First thing on Sunday morning, members of Marvel’s comic streaming service — Marvel Unlimited — lined up to gain access to an exclusive panel. Moderated by Ryan “Agent M” Penagos, the Marvel Unlimited Plus Member Event also had a number of Marvel’s current creators on the panel — including Jason Latour (writer, “Spider-Gwen”), Al Ewing (writer, “Captain America and the Mighty Avengers”), Charles Soule (writer, “Wolverines”) and Ryan Stegman (artist, “Inhuman”). Penagos kicked off the panel by greeting the Plus Members and telling them that they are going to see things that have never been seen before. This reveal was greeted with a round of applause. Penagos urged everyone to turn off their phones, lest the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in attendance have to intervene.
The presentation started off with a spotlight on “Captain America and the Mighty Avengers.” Writer Al Ewing talked about the series’ upcoming “Secret Wars” storyarc, which falls under the event’s “Last Days” banner. “It’s the last day in issue 9, which is where all the heroes and support staff going through the last day,” said Ewing. “One thing we’re doing is making everyone a Mighty Avenger in the final issue… Anybody can be an Avenger, you just have to want to help out.” Ewing teased that the cast members of his book will appear in the main “Secret Wars” series; he also said that an alternate version of She-Hulk will appear in “Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders,” the series that takes the place of Ewing’s Avengers title. The series depicts the war between two neighboring Battleworld dominions. “She-Hulk has a big part in that, or rather a version of her does,” said Ewing. “And she has a big role in ‘A-Force.'”
Penagos then asked the audience to close their eyes while cycled through the Dan Slott slides, as the “Amazing Spider-Man” writer had not shown up yet. “Dan’s going to come in and blow you away when he talks about the stuff you’re not seeing now,” said Penagos.
Soule’s turn came up, with the writer discussing the upcoming “Inhuman Annual” #1, which caps up a year of stories. “The way ‘Inhuman’ has worked we told a lot of small stories,” said Soule. “All of them were part of a larger plan we’re now executing. They’re making this gigantic superhero action thing where every Inhuman in the Marvel Universe is in it. Ryan had to draw all of them, which he was excited about.” A spread from the annual appeared, featuring a segmented double-page image of a dozen Inhumans including Medusa, Lockjaw and more. Soule explains that a villain named Lineage, whose power is to talk to anyone in his ancestral line, has access to lost Inhuman knowledge and he intends to use it against the humans. Medusa, who appeared in another interior page in a new armored-up version made of wreckage that she’s attached to herself with her hair, takes up the fight against Lineage. “I think Ryan has done the work of his career on this series,” said Soule.
Another spread was shown, which featured Ms. Marvel and Lockjaw surveying the big battle. “The whole issue is riots and fights,” said Stegman, the issue’s artist. “We expanded on all the characters we created’s powers. There are new things you’ll see the characters doing… Everything towards the end of this run has felt very epic and like ’90s ‘X-Men’ to me, with tons of characters who all have a purpose.”
At this point, Dan Slott showed up to a round of applause as the presentation continued to “Inhuman” #14, which hits stores on April 29th. “Lineage is a chess player, working every angle,” said Soule. The interior pages from the issue showed Medusa using her prehensile hair as fists deflecting the offensive rainbows of the “evil hippie” Grove. The following page depicted a character that makes an unexpected return in the issue.
“Don’t tweet that!” said Slott. “You’ve now had something spoiled just for you!”
Slott’s turn came up next, saying that “Amazing Spider-Man” #18 is the last issue before the “Secret Wars” event comes. The issue will feature Black Cat’s continuation down an evil road, and pages from the issue depicted Ghost fighting Spider-Man. Two full page shots of Ghost and Black Cat by Humberto Ramos were revealed, with the characters standing in the midst of flames. Slott noted that Peter Parker’s supporting cast will be returning for this story, after taking a bit of a backseat during “Spider-Verse.”
“Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows” came up next. “It’s a world where Spider-Man and Mary Jane have always remained married,” said Slott. The writer told those in attendance a big secret about the daughter depicted on the cover, saying that she’s not what everyone expects. Interior pages from the issue appeared next depicting Mary Jane and Peter going through an average day, mixing web fluid on the kitchen table, before segueing into a more serious talk about how they can keep his secret identity hidden from his little daughter.
Slott’s other ongoing series, the Eisner-nominated “Silver Surfer,” came up next. “Something you need to know about [#11], Mike Allred is so proud of this issue that he bought a crate of them at cost because he knows he wants to give people this issue for the rest of his life,” said Slott. The writer discussed the story, saying that everyone should buy the physical comic because the digital experience will be vastly different from print. “The story will still make sense, but you’ll have a fun time if you buy the comic in print,” said Slott. “You’re going to play with this comic while reading it. The main guts of this comic is a story all in one take. The main guts — there are 11 extra pages — is 11 double page spreads that interconnect. It just keeps going. On top of that, the top half of the comic goes forward and the bottom goes backwards. The giant comic is a Moebius strip.” Penagos then showed the interior pages all joined together, featuring a mind-bending flip and two dual narratives. The writer teased that there are even more twists — story twists — in the issue aside from the twisty narrative.
A round of applause erupted when Penagos asked who in attendance was reading “Spider-Gwen.” Writer Latour talked about the interior pages by Robbi Rodriguez from issue #4, which depicts Gwen going through an “existential crisis.” “In the fourth issue, we take a much needed breath of fresh air and meet her neighbors and the people she grew up around, who just happen to be Aunt May and Uncle Ben,” said Latour. “It was very emotionally driven. I had a lot of fun writing it. I’m a sucker for Aunt May, doesn’t matter who plays her in the movies, she makes me cry. She’s a lot like my mom. I’ve written a lot of characters that channel my father, but this is one of the few that channels my mom.” The art featured May prominently, including scenes between Gwen and the iconic aunt. Latour said the quiet issue allows Rodriguez to act more like an indie filmmaker.
“Howard the Duck” #3 came up next, which Latour talked about since Zdarsky was absent and he drew a five page section of the book. “Howard is hired to find out if Wolverine is really dead or not because a Logan impersonator’s life has fallen apart,” explained Latour.
Marvel’s cartoons came up next — “because it’s early and I like watching cartoons,” joked Penagos. A clip from this week’s upcoming episode of “Avengers Assemble” played, showing the team going up against Ultron — and not being entirely effective. The clip ended with Captain America and Iron Man coming into conflict with each other.
Next up came a clip from “Ultimate Spider-Man: Web-Warriors,” which Penagos revealed will feature a guest appearance by Mark Hamill. The clip featured an appearance by Arnim Zola after being discovered by Spider-Man and the Amadeus Cho Iron Spider. Hamill will be voicing Arnim Zola.
A clip from “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” episode 19 was played, depicting the reunion of the show’s original cast. The clip featured Jemma Simmons reporting for duty on Coulson’s team and the reassembled group boarding the Bus. The clip ended with Ward sarcastically saying, “This is great, we finally got the team back together.”
The final clip, which isn’t exclusive, was a clip from the soon-to-be-released “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” While Latour, Ewing and Stegman watched the clip of the Hulkbuser fighting Hulk, Soule and Slott opted to remain unspoiled by covering their ears and eyes. “I will say that if you’re like them and trying to remain unspoiled,” said Penagos, “there’s stuff in the final movie that you don’t see in there and that scene goes on for a lot longer. There’s a moment two minutes after that clip ends that is one of my favorite scenes in any action movie ever.”
Penagos opened the floor to questions, which included a fan in full Lizard cosplay asking — through his elaborate Lizard mask — if Curt Connors has a role to play in “Secret Wars.” With the sprawling nature of the event, Slott noted that everyone is going to show up, possibly even obscure character Top Dog. “Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Penagos told Slott with a laugh.
A fan asked if the panelists had any Marvel team-ups they’re dying to do, with Ewing saying that he can’t talk about his because it’s going to happen. Soule wants to tell more Punisher and Elektra stories, and Slott just wants to write Moon Knight paired with anyone.
“I just want to have Danny Glover show up in my book,” said Latour. “Aunt May and Danny Glover team-up.”
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