One of the Avengers' classic villains, who in some ways inspired the original Secret Wars is coming back for this summer's Secret Wars -- but in a good way, according to Dan Abnett.
Abnett is writing an all-new Korvac Saga series set within Marvel's summer event Secret Wars. The series pulls in his team of heroes from the current Guardians 3000 series, but puts them in service of Korvac as lord of a Battleworld domain known as Forest Hills. They come at odds with a neighboring lord of Battleworld, Wonder Man, with his own contingent of heroes -- Avengers, in his case -- who would vie with Korvac and his heroes.
Illustrated by one of Marvel's up-and-coming artists Otto Schmidt, Korvac Saga takes Abnett's space-faring theatrics as known from his redefining run on Guardians of the Galaxy and puts in some medieval flare. Newsarama talked with the writer about who's good, who's bad, and what the stakes are in this Secret Wars title.
Newsarama: Dan, what can you tell us about your Secret Wars series, Korvac Saga?
Dan Abnett: Dan: Not much [laughs]! I have to be careful to keep the big secrets of the Secret Wars under wraps. But the setting is Battleworld, one of the “Domains” there. And baaaaaad things are about to happen.
Nrama: Bad things make for good stories. In this, it looks like your Guardians 3000 team are serving Michael Korvac -- he's known to most comics fans as a villain, so can you describe how this works?
Abnett: Michael Korvac was originally a villain, but he became more complex than that in the classic Avengers “Korvac Saga” (by George Perez and others). He was a god-like, Beyonder-level cosmic force who wanted to challenge the great cosmic powers and bring order to the Universe. He was almost a force for good… except that he was ruthless and capricious. Trying to stop him, the Avengers and the Guardians all died… no kidding. Korvac restored them because he regretted his actions and saw what he had become, and then negate himself so as not to risk endangering the Universe with his power.
It’s that Korvac we’re dealing with: noble, determined, high-minded and essentially trying to rule fairly and justly, and look after this people. He’s not a bad guy. The Guardians are his police, his bodyguards, his retainers. They are loyal to him because they believe in him. But there’s a dark, dark menace arising in his kingdom that threatens his rule, his people, a lot more besides…
Nrama: Okay, if this Korvac is safe here, what about Wonder Man? He looks menacing in the cover for Korvac Saga #1.
Abnett: In the hierarchy of Battleworld, Wonder Man is another lord, on a par with Korvac. They rule neighboring domains. The Avengers (a great line up) are Wonder Man’s retainers, the equivalent of Korvac’s Guardians. There’s a power struggle going on between these powerful lords and their kingdoms. It’s mainly political, but it could get physical at any moment. Exactly the wrong time for trouble to arise in Korvac’s domain.
Nrama: So what is Korvac's domain exactly?
Abnett: The Forest Hills, a version of New York, is Korvac’s Kingdom (Forest Hills was where he faced down the Avengers and the Guardians back in the original "Korvac Saga"). Wonder Man’s kingdom is called the Holy Wood.
Nrama: So Wonder Man and his Avengers versus, possibly, Korvac and the Guardians. Is there anything else at play here in this powder keg?
Abnett: Apart from the opposition of Wonder Man and his Avengers? Which includes Captain Marvel, Jocasta, Black Panther, Hercules, the Vision, Moondragon, Yellowjacket and Black Widow? Apart from that? Well, the menace is a madness that is corrupting and transfiguring Korvac’s people, like a disease, but also a kind of ‘idea virus’. It is the gateway to some unthinkable ideas…
Nrama: The original "Korvac Saga" was one of the classic Marvel story-arcs, and instigated the original Guardians of the Galaxy in a big way. How do you view that original story historically, in terms of what it added to the Marvel U?
Abnett: It’s a shocking story, very unusual. A villain who isn’t a full-on villain, and foe that even Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can’t stop. It’s, I think, the original Guardians' most epic, classic story, and it makes Korvac their number one foe, their classic adversary, their arch-nemesis.
Nrama: You're working on this series with a relative newcomer to comics, Otto Schmidt. You've worked with many of comics' top artists, so what's your appraisal of Otto Schmidt so far?
Abnett: I really like his work. He’s very distinctive and he handles the characters wonderfully. The designs and covers he’s done so far are amazing. I think this book will look amazing.
Nrama: Last question -- What are the stakes here for the Guardians in this Secret Wars series?