By Ben Morse
When kings collide, the galaxy will tremble.
That's the forecast the cosmic cabal of writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and editor of Bill Rosemann have given for War of Kings, a major Marvel outer space spectacular building through the remainder of this year and exploding in 2009. Tying together elements from major events including Secret Invasion and Ed Brubaker's work on UNCANNY X-MEN, "War of Kings" promises upheaval through the cosmos that will make even Abnett and Lanning's previous tour de force in ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST seem like an interstellar picnic.
"Expect to see familiar faces that Dan and Andy—aka DnA—are closely associated with as well as a whole new set of toys that they can smash together," guarantees an
enthusiastic Rosemann. "Readers know that DnA are modern masters of the sci-fi saga, and now they get to cut loose with a much larger list of ingredients."
"We are definitely trying to expand and build upon what has gone before," embellishes Lanning in reference to the game plan for this epic. "The events in War of Kings will develop directly from Secret Invasion and will bring a lot of cosmic characters and races into action. Who they are and how they react to what's occurring will very much tie in to where they have been left after all the previous stories."
At the heart of War of Kings will be Vulcan, the current emperor of the Shi'ar and the spark set to potentially ignite universal chaos. Introduced by Brubaker as the third Summers brother, sibling to the X-Men's Cyclops and Havok, when last we left Vulcan
he had solidified claim to his thrown in the X-MEN: EMPEROR VULCAN limited series written by Chris Yost and seemed set to pursue bigger and bloodier conquests.
"Vulcan's a complicated guy with a seriously screwed up personal history," notes Abnett. "[He's] not the most stable of leaders and [now the Shi'ar] are aggressively expanding their empire. This will put them at loggerheads with the universe around them and will certainly color their response to any potential [obstacles] that might come their way."
Those obstacles will include Havok and his team of Starjammers, including fellow X-Men alumni Polaris and Marvel Girl, though both editor and writing team declined comment on how the middle Summers brother would pose a threat from within the
prison he found himself confided to following EMPEROR VULCAN. They would, however, enthusiastically discuss the most surprising wild cards involved in "War of Kings," the Inhumans:
"The Inhumans have a special place in the Marvel Universe, but they don't really know their place in the human world," explains Abnett. "They're weird. They're wonderful. They are the perennial outcasts. The outsiders. They live in a fabulously alien city with a bizarre caste society and an even stranger Royal Family. That could me why [Andy and myself], as Brits, find them so endearing: they remind us of our own wacky royals!"
At the moment, the Inhumans have their own troubles to deal with in SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS, having just learned their deposed leader, Black Bolt, has been kidnapped and replaced by the Skrulls. Rosemann vows that the limited series—
written by Joe Pokaski with art by Tom Raney with the first issue hitting on August 13—will have huge ramifications on War of Kings as it pertains to the role of the Inhumans:
"The Inhumans' former king was kidnapped, possibly killed, and replaced by a hated enemy. What kind of a mood do you
think they're going to be in?"
"They're mad as hell and they aren't going to take it anymore," tacks on Lanning.
And how will all this impending warfare affect the cosmic protectors DnA write about monthly in the NOVA and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series, which the writers assure will tie into War of Kings in "easily digestible, bite-sized portions"?
"Here's a rock, here's a hard place—now
choose," posits Lanning devilishly.
As far as whether to expect Ronan, Super-Skrull, Wraith and the rest of DnA's extended cosmic cast, the writers remark simply that "War of Kings is a cosmic-wide event that will have ramifications felt throughout the Marvel cosmos."
In other words, get a telescope and throw on some heavy duty shades and ponder this final ominous question courtesy of Rosemann:
"When kings wage war, can the kingdoms survive?"
For up to the minute Marvel news spinning out of the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con, visit the Marvel.com SDCC news hub. And while you're waiting in between announcements, spend some time over at Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!