For some time now, the Marvel Universe has been under the Dark Reign of Norman Osborn, which has allowed major villains like Osborn and Doctor Doom to aggressively pursue their sinister agendas. Now, these villains are ready to enact the end games of their master plans, and if they succeed, they'll have achieved ultimate power. So it's time for the heroes of the Marvel Universe to make a stand. In the current event, "Siege," the combined forces of the Avengers are assembling to stop Norman Osborn's invasion of Asgard, the home of the Norse Gods.
Next month, another event of earth shattering importance begins when writer Jonathan Maberry ("Black Panther") and artist Scot Eaton ("X-Men: Legacy," "Wolverine: Origins") kick off "DoomWar" an epic six issue miniseries that finds the combined forces of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Deadpool, and the current and former Black Panthers-Shuri and T'Challa-joining forces to stop Doctor Doom from enacting a mysterious plan that will give him his ultimate desire total dominion over the Marvel Universe. CBR News spoke with Maberry about the series.
CBR News: "DoomWar" kicks off just as "Siege" is reaching its halfway point. In terms of scope and stakes how does "DoomWar" compare to "Siege?"
Jonathan Maberry: "DoomWar" is different from "Siege" in that it is not a crossover. The story takes place in six self-contained issues. However, "DoomWar" is big in scope. The events will definitely send some shockwaves throughout the Marvel Universe.
In the first arc of the latest volume of "Black Panther," writer Reginald Hudlin showed how Doctor Doom attacked and nearly killed T'Challa, the former king of Wakanda and Black Panther. Later, in the recently wrapped "Power" storyline, you revealed that Doctor Doom has secretly backed a coup in Wakanda, which has resulted in the overthrow of the Wakandan royal family. Since it's those events that have set the stage for "DoomWar," is this mainly a Black Panther story?
It's not just a Black Panther story, although it does start in Wakanda and riffs off of some events in the Panther book. But it has ties to other aspects of Marvel continuity, particularly "Civil War," in that Doom's ally is Walter Declun, the former CEO of Damage Control who gave the mutant growth hormones to Nitro (and when that guy went out of control it caused terrible devastation). "DoomWar" also gives a nod to Doom's involvement in "Dark Reign."
The X-Men are crucial to the first couple of issues, and then the story shifts to include the Fantastic Four ,and then Deadpool. Each of these characters plays a critical role in the story.
"DoomWar" also sees the return of Storm to a more active role in [the story's] events. She's been kept in the dark and (seemingly) betrayed by her husband, T'Challa, and then Doom, does her some emotional harm - but boy, when she gets back into the fight, it is going to be epic!
In "Black Panther" #12, the final chapter of the "Power" arc, Doom's allies, the separatist movement known as the Desturi, seized control of Wakanda. It appeared as though Doom was more concerned about taking control of the country's vibranium reserves than the country itself. Is that accurate? Was Doom's attack on the country and T'Challa all about grabbing resources, or was it a bit personal as well?
Doom has a very specific goal, and that involves the vibranium. We find out something of his plan in "DoomWar" #1. Doom could never have taken the vibranium by force - especially while T'Challa was in power. He's spent a year building up to this moment, first by ambushing T'Challa and later by covertly funding and supporting the dissident Desturi who have now seized power. Doom is closing in on his goal, and he's won every round so far.
Let's talk a little bit about Doom's chief ally, the Broker, who, as you mentioned, was revealed in "Black Panther" #12 to be Walter Declun. He's a character that you seem to enjoy writing. What makes Declun such a compelling character for you, and will he have a large part to play in DoomWar?
The Broker is working as Doom's right hand man, managing Doom's global network. In "DoomWar" we see something that hasn't been shown before: the infrastructure that allows Doom to wage wars on so many fronts. Declun is brilliant, devious and apparently loyal to Doom (as long as the checks clear!). We get a glimpse of him in "DoomWar" #1 and then by "DoomWar" #3 we see exactly what he's doing to help Doom achieve his goal. I'm having fun crafting The Broker/Declun as a villain with great potential.
At the end of "Power," the Fantastic Four joined Shuri, T'Challa's sister and the current Black Panther, in her investigation into the Broker, and we know the X-Men and Deadpool will become involved soon, but what about Prince Namor? He was involved in the lead up to "DoomWar" and he has ties to Doom, so will he be involved in the action?
Namor is busy with the X-Men and won't be in "DoomWar." Other guests are possible, but I can't say more at this time.
In "Black Panther" #12, it seemed as though T'Challa and Shuri had gambled the fate of their country - and the fate of T'Challa's wife, Storm - in order to flush Doom out of hiding. How is this affecting them emotionally? How would describe their states of mind when "DoomWar" begins?
They are both under terrible emotional strain. T'Challa knows that he's been out-maneuvered in the game of chess he and Doom are playing. It's rare for T'Challa to be outwitted, but he's become predictable and perhaps complacent through arrogance. Doom is playing a much subtler game than he has in years, and as a result he is harder to predict.
Doom has won every round so far, except that he didn't know that T'Challa and Shuri were allowing the Desturi takeover to happen as a way of drawing the enemies into the light. For T'Challa, this is a dreadful gamble because he's risking his country to save it. T'Challa is also stressed out because he can't bring Storm into his confidence. We find out why in "DoomWar" #1.
Shuri, the Princess-Regent, went from a headstrong and arrogant young woman to the ruler and national hero of her country - and then let her country be taken away. Granted, it was largely her idea as a way of revealing the dissidents, but it's taking a hell of a toll. She goes for some serious payback at the end of "DoomWar" #1, and in #2 she kind of goes off the rails.
The heroes you're playing with in "DoomWar" are quite a diverse group. How would you describe the dynamic between the FF, the X-Men, Deadpool, T'Challa, and Shuri? Is this a tight-knit band of heroes that comes together quickly? A band of reluctant allies? Or something in-between those two extremes?
The FF and the Wakandan Royals are old, old friends. Reed and T'Challa are very tight, and Reed has been working behind the scenes to help T'Challa solve one of the critical scientific challenges associated with "DoomWar." The other FF are there to hand Doom his ass, so they're good working with anyone who has the same agenda.
The X-Men who participate in the fight are there to try and save Storm - who has been put on trial for her life by the Desturi. Doom is an old enemy of theirs, too.
And Deadpool? He's a mercenary and he's not afraid to leave a trail of bodies behind him, so he's going to come in really useful when things heat up. "DoomWar" is a serious conflict. People are going to die. A lot of them, and Deadpool is fine with helping amp up the body count as long as the money's good.
Can you offer any hints or teases as to the action that awaits readers of "DoomWar" #1?
We're going to have every kind of action, from one-on-one slugfests, big picture super heroics, special ops wetworks, and epic battles in the field. We'll get to see some new players, too. T'Challa's former bodyguards, the Dora Milaje, are out in force and they are now his elite special ops team. There was a time when T'Challa didn't like special ops or covert ops teams - but that ship has sailed. All the old rules are changed.
How would you describe the tone and pacing of "DoomWar?" Is this a story that twists and turns and quickly moves between quiet and action packed scenes, or is it something that starts off at a relentless pace and only gets faster as the story goes on?
"DoomWar" #1 starts with the trial of Storm and ends with the invasion of Wakanda. There are multiple storylines, and all of them are runaway trains heading toward disaster. Lots and lots of action, but there's also time for character development. And that includes character development for Doom, too. We're going to see some new aspects of his personality.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about the plot or themes of "DoomWar?"
Yeah - don't think you know how it's going to end. You don't.
What's it like working with Scot Eaton? What do you feel he brings to this book as an artist?
I'm a huge fan of ultra-realistic comic book art. Scot Eaton's art is mind-blowing. Everything is gorgeous, three-dimensional, and intelligently thought-out. He brings reality to each character, from Storm's grace and dignity to the kingly grandeur of T'Challa and Cyclops to the intellectual cruelty of Doctor Doom. The guy is amazing.
It's clear that the end of "Siege" will have a profound impact on the status quo of the Marvel Universe. Will "DoomWar" have a similar impact?
Yep. But there are too many spoilers in that for me to talk about now.
Are you able to say anything about your Marvel work after "DoomWar?" Are you going back to "Black Panther?"
Right now the plans are for me to return to "Black Panther," and there will be a lot of wreckage to clean up. I've made some pitches for what I'd do next with that book and others, and they're big-canvas stuff.
I have another limited series starting this spring, "Marvel Infected." It's a Marvel Knights four-issue thriller featuring the Punisher, Spider-Man, Hulk, and other heroes in a wild, wild dystopian thriller. Goran Parlov is drawing them and he's hitting it out of the park.
In addition to your work at Marvel, you're also a novelist and a non-fiction writer. Do you have any upcoming book projects that you think will appeal to fans of your comics work?
I've got a pretty big year coming up. On February 2, my novelization of "The Wolfman" will be released. Then on March 2, "The Dragon Factory" - second in my series of action thrillers for St. Martin's Griffin - hits stores. The first in that series, "Patient Zero," is the book that brought me to the attention of Marvel, and that series is in development for TV. Then, in September, Simon & Schuster will release "Rot & Ruin," the first in a new series of post-apocalyptic zombie thrillers I'm writing. And in the fall, Citadel will publish "Wanted Undead or Alive," a nonfiction book I co-authored with Janice Gable Bashman that explores the battle against evil in myth, legend, and pop culture. It has a chapter on comics and includes interviews with Stan Lee, Mike Mignola, Jason Aaron, Daniel Way, Fred Van Lente and other key players.