Maestro, the despotic senior incarnation of the Hulk from Peter David's classic "Future Imperfect" storyline, is back in one of the Battleworld zones of Secret Wars, and in the pages of the new Future Imperfect series from David and Greg Land. From the looks of the fancy jewelry he's wearing on Rafa Garres' fantastic variant cover for issue #2 --- debuting exclusively on ComicsAlliance --- the other Marvel heroes haven't fared so well in Maestro's domain.
Among the myriad worlds unveiled in Marvel's Secret Wars this summer is one inspired by Tibetan mysticism, Chinese mythology, and Marvel's very own mysterious fictional enclave of martial artist, K'un-Lun. Master of Kung-Fu by W Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajic offers a Shaw Brothers spin on the Marvel Universe, centered on Shang-Ch's fight with his evil wizard father, and introducing new versions of Kitty Pryde, Elektra, Iron Fist, and more. Marvel has provided us with an exclusive unlettered four-page preview.
Some gloriously wacky ideas have come out of Marvel's plans for Secret Wars, from an Arkon series set in a fantasy world to a dinosaur vs biplanes story, but one of the ideas we're most excited about --- especially since we saw the preview pages --- is Ghost Racers, Felipe Smith and Juan Gedeon's tale of various Ghost Riders competing on a hellish racetrack for a chance to save their souls.
To add to our excitement, Marvel has given us an exclusive look at Gedeon's designs for the riders and their rides, including Carter Slade's centaur mode, Johnny Blaze's stuntman costume, and an electrified Zero Cochrane, aka Ghost Rider 2099. The sketches also include a new version of Zadkiel, the archangel charged with overseeing the Spirits of Vengeance that power the Ghost Riders.
All-New All-Different Avengers is one of two Marvel Free Comic Book Day titles, alongside Secret Wars #0, and while the latter sets the stage for Marvel's multiversal summer event, the former is our first look at what the new Marvel Universe will look like after Secret Wars --- so of course, Marvel is only telling us so much. The publisher has now revealed a cover for the Free Comic Book Day All-New All-Different Avengers comic, but most of the cover remains in silhouette.
Still, that won't stop us from wildly speculating (and maybe even making some informed guesses).
Armor Wars was one of the first batch of titles teased by Marvel in the early days of its promotion for the upcoming Secret Wars summer event; with only a few spots left to reveal on the Battleworld map, Armor Wars is now one of the last titles to be formally announced, and ComicsAlliance can exclusively reveal that the creative team of writer James Robinson and artist Marcio Takara will be the readers' guides for this corner of Marvel's strange new universe.
The original Armor Wars story in Iron Man #225-#231, by David Michelinie, Bob Layton, Mark D. Bright and Barry Windsor-Smith saw Tony Stark tracking down villains and rivals who had built armor based on stolen Stark designs. In this new Armor Wars there are two Starks --- Tony and Arno --- going head-to-head in a world where everyone has to wear armor, and one of the armored heroes has been murdered.
It's a high-tech murder mystery, but Robinson promises "a big armor war in each issue." We spoke to Robinson and Takara to learn more about the Armor Wars world of Technopolis, and we cracked open Takara's sketchbook to see some of his awesome armor designs.
Not to be outdone by DC's Multiversity map --- first spotted at last year's San Diego Comic-Con and since made available through retailers --- Marvel is releasing its own physical, foldable, pin-up-on-your-wall-able map of its multiverse. Of course, this multiverse is squished together into one bite-sized nugget (if you're Galactus) for Secret Wars.
The Battleboard doesn't actually tell us anything we don't already know; it's the same map we've seen before, and the covers for all the books Marvel has already announced, including the newly announced Guardians of Knowhere, a Guardians of the Galaxy continuation from Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato. But the Battleboard does tell us what we don't already know --- known unknowns, if you will --- with nine cover slots marked as 'Classified'. So there are definitely nine more Secret Wars books to be announced, and maybe only nine more?
She's a brilliant young mutant who grew up in the superhero game. He's a roguish adventurer from the wrong side of the universe. Together, Kitty Pryde and Star-Lord are one of the most surprising and popular new couples in the Marvel Universe, known to their fans as 'Starkat'. But now, with the coming of Secret Wars, their universe is ending, and that's a big challenge for any relationship.
ComicsAlliance can exclusively reveal that the next stage of the Starkat story will take place in a new Secret Wars 'Battleworld' book called Star-Lord And Kitty Pryde, written by Legendary Star-Lord writer Sam Humphries, and drawn by Marvel newcomer Alti Firmansyah, with the first issue cover by Yasmine Putri. We spoke to Humphries to learn more.
As more and more of Marvel's Secret Wars titles are announced, the method behind the madness is slowly becoming clear; Marvel is throwing all kinds of crazy ideas at the wall to see what sticks, and it's doing it in a market where some of its blockbuster titles like Jonathan Hickman's Avengers and Brian Michael Bendis's X-Men aren't around to divert all the attention. Without these juggernauts in play, Marvel has a clearer view of the concepts and creators that can grab audience attention and stand a chance of building buzz. Here's one of the wild bets that shows particular promise; Ghost Racers, by Felipe Smith and Juan Gedeon.
Set on an infernal racetrack where bound souls compete in a no-rules dash for the finish line --- and a chance to leave the arena --- Ghost Racers brings together extreme versions of all the big name Ghost Riders, including Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch, Alejandra, and current title-holder Robbie Reyes. Judging from this unlettered preview, the contestants also include the original cowboy Ghost Rider, aka Phantom Rider, who is now a centaur with side-mounted cannons. It's going to be that kind of book. The amazing kind of book.
The Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe are coming to an end as realities collide in Marvel's 2015 event Secret Wars. Marvel has yet to reveal what shape its publishing line will take once the dust of that event has settled, but in the meantime the line is largely taken over by books set on "Battleworld," a Frankenstein planet of alternate realities all mushed together.
When first announced, Battleworld was an inscrutable mystery with only a few of the blanks filled in on Marvel.com's interactive map. We pieced together the clues from there, from the 'Battleworld Forged' video teaser that Marvel put out last year, and from Alex Ross's cover for Secret Wars #1, and added a few assumptions of our own to build a fuller picture. We've since updated our guide to Battleworld every time Marvel has updated the map or released a flurry of new announcements. Now our guide is almost complete. Check out the 'domains' — and the various Secret Wars titles — below.
The latest Marvel Secret Wars tie-in is an unlikely story from the likeliest of sources. Garth Ennis, a writer who specializes in off-kilter war stories, is bringing back the 1960s ace pilot hero The Phantom Eagle for the second time, alongside artist Russ Braun, to pit him against a lost land of dinosaurs in Where Monsters Dwell.
The Phantom Eagle, aka Karl Kaufman, was created in 1968 by Gary Friedrich and Herb Trimpe in Marvel Super-Heroes #16 as a fantastical version of a Word War I flying ace. Ennis and artist Howard Chaykin offered an alternative spin on the character in the 2008 Marvel MAX mini-series War Is Hell -- a name borrowed from a 1970s Marvel war comic. Where Monsters Dwell is of course the title of another 1970s Marvel comic, as is the previously announced Master Of Kung Fu.