ACBC: Marvel Looks Beyond "Secret Wars" Towards The Aftermath

On Saturday afternoon at Atlantic City Boardwalk Con, a group of editors and creators gathered to discuss the one thing on every Marvel fans' mind: What exists in the aftermath of "Secret Wars"? The massive Marvel event has destroyed every reality in the multiverse, slamming them all together to form one patchwork planet called Battleworld. With the first two issues of Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic's "Secret Wars" on the stands, readers are experiencing the final fate of their favorite heroes -- but what comes next?

The assembled panelists who possessed answers to these questions were writers Peter David ("Secret Wars 2099," "Future Imperfect") and Charles Soule ("Civil War," "Inhumans: Attilan Rising"), as well as Content Development Director Sana Amanat and editor Katie Kubert. Moderator Jacob Friedfeld kicked things off by introducing the panel, with Soule entering to a round of applause.

The presentation started with "Ms. Marvel," with editor Sana Amanat talking about the series. "People are asking if we're going to be destroying everything we've built," said Amanat. "It's actually a culmination of everything we've been working on for the past few years." Amanat said that now that Kamala Khan is a superhero, she has to deal with the world falling apart around her. "She has to deal with her role in the universe as well as her family, and we actually have a team up with Captain Marvel," said Amanat. "This is the perfect place to pass on the mantle during 'Ms. Marvel's' 'Last Days' storyline."

The main "Secret Wars" series was up next, with Friedfeld introducing those in attendance to the story within. "If you think that Battleworld itself is crazy, you have no idea what's coming in 'Secret Wars' #3," said Friedfeld. "The tie-ins for this book are insane, as we're going to show you."

One such tie-in, "Giant-Size Little Marvel: AvX," popped up next, with Amanat touting the Skottie Young series as "the most important" tie-in in the event. "There are dodgeball fights," she exclaimed. The series takes place in Marville, and features the X-Men and Avengers characters "going at it every single day until their moms call them in for dinner."

Editor Katie Kubert began talking about the next book up, "Korvac Saga," praising writer Dan Abnett's encyclopedic knowledge of the original "Avengers" tale. "In their realm, they have the Forest Hills, which is run by Mike Korvac who is meeting with Wonder Man, who is the baron of his domain," explained Kubert. "They are trying to make peace while this infection is breaking out. This is one of the more meta titles we're doing on Battleworld, so I recommend it."

Peter David's "Future Imperfect" came up, with the writer referencing the story of the same name he wrote twenty years ago. "It inverted the concept of the Terminator," said David. "The Hulk present-day was brought into the future to take on a foe only he could handle -- a futuristic version of himself that runs a wasteland called Dystopia named Maestro. I wrote this two-parter and thought that was that, but now the Maestro is back and he bends his knee to Doctor Doom -- which doesn't go over well with him. This series focuses on his plan to overthrow Doom and become the overlord of Battleworld." David added that Ruby Summers and other futuristic characters from his Marvel bibliography will appear in the series. Kubert teased that the Maestro will have a big part to play when the "Secret Wars" event ends.

David then spoke about his other series, "Secret Wars 2099," saying that it will star Miguel O'Hara and feature a world wherein all heroes are employees of Alchemax. "If you do not work for them, you are a supervillain, no matter if you're doing good or bad," said David. "This storyline will focus on the Avengers of 2099: Captain America, Black Widow, Hercules, Hawkeye, Iron Man and the Vision. My favorite is Captain America, who is a female. [Artist] Will Sliney made her a typical, Wonder Woman-esque superheroine. I said hold on a minute and said we should assume she took the same super solider serum Steve Rogers took. He went from skinny to muscular, so I wanted this Captain America to turn into a muscular woman. I sent him pics of female bodybuilders and he modeled her after them." David noted that Hulk 2099 will appear in the series, but characters like Ravage, Ghost Rider and Punisher won't.

"Civil War" came up on the presentation, with Soule saying he's basically "writing 'Civil War 2.'" "The Civil War was ended in the first series with Captain America surrendering to Iron Man, but that didn't happen in this story," said Soule. "The war spills out to everyone, regular people as well, and we see why and how that happened. This story takes place six years later, after we've all been in the superhero Civil War for six years. The country has been split into the Blue and the Iron; Tony has one side and Steve has the other. I wanted to write my big superhero 'Lord of the Rings' story."

Soule's other series, "Inhumans: Attilan Rising," will feature a story that puts Black Bolt and Medusa on opposing sides with Doom as Battleworld's overlord. "Sort of bubbling under the surface of that is a resistance movement. Doom isn't thrilled about this, so he goes to one of his chief barons -- Queen Medusa -- who is running Attilan. Doom wants her to shut this resistance down, and so the reveal is that the leader is Black Bolt. This loving, husband/wife couple has never met each other at this point. Black Bolt's surface persona is running a bar called the Quiet Room, which is like the bar at the beginning of 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.' He runs a club where all the people of Battleworld can hang out without worry of trouble. Beneath it is the resistance headquarters."

Spider-Man fans who enjoy Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson's relationship will get a series for themselves which features the pair's everyday life with their daughter Annie. Things will go awry when their domain leader, Regent, goes after Peter's family, forcing him to head underground. "It's a great adventure story, but also a great story about Peter and Mary Jane," said Amanat, who also teased that Venom will appear in the series.

With attention on "Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos," Friedfeld talked about the Marvel monsters and the series' lead -- Deadpool's wife Shiklah. "All these stories count," said Friedfeld, beginning to talk about "Old Man Logan." "The whole setup is the same as the Mark Millar series, but this is on Battleworld. We will see Logan cross into other territories, and he'll fight 'Age of Apocalypse' Wolverine. There will be some Wolverine on Wolverine action."

The "Secret Wars" tie-in "Thors" then got some time in the spotlight. "If you're Doom and you build your own planet, who would make a good police force? How about every Thor in existence," said Kubert. The book, written by Jason Aaron with art by Chris Sprouse," will feature Beta Ray Bill in the lead. The series will also feature the first appearance of Groot Thor.

"We looked at every Thor we had and decided to cram as many as we could in one book," said Friedfeld. "These guys are inspecting something huge in 'Secret Wars' and you'll get to see some of that in this book."

Kubert spoke about another Jason Aaron book, "Weirdworld," saying that it will "melt minds." "It's pretty much a book that contains every fantasy realm on one floating island. You name it, it's in this book. Mike Del Mundo is on art and it's going to look insane."

Amanat said that "Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps" is dedicated to the fans and will see Carol Danvers as the lead of the Banshee Squad -- a group of Doom's fighter pilot squad. "This story is about Carol, the only person in her territory to have powers, and is a gift of Doom to these women and Halafield base," said Amanat. "One day they are told to go on a mission that Carol doubts is truthful or not and ends up killing people, which causes her to question the validity of Doom's rule. They notice a star in the sky and when they discover it, they want to know what is beyond the limits of Battleworld. It's about questioning what you are told and being rebellious for the sake of finding the truth."

Friedfeld spoke about how "Secret Wars" allows writers to dabble in genres that the regular Marvel Universe might not allow for. Soule agreed, saying that this feels different and that he's enjoying being able to "spread his wings."

The X-Men series "E is For Extinction" takes place in the Grant Morrison/Frank Quitely world; editor Katie Kubert called it "weird as hell" -- which is what she wanted. Chris Burnham will be writing the series at the top and co-writing the series with Dennis Culver for issues #2-4. Ramon Villalobos will provide interior art with covers by Ian Bertram. Kubert states that these X-Men are the heroes everyone wants to be, and that they're the "new hotness." The old X-Men team will start to lose their powers thanks to a secret of Magneto's; Kubert revealed the secret, stating that the Master of Magnetism possesses a mysterious Phoenix egg.

After running through these tie-in titles, an ominous slide came up asking, "What comes next?" "What from Battleworld gets to stick around?" asked Friedfeld. "There are a couple things from our books that we will keep using when 'Secret Wars' is over." Maestro will stick around after the dust settles on the event, as will "A-Force." "It's going to be around," said Friedfeld. "It's not going to go away when 'Secret Wars' is over.'

There will also be a "new team of survivors from dead universes." These survivors, still under wraps, will be starring in their own books and crossing over into other ones. Soule teased that that is actually the name of the series "New Team of Survivors From Dead Universes."

Additionally, the Howling Commandos, comprised of Marvel's monsters, will make an impact post "Secret Wars," and the realm of Weirdworld will be revisited again. Friedfeld then showed the Battleworld map and said that the construct of Battleworld will "extend far beyond 'Secret Wars' itself. We will be going back to it."

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