C2E2: Marvel Maps Out "Secret Wars'" "Battleworld"

On Saturday at C2E2, Marvel followed up their "Last Days" panel with another "Secret Wars"-centric discussion, this time focusing on the Senior Editor Nick Lowe, editors Jake Thomas and Jon Moisan, Charles Soule (writer, "Civil War"), James Robinson (writer, "Armor Wars"), Joshua Williamson (writer, "Red Skull") and Jonathan Hickman (writer, "Secret Wars").

Moderator Nick Lowe kicked off the panel by asking Jonathan Hickman to describe the main "Secret Wars" book, which started as Hickman's ultimate plan for his "Avengers" run and has grown into something more. Hickman praised his artist, Esad Ribic, and said, "You guys are going to dig this, even if it's written terribly, it's gorgeous." Lowe showed off four pages from "Secret Wars" #1, which featured numerous characters from the Marvel Universe locked in a heated battle. Lowe asked Hickman to describe what happens in the first issue, prompting Hickman to answer, "Everybody dies."

Like other Marvel events, "Secret Wars" will have a number of series that play a role in the main event. First up, Lowe showed the covers for "Inhumans: Attilan Rising," which will be written by Charles Soule with art by John Timms. The cover for #2 features a makeover for Black Bolt, which includes a suit. "He runs this bar where everyone can go, but secretly there's a resistance underneath it," explained Soule. Medusa, Black Bolt's wife in the regular Marvel Universe, has been tasked with taking him down. Soule teased the cast which includes Undead G-Man, a Ghost Rider, and Mega-Rad, an all-new version of Hulk. Soule teased that the tone of the book is very much in line with "Casablanca."

The presentation moved on to "Ultimate End," the series that will conclude the Ultimate Universe. This reveal caused a Miles Morales cosplayer to scream out "No," much to the panel's delight.

"We've been trying something different with this event," said Lowe. "We've been trying to keep this stuff secret, and it's only because we want you guys to get every surprise and twist so it will have an impact on you."

Editor Jake Thomas described the next book, Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajic's "Master of Kung Fu," by saying, "It's about kicking people." He continued to say that it takes place mostly in K'un-Lun, but in this alternate version of the mystical city, everyone is a martial arts master. He teased multiple different schools, like Black Panther School, Spider School and White Tiger school, that teaches everyone in the land kung fu. The series heads up to a tournament between all the schools that determines who gets to rule the land. The series will star Shang-Chi, the one person that was "literally kicked in the face out of the school," joked Thomas. Shang-Chi will have to go up against his father, who is running the tournament very ruthlessly. "If you like old school kung fu movies or are a big Wu-Tang Clan fan, this is for you," said Thomas. Artist Talajic is actual a martial artist and, according to Thomas, said that Talajic has been waiting to do a book like this for his entire life. "Dalibor is putting every single piece of himself into this book," said Thomas.

The anthology series "Secret Wars: Battleworld" came up next, which will focus on fights. The first issue will have a Doctor Strange-powered Punisher fighting a demonic Fantastic Four. The story was written by Joshua Williamson and features magical bullets. The other story will feature M.O.D.O.K. and his cohorts trying to take over Battleworld. Editor Moisan teased that Blade will fight Howard the Duck, old West Deadpool will fight Devil Dinosaur, the Egyptian Silver Surfer will fight a crocodile version of Abomination and much more. "It's a ton of fun," said Moisan. "A bunch of Wolverines will come together and fight for Mojo. The goal was to do something so outlandish and weird that people have no choice but to pick it up. The creators involved are great."

Writer Joshua Williamson said a bit about his "Battleworld" book, "Red Skull," telling the crowd that in this world, Red Skull is supposed to be dead and his influence is still felt in the realm. "A group of anti-heroes from different realities have set out into the Deadlands to find him and, if he's still alive, kill him," said Williamson. "[Artist] Luca [Pizzari] is great. The detail, storytelling and energy of it is great."

The next anthology series, "Secret Wars: Journal," came up next, with editor Jake Thomas saying a bit about the series. "This is the premiere anthology series in 'Secret Wars'," said Thomas, getting a dig in at fellow editor Moisan. This series will explore parts of the Battleworld setting that haven't found a home in other series. "For instance, if you look at the covers, you can see the Kevin Wada cover of Kate Bishop from the '1602' universe where she is a Robin Hood-esque figure," said Thomas. "It has some of the other 'Young Avengers' characters in it. The other story takes place in a world called Killville, which was created by editor Dan Ketchum. He pitched it as an '80s action movie world where all problems are solved by guns, motorcycles and speed boats." The main characters of the Killville story are Misty Knight and Paladin, two "cops who play by their own rules." Thomas revealed that Scott Aukerman of "Comedy Bang Bang" has a story focusing on psychiatrist Doc Samson trying to cure a world full of Hulks.

The audience applauded when art from "Thors" appeared on the projector. "We can't tell you much about this book," said Lowe. "It's going to be an incredible series. It has Beta Ray Bill, Destroyer, Storm-Thor -- a lot of really cool stuff in there that we can't talk about yet."

James Robinson spoke about his series, "Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies." "As you've seen in the map, there's an area called the Dead Zones," said Robinson. "It is where certain elements abide. Among those elements are the Age of Ultron, the Bendis series, and the zombie world which is where all the Marvel Zombies are. They are in a war for land and turf and control. In the middle is a pocket of humanity, like in one of these old westerns where there's one fort surrounded by hostile environments. They're trying to hold on while these two sides are tearing at each other. There's a lot of mayhem, violence and black comedy, but there's also these characters that love each other trying to survive."

There's another zombies book coming out, called "Marvel Zombies" written by Si Spurrier with art by Kev Walker. The series will star Elsa Bloodstone of NextWave fame, which will put her monster-killing talents to use. Lowe then showed the cover of "Ghost Racers." "Ghost Rider" scribe Felipe Smith will write the series with art by Juan Gedeon. The covers kept coming when the presentation cycled to "Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde," which is written by Sam Humphries with art by Alti Firmansyah. The series stars "Age of Apocalypse" Kitty Pryde, not the one from the main marvel Universe.

Thomas talked a bit about "Siege," a book by Kieron Gillen that the editor teased by saying, "I love crazy nonsense." He said that Gillen pitched the book as "NextWave meets tragedy." The series will deal with the terrifying areas of Battleworld that are separated from the rest of the domain by The Shield, which Thomas teases is "a presence, and an amazing thing to see visually." Thomas said that Kieron will be using favorite characters from his previous runs as well as characters he's never written before. This includes Abigail Brand, which Thomas described as "hardcore." "Every day these hordes of zombies and Ultrons attack this wall to get through to the other side, and they are forced to be on this wall and hold them back -- a siege if you will," said Thomas. The series will include a Scott Summers, the 1602 Kate Bishop, a version of America Chavez and Kang the Conquere. "If you like pompous jackasses, Kang is the best," said Thomas with a chuckle. Thomas also revealed that each issue of "Siege" will have three double-page spreads of battle scenes drawn by guest artists.

Lowe ran through the final book in the presentation, the newly announced "Secret Wars: Secret Love." "We're diving right back into the romance comics pool," said Lowe, pointing to the cover which features Kamala Khan and Robbie Reyes. The creators involved include Michel Fiffe, Felipe Smith, Jeremy Whitley, Katie Cook, Gurihiru and more.

The floor was then opened up to questions, which included Jonathan Hickman and Charles Soule discussing the Detroit Lions. Following the quick NFL talk, the panelists talked about where the ideas came from. "I pitched 'Secret Wars' years ago at this point," said Hickman. "It was always going to be the conclusion of my 'Avengers' run, the decision to make it a huge thing came from us sitting in a room and talking about what books people want to write. I'm not joking, that retreat was three days of absolutely fantastic ideas."

"When everybody understood what Jonathan was doing, the story rules were out the window and you could do whatever story you wanted using any part of Marvel," said Soule. "The fun continues throughout the execution of it all."

Lowe then talked about the connection between "Secret Wars" and "Spider-Verse," which picks up from the end of the event and stars Spider-Gwen. "Spider-Gwen is in it, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, everyone is in it," said Lowe. "That book takes 'Spider-Verse' to the next level."

When asked which of the series are pertinent to the main story and how long each series will last, Lowe replied that people can just read "Secret Wars." "The next level of books would be 'Battleworld,'" he continued. "Those are the ones that tie in the closest to the story Jonathan is telling in the main 'Secret Wars' story. The books labeled 'War Zones' are more self-contained. Those are different books for different genres. Each of them is way more self-contained... Then there are the 'Last Days' books, which depict the last eight hours of our characters before the final incursion."

"Those are very sad, too," said Hickman. Lowe joked that those books should be printed on tissue paper. Hickman said that all of these questions will be answered the second week of May when "Secret Wars" #2 comes out.

A fan asked about Sentry and his role in "Secret Wars." Soule admitted that the character will play a role in his "Civil War" series, but kept quiet about how he will be involved in the "Warzones" series.

A Miles Morales cosplayer stepped up to the mic, unmasked, and asked the panel if he would survive. "Everything dies, buddy," said Nick Lowe, with a smile. "Miles" also asked which book the panelists were most excited about, to which Robinson said he was looking forward to "1872." Hickman said that the "Weirdworld" book is "pretty amazing. Jason Aaron has been writing as well as anyone over the past few years, but the art on 'Weirdworld' [by Mike Del Mundo] is great." Soule said he was excited for "Siege," saying that Kieron Gillen is "almost as good as Jason Aaron." Williamson wants to see Chris Sprouse's work on "Thors."

Lastly, a longtime Hickman fan asked if "Secret Wars" is leading up to a big reboot of Marvel continuity. "We can't answer that," said Lowe and Hickman simultaneously, to which the fan laughed and said, "I didn't think so."

The panel ended with a question from a little kid actually named Logan, asking if Wolverine would have a role to play in "Secret Wars." Lowe told the little boy that Wolverine is dead, but he will be a part of the "Old Man Logan" series. James Robinson couldn't let the coincidence pass him by and asked Logan if he was actually named after Wolverine.

"I don't know," said Logan with a shrug. Lowe then singled out the kid's father and summoned him to the mic to get to the bottom of this sudden mystery. Was Logan named after the Logan?

"Yes," said the boy's father to thunderous applause.

DC's Dark Multiverse Has Finally Given Us the Perfect Deathstroke

More in Comics