With 2016 in full swing, Marvel’s all-new and all-different status quo (launched in the wake of last year’s “Secret Wars” event) has had time to cement itself with readers — and now “Civil War II” may just shake everything up once more. A number of editors and writers assembled for a panel at C2E2 in Chicago to discuss what’s ahead for the entire Marvel line, including writers Nick Spencer (“Captain America: Sam Wilson”) and Jim Zub (“Thunderbolts”) as well as Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, editors Jordan D. White, Emily Shaw and Katie Kubert, and talent scout Rickey Purdin.
Moderator Purdin kicked things off by introducing the panel and moving onto the “Standoff” event currently running through the “Avengers” titles. “For those of you who have been following, Maria Hill set up a super secret prison in Connecticut where villains have had their realties rewritten where they are model citizens,” said Spencer. “It all goes wrong, and Baron Zemo ends up being the criminal that ruins everything.”
Spencer noted it grew out of the upcoming Captain America 75th anniversary. “That’s a key component,” said Spencer. “Obviously you know Steve Rogers will be back to full figure and form, and that’s a key part of this.” Purdin then showed the cover for “Captain America: Steve Rogers.” “Steve is back as Captain America; Sharon is by his side and Sam and Bucky will be part of the book,” said Spencer. “The band is back together again. It’s a return to classic Cap storytelling. Lot of Baron Zemo, Red Skull and HYDRA craziness.”
Focus shifted to “Astonishing Ant-Man,” which will see a new storyline starting in April. “If you read the latest issue, Cassie Lang has her powers back and is now Stinger,” said Spencer. “She’s in some trouble though since she got those powers from the power broker. #7-10 is the culmination of the Power Broker story.”
“Power Man & Iron Fist” got a round of applause next. Writer David Walker will also launch “Nighthawk,” which is edited by Kubert. “I’m insanely excited about this book,” she said. “This is the Nighthawk from the ‘Supereme Power’ universe. We wanted it to be like if Batman kills. It’s intense, it’s a parental advisory rating. The story is about race relations in Chicago, so it’s a lot of what’s happening in society right now.”
Jim Zub spoke about the new “Thunderbolts” series, which will spin out of “Standoff.” The classic team is back together with Winter Soldier taking over leadership from Baron Zemo. “He has to lead this group of former, possibly current, criminals, and focus them on a new mission. Lots of banter and trouble making; they’ll be all over the place causing trouble,” said Zub. “Out of ‘Standoff,’ there’s a big element that will define what this team needs to do and protect, if you will. It’s a big action, big crazy book.”
Emily Shaw spoke about “Scarlet Witch,” saying that every issue is a done-in-one written by James Robinson featuring a different artist. “We’re trying to do one-shot adventure stories of her going to different parts of the world,” she said, showing off art by Javier Pulido depicting “Wanda fighting off evil nuns.”
“Squadron Supreme’s” next arc will start soon, with Kubert saying the arc will go into how all the members got to where they are now. “A lot of this is dealing with Doctor Spectrum, who is the only survivor of her home world; she was saved by Black Bolt but doesn’t know why. There’s a lot survivor’s guilt.”
White talked about “Deadpool” #13, which will be an over-sized issue – 80 pages – that will contain four parts of one crossover event in one issue. The other issues inside the issue will be from “Daredevil” and “Power Man & Iron Fist.” “We decided why not do a crossover in one issue?” said White. “We brought in the writers, Charles Soule and David Walker, and the first chapter is Gerry Duggan writing Deadpool, then Soule and Walker, then Duggan.” The story line follows Deadpool as he is hired to protect a money launderer. “All three of the writers are having a blast writing it,” said White. “It’s a big crossover in one issue.”
White’s also excited about “Gwenpool,” a new comic starting in April. “Gwenpool is a person from the real world you are all sitting in right now,” he said. “Her name is Gwen Poole and she’s found her way into the Marvel Universe.” She doesn’t think the MU is real, but she knows all about it because she’s read about it in – of course – comics. M.O.D.O.K. appears in the pages shown, sporting a mohawk.
“Black Panther” starts in April, and the audience was very excited about it. “Obviosuly, Ta-Nehisi Coates comes to the world of comics with a huge pedigree from non-fiction writing and reporting, and if you follow him on Twitter you know he’s a huge Marvel fan. He’s turned in scripts for the first 11 issues already,” said Brevoort, eliciting gasps. “He’s doing a deep dive into the history of the nation of Wakanda. It’s a big Black Panther novel broken up into 11 installments.”
As “Vote Loki” appeared on screen, writer David Walker arrived on the panel. Brevoort said that the visuals and concept of “Vote Loki” reveal that he will be running for President. White said writer Hastings has told him about it and that it sounds amazing.
Walker went into the origin of his “Power Man and Iron Fist” series, saying that he got the call from his editor while grocery shopping. “I left my grocery cart there and sat down,” said Walker, wanting to clarify that Power Man meant Luke Cage – and he agreed to do it right there. “It’s the most fun you can have legally while working on this book.” “Nighthawk” will take place in Chicago, and will be the “grittiest book you can imagine,” said Walker. “Remember when Nick’s ‘Captain America: Sam Wilson’ came out and Fox [news] flipped out? I want that times ten,” said Walker. “My favorite editorial note from Katie so far was that we couldn’t have bones sticking out of a body.”
Walker spoke about writing the “Deadpool” crossover, saying it’s “hilarious and really fun. I’m the new guy at Marvel, and it’s kinda like a cross between working at the CIA and MI6. It’s like what you need to know. I’ll ask a question if I can use a character and I’ll get told nope, and no reason why. This is the first time I’ve been on the inside. ‘Oh, this is how it happens!'”
Purdin opened the floor up to questions. A fan asked about Loki’s political party and if any jabs will be taken at the current election. Brevoort said that the series isn’t really a limited series and that Loki is running independent. “He is neither a mule or elephant, though he could become either. And there probably won’t be directly jabs at the current election, just because we want it to be relevant years from now.” Brevoort confirmed that Angela will be in the book, “She’ll be operating as Loki’s one-person Secret Service detail, keeping him safe, walking around in the full angel garb and mirrored sunglasses. And there will be other prominent Asgardians too.”
A fan asked if we will ever find out what Nick Fury to Thor in “Original Sin,” to which Brevoort said we will “when Jason [Aaron] is ready to tell you.” Purdin said that Brian Michael Bendis once asked that question at a Marvel retreat and Jason said that he wouldn’t tell him either.
Walker said he’s in the process of creating a support group of black supervillains that have their teeth filed into fangs — like Tombstone, Cottonmouth Cornell, Cockroach Hamilton, Mr. fish. “Tiger Shark could be the token white guy,” joked Walker.
A fan asked about “Black Panther,” and Brevoort said the storyline will “investigate the questions of somebody being a monarch and king of a society that is at the forefront of science and technology and culture. There’s sort of a disconnect baked in that idea. The person that leads the country is an heir. Ta-Nehisi is going to dive into the questions of what it means to have a monarchy in the modern day.” When it comes to additions to BP’s arsenal, Brevoort said he wants to say “wait and see because I don’t know the specifics, other than he’s a genius-level intellect on par with Tony Stark and Bruce Banner and Reed Richards and guys like that.”
A fan asked if it’s possible for Kate Bishop to get her own series. “There’s been a lot of talk about giving her a solo book, possibly too much talk some days of the week,” said Brevoort. “There are people at Marvel interested in doing that and it’s a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if,’ and I’m not giving it an absolute, but I guess that by this time next year if you haven’t seen a [‘Kate Bishop’] book you will have seen an announcement.”
Similarly, someone asked if Jessica Jones would get a book soon. Brevoort said she will be in “Civil War II” and in the “Choosing Sides” anthology. “Without saying anything, Brian Bendis in particular has been having an itch to get back to the character and he’s walked me through what the next storyline would be and it’s awesome,” said Brevoort. “Once he’s got ‘Civil War II’ off his back, it’s not impossible that we’d say lets do a Jessica book, whether it’s ‘Jessica Jones’ or ‘Alias’ or ‘The Pulse’ of we come up with another name for it. Definitely something we want to do, that’s more certain than the Kate Bishop book.”
A fan asked if Red Widow, a character introduced in the YA novel “Forever Red,” would appear again. Brevoort honestly said, “I don’t know. I think it’s possible but the person who would know, Sana Amanat, is not here. Maybe?”
“A solid maybe” added Purdin, wrapping up the panel to applause.