Now We Have an Idea What Marvel Comics is Planning!

Details released about the Iron Patriot Act...

My last few posts have been about Dark Reign and where it is going. Well, now we have something to go on; In an interview, at Heroes Con, with Tom Brevoort about the general concept behind Dark Reign. The main piece of information released was that there will be 8 one-shots based on the heroes in the Iron Patriot Act photo. I for one am stoked. Here are some highlights from the interview and the details about the one-shots.

"IGN Comics: Clearly Norman Osborn is about to become more proactive in his role as leader of HAMMER. What prompts him to go after so many heroes at once?

Tom Brevoort: This is a storm that's been building for many months now, and in the aftermath of Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia, Norman sees his opportunity to take care of all of the various situations and individuals who are rogue elements within his sphere of influence.

IGN Comics: How will Osborn be pursuing the members of the list? Is he sending out his troops – the Dark Avengers, Thunderbolts, and so forth? Does the approach vary depending on the hero?

Brevoort: What Norman is doing is a bit more broad than simply hunting down a few heroes - there are specific situations and locales involved as well. For instance, "The World" from Grant Morrison's New X-Men run plays a big part in the Wolverine one-shot, which isn't specifically about bringing Logan to ground, but something else entirely. But yes, Norman will be deploying all of his forces across a wide spectrum, selecting the proper tools for each job and each goal.

IGN Comics: How closely connected and intertwined are these individual issues? Do they contribute towards a larger story?

Brevoort: Each of the List issues functions as a stand-alone story, with the larger connective tissue being that each one represents a bullet point on Norman's list of objectives. In broader terms, the whole series is leading brick by brick to the next major overture for the Marvel Universe, which you'll hear more about in a few months. But in theory, you can read any one of the List specials and walk away with a complete story.

IGN Comics: Is this the culmination of everything Dark Reign has been building towards? Will the Dark Reign story direction continue past this point?

Brevoort: Dark Reign: The List does function as the final act in the broader Dark Reign saga, but it's also the bridge that gets the Marvel Universe into position for what immediately follows. And just to hint a little further: it'll involve the Cabal in a big way.

IGN Comics: Is there anything else you'd like to add about The List?

Brevoort: If you've been patiently waiting for Norman to really take it to the rest of the Marvel Universe in a major way, your wait is over! Also, it's worth mentioning that these Specials are all going to look extraordinary--we've fat-packed the roster with the strongest artistic talent that Marvel has. It's like the '27 Yankees if they could use a pencil or a wacom tablet.

Dark Reign: The List - Wolverine
Written by: Jason Aaron
Drawn by: Esad Ribic

It shouldn't be too surprising to see Wolverine's name pop up on Osborn's List. After all, as a New Avenger he's been a thorn (or claw) in Osborn's side since the beginning of his tenure. And with Dark Reign: The List spinning directly out of the events of X-Men/Dark Avengers, there's probably an additional layer of bad blood between the two.

But according to writer Jason Aaron, it isn't Wolverine Osborn wants. It's not even a person at all. "Osborn's not targeting Logan. He's going after the resources of the Weapon Plus program, and whenever someone does that, Logan is bound to get himself involved." Weapon Plus was established in Grant Morrison's New X-Men run as the parent organization of Weapon X.

Aaron also says, "Osborn wants to get his hands on the Weapon Plus resources. He wants control of The World, which is the facility that produced Fantomex and the other Super-Sentinels. Imagine Norman Osborn with an army of artificially evolved super cyborgs at his disposal. Wolverine obviously doesn't want to see that happen."

Fans of Morrison's run will remember that The World was a giant dome that allowed Weapon Plus scientists to accelerate the flow of time. The World became the home for a new generation of super-soldiers, culminating in the incredibly powerful Weapon XV.

But Aaron teases that Weapon Plus may have been cooking up something even worse since last we saw The World. Aaron teases, "It's the battle for Weapon Plus involving Wolverine, Marvel Boy, Fantomex and scores of H.A.M.M.E.R. agents, plus the debut of the all-new Weapon XVI."

Though Aaron is dealing directly with this area of Logan's life in Wolverine: Weapon X, he says this issue doesn't have any direct tie to that ongoing series. "It won't crossover with what's going on in Weapon X right now, but it will have lasting ramifications for the Weapon Plus program, and that's certainly something I'll want to follow up on."

Dark Reign: The List - Hulk
Written by: Greg Pak
Drawn by: Ben Oliver

The world has never shown much love for the Hulk, but his stock has only fallen in the dark days since World War Hulk. Though Hulk has lost the savage intelligence that made him such an unstoppable opponent, he still represents a clear and present danger to Osborn's regime.

But Hulk isn't the only gamma-powered monster on the loose. The brutal Red Hulk continues to follow his own mysterious agenda. And recently, Hulk's son Skaar crash-landed on this planet. Skaar has already had a first-hand taste of Osborn's wrath. Writer Greg Pak indicates that The List: Hulk will focus " on the two with the greener hue", suggesting that Red Hulk is sitting this one out.

But Osborn has been content to leave Hulk alone up till now. What changes? Pak says, "I'll tip my hand just a bit and reveal that on page one, Norman messes with a key friend of the Hulk. And on page three, Banner picks a fight. And everything explodes in every direction from that point on."

Another fair question is just how Osborn expects to take down the Jade Giant, especially considering how tall an order that was for Tony Stark's Initiative to fill. Pak hints, "He's going to send an unlikely ally into the thick of the fight who's survived a gamma-powered assault in the past -- and who might just have the perfect innate qualities needed to take out the Hulk in the present."

Much like The List: Daredevil, this one-shot fits neatly between two issues of Pak's Hulk run. "The issue fits right into the chronology between Incredible Hulk #601 and #602. It's actually a great entry point for anyone interested in seeing just what's up with the Incredible Hulk book. Incredible Hercules won't be directly affected by this particular story (but since you mentioned it, you definitely won't want to miss Incredible Hercules #136, which ships the same month and features the biggest guest star the book has ever seen!)".

Pak also teases, "I'll just say that this ain't your typical meet 'n' fight 'n' part ways between superhero powerhouses. There will be a definite win at the end of this issue, with genuine repercussions for these characters in the future."

Dark Reign: The List - Spider-Man
Written by: Dan Slott
Art by: Adam Kubert

This inclusion should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. Spider-Man is Norman Osborn's oldest and most hated enemy. Spidey was there to thwart Norman every step of the way during his Green Goblin days. Their feud took a darker turn when Osborn murdered Gwen Stacy, and the two have become bitter, vengeful rivals ever since.

Though Osborn no longer remembers Spider-Man's identity thanks to the ramifications of One More Day, he hatred for the webbed wallcrawler hasn't cooled one iota. He was constantly frustrated by his inability to target Spidey during his tenure as leader of the Thunderbolts. But now that Osborn is in charge, he is able to set his own priorities. And it seems that Spider-man has finally become a top priority for Osborn.

The two enemies can currently be seen battling each other for the soul of Harry Osborn in the "American Son" arc of Amazing Spider-Man. We can't say for sure, but we wouldn't be surprised if this arc leads into Dark Reign: The List in some way or another. This is a feud that dates back through 40 years of comics, and Dark Reign: The List is the latest watershed moment.

Dark Reign: The List - The Avengers
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Drawn by: Marko Djurdjevic

Unsurprisingly, one of the eight The List one-shots will focus on the Avengers. In fact, The List: Avengers will be the first of the issues to ship, kicking off the entire project.

Much of Dark Reign has centered around the various factions of Avengers, and that trend looks to be carrying on here. Osborn has already assumed the new identity of Iron Patriot and gathered his Dark Avengers. This officially-sanctioned team is staffed mostly by villains who revel in assuming the identities of popular heroes like Spider-Man and Hawkeye.

The underground New Avengers have not taken kindly to having their images stolen. The two teams have stopped just short of an all-out physical confrontation, and tensions continue to simmer as the New Avengers fight to undermine Osborn's team.

It was Clint Barton who dealt the first real blow, appearing on national television to denounce Osborn as a criminal and his Avengers as murderers and villains. Osborn has since played damage control, but it's clear he has some sort of revenge in mind for the former Hawkeye.

Based on Bendis' comments at Heroes Con this weekend, it sounds like this conflict will form the crux of the Avengers issue. According to Bendis, Clint decides to take Osborn out of the picture once and for all. We can only assume he'll find that easier said than done. Bendis also hinted that this is no mere feud, and that the battle will have serious ramifications for the Avengers books.

Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors
Written by: Jonathan Hickman
Drawn by: Ed McGuinness

In the battle between HAMMER and the underground heroes of the world, perhaps no group is as much an unknown quantity as Nick Fury's Secret Warriors. After all, this is a team that was founded on the basis of secrecy and has fought against Osborn's empire from the shadows. Osborn isn't the type to tolerate mysterious threats like this for long, and so he turns his attention to the Secret Warriors at last.

Although, according to Jonathan Hickman, this is less a fight against the Secret Warriors and more their grizzled leader. Hickman says, "Even though it's Dark Reign: the List – Secret Warriors, it's really Nick Fury that Norman is jonesing for. My story is really a Nick Fury/Norman Osborn story. The interesting thing about what I'm doing is that it's not really Norman vs. Nick. It's Nick vs. something else. It's like a buddy story gone bad. It's utter chaos."

Even labeling this as a Nick Fury vs. Osborn story is apparently inaccurate. Hickman says, "Just because this is Dark Reign: The List – Secret Warriors/Nick Fury, the implication that Norman tracks down Nick is erroneous and not how things go down." Clearly, some of the mystery and conspiracy surrounding the main series has worked its way into this one-shot.

Osborn is the latest man to win the position that Nick Fury once comfortably held for years. When describing Osborn's opinion of Fury, Hickman says, "Norman views Fury as a product of the previous century. Not that he's a relic, but that he's a symbol of a time that has passed – where we delineated good and evil very clearly, and now something else rules the day. Norman is a product of that, and Nick's time has just passed. That's stuff Nick has been dealing with in Secret Warriors every month – the world changing all around him. He's not a guy that's about compromise, so he doesn't yield. It just flows out of that."

I for one am hoping that this really comes together. If any of you read my rant, this is exactly what I was hoping for. Osborn is going after those heroes that he knows good hurt his world and with full force. This could be amazing and what I am spending all of this money every week. I, however, am not too excited to find out that this is also just a bridge to the next big event in the Marvel Universe. I like that the stories are intertwined, but come on. Still I think this is good news. Especially, if all of the big writers and artists are in on the one-shots. This could be what we all have been waiting for. What do you think?

To read the rest of the interview and all of the information about the one -shots, here is the link.

- Aaron

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