Jonathan Hickman talks Secret Wars – Revealing the key players of Battleworld

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The Marvel Universe certainly has changed in the wake of Secret Wars. Battleworld is now home to all manner of lands, from a territory populated by incredible Hulks to the dangers of the Ultron AI collective. But what’s holding Battleworld together? The new dynamic between Marvel’s two most powerful doctors, a partnership that was unexpected to say the least.

We’re going to delve straight in spoiler territory here, so considers yourselves warned.

Memento Mori

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Out of all the characters who had to overcome insurmountable obstacles in the build-up to Secret Wars, Doctor Strange may have suffered the most. The sorcerer supreme bargained away his very soul in an attempt to gain enough power to stop the incursions, but failed in the end.

Aligning himself with Doctor Doom however, gave two of the most powerful players in the universe a chance to push back the incursion events and save some life on Battleworld, from the enigmatic Beyonders.

And once the dust had settled, it was only Doom and Strange who knew of the realities that had been sacrificed, with Strange opting to not be the all-powerful new god of this realm but rather serve as the right hand man of Doom. Which is a bit of a tragedy for the cult classic character, according to writer Jonathan Hickman.

Illuminatus

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“I think we as people make decisions that affect us for our entire lives. And even though we go on and have normal everyday occurrences there’s always this thing that’s kind of hanging over our head, and most people are not even aware of. It’s kind of like that,” Hickman said to CBR.

Doctor Strange made a kind of Faustian pact to gain power to try and do something, but the real tragedy of it though is he didn’t get what he wanted.

So it was for nothing, which led him to try and figure out another way to solve what was causing the incursions and all that, leading him to a bunch of mystical triage surgeons who were trying to limit the damage. And again [Laughs] everybody failed.

The rest of the Illuminati will also have something to say about the new status quo of Battleworld. Including Hickman favourites Reed Richards and the Black Panther, plus a certain other cosmic outlaw who tagged along for a ride at the end of everything.

“Yeah, at this point nobody’s going to be surprised to hear me say that I enjoy writing Reed. This has been a darker and sadder last days kind of thing, but I love writing Reed every chance I can get, and of course the Black Panther is awesome,” Hickman explained.

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He’s another character like Doctor Strange that has super high halcyon days ahead, and I think people are going to dig his role in “Secret Wars.”

Yeah, those guys are a lot of fun. Event rosters are a super secret recipe that’s a certain part “who do I want to write” and another part “what are the strategic marketing advantages to using certain characters?”

All of that gets cooked into these things. Our new Thor, who was recently revealed to be Jane Foster, has got a huge part to play. She obviously fits right in because as a Thor she’s not alone on Battleworld.

And Star-Lord, of course, is a lot of fun. That’s no surprise there. He’s got a couple of cool scenes coming up. I’m pretty happy with how his stuff is going.

Secret Wars is now into it’s third issue. But there might be a bit of delay until issue four, so that artist Esad Ribic can finish his superb art on the title. Art that is worth waiting for, I reckon. As Hickman explained:

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Doom kneels before no man…or god

Esad is cruising through this stuff, but the problem of course is that the first issues needed to be a certain size. So we got a little bit behind at the beginning. The big thing that happened though is that we kind of changed the sequencing of the story.

Issue #5 was originally going to be issue #4. So the story changed and we had the flexibility in the schedule to move some books around, and to specifically move issues of “Secret Wars” around.

I think the original plan was two issues the first month. Two issues the next month and two issues the month after that. Then one issue in both the following months. What we did was we stretched it out in the middle because of some stuff that happens in the story, and then we ship the end of it in a more compressed manner.

I believe the other thing that has happened is this is selling so well we may go longer. All of the books are doing so well that, I think, the entire event is spreading out into an additional month.

This is not going to come as a shock to anyone, but Marvel is okay with making a little bit more money, and stores are okay with selling a little bit more comics, and creators are okay with a little more royalties.

Some people, of course, will not be happy with this so I guess I owe them an ice cream sandwich or something.

I’m pretty much digging Secret Wars right now, an event which has a stellar main series, some great tie-ins and not too many terrible linked comics. The big challenge here however, is for Hickman and Ribic to craft a series which doesn’t drop the ball near the end of the finish line, like so many other massive event comics have done in the past.

Last Updated: June 11, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Word-slinger at Critical Hit. Inventor of the macho Swiss gym chocolate known as Testoblerone. That's...that's about it really.

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