C2E2 2015: MARVEL's BATTLEWORLD Panel

'Secret Wars #1' party variant by Chip Zdarsky
Credit: Marvel Comics
Secret Wars #1 variant cover
Secret Wars #1 variant cover
Credit: Marvel Comics

Welcome to C2E2 2015's MARVEL: Secret Wars – Battleworld panel.

Moderator and Marvel senior editor Nick Lowe kicked off the panel by welcoming panelists Jonathan Hickman, James Robinson, Charles Soule, Joshua Williamson, Jon Moisan, and Jake Thomas to the dais.

Lowe continued, explaining the genesis of Battleworld from the remnants of Marvel's multiverse.

Lowe asked Hickman if he could “prepare fans for the majesty” of Secret Wars. “No, I can't,” quipped Hickman.

“It was always the plan for the end of my Avengers from the beginning, and everyone got on board. You guys are gonna dig it. Even if it's poorly written, it looks beautiful,” Hickman continued.

Talk next turned to Soule's Inhumans: Attilan Rising.

“Battleworld is a patchwork world with a lot of different factions, and one of those is a superhero resistance against authority lead by Black Bolt out of a place called the Quiet Room. The person tasked with shutting the resistance down is Medusa, which is weird since normally Black Bolt and Medusa are husband and wife.”

“The tone when I originally made it up and pitched was Casablanca. There's a real 'life during wartime' feel to it,” Soule said.

Ultimate End #1
Ultimate End #1
Credit: Marvel

Lowe showed a slide of Ultimate End, prompting a fan dressed as Miles Morales to yell out “NOOO!”

“Does anyone have any tissues for him?” quipped Lowe.

“Normally with these events we spoil a lot of what goes on, but this time, we're trying to keep it cagey, so you'll get every surprise as it happens.”

Talk next turned to Master of Kung-Fu, which Jake Thomas said is about “being kicked.”

“It's set in a K'un-L'un where everyone is a master. There's a bunch of schools all based on different Marvel characters. There's a Black Panther school, there's a Spider school. Every thirteen years there's a tournament between all the schools, and the winner rules K'un-L'un for the next 13 years.”

“If you love kung-fu movies like I do, if you love the Wu-Tang, this is the book for you.”

Artist Dalibor Tlajic got the Master of Kung-Fu job as a practicing martial artist.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Lowe then steered talk to Secret Wars: Battleworld. “The best way to think of this is the Vs. book for Secret Wars. In the first issue we have a version of the Punisher imbued with the power of Dr. Strange fighting a demonic version of the Fantastic Four,” said Jon Moisan.

“The other story is M.O.D.O.K. deciding he should be running Battleworld and summoning all of Battleworld's M.O.D.O.K's. The goal with this book was to do something so outlandish, and so weird, that people can't help but pick it up.”

Up next talk turned to Red Skull, with Lowe passing the mic to Joshua Williamson. “In Battleworld, Red Skull is supposed to be dead, but there's a growing movement of people worshiping him. So a group of heroes and villains and anti-heroes get together to go into the Deadlands to see if he's really dead, and if he's not, to kill him. It's really dark.”

Secret Wars Journal came up next, with Thomas describing it as the “premiere” anthology book for Secret Wars. “Secret Wars was so huge, and there were so many ideas, we couldn't fit them all into the publishing schedule. With Secret Wars Journal, we wanted to get to some of the places that didn't get there own books and fill in those holes as much as we could.”

Williamson described the Battlworld territory of Killville as “the ultimate '80's action movie world, where problems are all solved with speed boats and explosions.” He also said that Killville has no correlation to any previously established worlds.

“People really stepped up to the plate art-wise and story-wise, since we really just let everyone run wild.”

Credit: Marvel Comics

Lowe then talked about Thors, with some of the first Marvel work by Chris Sprouse.

Talk then turned to Age of Ultron Vs. Marvel Zombies, which writer James Robinson explained takes place in the Deadlands, which contains Bendis's Age of Ultron continuity, along with Marvel Zombies. “There's one human settlement right in the middle of that. It's this pocket of humanity trying to hold on as these two sides go against each other and against them.”

Lowe also discussed the Marvel Zombies book, which stars Elsa Bloodstone from Nextwave. “It's a really brutal, awesome book.”

Next up was Ghost Racers, which features death races between numerous Ghost Riders.

“Is anyone a Guardians of the Galaxy fan?” asked Lowe, to thunderous applause, before bringing up Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde, which stars Age of Apocalypse Kitty Pryde.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Jake Thomas then talked about Siege. “I don't know if you guys out there are like me, but I love crazy nonsense. Speaking of Nextwave, if you loved that book, when Kieron Gillen pitched this book to me, he said 'It's Nextwave as a tragedy,' and that's totally accurate.”

Thomas almost spoiled some details about the Shield, saying “It's more than just a wall. It's a presence,”  before Lowe stopped him

Each issue will feature three two-page spread battle scenes by different artists.

Lowe then brought up Secret Wars: Secret Love, a romance comic. “Romance comics used to be a huge part of comics, so we're just diving right into that pool.”

Time for audience Q&A.

“No questions are out of bounds!” said Lowe, before warning that they may not be able to answer Secret Wars questions.

First up, a fan asked Jonathan Hickman about how many games he thought the Detroit Lions would win this year, with Hickman responding “9 and 17, I'm sorry, but that's where you're gonna be forever.”

Secret Wars #2 cover by Alex Ross
Secret Wars #2 cover by Alex Ross
Credit: Marvel

“I don't think I'm going to buy Secret Wars now,” joked the fan, before asking about the genesis of Secret Wars.

“It started when I pitched Secret Wars as the logical endpoint to my Avengers run,” said Hickman.

Soule explained that at the first Secret Wars retreat, writers were able to pitch any idea, eventually resulting in the books that would be published.

A fan asked about the connection between Secret Wars and Spider-Verse, with Lowe explaining that there would be a Spider-Verse book during Secret Wars.

Next, a fan asked about the status of the Infinity Gauntlet in Secret Wars, with Lowe reminding the fan about the Infinity Gauntlet title during Secret Wars title, which Hickman described as “dirty Marvel Akira.”

A fan asked which titles would be pertinent to the main Secret Wars story, and whether some books would be ongoing. “You can just read Secret Wars #1 through #8 and get the whole story,”said Lowe. “The next level is the books labeled 'Battleworld.' Those are the ones that tie the closest to the main Secret Wars story. The books labeled 'Warzones' are more self-contained. And then there are the 'Last Days,' which tell the last 8 hours for many of our characters during the last incursion.”

A fan asked whether the Sentry would appear in Secret Wars. “He's in Civil War,” said Soule.

Credit: Marvel Comics

Next, a fan asked whether we'd ever find out what caused the incursions, with Hickman saying “Yes, next week in the final issue of New Avengers.

The fan dressed as Mile Morales from earlier asked whether he'd survive Secret Wars. “Everything dies,” joked Lowe.

A fan asked if there were any ideas that were pitched that just couldn't be made to work in Secret Wars. “I don't think so,” said Lowe.

Next up, a fan asked if there would be a rewrite or a reboot of continuity at Marvel. “We can't answer that,” said Hickman.

The same fan asked how much the original Secret Wars influenced the new event. “I don't think anyone my age didn't read that when it came out,” said Hickman. “I wanted to have moments that called back to the original, and I think we did that.”

A young fan named Logan asked if Wolverine would return in Secret Wars. “Wolverine's dead. Dead is dead.” said Lowe, before telling the fan to pick up Old Man Logan.

James Robinson asked if the young fan was named after Wolverine, to which his father replied, “Yes,” to thunderous applause.

A fan asked if there would be a reason that all Black Swans are female. “They hate men,” quipped Hickman.

And that's it! Stay tuned to Newsarama for more C2E2 coverage.

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