It's Friday afternoon, and time for the fourth installment of Newsarama's Chaos War: From The Field column! This week, we're joined once again by Chaos War co-writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, gamely taking your questions about last week's Chaos War #3 and beyond, as the story gets in full swing with a big last-page reveal and some über-powerful forces getting taken down.
If you've got questions about anything Chaos War — be it the main series or any of the tie-ins, which started this week with Chaos War: Thor #1 — ask us right here on our forums or tweet us @Newsarama with the tag #RamaChaos, and we'll make sure it gets asked in an upcoming column.
So here's our latest rollicking Q&A with Pak and Van Lente, but be warned — there are some heavy Chaos War #3 spoilers throughout the interview, so proceed with caution.
Newsarama: First thing I wanted to ask both of you guys — how many times, individually, have you had to tell people that Chaos War was still five issues and not four, after the typo on the cover of #3?
Greg Pak: Four or five times, I think.
Fred Van Lente: And on my Taskmaster miniseries, the [cover of the] second issue actually added an issue onto the run. I had the opposite problem, when I had all sorts of excited people writing me saying, “It was extended by an issue?”
Pak: Actually Chaos War #5 is now Taskmaster #6.
Nrama: Maybe that’s why that happened — sort of a cosmic tipping of the scales. Equal and opposite reaction and all that.
Obviously the biggest development in Chaos War #3 was the last-page reveal that Athena is in league with the Chaos King. But from Mikaboshi’s standpoint, why would he trust her?
Van Lente: I don’t think he does. I don’t think the Chaos King thinks he needs anybody except his mindless army of slaves.
But as you see at the end of Chaos War #3 there, he ran into a little bit of trouble because he became so powerful and ginormous that he had actually lost the God Squad and Herc and Cho in his own vastness. He’s devoured enough of reality that he’s actually starting to lose his personality and his coherent consciousness.
Pak: He’s so hungry to return to that former chaos, that formless mass that existed before creation itself, but if he gets there too soon then he won’t actually be able to finish his master plan. So he’s got a little bit of a conundrum. He may end up having to trust Athena because of that. But I guess you’re going to have to read Chaos War #4 to get the full answer.
You might as well pick up Chaos War #5, too. Oh, and Taskmaster #5 too.
Nrama: I’m guessing that by the nature of Chaos War being an “event,” it’s bringing in some people who may not be familiar with what you guys have done before with Incredible Hercules, and the role Athena has played there, especially recently. So is there going to be a bit of a deliberate effort on your part in bringing people up to speed on the full significance of that revelation?
Pak: We’re definitely aware of the fact that Chaos War is its own standalone miniseries. And while it’s capping off this three-year run, it’s also a brand new story for a lot of readers. We’re definitely trying to write it in a way that makes it totally accessible for anybody who’s just picking up the book now. So the context you long for will be there, and in a way that allows you to fully understand and appreciate the crazy hijinks that ensure.
Nrama: And I was longing for it.
Pak: Even if you’ve been reading all along, it’s nice to have a reminder here and there. Because sometimes if you’re buying them on a monthly basis, weeks can go by in between each time you pick up a book, so it’s nice to have some reminders of who the players are, and what’s gone on before.
Nrama: Here’s a nicely specific question from zvelf on our forums: “So in Chaos War #3, was that Zeus fighting Galactus or Mikaboshi fighting Galactus or did Mikaboshi only enter Zeus' body when Hercules beat Zeus?”
Van Lente: Greg?
Pak: I think that is Zeus fighting Galactus, but there is a point where Galactus says — I’m paraphrasing here — “Hey, you’re a little stronger than the average Skyfather.” So I think Zeus is definitely is being augmented by the Chaos King. The Chaos King, as we discover — spoiler alert! — is using Zeus as a Trojan horse. So some of that incredible power that Zeus is displaying comes from the Chaos King.
At the same time, Zeus is no pushover, and it’s been a while since we’ve seen Zeus unleash his true, mighty self, and it was a ton of fun giving him a chance to do that. So don’t take it all away from him, friend. I do love my Zeus. I’m going to start saying “Zounds” more often, as a matter of fact. Just in everyday conversation.
Nrama: There’s no real reason not to. That scene seemed important in illustrating the scale of the threat in showing Galactus getting taken down with relative ease.
Pak: Galactus is not down for the count. Don’t count out the big G yet.
Van Lente: There’s an exciting team-up between Galactus and another character in the fourth issue of Chaos War.
Nrama: Here’s a question that’s spoiler-y for the end of the series, but you can answer however you see fit. It’s from Matapiojo on our forums: “Will we be left wanting for more Herc/Cho by the end of Chaos War, or will we be given a definite end to our beloved miscreant duo?”
Van Lente: I am going to definitively say that the last issue of Chaos War is the last issue of Incredible Hercules, as we know it. That, to me, is Amadeus and Herc, partners in crime and crime-fighting. Whether or not that’s because of certain tragic events that happen at the end of Chaos War, or they just decide to do other things, you will just have to read the whole series and find out.
Nrama: That was much less equivocating than I expected. Here’s one from jaffemike on Twitter, well-timed given that the first tie-in, Chaos War: Thor #1, came out this week: “on how much do the tie-ins effect the main storyline?”
Van Lente: The tie-ins expand the story and they basically follow a lot of the characters that have been dispersed at the end of Chaos War #3. Thor obviously has his own tie-in, and so does the God Squad.
The Dead Avengers, which I’m writing, has quite a lot to do with the main story, partly, I think, just because I’m co-writing the main series, too. [Laughs.] I can make it tie in really tightly, because I don’t have to ask anybody for permission. I just do my own thing.
The Ares and Chaos King one-shots are more enhancements — there’s a lot of background material.
Pak: We’ve said it before: if all you want to do is buy the main mini, you can do that, and you will get an amazing story. If you want to enhance that experience, and have your head blown, then start picking up the tie-ins.
Van Lente: If you want to enhance your pleasure.
Pak: Ignoring that. I’m particularly, shamelessly going to plug the Incredible Hulks tie-in. I’ve just been proofing the first two issues, and it is some insanely great art from Paul Pelletier and Danny Miki and Paul Mounts on colors. I’m pretty darn proud of the story. It’s full of shocks and surprises for Hulk fans, some stuff you never thought you were ever going to see that has a major, major impact on the Hulk’s emotional life and his family.
Van Lente: Greg loves it so much he’s going to marry it.
Pak: Yes, exactly. Apparently there’s going to have to be a voter initiative to legalize that particular procedure.
Van Lente: “Vote yes on Prop. 7.” Legalize marrying comic book story arcs.
Pak: I’m going to go ahead and tease this right now: you probably don’t want to miss Incredible Hulks 621 and 622. And that’s all I’ll say. But if you’re reading this interview, you definitely don’t want to miss those issues.
Nrama: We’ve got a couple of Twitter questions from our pal TDSpidey616. First, “Was Phobos meant to be in Chaos War before Hickman revealed his plans as seen in the latest Secret Warriors?”
Van Lente: No, because we knew that Jonathan’s been planning that for a long time. We definitely coordinated the Ares appearance here with him quite closely, and he was quite generous, giving us ideas on how we could integrate Ares into Chaos War with what he was doing with Phobos in Secret Warriors. So thank you, Jonathan.
Nrama: And here’s the second: “Is Alflyse from your Herc run really appearing in the Marvel Cinematic U in some form?”
Van Lente: Yes. That is a response to a tweet I did some weeks ago. I’m very excited. The couple of pages with her in it should be on the way to my e-mail box shortly. I can’t really talk about what the project is, but you’ll hear about it soon enough, I think.
Pak: It’s a little vanity thing that Fred does. He takes characters that he’s particularly enamored with, and does little private stories for himself.
Nrama: I guess “cinematic universe” could be a fairly broad term in regards to what that actually encompasses.
Pak: It’s a very special collection. A little disturbing, but very special.
Van Lente: A very special private collection.
Nrama: Here’s an interesting one asking about a couple of Jim Starlin characters who seem like they might have a stake in all this, from TravisEllisor on Twitter: “what do Master Order & Lord Chaos think of all this?”
Van Lente: They think, “Oh crap, the universe is about to be destroyed!” No, really, they do.
Those are two interesting, good, strong characters. We decided early on that we didn’t want this to turn into sort of a mash-up of all the different cosmic entities. You aren’t going to see a lot of Watchers and Strangers and Grandmasters and all those guys. Who I love, and I loved the Steve Englehart Silver Surfer comic back when I was a kid and a lot of those characters were very prominent in that book, but since we’ve got the God Squad, we’ve got the Avengers, we’ve got Alpha Flight, we’ve got all these people running around, we figured, limit it to Eternity, and I guess Galactus, technically.
Nrama: Here’s a final question from Twitter, courtesy of loki4ever2099: “are there plans to see Ares or the Dead Avengers after Chaos War?”
Van Lente: There are plans for some of the dead people. Which ones, and if they are even among those named in your question, is another matter entirely.
Pak: That’s a completely accurate statement.
Van Lente: The end of Chaos War is going to shake up the Marvel Universe on a number of different levels — some of them geographical, in fact.
Pak: I can say definitively that there will be major Chaos War-related repercussions in at least two books that I’m writing."
Van Lente: If not more.
Nrama: That’s a surprisingly straightforward answer to that question. I have one more question, and it’s a goofy one: For scenes of Amadeus Cho doing calculations, like in #3 figuring out that the Chaos King can’t be defeated, and you see equations in the background — are there any logic to those at all, or are they just completely made up? Is there a little bit of an attempt to have them somewhat make sense?
Van Lente: Greg came up with the equations solely to torment colorists. Greg has this deep-seated hatred of colorists.
Pak: The very first Amadeus Cho appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 back in the day — I guess five years ago could be considered “the day” — I actually called up an old buddy of mine from college who was a physics genius, and got him to send me some equations, so we stuck those in there. But since then, I think it’s gotten a little more random.
Van Lente: There were some definitely genuine equations in Prince of Power. When Amadeus is calculating the velocity of Thor’s hammer when it’s thrown, that’s the actual algebraic equation for how you calculate velocity.
Nrama: And there’s probably not an actual algebraic equation for how to defeat the Chaos King.
Pak: Well, there is.
Van Lente: It’s a little harder to find on Wikipedia.
Pak: But yeah, we do owe a lot to our colorists and letterers, for taking these vague descriptions of equations and actually making them look cool and making it make some sense.
Van Lente: One of my favorite recaps that assistant editor Jordan White did [in Incredible Hercules #137], we had Amadeus with the calculations on the cover, and then he reproduced the cover in there, and he basically translated all the equations, which conveniently also explained what the plot of the story was up until that point.
Nrama: Last thing before you guys go — any further hints or anything you want to tease about Chaos War #4?
Van Lente: A “cosmic”/mythological entity that is very important, and has been very important in the Marvel Universe, plays a very prominent role in this issue, although we have not seen her — yes, her — yet in Chaos War.
WAR: From The Field #3 - with PAK & VAN LENTE
WAR: From The Field #2 - with Artist KHOI PHAM
WAR: From The Field #1 - with PAK & VAN LENTE