Friday afternoon's "War of Kings" panel at the New York Comic Con begins with moderator Jim McCann being joined by Marvel editors Ben Morse and Bill Rosemann, and writers Christos Gage, Jay Faerber, Nick Lowe, and CB Cebulski.
McCann began the panel by announcing "War of Kings: Warriors," an online-exclusive miniseries written by Christos Gage and Jay Faerber. The first story, starring Gladiator, is written by Gage and illustrated by Mahmud A. Asrar, followed by a Crystal series by Faerber. Gage returns for a Blastaar two-parter, then Faerber finishes with a Lilandra story.
The panel also featured a new "War of Kings" variant cover by Paul Pelletier.
Rosemann explained the concept of "War of Kings," saying that Vulcan was interested in "massive expansion of the Shi'Ar Empire," while Black Bolt of the Inhumans has decided to "benevolently rule the Kree galaxy, so we'll finally be safe, we'll have strength in numbers." Lowe added details about Vulcan from his first appearance in "X-Men Deadly Genesis," who rose to power in the Shi'Ar Empire. "He just wants to be loved; he wants his people to love him. He wants to be great."
Alex Summers, Vulcan's brother and leader of the Starjammers, "will find a great ally in Black Bolt."
Darkhawk "will play a huge role in 'War of Kings,'" Cebulski said, noting that his current miniseries establishes why he's a part of it. "He gets pulled into space with a bang."
Rosemann and Morse joked about the latter's affection for Nova, and McCann added that "Nova is your Dazzler, isn't he?"
Morse said that the "Warriors" tie-in would only be available on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, with a new story every two weeks. "'War of Kings' has this huge cast, but we wanted to focus in on a few of those characters to flesh out their motivations," he said. All of the stories take place before "War of Kings," so "Gladiator won't be flying out one panel of 'Warriors' and into a panel of 'War of Kings.'"
"Gladiator is one of my favorite characters," Gage said, "so I'm really excited to tell for the first time ever his origin story." The two-parter will focus on why Gladiator is loyal to the throne rather than a particular rule--"some of these guys did not have similar ruling philosophies," he said, noting that some were in fact insane.
Faerber added that Crystal has a different worldview than the other Inhumans due to her more public Earthly roles with Fantastic Four and the Avengers. "There will be action and some intrigue."
Blastaar's story by Gage will show how he rose to power in the Negative Zone, after working for resistance forces in the last two cosmic events.
"Lilandra has been along for a long time, but she's never been a starring character," Faerber said of his second story. "She's always reacting to things. Here we're going to find why the Shi'Ar throne is so important to her."
"She's often been a tool, or a damsel in distress," Lowe added. "Her brother D'ken was a mad emperor, and her sister is Deathbird--so she can kick some ass. And she messes up a pretty major character pretty bad."
The panel also featured a Wesley Craig slide labelled "What comes next?" relating to "Guardians of the Galaxy" 11-12. The next slide was titled "Who is this?" and represents the cover to #12. "She looks kind of familiar.." Rosemann said. The cover to #13 is by Salvador Larocca and was labeled "NEW Guardians?!?"
"War of Kings" #2 finds Lilandra fighting Gladiator. "She had to switch; she is in ass-kicking mode," Lowe said.
A black-and-white interior page was labeled 'We will rock your face off!"
Rosemann and McCann said, in response to a fan question, that there are plans for Black Bolt's Infinity Gem, but not in "War of Kings."
"'War of Kings: Ascension' is four issue miniseries written by DnA and illustrated by Wllinton Alves," Rosemann said, adding that he was hoping the series would be a platform for Alvez to gain more prominance. The series will pick up from Cebulski's "War of Kings: Darkhawk." "You will see how his past that nobody knew about ties him to the future!"
Rosemann then called former Marvel editor Andy Schmidt to the panel. Schmidt edited the first "Annihilation" series, and was largely responsible for revitalizing the cosmic heroes. He now edits "GI Joe" and other series for IDW.
A fan asked about the Young Inhumans, created by Sean McKeever. "You need cannon fodder," Morse joked. Rosemann said there is a possibility the characters will show up.
"You'll definitely see a presence of Nova Corps," Rosemann said. He also said that fan interest in Wraith could lead to more stories with that character.
"Not every single thread" from "Silent War" will be picked up, Rosemann said, but that previously established plots will be respected and possibly elaborated.
Are the Inhumans still at war with Earth? "The Inhumans decided we need a bigger base of power--they can't hide anymore," Rosemann said. "Maximus still has things he wants to do, and he's part of the royal family again, but first they have to build their empire again."
There are no plans to cross over "War of Kings" with "Dark Reign," McCann said.
Hulkling's role? "You may want to come to the Dark Reign panel," McCann said.
"The Inhumans will continue to ask themselves" whether there are still secret Skrulls in their midst, Rosemann said.
Quasar (Wendell Vaughn), who has been dead for several years, will factor "in upcoming issues of 'Nova' and 'Guardians," Lowe joked that "all those scenes take place at Wendell's grave."
"We'd love to launch [a new cosmic ongoing] out of 'War of Kings,'" Rosemann said, but that this would be dependent on reader demand.
Silver Surfer? "Still surfing around," McCann said. "He's the last jewel in the cosmic crown... that needs to explode," Rosemann added. "That's the worst metaphor ever!" McCann replied.
"He works very well as a supporting character, but we need to find what makes him work as an ongoing character," Rosemann said.
Morse added that Surfer's storyline in "Skaar: Son of Hulk" "is just getting started."
Inhumans monthly? "First they'll have to survive," Lowe said.
"Cyclops has his hands full," Lowe said in response to whether the hero would appear in "War of Kings." "He won't be showing up in 'War of Kings,' sadly."
Will Thanos return? "He loves death!" McCann said.
"The first 'Annihilation had these huge big amazing moments, and Thanos and Drax had their moment where Drax ripped the heart out of Thanos," Rosemann said. "You want to give that moment some time" before resurrecting the character, he added.
Galactus's other heralds "are out there," Rosemann said, and may be used in assorted series.
Genis-Vell? "Check out 'Guadians of the Galaxy' #11," Rosemann said.