In the Marvel Universe, actions have consequences, even for someone as fearsome as the villainous Doctor Doom. As a member of Norman Osborn's secret criminal Cabal, Doom has turned the Marvel Universe upside down and played a part in making life miserable for any hero who tries to oppose the former Green Goblin's Dark Reign. Recently, Doom launched a vicious sneak attack on King T'Challa, the former Black Panther and King of Wakanda. Doom's attack nearly killed the monarch, and the injuries T'Challa sustained from it are why he's no longer Black Panther or ruler of his country, both titles that now lie with his sister, Shuri.
In 2010, Doctor Doom will experience the consequences of picking a fight with T'Challa, because the former Black Panther has a plan. He's a man with family and friends, like the Fantastic Four, and his wife, Storm, connects him to the X-Men as well. T'Challa also has the funds to pay for the skills of one of the most unpredictable and dangerous men in the Marvel Universe: Deadpool. All of these characters will collide in February when "DoomWar," a five issue mini-series by writer Jonathan Maberry and artist Scot Eaton, begins. CBR News spoke with Eaton and his editor Axel Alonso about the project
CBR News: Axel, When "DoomWar" was originally announced Will Conrad and Ken Lashley were slated to work on the series. Is there anything you can say about why they're no longer attached to the project?
Axel Alonso: The original rotation was going to be Conrad, Lashley and a third artist to be determined. Eventually, that artist became Scot. When we got to that point, I realized that Scot is efficient enough to draw the whole damn thing, so we went that way. Look for future announcements about Conrad and Lashley.
Does the fact that there is a new artist on the series mean that "DoomWar" #1 will be delayed for a little bit? Or is the issue still scheduled to be released in February?
AA: Nope. No delay. Scot is hard at work on the first issue, which isn't in stores until February. He is a solid monthly-plus guy.
From the cover of the December one-shot "Siege: The Cabal," it looks like Doctor Doom plays a major role in that title. For those concerned about continuity and chronology, do the events of "Siege" take place before "DoomWar?"
How important and influential will "DoomWar" be to the future status quo of the Marvel U?
AA: Well, it's an amped-up-like-you've-never-seen-him Dr. Doom and his full arsenal, which includes the full might of the Wakandan army, against the two Black Panthers, the X-Men, the FF and Deadpool, so this is kinda big. There will be some big status quo changes in the Marvel Universe, including one that will have a profound effect on the power balance in the Marvel Universe.
Any final thoughts on "DoomWar?"
AA: It's all kicks off in a double-sized first issue that ends with quite a punch. And it's very new-reader friendly - if you haven't been keeping up on "Black Panther" or Doom's role in "Dark Reign," it won't matter. It's a simple setup: A unconquered kingdom has fallen to a bloodless coup. Its former King (T'Challa) and current leader (Shuri) have fled; the current Queen has been captured and sentenced to death by the new regime. Behind this new regime is a nefarious figure with an agenda whose scope goes from beyond the nation's borders (Doom). To save the Queen and recapture the kingdom, the renegade royals enlist the aid of the Queen's family (the X-Men) as well as the ubervillain's most dogged enemies (the FF). Its a war fought in three stages, and around the globe, with twists and turns and dirty tricks -i.e. Deadpool. And victory will require sacrifice.
CBR News: Scot, How did "DoomWar" come about for you? What drew you to the project?
Scot Eaton: I had been watching what Jonathan Maberry and Reggie Hudlin were doing with the new Black Panther. Like everyone else, I saw the announcement about the "DoomWar" event coming up and read that Ken Lashley and Will Conrad were attached to it. They'd both done great work on the regular BP series over the last year, so that sounded exciting to me. Then Axel Alonso talked to me about contributing some chapters before I got started on my next "Wolverine Origins" arc. That morphed somehow into only one of us doing all the art, and I happily agreed!
Lets talk a little bit about the various characters in "DoomWar." Who is Doctor Doom to you? What elements of the character do you really want to capture and bring forth in your art for this series?
SE: Doom is Doom! And I will admit I am essentially a Doctor Doom mark. In my twisted mind, I'll probably approach the art as if he's the protagonist. Well, maybe somewhat more sympathetic than another artist would, at least. He's powerful, a Reed Richards level genius that has mastered technology and magic. So maybe he's a tyrant and mass-murderer on top of all that; can't a guy make a few mistakes?
You drew several "Black Panther" story arcs, including "Panther's Bride," where T'Challa and Storm got married. What's it like returning to these characters, and what do you want your art to say about the new Black Panther, Shuri? What type of character do you see her as?
SE: Currently, everything I mentioned earlier about Doom is now true about T'Challa. Reggie initially wrote him as a man of science who'd turned his back on the old ways. Now, he and Jonathan have added this spiritual power level, and his sights are set clearly on Doom!
When I worked on the book in the past, Shuri was just the kid sister. A little spoiled, and showing some of the attributes that almost kept her from becoming the Black Panther when Wakanda need her most. Now I see her as a young woman with a lot to live up to and trying to keep from being too prideful, because even with the pressure, this is what she's always wanted. And she's stepped out of T'Challa's shadow now, so I'll try to keep that in mind when I approach the art.
You were the artist on "House of M: Fantastic Four," but have you ever had a chance to draw the the actual FF, or will "DoomWar" be your first chance to tackle the characters in a larger multi-part story?
SE: This will be the first time I draw the FF, and it's always been a goal of mine. Actually, I drew a Zero issue of the "Marvel Adventures" version of the FF a couple of years back, but I never found my way to the actual Fantastic Four. When I first started drawing comics that was my dream job.
Ben and Reed were always my favorites. The idea that this genius' best friend is a football player and test pilot seemed to imply that what they had in common was their character. Like they were both explorers or adventurers. One's very cerebral, the other very blue-collar, and they are both bonded together by the cosmic ray accident and a commitment to use the power they gained for the good of mankind. And Reed feels profound guilt for what he did to his best friend, even if he may think it was all for the best on some level.
Since my childhood days, Sue has become a lot more prominent, and I guess Johnny's more than just a kid with a quick temper now, but that's OK. In all honesty, I thought Reed just brought Sue Storm along on that trip to the moon to impress her, and put up with Johnny because he had to. To humor Sue. But then, I was just a kid.
"DoomWar" also features several X-Men characters and you've been drawing various X-men related stories for several years now. What makes the X-Men characters so compelling to you as an artist?
SE: They're very quirky and represent a brand of rebel misfits more than a superhero team. Or a sovereign nation lead by Cyclops as they are currently presented in "Uncanny." And they're visually appealing as well as unique characters. From an art standpoint, the X-Men's abilities are a visual part of their look. Angel, Nightcrawler and Colossus are all immediately identifiable even in silhouette.
What can you tell us about the style that you're using for "DoomWar?" Does the story call for any new artistic or storytelling techniques?
SE: I'm not an artist that really has a distinct style, yet. Looking back at my work, it seems uneven. One of the things about monthly comics is that an artists doesn't always have the same amount of time to complete each book, or even each page. Marvel has been great with me in recent years as far as schedule, and a lot of my time management problems are habits I've picked up from years of hitting various weird deadlines.
The best thing that's happened was my time on "X-Men Legacy," and recently, "Wolverine Origins." I love Mike Carey's work, and I learned a lot about telling stories from his scripts. Looking back, I think I let Mike down a little on the art. I think the art on that book was boring compared to some of the other X-Books. "Wolverine Origins" has given me a chance to sit in one place, try and focus on storytelling, and pick more exciting shots. That's something I'm working on. And "Origins" has made it easy. Daniel Way's another good story teller, and Logan's been the best fit for my pencils probably ever.
So if I can make things clear and exciting on "DoomWar," that'll be a good start.
On every project I've ever worked on that Axel edits, I've had the chance to talk with him and game plan a little before and during the project. I've emailed back and forth with Jonathan so far on the script, and even though it's early, there's gonna be plenty of back and forth if I need it. The biggest part, so far, is laying the pages out and presenting the story accessibly. It's not, at the start, a choppy action book. Jonathan is putting his major players in place, very much like a movie, and that's good for anyone picking this book up. You can see who the characters are, what their motivations are and see that this is headed for war. Even a casual reader will get the gravity. Readers should all get the feeling this is an event - a big one that will have ramifications after the series.
"DoomWar" features super powered people, but it almost seems to be just as much an action story/techno thriller as it is a superhero story. Is that one of the draws of working on this project?
SE: Yes, it's one of the draws, and it comes out of who the characters are. There was a lot of tech and spy stuff in my run on "Black Panther," but I'll be a little better at it now I hope!
What's it like working with Jonathan Maberry? What elements of his scripts do you find most compelling as an artist?
SE: It's early, but it's already been fun! Looking over their shoulder when "Black Panther" relaunched, I was jealous of what the creators were doing. Jonathan's scripts are exciting, with great scene set-ups and great pacing. And very clear in my head, visually. The dialogue so far has been pretty compelling. Making the balloon placement natural on the page has been a challenge, because his script is more that just lines punctuating the action. That will be a good element for me to work on as well.
Any final thoughts on "DoomWar?"
SE: Take everything I've mentioned, and add in Deadpool. Heads will have to roll. In fact, I'll draw some heads rolling just in the background if I have to!