When Malekith the Dark Elf invades the Marvel Universe in War of the Realms, his massive army will engulf all of Midgard - the entire Earth. With all of Marvel's heroes thrown into the conflict, there are plenty of interesting and essential tales that could fall by the wayside.
Enter War of the Realms: War Scrolls, a limited-series tie-in anthology which features a Daredevil primary story by Jason Aaron and Andrea Sorrentino and new dispatches from around the Marvel Universe in each issue - all curated by longtime Thor editor Wil Moss.
Newsarama spoke to Moss, who's been part of the planning for War of the Realms for years now, about what War Scrolls holds in store for the Marvel Universe, how Daredevil's story fits in, and which characters and talent are on the way in War Scrolls, which launches in April.
Newsarama: Wil, in a nutshell, what’s going on in War of the Realms?
Wil Moss: The nutshell is, Malekith, the king of the Dark Elves, has been conquering all ten realms over the last few years, and now he’s coming to Midgard, to Earth, and he’s bringing an army he’s assembled from across the ten realms with him. He’s got frost giants, fire goblins, the Enchantress, and other heavy baddies all coming to conquer Earth. So it’s up to all the heroes of the Marvel Universe to fight them off.
But the Asgardians are already on the defensive because Asgardia was destroyed back in “The Death of the Mighty Thor” and they’ve since been living on Earth essentially as refugees. And Thor still doesn’t have Mjolnir back - he’s got an assortment of other hammers but none of them compare to mighty Mjolnir. And they don’t have the Rainbow Bridge anymore. So these are all things that are putting them at a disadvantage in the fight against Malekith – and it doesn’t go well at the start of the story.
Nrama: And how does this limited series War of the Realms: War Scrolls fit into that?
Moss: War of the Realms touches every corner of the world, so War Scrolls is an opportunity to visit some corners of the Marvel Universe where important stuff is happening, but which don’t fit into the core event or the other tie-ins. Because the scope is so big, there’s stuff we wanted to make sure and touch on. So that’s why we’re doing this anthology.
There are gonna be lots of cool stories about key characters and key moments to the story which aren’t in the main book – primarily a new Daredevil story from Jason Aaron and Andrea Sorrentino. Each issue will feature the 10-page primary Daredevil story, in which Matt Murdock undergoes a transformation as a result of War of the Realms. He becomes the God Without Fear, and gets Heimdall’s powers to see and hear everything that’s happening across all ten realms.
He goes to Asgard and takes command of the shattered Rainbow Bridge, and becomes the “ops guy” – the guy directing everyone to where they need to go. But Jason has a really big story for Daredevil within that role, which will be told here.
Outside of the War of the Realms tie-in issues of Thor and Avengers, this Daredevil story is the only other War of the Realms tie-in story that Jason is writing. So it’s gonna be pretty key!
Jason’s written pretty much every character in the Marvel U, but he’s never written Daredevil before, and he’s really excited to get a chance to do so here. And after that recent standalone Iron Fist issue of Avengers, he was eager to work with Andrea again.
Nrama: War Scrolls has some big stories right off the bat – you mentioned Jason Aaron writing an all-seeing Daredevil. And, the solicitation for #1 mentions the reunion of Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones for a new Howard the Duck serial. What else is in store in War Scrolls?
Moss: I have to be careful here, because there’s stuff in War Scrolls that would definitely spoil the main story of War of the Realms.
I can tell you there will be stuff with She-Hulk. There will be stuff with the Inhumans. There will be stuff with the bad guys of the Marvel Universe, exploring how they’re reacting to Malekith’s army coming to Earth. And yeah, there’s gonna be a fun, short Howard story from Chip and Joe about his reaction.
Malekith’s invasion starts in New York – they take over the city, that’s how they begin their conquest - and the first few issues are about the heroes fighting back. So in War Scrolls, we get to see Howard’s part in that.
Nrama: Similar question, what can you tell us about the creators you have lined up for War Scrolls?
Moss: Well there’s Jason and Andrea, and Chip and Joe. I can’t really give away too much at this point. I can tell you we’ve got a great story coming from Josh Trujillo, who’s written a bunch of terrific stuff at BOOM! like his Dodge City miniseries and who worked on the Guardians of the Galaxy Telltale Series. He’s a strong up and coming writer who I’m excited to have come tell stories here. That story will also be set in that initial attack on New York.
Nrama: When you’re planning an anthology series like War Scrolls, what are the considerations you give to what and who to include?
Moss: Well, first and foremost, anthologies are a great place to showcase talent that doesn’t usually work in the Marvel Universe, and to kind of test the waters for creators or characters to see if their point of view works with the Marvel Universe. It’s always a great chance to find new voices.
For War Scrolls specifically, for each issue, we’re looking for angles and characters that aren’t being used elsewhere in War of the Realms but who we think have a story to tell, who would be cool to see come into play.
Daredevil’s a great example. He’s got new powers and an interesting new role in War of the Realms, but that’s not the focus of the main story. And Daredevil’s solo title won’t be a War of the Realms tie-in, because that’s right in the middle of Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto’s upcoming run. So in this case, it’s a great opportunity to showcase a story like that.
Nrama: Traditionally, when Asgard crosses over into the core Marvel Universe, it spells big changes for the status quo. How far-reaching will the effects of War of the Realms be on Midgard and its heroes?
Moss: Malekith’s attack on Midgard changes nearly every aspect of life on Earth. These tie-ins are about exploring those changes and those consequences - how the Frost Giants take over North America, Deadpool going to Australia to fight Ulik and the trolls who have launched an attack there - so it’s not a stretch to say War of the Realms touches every part of the Marvel Universe.
I can’t get too specific about how it all goes down, but this is a Marvel Universe story first and foremost, so the effects we’ll see will play out across the whole line. People will see what I mean by that very soon.
Nrama: Jason Aaron has been building towards War of the Realms for years now, across multiple volumes of Thor, and you’ve worked with him through most of that. What has surprised you the most about how the final product is coming together?
Moss: Great question. What’s been interesting to me is seeing the way Jason has paired up the heroes, how he brings them together and puts together different pairings to handle different missions and parts of the adventure.
He’s got some team-ups that I can’t spoil but which have been incredibly fun to watch come together. We’ll start seeing what some of that will be soon, what some of those teams look like. That part is coming up in May, so we’ll see more of how that looks in a month’s time when May solicitations go out.
But these adventures are almost like mini-events within the event, and seeing the fun squads that Jason puts together for them has been surprising.
Nrama: What’s your favorite bit from War Scrolls so far?
Moss: The Daredevil story is gonna be very impressive. It’s gonna start small and street level and go full-on cosmic. That’s one reason we’re glad to have Andrea Sorrentino drawing that - he’s the kind of artist that can go from the alleyways of Hell’s Kitchen to the cosmic scope of Asgard and the Bifrost and someone who can seen and hear through all ten realms with ease. I’m really excited to see that.
Nrama: Marvel calls War Scrolls the “must-read companion to War of the Realms.” What makes this limited series essential reading?
Moss: Every story in War Scrolls originated from us wanting to answer a specific question about how War of the Realms affects the Marvel Universe. Every story has a purpose, this isn’t just an anthology series where we’re just throwing things in. Each story fits a specific purpose in the Marvel Universe, and within War of the Realms – and helps build towards how, ultimately, the heroes are going to win out in the end.