ‘War of Kings’ has offered us is a brand new status quo for the MU cosmos moving forward and that’s really exciting as everything has changed and it’s going to be fun to see how those changes play out in the future.”