Tuesday Q&A

Wednesday Q&A: Jonathan Maberry

The BLACK PANTHER writer discusses pitting the heroes of the Marvel Universe against the one of its greatest villains

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By Kevin Mahadeo

This February, acclaimed novelist and BLACK PANTHER writer Jonathan Maberry sends the Marvel Universe into battle with the six-issue limited series DOOMWAR.

The title features characters from all across the Marvel U as they go up against Doctor Doom, the former Cabal member who recently funded a terrorist organization that conquered Wakanda and dethroned the Black Panther. Expect appearances from multiple heroes including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and even Deadpool as the series gets underway beginning February 17. However, even all that firepower may not be enough to stop the super-smart despot, who now controls the world's largest supply of vibranium.

Amidst planning his battle stratagems, Maberry talked a little about the upcoming series, the fun in writing such a large cast of characters and what exactly makes Doctor Doom one of the most powerful and dangerous villains in comics.

 

DOOMWAR #1 cover by John Romita Jr.
Marvel.com: So, Wakanda isn't in the most generous of hands as this event starts off...

Jonathan Maberry: Right. In BLACK PANTHER #12, we seen that there has been a dissent uprising that led to a coup. So, Wakanda has fallen for the first time in its history, but it's fallen from within. It's in the hands of the Desturi, a very fundamentalist group that's very anti-everything foreign. They've shut the borders within Wakanda. Of course they're all being funded by Doctor Doom, and he's doing it for reasons of his own.

Marvel.com: There's going to be a lot of characters appearing in this story, from the X-Men to the Black Panther to the Fantastic Four. What's it like writing such a large cast?

Jonathan Maberry: I tend to write novels with a large cast, so I'm used to juggling a lot different storylines. I like the idea of the shifting point of view and shifting storylines. Instead of one storyline playing out and having to write a lot of the transition between one scene and the next, I can just go to something else happening right now. So, there's always something going on. The characters are for the most part fairly familiar to the Marvel Universe, so some of them you don't need to give as many pages over to character development when you need to advance the story. Whereas other characters who I have new things to say about, I have the pages to be able to develop personalities. It's fun juggling a lot of the characters and a lot of the storylines. It's going to allow me to tell a big story in six issues when a couple of years ago it would have taken me 12 or 14.

Marvel.com: Do you have a favorite character to write for this?

Jonathan Maberry: That's a tough one. I love writing the Fantastic Four. I actually originally loved writing Namor. I used him in a couple issues of BLACK PANTHER and I love that character. He unfortunately will not be in this. But really, I'm enjoying writing Shuri, the new Black Panther. I think she's a fascinating character. A lot of readers don't know her and some readers are resistant to her because she's filling the role of the Panther that was filled by T'Challa, her brother. But I like the character. I like how complex she is, and I'm enjoying getting to know her and introducing her to the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: The main story focuses on these characters coming together to help T'Challa and Shuri reclaim Wakanda and stop Doctor Doom. But, the key thing there is "stop Doctor Doom." How exactly does one go

DOOMWAR #2 cover by John Romita Jr.
about doing something like that? He's not exactly a push over.

Jonathan Maberry: No, he's not. And we're actually going to be showing something about Doom that hasn't been shown in previous Marvel stories. People have commented that Doom is the villain in so many different books; how is it that possible? We're taking a swing at explaining that. It shows his infrastructure. It shows that he has a whole network of people who work with him that allow him to do what he is doing. Factories and funding and scientists. Just tons of people. We're going to explore that infrastructure. That being said, in order to stop Doctor Doom, you have to reduce his ability to wage constant war on so many fronts. So, part of DOOMWAR isn't a direct fight with Doom. It's a fight to destroy the global network that keeps Doom in power and enables him to do what he does. There is a character called the Broker who is kind of Doom's foreman. He gets things done and he brings a lot of damage himself. So, he's going to be fighting some of the heroes. They're going to have to carve their way through those levels in order to get into a direct confrontation with Doom. At that point, they may run into a bigger problem because Doom may be become indestructible if he gets what he wants.

Marvel.com: Now, when you say indestructible, you mean...

Jonathan Maberry: Iron Man times 10. He's trying to steal the vibranium from Wakanda. Doom has found some qualities in vibranium that no one else has found-mystical qualities. If he gets those, considering he uses science and mysticism, he's going to be able to upgrade his armor and weapons and Doombots to where they can't be stopped. It's not quite having a Cosmic Cube, but it's the next best thing.

Marvel.com: You mention Doom's magic, and many characters often forget about his when going into battle with him. But T'Challa has been preparing for this in order to combat Doom.

Jonathan Maberry: One of the things we're exploring here is that T'Challa has made some mistakes. He's one of the smartest guys on the planet, but nobody is perfect all the time and he underestimated Doom. When Doom ambushed him back in [BLACK PANTHER issues] #1 and #2, T'Challa got his ass kicked, not just because of Doom's ability to use science but magic and science at the same time. He's learning from that mistake. He's becoming more powerful himself through magic. He is training his army to not only fight Doombots but also to fight magic. It's

DOOMWAR #3 cover by John Romita Jr.
going to be a whole new game when T'Challa finally confronts Doom. It's going to be a type of fight they've never had before.

Marvel.com: To close out, is there a scene you're really looking forward to readers seeing?

Jonathan Maberry: Absolutely. Storm hasn't been as heavily-used for reasons that will be explained in DOOMWAR. There are good reasons why we haven't used Storm and there are good reasons why T'Challa hasn't communicated with Storm and good reasons why Storm has been easily manipulated. Once we find out what they are and she gets free of the limitations, she's going to kick some serious ass. Talk about payback being a bitch. I can't wait to see what the artist is going to do with the pages that I'm scripting when Storm cuts loose. It's going to be ugly and beautiful. Another scene I'm looking forward to is that later in the series we get to see Deadpool as part of a wetworks team with Wolverine and Shuri. That's going to be a lot of fun to write. It's just lots of ass kicking. We've got the Fantastic Four, Colossus, Wolverine, Nightcrawler and two Black Panthers all in a big kick ass fight against lots of villains. We're going to be having some moments where readers are going to say, "You did not just do that." But, yep, we did.

 

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4 comments
Windblast
Windblast

[quote@BlackSamurai [quote@mcgoodie ...My goodness in all of "comicbook-dom" there was ONLY ONE Black leader and now you've gone and made him a defeated and demoted after thought. [/quote] Because then we get the invincible, same-old, that gets boring after a while. I too have always wanted to see Black Panther in a prominent place and have the respect (, sales and depth) of other characters, but I also recognize that powerful stories have come from characters being torn down and having to fight their way back up.I wasn't the happiest to see BP go down the way he did, and I wasn't sold on Shuri either (the character flaws they gave her), but I did recognize that, though not a Dark Reign title directly, this is the trend of Marvel at the moment to have their top characters rallying back from the lowest odds. Look at Cap, Iron Man, and Thor. Heck, look at nearly every hero in the World According To Osborne.And if you think from a writer's point of view, someone was going to have to do this sooner or later: Call a fighter unbeatable - cue the story of when he losesCall a character infallible - cue the story when corruption sets inCall a claw the hardest substance there is - cue the story when that means nothing and magnetism rips if off someone's bones...so, call Wakanda the land that was never successfully invaded and someone is eventually going to write where it essential is, looks that way, or actually literally is. 'Cause these things are all mini never-before-seen types of events that build interest and can drive sales. Looking at it in a smaller context is a way to see a black character torn down, but other views can be observed... in the least that no man is infallible and can have insurmountable odds brought before him from time to time.[/quote] I completely agree. The whole point of Dark Reign is to change the status quo & to put the true heroes to the test. Having someone ALWAYS finish on top get old very quickly. Plus, in the writer's defense, they do make a point of letting the readers know that T'Challa isn't as defeated as his enemies thinks. Also, depending on the way you look at it, Wakanda still has it's "uninvaded" status because it was taken over from the inside. ( I think that was done so the "Wakanda's never been invaded by an outside power" thing going.) Unless you count Doom's involvement that is...

BlackSamurai
BlackSamurai

[quote@mcgoodie ...My goodness in all of "comicbook-dom" there was ONLY ONE Black leader and now you've gone and made him a defeated and demoted after thought. [/quote] Because then we get the invincible, same-old, that gets boring after a while. I too have always wanted to see Black Panther in a prominent place and have the respect (, sales and depth) of other characters, but I also recognize that powerful stories have come from characters being torn down and having to fight their way back up.I wasn't the happiest to see BP go down the way he did, and I wasn't sold on Shuri either (the character flaws they gave her), but I did recognize that, though not a Dark Reign title directly, this is the trend of Marvel at the moment to have their top characters rallying back from the lowest odds. Look at Cap, Iron Man, and Thor. Heck, look at nearly every hero in the World According To Osborne.And if you think from a writer's point of view, someone was going to have to do this sooner or later: Call a fighter unbeatable - cue the story of when he losesCall a character infallible - cue the story when corruption sets inCall a claw the hardest substance there is - cue the story when that means nothing and magnetism rips if off someone's bones...so, call Wakanda the land that was never successfully invaded and someone is eventually going to write where it essential is, looks that way, or actually literally is. 'Cause these things are all mini never-before-seen types of events that build interest and can drive sales. Looking at it in a smaller context is a way to see a black character torn down, but other views can be observed... in the least that no man is infallible and can have insurmountable odds brought before him from time to time.

Henri_Huang
Henri_Huang

Doomwar 3 cover is great. Lol I loved it. Doom play with marvel toys:P

mcgoodie
mcgoodie

It's a dang shame that the ONE and ONLY solo Black MALE comic book character of the modern era has been now dethroned (and replaced by his sister no less). And if that wasn't bad enough, the writer just HAD to MAKE his land, WAKANDA now become defeated! My goodness in all of "comicbook-dom" there was ONLY ONE Black leader and now you've gone and made him a defeated and demoted after thought.I was a faithful follower of Black Panther for years and have bought all the issues prior to Shuri "being made" the "new Black Panther". Nevertheless, this "new direction" is not one that I can be proud of or interested enough in to read, borrow, check out, or buy.Why is it that a Black male super hero character has to be always teamed up with someone else, be someone else's sidekick, or not exist on their own merits? Why couldn't you have left T'Challa in tact and still made a "super hero place" for Shuri as well????