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.
Marvel.com: So, Wakanda isn't in the most generous of hands as this event starts off...
DOOMWAR #1 cover by John Romita Jr.
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
about doing something like that? He's not exactly a push over.
DOOMWAR #2 cover by John Romita Jr.
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.|
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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