Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski introduced Wil Moss (Thor line Editor) Sarah Brunstad (associate editor on Thor and War of the Realms), Jason Aaron (writer of Thor, Avengers, and War of the Realms), Russell Dauterman (artist on Thor and War of the Realms), Matthew Wilson (colorist on Thor and War of the Realms) to discuss what he called Marvel’s big event of 2019.
“Can anyone here name the ten realms?” Cebulski asked, prompting Aaron to raise his hand.
“War of the Realms” has been in the works for seven years. Aaron says that the story began precisely because he couldn’t name the nine realms when he started writing Thor. Over the years Marvel has given different lists and portrayals of the (then) nine realms, but Aaron wanted to finalize the list and really take advantage of Thor’s unique setting. “And what better way than to start a war and kill millions of people along the way?”
War is coming to the Marvel Universe and no corner will remain untouched. Get ready for battle when "War of the Realms" hits comic shelves everywhere April 3: https://t.co/Y9wRMepanG pic.twitter.com/G82GHh2PLU
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) March 22, 2019
The war honestly started a few years ago in the pages of The Mighty Thor, but “War of the Realms” is what happens when Malekith’s war machine finally reaches Midgard. Dauterman has been greatly enjoying playing with characters that he’s never had the chance to touch before. Black Panther is apparently a new favorite for Dauterman. “Russell’s Punisher looks so mean,” added Moss. Dauterman said that it has also been a treat to see Wilson’s color palette, theretofore specific to the Thor books, applied to the greater Marvel universe and to see the ways that it changes the other characters or changes to suit them.
Cebulski called “War of the Realms” a global spanning event. The first battle will be in New York, but the event will touch the entire Marvel earth, including Latveria, Wakanda, and more. Certain enemies will set up fiefdoms in different parts of the globe, with the Dark Elves conquering Europe and fire goblins spreading through Asia.
A repeated thread in the preview materials and panelists’ hints was Wolverine and the Punisher teaming up to hunt down dark elf soldiers.
The first tie-in brought up was a miniseries, War of the Realms: Journey Into Mystery written by the McElroys with art by André Lima Araújo. Balder has been tasked with keeping Thor’s baby sister safe and he’ll go on an “epic road trip” with Wonder Man, Mile Morales, Kate Bishop, and Thor’s dog Thori to ensure that she stays safe. This series will explore wild corners of the Marvel Universe in more ways than one, taking its heroes to many of the conquered realms as well as incorporating characters from varying genres including cosmic Marvel and western Marvel. This will be the McElroy’s first work for Marvel, having come to Moss and Cebulski’s attention (at least as potential writers) after publishing The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins.
Aaron himself will also be tying into the event in the pages of Thor along with Mike Del Mundo. Thor #12 is top secret, but Aaron promises that it will be a must read for fans of Loki. It follows a big Loki moment in War of the Realms #1 and features Loki doing “his least favorite thing, which is spending time with himself”, as multiple Loki’s converge!
War of the Realms: War Scrolls is a three issue anthology miniseries that will shine a light on many of the Marvel Universe’s fan favorites. Aaron’s Daredevil story will run through all three issues and take Daredevil to very different places and supposedly change him significantly. Aaron specified Daredevil as the one character outside his purview whose story he really wanted to write himself. The story will be drawn by Andrea Sorrentino and will feature the Kingpin.
The warriors three will also get a story by Josh Trujillo and Ricardo Lopez Ortiz where they try to get a comatose Volstagg to Dr. Strange in the midst of the invasion. Cloak and Dagger will also guest star.
We’ll see more about Wolverine and the Punisher, spinning out of the main War of the Realms series and a Howard the Duck story by a reteamed Chip Zdarsky, Joe Rivera and Joe Quiones. Howard might be caught in the middle of a mythical invasion but he still has to make rent, so he’s going searching for a missing dog.
Aaron promises to bring “War of the Realms” to Avengers as well as a new Squadron Supreme, calling them D.C.’s Greatest Heroes (they’re based in Washington, of course). As frost giant besiege the nation’s capitol we’ll learn more about this new incarnation of the team, including their secret identities and maybe even how they’re related to previous versions of the Squadron.
Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello will be tying Venom into “War of the Realms”. Moss calls it everything you want from a Venom story, but can’t say more than to promise it will be “real dark, real messy” with “grusome monsters and nasty Cullen Bunn writing”. Cebulski and Aaron confirmed that Venom will play a big part in the main series as well and went on to say that connective tissue between Venom and Thor already existed and will be called into play.
Gerry Dugan and Marcelo Ferreira’s War of the Realms: Punisher miniseries will be brutal but funny. Cebulski called it a “done in one Gerry Dugan special”. Frank Castle needs to get people out of the war zone, so he’ll hijack a prison bus, prisoners included, to ensure everyone gets out safe.
Cebulski stated his fondness for the X-Men in Asgard story and promised that it’s not been forgotten. War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men is another three-issue miniseries that will see Matthew Rosenberg and Pere Perez a team of the remaining X-Men dealing with the fallout from an until now unimaginable situation. Luckily they’ve got someone with experience on their side and Dani Moonstar is ready to step up and lead as a valkyrie once again.
Cebulski (in a video) promised that your favorite character will not only feature into the plot but be thrown into some wild team-ups, both in the case of heroes and villains. And, despite the huge amount of lead-up and seed planting done throughout the Marvel line, Cebulski ensured the audience that “War of the Realms” will be new reader friendly.
The Panel was asked for their favorite Thor stories. Dauterman immediately went for Thor: God of Thunder‘s “Godbomb”. Wilson cited JMS’ Thor, the run that brought him back to the character. Brundstad picked Walt Simonson’s Mangog stories. Moss had to pick the Jane Foster story, but also mentioned Simonson’s run and Kieron Gillen’s Journey Into Mystery. Aaron also chose the a Mangog story, the original by Lee and Kirby this time.
A fan asked if Loki is still God of Stories after his development in Loki: Agent of Asgard. Aaron told him to read Thor #12.
Aaron was asked what character he’d like to write next. He replied that that was an appropriate question for him, as “War of the Realms” is the beginning of the end for his epic run on Thor. He has ideas but, at the time, could only publicly say Conan, as he’s having a ball writing the character he most wanted to write at 12.