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Secret Wars

Ganny McVagflaps

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Its name is evocative of two things: covert ops and the Beyonder. One is good, and one is bad. In February, Brian Bendis and Gabriele Dell’Otto bring the former, not the latter to the Marvel Universe proper with the debut of Secret War a five issue miniseries that’s gonna shake things up.


The miniseries, fully painted by Dell’Otto (his sequential art debut for an American comic publisher) will ship as five quarterly, 48-page books with a $3.99 cover.


The story centers of Nick Fury who, after years of research, has found a serious and disturbing connection between many of the deadliest villains in the Marvel Universe. Recognizing that action must be taken, Fury assembles a team of heroes for a covert operation that could never be sanctioned by the U.S. government. These things never end well, and Secret War leads to a blowout between nearly every hero and mutant of New York, including Spider-Man, Wolverine, Daredevil, Captain America, Black Widow, Luke Cage and others.




We tracked Bendis down and hit him with the hot lights and thumbscrews.


Newsarama: Starting with Secret War, take us back to the origin of in of this one. Where did this come from?


Brian Bendis: There's this element of the marvel universe that always intrigued me, I've been thinking about it for years. A secret that might connect a lot of the villains of the Marvel Universe. Once someone like Nick Fury figures it out, what will the heroes have to do to fight it?  Joe loved the take and told me that this could be a modern take on Secret Wars. A gritty real world take on the idea of a secret superhero war. And I said, “Damn, that's it!!”




NRAMA: This connection - have there been pieces of this floating around for a while, or…what? Is this going to logically flow from earlier stuff?


BB: I totally think so. I think people will be able to reread some comics and say to themselves, “Huh, interesting.” And not just my comics, I mean, all their Marvel Comics. I think this opens some interesting doors all the way around. And anything that gets you to go back and reread some stuff is always a good thing. Except Secret Wars 2. Don't do that. Except the Daredevil issue, that's fucking hilarious.


NRAMA: As the name of a project, Secret War comes with a lot of baggage. But it’s just a name, right? Nothing more – no Beyonder?


BB: Yeah, lets bring back the jerry curl, white jump suit, muther fucker in all his eighties glory. No, I am proud to say that this is not that. Not to shit on others work, but Secret Wars 2 was douche chill bad. This is an entirely different genre, that's how far from the Beyonder this is, but I like the idea that the words 'secret war' conjure; the mystery. The enigma of it is what captured our attention lo those many years ago when we first heard the words - the idea that there are secrets we don't know about these characters or a story that we the readers will get that civilians in the Marvel Universe might not is a lot of fun to think about.


NRAMA: So then – looking at the story a little. Fury finds the connection and puts together a ragtag team – what’s he looking for in his “soldiers” – pieces of a larger machine, or those he has a personal connection with?


BB: People who owe him. He puts together a team of heroes that owe him one and that believe in him enough to follow him blindly into this. They also happen to be some of the best selling characters in comic history, who knew? It’s Fury that uncovers the mystery and is forced to go 'under the table' to try to take care of it because the United States government can't; so basically, you could say that Fury takes it upon himself to start a secret war. He's forced to.


NRAMA: Obviously, Spider-Man is going to be involved. You’ve set up the relationship between Peter and Fury in the Ultimate Universe, but in the Marvel Universe? It seems that the not-trysting-of-authority Peter Parker wouldn’t want anything to do with nick Fury…


BB: Well, Fury knows who he is now, so that gets fleshed out a bit more…


NRAMA: Going all out for a tease here - what is “secret” about the “secret war?”


BB: See, how intrigued you are by just the two words. Hee hee hee…


NRAMA: Back to the “war” itself – what’s its scope? Will it be moving out of the five boroughs, or will it be going on – albeit quietly – within NYC?


BB: It’s big. It’s also very gritty. Dirty, like the battles in Black Hawk Down, if the first Secret Wars was this big planetary cosmic hoo hah, this is as real a fight as it gets in mainstream comics.




NRAMA: So what are the stakes in this war? What are we talking about if the good guys loose?


BB: Yeah, like I’m going to tell you that now.


NRAMA: Well then - where do the mutants stand in this? There are hints that this battle will bring things to a head between the mutants and non…


BB: Wolverine is front and center, and the X-Men will fall in during the third act to take care of their own. In fact, every Marvel superhero in the New York area will.


NRAMA: This is the first honest to God Marvel Universe crossover in years. What was good about the former ones that you’re hoping to recreate, and what was bad that you’re hoping not to bring into your mix? In short, what makes these work?


BB: Well, the good hopefully is the grandeur and excitement of it all. I think there's nothing cooler than the gathering of heroes. The Ocean's Eleven swagger of all these big characters getting together. The interaction The bad is the convoluted goofball storytelling that seems to almost always punish a really good idea for a crossover. It would be great to not be that. I hadn't realized that this is the first in a while, I think you're right. That's cool.


NRAMA: Speaking of the usual elements, Secret War is fully stand-alone, right?


BB: Well, all Marvel Comics are forced to cross over into NYX now. In fact Joe is making Powers crossover with NYX and he doesn't even publish Powers. That man is totally out of control. I of course, am joking, but this being Newsarama, I figure that quote is worth two or three pages of posts. But to answer the question, there will be an arc of The Pulse that expands on some of the ideas of this series. And yes, Luke and Jessica are in Secret War.


NRAMA: On the art side of things - is there anything you do/write for Gabrielle that you do differently than with say, Mark Bagley or Alex Maleev, given his style?


BB: Not really. Gabrielle is the find of the century. The biggest treat of this series is the official introduction of this fantastic painter. He doesn't speak a word of English, and if he does they are not words I have ever heard, so communicating has been interesting. But there is not one panel that isn't perfect. It’s just great, great colors, great storytelling.


NRAMA: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not at all, and 10 being unrecognizable to previous. What does Secret War do to the status quo of the Marvel Universe?


BB: See, that’s not fair, because if I say 10 everyone thinks I'm a hypey putz, or more of a hypey putz than they already think I am. But we will introduce a couple of new characters; we will kill a few characters. And one or two characters may switch sides as a result of the magnitude of what this secret war does to them.


NRAMA: Is Spider-Man getting a new costume?


BB: Yeah, this one is all white – with sparkles.


Geez Bendis is a glutton for punishment. How many books can he do? Definitly the best writer out there at the moment. I'm pretty psyched. I have a feeling that this is gonna be a guddin'. Hell, it's got Fury, Spidey, Wolvie...errr..Jessie Jonesy...uhhh...Luke Cagey...well, ya catch my drift - it's got a rake of my favorite characters is the point (let's not forget Daredevil!). The art is pretty fucking sweet too. This one'll definitly be on the must have list. God bless BMB...he is da man (sorry Garth, I'm still rooting for ya but...).


Plus that last Spidey comment was funny as fuck.*


*gawd, the fanboy commeth...

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Oh, this is regular Marvel...ok i gotta go read that article. And im with Zangief, II wasnt hot from what lil i read, but Secret Wars I was cool as fuck back then. Spider-Man vs The X-Men, the black costume, Hulk & everybody..so much goin on, it was a blast.

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Really? I mean, a lotta guys say that, but have you tried much of New Marvel? There's some really good books out these days...the Utliamte stuff is a whole lotta fun, for one. If youre into really big crossovers like Secret Wars, tho, they dont really do that much anymore, as its hard for people just tryin out comics to keep up...theyll have storylines in one book, or a 4-issue crossover, but no more 40+ issue every-book's-involved Age of Apocalypse type stuff, i think only DC does that anymore.

But, yeah man, tell me what books ya dug back in the day, ill tell you what theyre like now, see if youd be interested, if you want.

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That'd be really cool if you could IC :D As for the new comics, it's true that I haven't really given them much of a chance lately, but I just get the impression that the comics indus. is struggling to survive, although I'm sure it's not true.


Some of the comics that I really liked when I was into my comics were: Silver Surfer, anything relating to cosmic characters (Thanos, Galactus, Celestials, Adam Warlock, etc.), Ghost Rider, Dr. Strange, X-Men, and i'm sure that there's more that I just can't remember at the moment.


Some of the contemporary titles or the latest, you could say, that I read were some Image stuff: ShadowHawk, Supreme, & just a bit of Savage Dragon.

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Nah, Soviet, youre right, it is indeed strugglin, but i like to think that's part of whats givin it room to go in new directions, the fact that theyre finally willin to try new things to bring folks back.

SB's right, there's less cosmic stuff, but i hear the new Silver Surfer book's pretty good, ill try to find some sample art for ya. Oh, Thanos just had this big The End mini-series, and you might dig the "End" speicals goin on with Hulk, Wolverine, etc where theyre showin Marvel's finest in their final days, its cool so far.

Ghost Rider had a mini-series, i didnt dig it...im thinkin he might pick up after the movie. Dr Strange has a mini comin out down the road thats gettin some hype, and this one book 1602, a tale of what Marvel'd be like in that year, has Strange in a pivotal role. X-Men's at the top of its form, both in New X-Men and Ultimate X-Men - there's threads here with art & sample pages if ya wanna see em.

I know Savage Dragon's still goin for one....oh man, celestial stuff, gotta have you read Earth X, youd really dig that. Its all about the link tying all the Marvel Universe together, and ive never seen the Celestials like they were here..damn fine story.

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I read the Earth X series, probobly one of the best ones yet. Still haven't managed to get my hands on Universe X or Paradise X.


I liked the whole Inifinite Guantlet storyline and all too. Do they still have some Mephisto storylines? I used to love seeing him in the books :P Punisher was really cool too, and has Spawn died yet? Hehe, just trying to catch up on the times. I take it that Spider-Man is still doin his thing? and same thing with the Hulk?

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Eh...Universe X was fun, im halfway through Paradise X and its kinda laggin, i hear it wasnt as good by the end. Had fun with their take on Wovlerine, tho.

Mephisto...i think he came up last in this crossover with comics group Top Cow, the ones who do Witchblade, Darkness and alla that. Theyre supposed to do another one with him soon.

Punisher's the shit these days, he's presently takin on Spidey, Wolvy & Daraedevil all at once, its a blast. Spawn prolly shoulda died but never did, i dont know anyone who still reads it...Greg Capullo's art is good, but i glance that one and feel like it shoulda ended a while back.

Spidey (regular continuity) teaches school and takes on new villians, just hit issue 500 last month. Hulk's book was doin good, it was this clever Fudgitive thing with Banner on the run from the men in black - Banner even learned to control Hulk's strength in human form! - but i havent read it lately, got convoluted. I think i got more accurate reiviews elsewhere in this forum...


Man, Earth X, i was thinkin bout how cool that one was lately. Even the Watcher stuff was cool....anyway, i just read this mini-series on the Inhumans by Paul Jenkins (The Sentry, Origin, Wolverine: The End), and it was damn fine! Actually made me care about Black Bolt & them.

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Bruce Jones is HulkCock. The Hulk is one of the most over rated books out there. It's fucking piss if ya ask me.


Punisher has been great the last few issues (there's a thread about it buzzing about) though McCrea's art kinda crapped up the last issue. It's going MAX in January though, so if it's as good as what Ennis did in "Born" (hands down the best Punisher story in years) we're in for a treat.

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Dont listen to that Jones-hater there, Zangief, Hulk was a cool book at first, like i said, it got convoluted, then...well, ok it got hulk-cock. I waited way too long to find out who Mr Blue was, and then it was gay. These immortal vamp people, absorbing man and a bunch of random hot chicks in the middle of nowhere who sleep with banner while the governemnt or someone watches got old quick, too.

Mcrea's art is indeed lacking, now that im all caught up...and Born was damn fine, they just announced the hardcover, so im hyped. :D Anyway, no argument on 2t's claim of "best punisher story in a long-ass time".

SZ, did you read The Sentry? Was a fun mini-series on a lost Marvel character. I think that and Inhumans might be up your alley.

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