The Amory Wars are still being waged, but Heaven's Fence is set to have a major turning point: The incarceration of Wilhelm Ryan.
A tyrant without equal, Ryan has made for some huge changes throughout the universe, and Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez — through his namesake lead character — will be exploring what happens next in his BOOM! Studios series, which saw the release of latest issue The Amory Wars: In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 #6 last week.With science fiction mixed with political intrigue, the stakes are high in this conflict, and we caught up with Sanchez to bring us up to speed and let us know what might be coming in his series. Newsarama: Claudio, for those who haven't been keeping up with Amory Wars, can you fill them in on some of the big moments that have happened so far and bring them back up to speed?
Claudio Sanchez: We've spent some time on the backstory events of (the last series) “The Second Stage Turbine Blade,” and are now well into the resulting current affairs of Heaven's Fence. Supreme Tri-Mage Wilhelm Ryan has total control over the Universe, ruling with no regard for life. A rebellion has formed, fronted by Inferno and assisted by a group of winged beings known as the Prise, who go head to head with Ryan's Red Army. Meanwhile, our lead character, Claudio, is struggling to find where he fits into the world around him now that his family is dead. He's recently learned he's had a secret "babysitter" in the years since SSTB; a fallen member of the Prise, sent to watch over him. We also just introduced a new player in Claudio's life, a gambler called Al, who will turn out to be a bigger problem than anyone could imagine.
Nrama: There's been a lot going on with the character Claudio — so since you share his name, could you tell us where his head is at, at this point?
Sanchez: Before I wrote the parallel album for “In Keeping Secrets...,” the growth of the band was happening pretty quickly and really changing my life and comfort zone. Those feelings fueled the writing process for the record and this series. In the same way I was questioning my place in the world, the character Claudio is feeling very unsure of himself and always doubting the idea that he could be destined for anything other than mediocrity.
Nrama: In the most recent issue of the series, you gave us a bit of a doozy, story-wise, with the arrest of Wilhelm Ryan. I know you can't give too much away, but what will this mean for the rest of the Keywork?
Sanchez: Well, obviously the rest of the Keywork is shocked and feeling uncertain how to proceed. It's a similar situation to keeping a dog on a tight leash for years and suddenly letting them loose: The animal doesn't know what to do with freedom. That said, as we've learned from Ryan in the past, he's conniving and a forward thinker. He's also incredibly patient when it comes to his goals, which you'll see, makes him a good antagonist.
Nrama: Since you've got an entire universe to play with, what have been some of the creations that you've been most proud of here? Are there any new players that we should be keeping an eye out for?
Sanchez: It's kind of a weird concept for me to feel proud of some creations more than others in the Universe, as I'm so close to it all. I love the process of developing new characters and thinking about the scope of a new planet or location within the story. That said, I do love my villains. Al the Killer is one of my favorites right now. Despite the fact that he's a dangerous sociopath, he's kind of likable. I'd watch out for him.
Nrama: Now, you've been working with Peter David for awhile now, and I wanted to ask, how has the collaboration evolved since the first issue?
Sanchez: Peter's really been an asset this series. We got the collaboration thing down pretty quickly while working on the Year of the Black Rainbow prose novel together. He poses questions that I don't think to ask myself sometimes and we'll go back and forth for hours until we've answered them in the most entertaining way possible. The band even asked him to make an appearance our video for "Here we are Juggernaut."
Nrama: And Chris Burnham. For you, what have you really dug about his style, and how has he upped his game over six issues?
Sanchez: I thought Chris was a good fit for the book because his style is really consistent and just stylized enough without losing the minutae within the panels. Chris never skimps on a page for the sake of saving time or meeting obligations and he remains an active part of the artwork creation even into colors and lettering.
Nrama: Finally, for those who still aren't sure about the Amory Wars, what would you tell them to get them on board? Any moments you're excited about that you can tease?
Sanchez: It's hard for someone in my position, considering putting out a comic is the latest trend for anyone in the entertainment industry, even if they don't care about the product. It can be difficult for some people in the comic world to get into the Amory Wars because the first thing they know is that I'm in a band, so they immediately discredit the book. But we've been publishing this title since 2004 and I've loved the medium since I could hold a book.
I really feel the series has something for everyone, even if science fiction is new to them. There are so many things effecting and tearing apart the planets of the Keywork in this conceptual universe, but it's the smaller struggles, the choices the characters face that make them challenge their morals, fight wars, fall in love and question faith that really make for a good story. As far as a teaser ... In the upcoming issues, we're going to see a pretty shocking transformation within House Atlantic, Ryan's residence.Are you up to speed with the AMORY WARS?