Marvel held its Dark Reign panel at San Diego’s Comic-Con International Saturday morning, showing new art and answering fan questions. On hand for the panel are Joe Quesada, Jim McCann, assistant editor Alejandro Arbona, Jason Aaron, Joe Casey, Frank Tieri, Rick Remender, and Matt Fraction.
“Things get ugly real quick,” Fraction said of “Utopia,” the Dark Avengers/X-Men crossover. “This story takes Norman [Osborn] and the X-Men to places they haven’t been before.”
An Avengers slide showed Clint Barton, currently Ronin, pulling on a purple costume.
McCann showed all 8 one-shot covers of “Dark Reign: The List.” The Avengers issue will be “a huge Clint Barton issue,” McCann said. The panelists went on to talk about several of these “The List” issues.
“We were the first one done and we can’t talk about it,” Fraction said of the Uncanny List. “It’s an epilogue to Exodus, the last part of Dark Avengers/X-Men.”
“Norman Osborn has been turning a blind eye to Daredevil, but that cannot last,” Arbona said of “Daredevil: The List.” “And he can’t send Hawkeye so he sends Bullseye.”
“When I saw the cover, I thought, I want to read that book. Then I thought, crap, I’ve got to write that book,” Aaron said of the Wolverine List issue. The issue will feature Marvel Boy and Fantomex, as Norman Osborn tries to gain control of Weapon X. “It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever written, and it’s me getting to play with toys I’ve always wanted to play with.”
McCann mentioned the Hulk List issue, but said that there was not much he could say because of the upcoming events of World War Hulks.
Remender then discussed his “Punisher: The List.” “Norman is going to have his revenge” on Punisher for trying to assassinate him. “He’s going to dedicate all of his Dark Avengers for four hours to killing Frank Castle.”
Johnathan Hickman and Ed McGuinness will be doing a Secret Warriors List special, and Dan Slott and Adam Kubert are on Spider-Man’s List.
The floor was then opened to questions.
Will Baron Zemo “appear in any books he used to appear in?” Yes. Quesada noted that the original Thunderbolts team will confront the current squad.
Who didn’t make the cut for villains-turned-heroes in Dark Reign? “There was a huge list of villains we wanted to use as analogues for the heroes,” Quesada said. “There were 4 or 5 we knew had to be there.” Daken was one of these choices, though Quesada said Brian Michael Bendis was not familiar with the character at the beginning of the planning process.
“For the Cabal, Brian wanted Magneto, but we couldn’t because of the X-plans,” Fraction said. “But somebody lit onto Emma, and it opened a half year’s worth of stuff.”
On lesser known characters, especially Blue Marvel, there are no plans right now for the Blue Marvel, Quesada said, and for others it was a matter of timing and the right story. On Squirrel Girl,a fan shouted “Does she kick Norman’s ass?: “You read my mind, I want her to be the end of this!”
A young fan asked about Norman Osborn’s ultimate plan since he rose to power. “Does he want Iron Man to become Doctor Doom?” he asked, “For Norman, there’s a lot of power consolidation. It’s more than ha ha! I want to rule the world, there’s got to be more motivation,” Quesada said, and complimented the boy on his Spider-Man costume.
A fan complimented Marvel on spinning out ongoings from miniseries and events. He asked how much Norman knows about SWORD. Quesada phoned Bendis to get an answer. The writer was asleep, but Quesada and the audience left him a message to wake up. McCann said SWORD would come into play later in the year.
Will Spider-Man fight the Green Goblin in the List? “There are certain characters that are inexplicably tied, and will be forever and ever,” Quesada said. “Let’s leave it at that.”
Are Scott and Emma broken up? “Emma likes to play games, and Scott seems to be playing her game,” the fan said. “Are they playing a game together, or are they playing a game with you?” Fraction said slyly. Answers to be found in “Dark X-Men: Exodus.”
Any plans for Great Lakes Initiative? “No, not right now,” Quesada said.
More anthologies and books by Jim McCann? “There will be more anthologies coming,” McCann said. “The second part, I don’t know.”
When are we going to know what HAMMER stands for? “As soon as someone here figures it out,” Quesada said.
“There is some crazy-ass Bullseye stuff in the future,” Quesada said, and added that Andy Diggle is writing something not Dark Reign related. He was not certain when it will be released, but said there would be another new project announced this week or next at CBR’s Cup O’Joe.
No plans for the Eternals just now, Quesada said.
The West Coast Avengers team will reunite in “War Machine” #8, McCann said when asked about Ronin and Mockingbird.
Quesada was at this point delivered a pizza.
Any chance of a What If? issue of Wolverine killing the Queen Skrull instead of Osborn? “There is now,” Quesada said, noting that with the question asked someone is bound to pitch it.
Any plans to explore Thor’s relationship with his mom? Quesada noted that “Thor” will be changing hands soon and each writer has a different focus. “I’m sure it’s something that someone will get to eventually.”
A young boy in a vision costume asked when the heroes will come together and say, “Norman Osborn, you’re not the man–Obama is!” Quesada invited the young fan up to the panel. Young Christian joined them on stage.
Dark X-Men ongoing? “Christian’s writing it, it’s going to be awesome,” Fraction said.
The next few questions were directed toward Christian, the comics he reads and his plans for the future. “Keep ’em coming,” he said.
Will a villain, such as the Hood, receive an ongoing series? “The Hood will continue to be a major presence, and as to villains, that’s basically what Thunderbolts has been for a very long time.
Christian, who do you want to take down Norman Osborn? “Honestly? Howard the Duck.”
WIll there be an Iron Patriot mini or special? “No, not right now,” Quesada said. McCann added, “he’s busy in every other book!”
Wolverine teaming with Psylocke? “Yes,” Fraction said quickly. “Later.”
She will also get a mini by Chris Yost later in the year.
With that the panel wrapped up.