To keep fans updated on the publisher’s latest company-wide event, Marvel held a panel dedicated to the Dark Reign crossover. Helmed by Dan Slott, Fred Van Lente, Bill Roseman, Arune Singh, Greg Pak and Lauren Sankovitch, the panel didn’t reveal a ton of new info, but a few things were unveiled, and almost everyone left more excited about Dark Reign than they were before. Judging from the attendance and energy in the room, that’s no small feat.
The panel opened with an image of Norman Osborn in full Iron Patriot gear holding a defeated War Machine by the neck. The image was revealed to be a cover for War Machine.
Next Week begins the Dark Avengers/X-Men crossover, “Utopia.” The series will continue into September, when it finishes with a one-shot called Dark Avengers/X-Men: Exodus, written by Matt Fraction.
The familiar gatefold image of Norman Osborn perusing a bunch of video screens with the words “The Iron Patriot Acts” underneath is shown, and Arune Singh explains what it’s all about. After the events of “Utopia,” Norman realizes that there are “other people who are going to stand in his way,” so he makes a “grocery list- things (he’ll) have to take care of.” The event will consist of eight one-shots, each focusing on a character or characters in Osborne’s sights. Four of the books were revealed, with the other four to be revealed at Hero Con in Charlotte, NC. The four mentioned in this panel were Dark Reign: The List- Daredevil, Dark Reign: The List- Wolverine, Dark Reign: The List- Hulk, and Dark Reign: The List- Spider-Man. The four revealed at Heroes Con are Dark Reign: The List- Uncanny X-Men, Dark Reign: The List- Avengers, Dark Reign: The List- Punisher and Dark Reign: The List- Secret Warriors.
Singh then explained that despite fans’ expectations of what the stories will entail, all the characters will be “in very different places” after the events of Daredevil #500, “Utopia,” “American Son” and Hulk #600.
Cryptically, Dan Slott added, “Spider-Man’s in two places.” Hmmm…
Prior to his takeover of Daredevil’s monthly book, Andy Diggle will write his The List special. Greg Pak will return to the Hulk with issue #601.
In regards to the Hulk special, Pak said, “Basically Norman Osborn is going to mess with one of Bruce Banner’s closest friends, and Banner is going to pick a fight.” As for the book’s finish, “I’ll just say that there will be a real winner and a real loser at the end of this book, and exactly how it pans out may surprise you…It will serve as a nice intro to the new status quo in Incredible Hulk.”
Slott spoke about the Dark Reign: The List – Amazing Spider-Man, saying that “Everyone has been waiting for Spider-Man and Norman to come to a head,” adding, “There’s stuff we did in ‘New Ways to Die’ that we couldn’t pay off. We couldn’t put Norman in jail because we had all this ‘Dark Reign’ stuff coming up. This is going to pay off on lots of stuff from ‘New Ways to Die,’ lots of stuff from ‘American Son.’ It’s gonna be pretty big.”
A new Thunderbolts one-shot was announced, written by Rick Remender and penciled by Mahmud A. Asrar, of Dynamo 5. The book focuses on Norman’s plan to bring actual heroes into the Thunderbolts. It will test the relationship between Luke Cage and Iron Fist, who appear on the cover image, looking quite demonic.
Lauren Sankovitch chimed in about Agents of Atlas, and was met with enthusiastic applause. Issue #7 will include a backup story about Mr. Lau, including a dragon vs. genie fight. Issue #8 will include the Hulk, and issue #9 will pit Jimmy Woo against an old flame; an old flame with her very own robot!
A Moon Knight image was shown, and a new series, Vengeance of Moon Knight, is announced. The cover depicts Moonie firing dual pistols, implying a more gritty tone to a book with an already brutal tone.
The floor was then opened to a Q&A which included talk of Deadpool #900 (seriously, it’s coming in September, with the justification “no one’s ever done an issue #900 before”), a possible appearance by Machine Man in Mighty Avengers, yet another MODOK special (entitled Reign Delay), a nine-issue mini-series called Immortal Weapons that spins out of Immortal Iron Fist, a possible Dark Avengers/Thunderbolts crossover, and an upcoming event that involves Kree characters like Noh-Varr, the Inhumans, and both Ms. Marvels.
As usual, Dan Slott stole the show with his quick wit. When asked which Cabal member would betray the others, Slott replied, “That sounds like something you’d like to read in a comic book!” Relenting a bit, he added, “My money’s on Loki. I’m just sayin’. Why would you want the God of Mischief on your team? WHY? Get like the God of Dependability!”
Finally, an attendee mentioned that Norman Osborn’s assistant, Ms. Hand, looked a lot like the female Tarantula from Billy Tucci’s Heroes for Hire. Bill Roseman knowingly responded, “She does look like her, doesn’t she…” Very interesting.