C2E2: Marvel Ventures Into "Secret Wars'" "Warzones"

Following panels about the "Secret Wars" affiliated "Last Days" and "Battleworld" lines, Marvel unleashed information about the third and final classification of titles associated with this summer's mega-event -- "Warzones." During the Sunday afternoon panel, editors Jake Thomas and Jon Moisan were on hand as well as creators James Robinson (writer, "Armor Wars"), Dan Slott (writer, "Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows"), Marguerite Bennett (writer, "Years of Future Past") and Dennis Hopeless (writer, "Inferno").

After making introductions, moderator Thomas introduced the concept of "Warzones," and ran through the concept of "Secret Wars." "The Marvel Universe is dead," said Thomas. "The only thing that has survived is Battleworld." First up in the presentation was "Hail Hydra," a new series by Rick Remender and Roladn Boschi. "One of the Battleworlds we have, one of the sections, is a world where Hydra rules," said Thomas. "That doesn't go terribly well for a lot of people in that world."

Marvel then announced a new series, "Hank Johnson, Agent of HYDRA," which will be written by "Curb Your Enthusiasm" executive producer David Mandel with art by Michael Walsh.

Dennis Hopless then introduced the audience to his book, "Inferno," where Hell has taken over Earth. "Inferno has been raging for five years and it's like Colossus in 'Escape From New York,' trying to rescue Magik," said Hopeless. The writer's other book, "House of M," came next. The presentation included interior pages from "Inferno" featuring Colossus squaring off against a number of demons alongside the '80s iteration of X-Factor.

"Infinity Gauntlet" came next, with newly-arrived editor Nick Lowe giving those in attendance the lowdown on the book. "It reinvents the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe as it is on Battleworld," said Lowe. "The Infinity Stones are scattered around. Artist Dustin Weaver is incredible and he and [writer] Gerry Duggan are doing great work."

Andrea Sorrentino's interior artwork from "Old Man Logan" came up next, featuring visceral action from the titular character. According to Lowe, Brian Bendis was eager to take over "Old Man Logan," as part of his playful competition between him and original "Old Man Logan" writer Mark Millar.

Nick Lowe revealed that the 2099 section, which is the setting of Peter David and Will Sliney's "Secret Wars 2099," was one of the first realms they knew would be included in the Battleworld. "They have done some amazing work with some new characters and characters you know," said Lowe. When asked how many issues it will last, he said "You never know!"

Next up came Garth Ennis and Russ Braun's "Where Monsters Dwell," a series from the creative team of "The Boys." "Garth doesn't really love superheroes very much, so it's hard to get him on Marvel books," said Lowe. "I took him out to drinks and got as many beers in him as I could and got him to write this book for us. I know he's big into aviation and dinosaurs, so I said let's combine two things you love... The art is coming in and it is bonkers. It's twisted, just like you'd expect from Garth Ennis. It turns a lot of conventions on their heads."

When "A-Force" appeared, enthusiastic applause erupted. "This book is freaking me out, I love it so much," said co-writer Bennett. "It's an all-female Avengers team set on the land of Aracadia that is now under attack from within and without and is about the cost of trying to create a paradise. It stars She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru and a new character named Singularity." Interior art fro Jorge Molina appeared, featuring high-flying action including Captain Marvel.

Bennett's other "Secret Wars" book, "1602: Witch Hunter Angela," came next. "We're trying this alternate history where Angela acts as an assassin for a holy order," said Bennett. "In the original story there were the witchbreed, which were mutants, and now Angela is hunting faustians -- people that bargained for their powers. Now Angela is tasked with who to save and who to destroy. I think this book is the prettiest book I've ever worked on." Stephanie Hans will handle most of the art with interior sub-stories illustrated by guest artists.

Thomas talked about "Planet Hulk" and how a story in one of his anthology series takes place in this world. Thomas said he got to read the first few scripts and they are "brutal and harrowing." "All of the Hulks are gathered on an island called Greenland," said Thomas. "As you can imagine it's a savage place. In the middle of the savage place is a gladitorial Captain America. [Writer] Sam [Humphries] is unkind with what he does to every character."

Mike Costa and Andre Araujo's "Spider-Verse" series came up next, with the Nick Bradshaw covers for the first two issues appearing on the screen. "Dan Slott set us up for this series in the end of 'Spider-Verse,'" said Lowe. "You have Arana and Spider-UK at the end, wondering what they're going to do. That's what were' doing in this series. It stars Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, Arana, Spider-UK, Spider-Man India and Spider-Ham. The first issue is over-sized with a Spider-Ham backup."

The audience applauded heartily for "Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows," and Slott talked about his initial interaction with Adam Kubert. At the Marvel retreat where Slott pitched it, Adam Kubert immediately called dibs on the series. "One of the things you'll see in this world is this is a world where he is married to Mary Jane and they have a daughter," said Slott. "That means your greatest responsibility is to your child. This is Peter in a world where he is father, husband, hero -- in that order. That will change everything." A silence fell over the crowd, and Slott made it even more intense by revealing that Peter Parker will be putting on the Black Costume once again.

Skottie Young's "Little Marvel: AVX" came up next, with interior artwork featuring baby versions of the Avengers and X-Men throwing down -- including Falcon and Archangel. Thomas excitedly introduced "Weirdworld," the "fantasy, sword and sandals, vast universe that Marvel had a while ago. When we had the chance to bring anything into 'Secret Wars,' this was one people were excited about. Jason Aaron, writing dudes with swords doing crazy business, is something he jumped at."

"We just got the first pages from artist Mike Del Mundo and I want to frame every page in this book," said editor Jon Moisan. "Every issue builds to something shocking."

Moisan then teased Marc Guggenheim and Carlos Pacheco's "Squadron Sinister," billing it as a series wherein the almost-gods of the Squadron Supreme run their own domain in Battleworld.

Thomas talked a bit about Gerry Duggan's Marvel western "1872," which will feature Nik Virella on art. "I love westerns and it's driving me nuts," said Thomas. "Gerry is taking this to a place where he feels bad about what he's doing because it's so hardcore. He turned in a page apologizing if Marvel couldn't publish it, and we can and we will."

Robinson spoke to his series, "Armor Wars," saying that he loved the original "Iron Man" story. "This is a world called Technopolis where a disease has made it so that everyone who wants to survive has to wear armor," said Robinson. "So in that world, there is a mystery, which is how did this illness first descend on the world and why does no one remember a world before when that happened. One person finds out the answer to the mystery -- but that person is murdered. You'll get big action but also a murder a mystery, where the chief of police, James Rhodes, has to solve this mystery and deal with feuding brothers Tony and Arno Stark." Robinson said that every version of Iron Man and War Machine's armor will be included in the story, as well as Stingray. The cover at also included Wilson Fisk, who wears a giant version of Iron Man's original armor.

Bennett talked about "Years of Future Past," saying that the cover for #3 has left her reeling. "We're back to the dystopia where mutants have nearly gone extinct, so it's at the end of their species and they've made the choice to fight back," said Bennett. "Mike Norton has been turning in killer pages. You'll see this bombastic '80s style and bright colors from FCO Plascencia."

The Deadpool fans in the audience applauded for "Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos," which will star Deadpool's widow and a group of Marvel monsters. "If you're a Deadpool fan, you will want to read this," said Thomas. "It is going to be epic. I wish [Deadpool editor] Jordan D. White is here because he would cackle and twist his mustache."

Nick Lowe spoke about "Guardians of Knowhere," a reteaming up of Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato. "There's only so much I can talk about until you read 'Secret Wars' #2," said Lowe. "Knowhere is orbiting around Battleworld and they're reinventing it for 'Secret Wars.' There's a new villain in there that will be around for a long time."

Cheers erupted for "Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps," which will be written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson with art by David Lopez. "We tried to find an artist named Kelly," said Lowe. "An all-Kelly team... David Lopez was amazing before this book but seeing him grow on 'Captain Marvel' and now this -- he's pulling out all the stops."

When Thomas revealed the title "Howard the Human," the audience erupted in gleeful laughter. "This is our big announcement," said Thomas.

"The way I've been describing this to people is Roger Rabbit in the Marvel Universe," said Moisan. The detective will be in New Quack City, an animal-filled version of the MU that will feature cameos from Black Cat and Kingpin. "I've been waiting to get Jim Mahfood on a book for years and Marvel was totally cool with it. Jim was having a blast working on it. It's a cool, weird book and I hope people check it out."

The floor opened up to questions, staring with a fan asking about the decision to reveal the teenage Bobby Drake as gay. "It's a beautiful issue and scene," said Lowe. "It's something Brian pitched quite some time ago and we wanted to make sure we did exactly right. Doing it right was most important to us. It started to kick in more when Brian and [editor] Mike Marts started talking about it, and they talked to everyone else to make sure we were all in the loop. It's an ongoing story, so whatever happens to adult Bobby, you will see it as issues unfold. It's a big part of 'Uncanny X-Men' #600 in a couple months."

A fan wanted to know about the CrossGen characters and if they came up in talks about "Secret Wars." Lowe noted that their situation is a little complicated, even though they were also purchased by Disney. "We decided it was best not to include them here because of what Disney might have planned. We did a couple of CrossGen books a few years ago to dip our toes in the water, but we decided to just keep 'Secret Wars' with the Marvel characters."

Lastly, a fan asked if the characters on Battleworld will be aware of the other characters that exist on other domains on the patchwork planet. Lowe said to pick up "Secret Wars" in a few weeks, adding that it's a little complicated. "I can't tell you that, I'm sorry," said Lowe. "Everyone dies!"

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