Abnett & and Lanning "Infest" IDW

Next month, IDW Publishing launches its first ever crossover event with "Infestation." The project is unusual in that it weaves through not only the publisher's original properties, but also impacts several of its major licenses including "Transformers," "G.I. Joe," "Ghostbusters" and "Star Trek." The action begins as a plague of zombies from the "Zombies vs. Robots" universe created by IDW Chief Creative Officer Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood escape to infect other realities in January's "Infestation" #1 and continues in bi-weekly two-issue miniseries for each of the licensed titles before concluding in April's "Infestation" #2.

CBR News spoke with "Infestation" architects Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, writers of the bookend series and "Transformers" tie-in, in a joint email interview to get their thoughts on the unusual event and the "Transformers: Heart of Darkness" miniseries that follows it.

CBR News: From what I understand, "Infestation" begins in the "Zombies vs. Robots" universe and spreads from there. Is there anything else you can tell us about the story in the first bookend issue?

DnA: The ZvR Universe is what can be described as the "IDW" Universe -- the ground zero from which everything else springs. It's where CVO and Team Orphan [from "Children of the Grave"] live, too. It's the baseline Earth, which is our default setting. All the others are alternate dimensions, other iterations of the basic version of the Universe. Thanks to the ZvR continuity, that Earth has interdimensional transit technology... that's how the Infestation plague gets in, and how it then gets out again to contaminate the other (very famous and recognizable) dimensions! In supertextual terms, of course, this means that IDW can launch its first cross-franchise event!

Will there be a particular hero or protagonist we'll follow throughout this event? Or will there be characters that only appear in the bookends, with the various licensed characters holding the stage in their tie-in books?

Absolutely, heroes and villains. The core story interaction with the various "other" universes will vary in intensity, but things come together for a very compelling and mashed-up conclusion!

A lot of the work you two do together involves these vast, universal environments and epic storylines -- I'm thinking particularly of your time on "Legion Lost" and Marvel's cosmic series. What appeals to you in telling stories on this sort of grand scale? How does this play out in "Infestation's" unique situation, where you've got several distinct universes?

We like the big SF scale of stories like this, and the challenge of making previously unconnected continuities match up. With "Infestation," it was very much a case of our track record with this kind of madness getting the invite from IDW to mastermind the event. They showed us what they had in mind and we had to take a long lie down!

You're also writing the "Transformers" tie-in for "Infestation," which occurs quite early in the crossover. How might Cybertronians deal with the zombie threat? Will the robots from ZVR be stopping by?

Wouldn't it be a disappointment if they didn't? Just because this is a zombie infestation, doesn't mean it's exclusive to organics...

For the "Transformers" episodes, are we looking at the earth-bound Transformers or those currently travelling through various sectors of space?


Following "Infestation" you have "Transformers: Heart of Darkness." It may be a bit early, since it builds from the crossover, but what can you tell us about the story there?

We've taken great care to try and construct a story that builds organically (no pun intended) on both the ongoing "Transformers" continuity and the "Infestation" events. We don't intend for a moment to change, rewrite or reboot anything, but we want to present a story that is accessible, a great and enjoyable way to slide yourself back into the magnificent universe of the Transformers.

The "Heart of Darkness" miniseries will feature Galvatron, who has been out of the regular "Transformers" comics for some time now. Is there anything you can say about what he's been up to in the meantime?

What big G has been up to is the very bedrock of the whole next phase, the adventure, the continuity itself. It's big, it'll shake things up in what we hope will be a vastly exciting way. It's a game changer in the best sense of the term.

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