HeroesCon: Marvel Enters the Shadowland

Can someone use evil forces for good, or would he just be corrupted in the end? That's the question behind Marvel's upcoming "Shadowland" event, which "Thunderbolts" writer Jeff Parker and event editor Bill Rosemann discussed during day two of HeroesCon. The duo also delved into Parker's work with the "Thunderbolts" and why the team is labeled as Marvel's version of the Dirty Dozen.

"When you fight monsters, do you become one?" asked Rosemann. "The eternal question with Matt [Murdock, Daredevil] is, how close is he to the edge?"

At the end of Ed Brubaker's acclaimed run on "Daredevil," the blind hero took control of assassin clan known as the Hand, and this has provided the foundation for current writers Andy Diggle and Antony Johnston's run of stories. Matt Murdock attempts to wield the power of the Hand for good, but with each leadership decision finds himself further down the slippery slope. This new status quo forms the backdrop for the "Shadowland" miniseries, which will be written by Diggle, and the broader event.

Rosemann brought up a Frank Miller quote from several years ago, suggesting that Daredevil's origin story is almost that of a villain. Having a beginning like that leaves the character straddling the edge at times between good and evil. In the "Shadowland" event, starting with "Shadowland" #1 in July, Rosemann said Marvel will take a look at the idea of trying to take an evil organization, in this case the ninja cult the Hand, and use them as a security force, to keep New York and specifically Hell's Kitchen safe.

"It's really a question also of how long can he keep his hands clean," said Rosemann.

In addition to the main mini-series, there will be several other books coming out in support of the event, such as "Blood on the Streets," a mini-series focusing on a few other Marvel characters that hadn't seen the spotlight in a while. Silver Sable, Paladin, Misty Knight and the Shroud will headline the book, something Rosemann said he was excited about.

"Whenever there's a big promo piece, I'm always looking to see who's in the background," he said. ""Where's the Darkhawks, the Ghost Riders, the other characters. This gives us a chance to highlight them. [Now] the question for this particular group is can these four very different people work together toward a common goal?"

Whenever he works on a mini-series, Rosemann said that he looks to single out specific aspects of the characters, helping to remind people why they're so cool. Several Shroud fans in the audience asked about the chances of a follow-up mini-series for their favorite vigilante and Rosemann said that it depends on the response to "Blood on the Streets."

As for the Thunderbolts, they come into the "Shadowland" picture due to a very specific incident, Parker said.

"When Luke goes to see what's up with Daredevil, he's going to find something that would be another game changer, something that could make things even worse," said Parker.

Bringing the Thunderbolts into the picture will be the group's first test, in a way, he added, as they'll be going solo, without anyone to monitor them.

"It's a chance to see if they do the right thing, if they get [the job] done," said Parker, as the panel turned toward a focus on his book. "Thunderbolts," in the current status quo, can fairly be labeled Marvel's Dirty Dozen, Parker said.

"They're taking on missions from Steve Rogers," said Parker. "A lot of the stuff that Shield was watching has been ignored since the organization disbanded. Norman Osborn had his own agenda, he didn't care, so there are a lot of situations that have been ignored."

For Parker, members of the group, including Moonstone, represent a more realistic approach to the idea of rehabilitating criminals. "[They] have the capacity to do good and then screw it up," said Parker. "That's realistic, it's not like where wrestlers suddenly turn heel (or face)."

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