Check out a slew of art following this report...
Marketing honcho Jim McCann opened the first Marvel panel of 2009 by introducing the panelists. Ben Morse, the Marvel.com Editor sat next to Bill Rosemann, who opened his shirt to reveal a Kirby-drawn Marvel heads t-shirt. Jay Faerber, Christos Gage, C.B. Cebulski, and Nick Lowe filled out the stage. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning were unable to come to the panel due to an emergency.
Cage and Faerber announced immediately that they are working on an online-only tie-in series called War of Kings: Warriors. They’ll be coming out every other week in May, June, and July. Gladiator, Blastaar, Lilandra and Crystal were the featured characters announced for the series. Ben Morse is editing the series with help from Rosemann.
Paul Pelletier has a variant cover for War of Kings #1 showing Gladiator and Black Bolt facing off, which was shown for the first time at the panel. For the uninitiated, Rosemann gave the general idea behind the series, which features the Inhumans rejoining the Kree to take on Vulcan and the Shi’ar who are expanding their Empire. Ron Lim is also doing a variant for number 1.
Lowe then explained a bit of Vulcan’s past, recapping the events of “Deadly Genesis” and “Emperor Vulcan.” He says Vulcan’s real motivation is wanting to be loved, and McCann deadpanned that his theme song is 'Someone to Love' by Queen.
Havok and the Starjammers will be teaming up with Black Bolt and his people to try to take down Vulcan, promising a return to strength for Alex Summers.
Cebulski talked very lightly about Darkhawk, saying that in his mini-series and War of Kings, Darkhawk will have a similar journey to Nova in Annihilation. He is pulled out of his life on Earth into space, and his “Destiny is much larger than we thought,” said Rosemann. Cebulski, Abnett, and Lanning are excited to build on Darkhawk’s character and make him into something much more than he’s been to this point.
McCann mentioned that Nova is Morse’s “Dazzler” to much laughter. Morse currently has 6 or 7 Nova figures on his desk, and was ribbed a bit for it, then started an overview of War of Kings: Warriors.
You have to be a Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited subscriber to read these stories, which together essentially make a four issue miniseries, but split into 8 parts. This is a prelude to the main series, and will provide the motivations of these four characters in the roles they play in the larger series.
Gage loves the character Gladiator, even owning his first appearance. He’s telling Gladiator’s origin story, and explaining why he’s so blindly loyal to the leader of the Shi’ar. That question of “Why” will finally be answered.
Crystal, according to Faerber, has a different view of the world and her place in it than the rest of the Inhumans, as she’s fought alongside and as a member of several Earth teams. Her internal conflict is the main piece of her story. He nerded out about her wearing the leather Avengers jacket, but it won’t be making a comeback.
Blastaar, also by Gage, will explore how he became king of the Negative Zone and amassed his army. While looking and acting like a Barbarian, he isn’t stupid. Gage compared him to the titular character in the movie Gladiator, as a guy who just can’t be stopped.
Lilandra, Farber’s last story, shows her fully in the spotlight and explains why being Empress is so important to her, and how she turned out so different from her siblings. Rather than only having her react, as she has in most stories she’s been in, she’ll actually get to explore her point of view. Nick Lowe reiterated that she shouldn’t be the Damsel in Distress, and she’ll be seen in her “ass-kicking glory” in Kingbreaker as well.
Guardians of the Galaxy #11 and 12 will ship biweekly, with guest art. The cover to #12 was shown with a very dark death-infused character.
Guardians #13 featured Groot, Rocket Raccoon, Havok, and Rachel Grey as the “NEW Guardians?!?” It looks like Havok is in the leadership position there.
War of Kings #2 shows Lilandra actively fighting “in ass-kicking mode” with Gladiator.
“WE WILL ROCK YOUR FACE OFF!” was the caption to some War of Kings #1 black and white art.
The floor was then opened to fan questions.
Does Black Bolt still have an Infinity Gem? Possibly, but it won’t have any role in this story. Jim joked that it’s in Lockjaw’s collar, ala Men in Black.
Which Black Bolt was beat down by The Hulk? Skrull Black Bolt.
Who has a “better lid” Nova or Blackhawk? The panel and fans were split in the quick poll.
The current Guardians of the Galaxy characters, including Vance Astro, will be in every issue of the series through the "War of Kings" story, but their fate after was not disclosed.
War of Kings: Ascension runs May-August, written by DnA and drawn by Wellinton Alves. Andrea Devito will be taking Alves’s spot on Nova. The story will pick up from Darkhawk and show how his past cements him to the present and future of all of Marvel Cosmic.
Andy Schmidt, the editor of the first Annihilation was asked to come up on the panel, even though he now works for IDW, and given props for elevating the Marvel Cosmic books. He thinks the current crop of titles are great, and he really likes reading them.
Will any of the young Inhumans play a role in War of Kings? Morse said, “You’ve gotta have cannon fodder” to some groans on the panel. Rosemann said “the possibility exists.”
Will we be seeing Nova Corps in the series? Absolutely. In Nova #23 you’ll see a huge development in the Corps that sets their stage.
A fan liked Wraith in Conquest, but there are no plans for him in this story, as they don’t want to “shove the character down fans throats” too much, but demand seems to be increasing for him.
Lockjaw vs. Rocket Raccoon? Lowe says “Lockjaw teleports him into the sun. Done,” Jim responded “He’s not Sentry!” to laughter.
Some of Silent War will be picked up in WoK.
If Darkhawk is re-costumed, will the claws go away? His costumes will be explained and give reasons for the multiple threads.
The Inhumans are no longer “at war” with Earth, and they want to build their kingdom in Kree space now.
The Starjammers are on page one of WoK. Lowe said they “pwn” the series.
"Dark Reign" is limited to Earth “for now” so it won’t affect this story at all.
Blastaar’s use of 42, the negative zone prison, is explored in Guardians and Initiative.
Are there any more Skrull revelations across Space? The Inhumans will continue to question themselves, as will other characters in the Marvel universe.
Any more Wendell Vaughn? Schmidt apologized for his fate. Rosemann said his story continues in Nova and Guardians soon. Fans love him; Marvel got a huge sheet cake with an image of him on it. It wasn’t poisoned, and tasted great.
Cadre K are not showing up. “They fell out of their ship and died” according to Jim.
The Annihilus child has a story planned by DnA, and fans should look to Ascension.
Will a third cosmic ongoing launch out of WoK? If the story does well enough, it’s a possibility. If the Inhumans survive, they could get that slot.
Silver Surfer is the “last jewel in the cosmic crown that needs to Explode” said Rosemann, which opened lots of ridicule from the other panelists. He meant, though, that he wants him to work as a main character, not just as a supporting one.
No Scott Summers in WoK, as he “has his hands full” in the X-verse.
Will Thanos make a comeback in the Cosmic universe? Rosemann said his death was so cool when Drax ripped his heart out that they want to just leave it be for awhile.
Marvel Girl and Korvis? “Very Big Plans. Kingbreaker #4.”
Return of Stardust? “Nothing now”
Uatu? “He’s always watching, but not on panel here”
Galactus? “He’ll eat everything,” says Jim. “Check out Skaar,” says Bill.
Infinity Watch, Pip? “We’ll see”
Any of the other Heralds of Galactus? “they’re out there…” “Everything is in Skaar”
Firelord? “I loved his big Q-Tip” says Jim.
Genis-Vell? “Guardians #11
And that’s all she wrote, but since the panelists were entirely make, all he wrote…More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page