WWPhilly: Dark Reign Panel

Norman Osborn has big plans for the Marvel Universe, and at Saturday's "Dark Reign" panel at Wizard World Philadelphia, writers Dan Slott, Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak, editors Bill Rosemann and Lauren Sankovich and marketing manager Arune Singh were on hand to expose the latest machinations.

The panel opened with a teaser image featuring the Iron Patriot inflicting damage on a familiar armored figure. "I'm not sure you noticed which armored-suited person is kicking the other iron-suited person's butt," said Singh, "but it's an upcoming 'War Machine' cover."

The Dark Avengers and the Uncanny X-Men meet next week in "Utopia," a Dark Reign tie-in that will run through both books into early September, where it concludes in a special called "Exodus," written by Matt Fraction. "It's my job to say it's really good," said Singh, "but it really is really good!"

We've all seen the teaser image put out by Marvel titled "The Iron Patriot Acts." Now at last we discover what it's all about. "In the wake of Utopia," announced Singh, "Norman Osborn realizes there are other people who are going to stand in his way." So he makes a list. "Like a grocery list- things you have to take care of." The list is eight items long, and he will be taking care of each in a set of eight one-shot books with the overarching title Dark Reign: The List." Four of the "List" books are being announced at Heroes Con down in Charlotte and four are announced here at WWP.

The four announced at WWPhilly include:

"Dark Reign: The List - Daredevil" by Andy Diggle and Billy Tan

"Dark Reign: The List - Wolverine" by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic

"Dark Reign: The List - Hulk" by Greg Pak and Ben Oliver

"Dark Reign: The List - Amazing Spider-Man" by Dan Slott and Adam Kubert

The four announced at HeroesCon include:

"Dark Reign: The List - Avengers" by Brian Bendis and Marko Djurdjevic

"Dark Reign: The List - Uncanny X-Men" by Matt Fraction and Alan Davis

"Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors" by Jonathan Hickman and Ed McGuiness

"Dark Reign: The List - Punisher" by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.

"You may think you know where some of these stories are going to go," said Singh, "but let me tell you, after the events of 'Daredevil' 500, Daredevil's in a much different place. After the events of 'Utopia' Wolverine's in a different place, after the shocking events of 'Hulk' number 600, all the Hulks are in a different place, and after the events of 'American Son' - which you should all be reading - and after the awesome events of "Amazing Spider-Man" #600, which you should all be buying, Spider-Man is in a different place."

"He's in two different places." added Slott.

"Daredevil: The List" will lead to Andy Diggle taking over the main "Daredevil" book along with artist Roberto de la Torre. Similarly, the "shocking" events of "Hulk" #600 also lead to the return of Greg Pak to that book starting with issue #601 in August.

In "The List" special, said Pak, "Basically Norman Osborn is going to mess with one of Bruce Banner's closest friends, and Banner is going to pick a fight as a result and all Hecketty-Heck is going to break loose. I'll just say that there will be a real winner and a real loser at the end of this book, and exactly how it pans out may surprise you." There will be real ramifications. "It will serve as a nice intro to the new status quo in "Incredible Hulk."

"One of the things you guys have to understand is 'The List' is going to ramp everything up in the world of Dark Reign," said Slott. "Big things are happening in 'The List.'

"Everyone has been waiting for Spider-Man and Norman to come to a head," said Slott. "That's 'Spider-Man: The List.' There's stuff we did in 'New Ways to Die' that we couldn't pay off. We couldn't put Norman in jail because we had all this 'Dark Reign' stuff coming up. This is going to pay off on lots of stuff from 'New Ways to Die,' lots of stuff from 'American Son.' It's gonna be pretty big, and it's great to have Mr. Kubert doing the art, it's gonna be sweet."

Also announced was a new Thunderbolts one-shot by Rick Remender and drawn by Mahmud A Asrar. Don't miss our indepth interview with Remender about the book.

"Rick is great at writing really twisty, dark stories." said Rosemann, "and Mahmoud's art is what I call 'classic superhero' with very fluid action and we knew that this story was going to be filled with huge fight scenes."

The Thunderbolts are Norman's black ops team, doing the dark deeds he doesn't want to make public. Now Norman wants to get heroes and put them on a team of villains. This will challenge the friendship between Power Man and iron Fist.

A question and answer session followed the announcements, which didn't reveal any new details, but contained plenty of humor. A fan asked who in The Cabal would betray the others first.

"That's a good question!" said Slott. "That sounds like something you'd like to read in a comic book!"

"My money's on Loki." he added. "I'm just sayin'. Why would you want the God of Mischief on your team? WHY? Get like the God of Dependability!"

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