Getting their slate of news and fan interaction well underway, Marvel Comics landed at 2010's New York Comic Con with an eye on whipping up some Uncanny X-Citement at their X-Menpanel today, and CBR News was on hand LIVE! for a massive amount of news, teases and fan Q&A presented below.
Marvel Sales Manager Arune Singh MC'd the event along with editors Axel Alonso and Jeannie Schaefer who were flanked by writers Marjorie Liu, Jason Aaron, Rick Remender, Kieron Gillen and Mike Carey as well as Marvel Talent Manager C.B. Cebulski.
Peter David arrived to declare "Whoever put Artist's Alley at the opposite end of the building from the panels should die!" to laughter from the audience.
Gillen spoke on the plans for "Uncanny X-Men" saying that if "Second Coming" was a monument to destroying mutants, the incoming arc will focus on other ways the mutant race can be attacked.
The panel announced a "Wolverine & Jubilee" mini series by Kathyrn Immonen and Phil Noto. Schaefer spoke on the series, saying, "Jubilee is going to be coming out of the vampire invasion a little changed, and her relationship with Wolverine will be changed as well." She called the series "The 'Batman & Robin' of the X-Men."
Alonso offered up hints as to the future of "X-Men" with the new "Serve & Protect" arc, which sees the team return to New York. "They travel back East to deal with a problem that only Spider-Man can help them solve," he said, noting that just as Blade featured heavily in the first arc, the second will feature Spidey as a way to show how the X-Men are becoming more connected to the Marvel U in the ramp up to a big story coming in a year or so. Chris Bachalo will join series writer Victor Gischler on the arc.
Gillen then spoke on the upcoming "Generation Hope" saying the story will pick up off the "Fight Lights" story, explaining what could possibly go wrong in Tokyo as fans get to know the new, young mutant characters of the Marvel U.
X-23 coming up will team the she-clone of Wolverine with Gambit as she finds her own place in the Marvel U, Liu said. Meanwhile in "Dark Wolverine," Daken will continue to follow his "desire to consolidate power and, though it sounds cliché, control the whole world" with the help of Mystique.
"Wolverine & The Incredible Hercules" by Frank Tieri and Juan Santacruz is on its way in March of 2011, featuring the two scrappers on a bar-brawling tour of the Marvel U.
The sold-out "X-Force" was discussed by Remender who said of the team's mission to kill the future Apocalypse. "It doesn't matter the size of the threat, though in terms of what the threat is...it's Apocalypse!" he said. "When these guys go in and make their minds up to take down this guy before he brings on this Apocalypse-style bad times...we know the scope and scale of the fire he can bring down." Part of the focus and fun of the series for the writer is watching a small unit of X-Men who are on their own face down one of the biggest A-level villains in the MArvel U. "They're going to do some of the murder, some of the killing" he joked, noting that there would be solid character work beneath the surface elements to make fans care and understand the moral dimension of what a team of assassins goes through.
An upcoming "X-Factor" storyline will answer the question of how the mutant detective agency can survive in a New York City where J. Jonah Jameson is mayor. David said the story will flash back to a time when the mayor allowed Jamie Maddrox to start his agency saying "Some day, and this day may never come...I may ask you to perform a service for me." The story will follow what happens when Jameson calls in the favor.
David teased future issues that address more social aspects from the real world with stories that "should have some interesting fodder" including an issue focusing on a high school suicide caused by bullying and stories surrounding by M's Muslim background. "I like shaking things up and making people examine characters by looking at their background...I want 'X-Factor' to be a book where people can read really grounded stories that have some significance to the world we live in."
"Fall of the New Mutants" was teased as "The 'Empire Strikes Back' of Zeb Wells and Leonard Kirk's run" by Schaefer.
The next arc in "X-Men: Legacy" will be called "Fables of the Reconstruction" which focuses on the rebuilding of San Francisco led by Cyclops in the wake of "Second Coming" which may not go as well as expected. The story will feature a number of mutants including Rogue Magneto, Hellion, Hope, Omega Sentinel and more.
Finally, the panel announced a new event for the X-Men called "Age of X" which Singh described as "The end of mutants as we know them" before teasing a similar hook for the mystery story (and its mystery cast who were teased as silhouetted figures) to the well-known "Age of Apocalypse" story which temporarily rewrote the timeline of X-Men comics.
Fan questions started with a rather flippant fan giving Remener guff for the hook of "FrankenCastle" which the writer defended as as unique story which got to the heart of the character. Eventually, things moved to a more civil if still questioning tone as a fan wanted to know why no characters commented on Hope's similarity to Jean Grey and her possible connection to the Phoenix Force. Alonso said the writers chose to play the suspicions of the characters close to the vest, but that "every question fans have been asking, the characters have been asking."
"Since 'Messiah CompleX,' we have a long-terms story that is like five TV seasons of stories to tell," Alonso said in terms of how the twice-annual X-Summits plan the major shakeups of the X-Books each year. He said the "X-Men" title is currently key in introducing the team back to the Marvel U, but the plan for the whole line is to be diverse and let David's book be different than Carey's book be different than Gillen's books and so on.
A reader asked if David would ever go into the idea that Jamie Maddrox may not be a mutant as we traditionally understand it within the fan's lifetime. David asked in response, "Are you planning on dying before issue #228?"
"You will see more vampires and more Dracula," Alonso said in response to a question on how the "Curse of the Mutants" storyline would continue to roll into the future of the Marvel U.
A young lady asked after David's tease that a member of X-Factor would leave the agency in a future story. While the writer wouldn't name the character, he said, "I should point out that just because a character leaves the team, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll leave the book."
When a reader asked if Marvel could drop the prices on $3.99 titles like DC Comics is (to some audience applause), David asked if fans who want to see titles drop to $2.00 would also like to see their local comic shops go out of business. As costs rise for retailers in terms of rent and operational expenses, he argued, books must also rise sometimes.
"We totally understand as people your concern," added Alono, noting Marvel's announcement of some cheaper books shipping. "The DC announcement is not without controversy" which included the drop of two editorial pages, which is a move which may have its own effects on the market and concerns for creators and fans. "It's not quite as simple as 'Drop your books to $2.99, and everything will be okay." Singh said that many new books debuting in 2011 will ship at $2.99 and that comparing Marvel's new moves to DC's isn't fair to either company.
Assistant Editor Daniel Ketchum was called on stage from the audience to discuss any potential future stories for Gambit. He and Carey agreed that fans of the Rogue/Gambit relationship will be happy with future issues of "Legacy" which will bring another character into the proceedings who will throw a wrench into those characters ongoing romance.
Remender promised a fan that past issues focusing on Apocalypse will factor in to the birth of the new Apocalypse in "X-Force," however the version of the character seen in a recent "flash-forward futures" in the X-books shouldn't be considered canon yet.
A fan asked about whether the "X-Factor" cast will ever learn or know about Wolfsbane's time with X-Force, and while some issues surrounding that series will play in, for the time being she will keep the trauma of that experience to herself, and her teammates will respect her wishes on that front.
A reader asked about what could happen in "Age of X," but the panel said that nothing could be revealed at the time being outside of a January 2011 release date.
Hellion will not be receiving hands anytime soon.
The mutants at large finding out about Cyclops' "kill squad" of X-Force is an idea that's too big to use in a story until it can be given the proper space and scope, according to Remender.
At this year's Chicago Comics And Entertainment Expo (AKA C2E2), Marvel Comics titled their mutant-themed panel after one of the most famous phrases in the canon of the franchise: "Welcome To The X-Men." For the festivities, Marvel Talent Coordinator C.B. Cebulski and Editor Daniel Ketchum joined "Age of X" artist Clay Mann and took the stage to talk about the entire X-Line, and CBR News was on hand with all the news from which classic villain will soon return to what upcoming stories will shake up the state of the mutants.
The panel teased the incoming MMXI promo push that makes 2011 "The Year of The X-Men." Ketchum explained that he and Mike Carey have been planning for "Age of X" as an event for almost two years. Three issues are currently in stores crossing "X-Men Legacy" and "New Mutants." Ketchum also plugged the incoming "X-Men: First To Last" story that starts in "X-Men Giant Size" before moving into the regular "X-Men" series under the pen of Chris Yost. It sees X-Men of the past and present face a new foe. Kieron Gillen's run on "Uncanny X-Men" will soon crossover with "Fear Itself," however they could say not much more.
Details emerged for the previously teased "Dark Angel Saga" about to hit "Uncanny X-Force." Apparently, writer Rick Remender will take the Archangel part of Warren Worthington's persona in a new aggressive direction starting with issue #10. Read CBR's exclusive interview with the writer about the arc right now.
The panel revealed the new team at the heart of "X-Men Legacy" after "Age of X" including new team members Frenzy and Legion who join diehard cast members like Professor X, Magneto and Rogue. A cover for an incoming issue of "X-Factor" featuring M and Strong Guy in a tragic embrace came on. Ketchum joked that with shake-ups coming into the series, writer Peter David liked to keep fans guessing...as well as editors. Apparently, the editor is a bit in the dark as to what comes next aside from the fact that it will impact the lives of several of the cast in a major way.
Daniel Acuña will soon draw an arc of Jason Aaron's "Wolverine" which will continue to feature covers by Jae Lee. Meanwhile, Daniel Way has stories plotted out for "Deadpool" through issue #50.
The mics were soon turned over to the assembled fans. Asked about a new book featuring the younger mutants in the X-Men world, Ketchum turned a fan towards "Generation Hope" which he said will be the place for stories of young heroes in this world for the foreseeable future.
"When we were first planning this event, Mike Carey came to me with the idea of 'Hey, I want to do a story that involves all the generations of X-Men,'" Ketchum said, noting that the scope of the story pushed it from a six-issue arc to a full-blown event. He had difficulty speaking to the future of certain characters as the end of the story will have an impact on the modern timeline.
Asked if some of the characters in Utopia would reenter the rest of the Marvel Universe, the editor called for "Baby Steps." The incoming crossover between the "Uncanny X-Men" annual and other Marvel U annuals will scratch that itch, though Ketchum said, "That is a valid concern." Cebulski said Marvel was very aware that fans want to see the mutants take a bigger role in the Marvel U at large.
After a fan asked how old Magneto was physically after being de-aged so many times, Ketchum told Mann that there had been internal discussion as his Magneto in "Legacy" was "young and sexy" and making out with Rogue while the Magneto of Jamie McKelvie's art seemed much older. The editor said it's best to assume he's a very active 50-something in the way he looks and that it's fine for Rogue to hook up with an older man.
A fan asking after a possible Nightcrawler resurrection, saying that the mutants get resurrected more than Jesus, earned a round of applause from the audience. Ketchum admitted they'd talked about it in the offices, but they felt for now they should let fans speculate as to whether the office will "play against type" in a world where characters come back all the time.
Another fan praised the team for leaving Jean Grey dead while also earning the tease that "You'll see Sabertooth in 2011" according to Ketchum.
"X-Men First To Last" is "our way of acknowledging the film" that will be "X-Men First Class," Ketchum explained. Yost already had the core of the idea for the story, but Marvel green lit the story featuring the classic 1963 X-Men for now specifically so fans of the movie would have a somewhat similar story to tap into in the comics.
A fan argued that "you need a furry, wolfy creature" to make "New Mutants" work asking is Wolfsbane would appear in the series, but Ketchum said that for now, she had an integral role to play in Peter David's "X-Factor" plans. The reader followed up by asking when Karma would "get a girl," to which the editor said sometimes Greg Land would sneak in panels featuring various romantic possibility scenes so the odds of that plotline slipping through to the final product were more likely than readers may expect.
In designing the look of the "Age of X" mutants, Mann said that he tried not to look to other alternate reality comic stories but instead looked at things like video games and films for stylistic inspiration. "With Gambit, I Googled a lot of military stuff," the artist explained before an "Age of X" Dazzler cosplayer appeared in the back of the room to meet the man who designed her C2E2 look.
While Deadpool is not a mutant, the staff at Marvel have found that he fits well within the X-Men's world thanks to his connection to Wolverine's past, however Ketchum said that in recent years, Deadpool has become a character all his own that can have crazy space adventures with absurd characters that you'd never be able to shoehorn into an X-Men book.
Majorie Liu has plans to bring Gambit in to Daken's world and continue some of the character development she started with him while writing X-23.
The young mutant Hellion came up, and Ketchum explained that though Mike Carey is a really nice guy, the editor made him be a really mean guy to put the hero through his paces in "X-Men Legacy." The pair love working with the character, but it may be a while before they can give him the page time fans want in "Legacy," though they haven't forgotten about him.
Ketchum joked that Nick Lowe is asking questions about Magneto such as "How does control over metal let you make force fields?" and that one of the newly-minted leader of the X-line's goals was to put a tight focus on who the character is and what he can do. Lowe also loves cat-Beast, so anyone hoping to get the classic blue Beast back better not hold their breaths.
Another reader wanted to know if despite Rictor's incoming baby with Wolfsbane, would the mutant's status with teammate Shatterstar be explored in the near future. Ketchum assured the man that Peter David doesn't introduce these elements willy nilly and though it may take him a while to get all the story points he wants together, he will not forget that thread.
Asked whether "Generation X" characters including Chamber and Penance would show up soon, Ketchum said that Chamber fans may want to follow "Age of X." Cebulski said that after his use of Penance (who is again called Penance since Speedball is again Speedball) in the "Loners" series, the question for the character is what happened to her since Ben Urich has appeared again in Marvel books no longer in her company. Ketchum joked that Cebulski needs to "give her back" so they could reintroduce the heroine.
A few snippets from Newsarama that didn't make it into this one:
Of the image of Colossus putting on Juggernaut's helmet, Ketchum said, "Think about it and make of it what you will."
Here's an inevitable question - when are we going to see Havok next? "Read X-Men Legacy #250 for some clues on that," Ketchum said.
Ketchum said Gambit will continue to be a part of X-23.
"Are we going to get defined teams?" "That's certainly a rumor," Ketchum said. "If you could only see your inboxes today," Cebulski added.
"When Nate Grey comes back, is he going to be the original, whiny Nate Grey, or the leather jacket, 'mutant Jesus' Nate Grey?" Ketchum said that Nate Grey is a character that's a little different every time we see him, so wait and see.
Cebulski said that "100%, no bull*****," the character to watch in the next few years is Hope.
More with Anole and Rockslide? "We want to so badly," Ketchum said.
Molly Hayes in X-Men? Ketchum said they'd love to do it at some point, they're just figuring out how to make it work. "If we can make it work, I know Nick Lowe and I would love too," he answered.
Will we ever get to a point where Emma is "accepted as a heroic figure"? Ketchum said that "one of the beautiful things about Emma" is that she exemplifies that characters don't have to be good or bad.
More on the subject of gray areas, Ketchum pointed out that all of the current main X-Men Legacy characters have some degree of a "shady past."
More Storm in X-Men? "If I have anything to say, yes," Ketchum said, adding that Storm is his favorite character, and his dream project is to edit a comic called "Her name is Storm, she beats *****es up with weather."
Ketchum answered, "She's been around, and if I have anything to say about it, we'll see more of her soon."
NEW MUTANTS #23
Written by MIKE CAREY
Penciled by STEVE KURTH
Cover by LEINIL YU
“AGE OF X” CHAPTER FOUR!
In possession of knowledge that could mean the collapse Fortress X, Rogue is on the run, hunted by every other member of the mutant race. But one of those pursuing her has an agenda of his own. Will it be her destruction...or something else entirely?
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99
UNCANNY X-MEN #534
Written by MATT FRACTION & Kieron Gillen
Pencils & Cover by Greg Land
“QUARANTINE,” Part 5 (of 5)
The X-Men have an infectious, killer disease. What could possibly mean enough to make them break quarantine and risk exposing the world? And when that plague cuts them off from their powers, what would be the use of doing so anyway? Cyclops has his answers. You can make up your own mind. Meanwhile, Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw finish their physical debate... and the final words will change their relationship forever.
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99
Written by RICK REMENDER
Art & Cover by ESAD RIBIC
“DEATHLOK NATION,” PART 2
Buried deep, sequestered under a million years of unnatural evolution, Father, architect of The World, has a solution to the relentless and fruitless super human conflict that has left the Earth teetering on the brink of destruction. The Deathlok virus will spread, acclimate and control them all. In order to protect Earth’s heroes from the Deathlok virus, X-Force must kill The World’s Father, and his perfect future with him. But should they? How many people would a hero allow to die to ensure worldwide utopia?
32 PGS./Parental Advisory ...$3.99
Written by KATHRYN IMMONEN
Penciled by PHIL NOTO
Cover by NIMIT MALAVIA
When Jubilee’s pursuer turns up in the dead of night, there’s a debt that needs to be paid and the hidden costs? Killer.
Wolverine has always promised to be there for Jubilee but with her held hostage as collateral in a place where not even Fedex delivers, he’s going to have to play along to try to get her back. Wolverine is headed into a dangerous Siberian dead zone to do a job that no one else can or will do to retrieve a package that defies description. And Jubilee is about to come face to face with the man responsible.
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$2.99
Written by VICTOR GISCHLER
Penciled by CHRIS BACHALO
Cover by TERRY DODSON
Captain America 70th Anniversary Variant
Cover by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
“TO SERVE AND PROTECT,” PART 3
The X-Men, with Spider-Man's help, return to the depths of the Manhattan sewers to rescue the outcast teens that have fallen into the clutches of a mysterious menace. But Logan, Emma and crew are about to walk into a trap that strikes to the very core of their DNA, and the surprise villain pulling the strings is an all-too-familiar face! Can the X-Men save the innocents when they might not even be able to save themselves?
32 PGS./Rated T+ ...$3.99