If you’ve been paying attention to Marvel’s Chaos War announcements this week — like tie-in books Chaos War: Dead Avengersand Chaos War: Alpha Flight — then you already know the deal. Thanks to events in that story, a lot of dead people are finding themselves rather active despite being, y'know, dead.
In the Marvel Universe, few looked to be quite as dead as Ares. Torn in half by The Sentry in Siege #2 with his innards splayed in front of a crowd of horrified onlookers, the God of War certainly had seen better days.
Being a god, though, means that the conventional rules of death don’t really apply. Which still might not help Ares in Chaos War: Ares, a one-shot out in December. Not only does the comic find him dead, but unwillingly drafted into the army of his archenemy, the Chaos King. Zeus and Hera also show up, helping Ares to launch a counter-offensive.
Mike Oeming revitalized the character in 2006 miniseries Ares, and is back writing this one-shot, with Dark Wolverine artist Stephen Segovia on art. Newsarama contacted both creators, along with series editor Mark Paniccia, to learn more about the uphill struggle facing the warrior/single father in Chaos War: Ares, and how it fits into the main Chaos War miniseries written by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente.
Newsarama: Mike, how cool is it to be back writing Ares — even from, cue ominous music, beyond the grave?
Mike Oeming: Well, it's always an honor to be asked to write for Marvel Comics! I loved "reviving" him before, he was sort of a dead character creatively, so it's been amazing to watch, Bendis especially. Brian is one of my best friends so having him kill him and to be part of writing the character right after that is pretty sweet — the response to Ares, and how other writers have taken him and made him something special.
Nrama: Mikaboshi, the Chaos King, is the villain of Chaos War, and first appeared in a comic you wrote — Thor: Blood Oath #6. How much of a treat is it to see the character take a starring role in a major Marvel event?
Oeming: Really, Thor: Blood Oath? I thought it was first in Ares? Well, in Thor: Blood Oath, we did skip across several pantheons, so I'm sure you're right. As far as whats happened with Mikaboshi, again, it's a huge honor when you create a character and other writers choose to use him for more adventures. Greg [Pak] and Fred [Van Lente] are taking him into another direction, Chaos King is truly theirs, but still, it's very cool.
Nrama: Stephen, in what ways did you feel particularly well-suited, artistically, for this comic?
Stephen Segovia: I've been doing a lot of grim and badass characters in the Marvel U like Wolverine, Romulus and Daken, and Ares is certainly also in that category, with such attitude.
Nrama: Mark, what can you tell us about how the dynamic of the creative team on your end?
Mark Paniccia: It’s a great pleasure working with Mike again. We haven’t done something for a while and this was the perfect opportunity to get him back in the fold. Not only was Mike perfect because he wrote the critically acclaimed Ares miniseries, but he created Marvel’s version of Mikaboshi, the Chaos King himself. And it’s awesome seeing how Greg and Fred have made this character such a powerful entity in their epic story. It’s a testament of what a cool character Mike introduced.
Looking forward to working with Steven, too. His stuff is fantastic and if anything can bring Ares back to “life” it’s his amazing art.
Nrama: Mike, it actually looks like a lot of Chaos War is going to be based on things that happened in the original Ares miniseries. Can you describe to those that may not be totally familiar in what important ways your Ares series relates to Chaos War?
Oeming: The first Ares series lays down the foundation of who the Chaos King is, and for fans of the Avengers, I think it's also important, not just because of Ares and Mikaboshi, but also Ares' son, Alexander. We see there the beginnings of the Chaos King wanting to take over everything.
What can you tell us about Ares' "mission" upon being resurrected?
Oeming: Read it. [Laughs.] I can tell you it ties directly into the Chaos War story, it's not just a detour.
Nrama: What about his mental state? What's motivating him at this point? Is he going to look for his son? He did say he would find him again.
Oeming: Well, he's dead. I think he has to get his head around his situation. Let's not forget he was torn in half! But yes, being dead and his son are major motivations for Ares. Being dead tends to make you reflect on your life. [Laughs.]
Nrama: What makes the Chaos King and Ares perfect opponents for each other?
Oeming: Hmm, in this series Chaos King is almost too powerful to actually have opponents. But for Ares, this is the god who stole his son, tried to manipulate him into becoming an evil weapon and turned him on his father. So for Ares, the Chaos King is probably his greatest enemy. Second would be the Sentry, I'd say.
Nrama: In what way do the events of this book fit within the context of Chaos War as a whole?
Oeming: It will leads directly into issue 3 of Chaos War! A nice behind-the-scenes of those events, it fleshes it out more and hopefully gives those events even more resonance. If you are a fan of Greg and Fred's Hercules, it's a must-read for sure.
Nrama: Stephen, how is working with someone like Oeming — a
writer who is also an artist himself — a different type of dynamic than
working with someone who is strictly a writer?
Segovia: It feels very challenging and a bit nervous. Michael
Oeming is such a great artist and I hope people won't compare the way I
conceptualize the story than he does. I mean, he is already expert on
this and I have to do my best to level his standards. It’s an honor to
work with him and I am really grateful for it.
Nrama: I don't think you can answer this, but I'll give it a shot — given the nature of Ares as a god, who can't "truly" be dead, might we see him stick around after Chaos War is wrapped?
Oeming: Ares is part of the Greek Pantheon, part of a mythology that delves into death and the escape of death. Several mortals have done it in their history, or at least visited hell. Some have gone down and escaped like the mortal Odysseus. It's certainly a problem though, even for Ares. He was was after all, torn in half!
Looks like Ares is no longer half the man he used to be...