From Above To Below: Chaos War: Chaos King - Interview With Brandon Montclare
The battle for the very fate of all existence is currently taking place in the pages of Chaos War. Not only have both heroes and gods fallen, but complete dimensions -- including the ruler of the Dream Dimension, Nightmare -- have not been able to stand up to that which is pure chaos – Mikaboshi, the Chaos King!
Desiring to return to that which once was, the Chaos King seeks to restore the original order of the time before everything. The majority of heroes from Earth and across the universe have collapsed into a chaotic comatose of slumber with their hopes lying with the Lion of Olympus -- a Lion struggling with his own chaotic demons -- Hercules!
Next week from writer and former DC Editor Brandon Montclare, along side legendary artist Michael Wm. Kaluta, comes Chaos War: Chaos King which gives us the back-story leading up to issue 3 of Chaos War.
Cosmic Book News spoke with Brandon Montclare as he takes the Chaos King from the homeworld of the Silver Surfer, Zenn-la, to Earth where the Chaos King encounters the Impossible Man - and all the way down to the very depths of Hell.
Cosmic Book News: Chaos War: Chaos King is an over-sized one shot with three chapters. Is that correct?
Brandon Montclare: That is correct! It’s a total of 30 story pages. It’s packed with action, detail, mind-blowing cosmic visuals, and a couple of big surprises.
Cosmic Book News: We are three issues into Chaos War with Mikaboshi, the Chaos King, already having caused massive chaos to the heroes of earth. In the main story we have seen little of his own personal thoughts. What can you tell us about the Void that predates all existence? Will we be getting more of his back-story?
Brandon Montclare: Readers will get an up close look at the immediate events that led into Chaos War: Mikaboshi gathering his army of galactic gods; him scouting Earth before the attack; and his conquest of hell. It’s all the good stuff that’s alluded to in the main miniseries fleshed out and given room to breathe. It brings you right up into the action of Chaos War #3—so in that way, it couldn’t be more in the “now.” And while it’s not a strict origin story, readers will find out all about Chaos King’s motivations, plans, and powers.
The Void where Chaos King once ruled was a pre-existence chaos state. It’s not the empty vacuum of space—rather, it’s the indecipherable mish-mash where matter and space and energy and time are all compressed. It’s how physicists would describe the universe the instant before the Big Bang or how one might imagine the state of things described by the Old Testament before light was separated from darkness. In that way, it’s beyond our full comprehension. The Greeks has a word for it: COSMOS—which as you know has a special meaning in the Marvel Universe.
Cosmic Book News: The solicit reads that the Chaos King has targeted the Silver Surfer’s homeworld of Zenn-la with the gods of that world set to oppose. What can we expect to see from these pantheons?
Brandon Montclare: In its Silver Age inception, Zenn-La was intended to be a mirror of earth. So while everything is alien, the designs were built upon familiar human archetypes. I think when you look at the interactions over the last few years between Hercules, Thor, Mikaboshi, and other deities, you see that all pantheons share a lot of their core ideas. Also, the planet Zenn-La is defined by its advanced technology, so the mythological icons are amped up with a lot of tech.
Cosmic Book News: The denizens of that world faced the World Devourer before; how would you compare the Chaos King to Galactus?
Brandon Montclare: What the Zenn-La gods did (and didn’t do) when Galactus threatened their world is a big part of the Chaos King one shot. As for how he differs? Galactus is a man of few words while Chaos King likes to spout a never-ending stream of haiku. Chaos King is a lot more powerful—he’s taking out the universe where Galactus is on a planetary level. A bigger difference is their respective motives. Galactus enjoys a high place in the cosmic food chain—but ultimately he’s a force of nature, not “evil.” Consuming planets is his part in the cosmic balance. And while Mikaboshi doesn’t consider himself “evil” (who does?), he is trying to force his will on others. He thinks his way is the only way to be (or, more precisely, not be).
Cosmic Book News: The Impossible Man is set to appear and be at odds with the Chaos King right here on Earth. He is a powerhouse in his own right, will the “master of disguise” being taking the shape of anyone familiar? What role will the rather humorous Poppupian be playing here? And how will the Chaos King react to a character that is The Impossible Man?
Brandon Montclare: Yes! He will take the form of some familiar Marvel characters, and other creatures too…
I liked writing Impossible Man because he saw the humor in everything, but the events of Chaos War aren’t funny. Like everyone else in the universe, he has everything to lose if Mikaboshi conquers Earth. And more specifically, both characters represent a conflicting aspect of Chaos—and it’s the kind of misunderstanding that leads to big, big fights.
Cosmic Book News: Now, you take the Chaos King from a cosmic setting on Zenn-La to one on Earth and finally all the way down to Hell. I take it the Ruler of Hell will not take too kindly to getting his dominion encroached upon by the forces of the Chaos King?
Brandon Montclare: He takes none too kindly indeed. And to counter the Chaos King Satan recalls all of Hell’s superheroes. You might need your copies of Marvel Universe to spot them all. But Mikaboshi, perhaps, scores some points. He sees Hell as a symptom of the problems with Existence. When there’s a place of eternal pain and suffering, perhaps the nothingness of Chaos is preferable?
Cosmic Book News: Chaos War: Chaos King is being drawn by legendary artist Michael Wm. Kaluta. What was it like collaborating with such a renown artist?
Brandon Montclare: It was in every way amazing. He brought so much innovation to the new characters, was a good sport about all the guest-stars, and really embraced defining Mikaboshi. “Living Legend” is a rare title to apply to an artist—and to have a Living Legend doing some of his best work (Michael was nominated for an Eisner for Madame Xanadu last year, as well as inducted into the Hall of Fame) is an exceptional situation of which I’m incredibly lucky to be a part.
And in Chaos King the fans get a Tour de Force. You have alien gods in outer space; superheroes in New York City; demons in Hell. It’s a rollercoaster of great art. Cataclysmic action splashes and clever sequences—complete eye candy that I hope my words live up to…
Cosmic Book News: Will we be seeing any guest-stars in addition to the characters on the cover?
Brandon Montclare: Yes, plenty more!
Cosmic Book News: Any parting thoughts and where will we see more from you in the future?
Brandon Montclare: A lot of credit needs to go out to the three spectacular colorists who each contributed to a different chapter. Brad Anderson, Nathan Eyring, and Jim Charlampidis made each distinct piece an awesome final product. And you’ll see the great letterer Jared Fletcher going above and beyond. Everything from the slightest story suggestion to the physical book you’ll be holding was brought to you by the dedication of editor Mark Paniccia, assisted in no small part by John Denning. As for me, the very next thing I have coming out is a short back-up in Incredible Hulk #620… they haven’t announced the artist yet, but amazingly it is another true living legend! And other stuff is developing both Marvel and DC, so hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot more of me in 2011.
Cosmic Book News: Sounds great! Thanks for your time!
"Chaos War: Chaos King #1" hits this Wednesday November 17th!