By Gabriel Neeb
Marvel Comics held a panel at the San Diego Comic Convention to preview and discuss their controversial story SECRET EMPIRE. The panel was moderated by Senior Editor Nick Lowe and featured Secret Empire writer Nick Spencer, Mark Waid (Avengers and Champions),editor Alanna Smith, artist Humberto Ramos and SECRET WARRIORS writer Matt Rosenberg.
Nick Lowe began the panel by previewing SECRET EMPIRE #7 which debuts this Wednesday. Nick Spencer stated that, “He was glad this panel is this week and not next week.” This being in response to the various story developments where, Black Widow and her Revolutinaries team will make their attempt to assassinate Captain America.
Lowe continued the panel by previewing several other issues of other titles which are due for release in the coming weeks:
SECRET EMPIRE #8 on August 9 which the panel couldn’t talk too much about although some art was quickly shown.
SECRET EMPIRE: BRAVE NEW WORLD #5 in which Namor and his Invaders team return. (August 16)
CAPTAIN AMERICAN #25, written by Nick Spencer, was said by the man himself to be a chapter itself, and he recommended that this be read just after SECRET EMPIRE #8, also due for release on August 9 with art by Jesus Saiz.
At this point a brief tease of black and white art by Leinil Francis Yu was for SECRET EMPIRE #9.
SECRET EMPIRE: OMEGA is scheduled for September 13 and was describes as the big epilogue issue where everything is fundamentally different. To Spencer, this is his attempt to build in just a bit more story.
AVENGERS #10 will feature the kind of team Captain America would assemble if he worked for Hydra and feature the Superior Octopus, Deadpool, Black Ant, among other.
CHAMPIONS #11 will continue Mark Waid’s story of the younger heroes on their own and the resulting consequences. The cast will consist of the new Patriot, the Wasp, and the Red Locust, a character designed by Humberto Ramos. The Red Locust has proven especially popular and Nick Lowe mentioned interest in the character by Marvel Animation. He refused to say more at this nascent stage.
SECRET WARRIORS #5 features the Young Inhumans as the original group has left earth for the moment. Matt Rosenberg was quick to point out that this team did not see eye to eye with each other.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31 was previewed and Lowe made a point to mention this was a favorite of his. This issue is set to feature the spider based tech of Parker Industries as it invaded the fictional nation of Symkaria. (August 9)
DOCTOR STRANGE #24 is bonkers. It will feature art by Nikolai Henrico and will have Dr. STRANGE teaming up with Spider-Woman and the Kingpin to take back the Sanctum Sanctorum from Baron Moro who has moved it to the top of the Chrysler Building. (August 23)
DEADPOOL #35 will deal with the consequences of Deadpool’s assassination of Phil Colson at the orders of Steve Rogers. (August 30)
MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL #18 will feature Captain Marvel fighting wave after wave of Chitauri invaders- think the last act of the Avengers movie times hundreds.
At this point, Nick Lowe made the announcement that Mark Waid and Chris Samnee will assume writing and art duties on the CAPTAIN AMERICA title in November 2017, #695. Mark Waid couldn’t say more, but he did say that “This is a coming home for Cap.”
The question and answer session. Began at this point.
The question of an omnibus came up to collect the entire storyline plus tie in issues. Nick Lowe said that given the size of the story, there might be a couple to complete the whole thing.
Nick Spencer was asked how long he had been working on the idea. At least four years and he admitted he likes to play “the long game” of story development. A later question arose about a secret Hydra agent from Rick Remender’s Captain America run and while Spencer was trying to figure out who could be a Hydra agent… he came up with the idea of making Cap that secret agent.
Spencer did say that he wants this event to have an impact and that there will be a lot of soul searching among the heroes as the damage to the physical surface of the Marvel Universe and their lives has been extensive.
There was a question about how the real world may have been reflecting into the story. Spencer did not directly address the question as wanted real world resonance and to craft a story about the questioning of authority. Matt Rosenberg piggybacked onto this by citing the need to emphasis the need of heroes to come together, despite disagreements.
As SECRET EMPIRE did not involve every title, the question was asked how other characters and their books would be affected. Alanna Smith said that direct effect wouldn’t be seen due to timing. But keep reading. And the upcoming LEGACY story would be a result of much of SECRET EMPIRE.
One of the final questions was if America Chavez and Captain America would spend time together. This could only be answered by Mark Waid, the new writer of CAPTAIN AMERICA, who said, “That’s a great idea!”