We all know that one person can make a difference. We know that one person’s actions can lead to consequence that forever change the course of the lives around them. So what about one man with a gun? Imagine the difference that can be made if that one bullet hits someone whose actions define an entire universe. Marvel Comics‘ “Bullet Points,” the new series from acclaimed writer JMS, explores just that notion, with a single bullet killing the scientist who created the super soldier serum, that Marvel fans know led to Captain America’s creation and a whole slew of subsequent events. JMS has moved up the death of the scientist one day. The result? Steve Rogers dons the Iron Man Armor. Peter Parker becomes the Hulk. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The first issue hits stores in November.
Today, Marvel Comics held one of their trademark press conferences, with writer J. Michael Straczynski, Editor Mark Paniccia, Vice President of Sales David Gabriel, and Assistant Manager of Sales Communication Jim McCann. We brought you live coverage and here’s the final report.
After a brief introduction to all the parties involved, JMS got down to the business and talked about his latest project. “It’s the all nude version of the Marvel Characters,” he joked. “The book takes its premise from what is the impact of one bullet, one life on the Marvel Universe.” The scribe drew comparisons to the way that the world was changed by the deaths of Gandhi and Martin Luthor King Jr.
The series starts one day before Steve Rogers was to be injected with the super soldier serum, with the assassin killing the scientist and young MP named Ben Parker. “The impact is huge,” said JMS. “The people you wouldn’t think end up being touched do end up being touched.” He explained that the Iron Man project will go into effect during World War 2, drawing in a number of characters, such as Reed Richards, who comes to help young Steve Rogers wear the Iron Man armor. JMS promised that all the events would be quite “logical.”
“What happens if Galactus shows up and there’s no Fantastic Four to deal with them?” asked JMS, saying you’ll be surprised with the result. Expect to see some new characters and teams arise, though he wouldn’t give any hints.
“The work has been amazing,” said JMS of Tommy Lee Edwards’ art. “It’s a revelation.”
The floor was then opened to questions from the press and they had lots of queries for the popular writer.
Any chance of a sequel? “It’d be interesting, but I’m not sure it would sustain,” said JMS, noting the series is about the impact of one person and hadn’t planned further stories. But if Marvel wanted to go further, he’d be interested.
With only five issues, JMS can’t cover all the major events of the Marvel Universe, noting, “There isn’t really time to do that.” The focus will be on Steve Rogers, a troubled Peter Parker who ends up near a gamma ray bomb test. “Now you have Peter living with Aunt May and Hulking out,” revealed JMS. He said that it’s a series focused on the personal moments as opposed to big event stories.
JMS explained that beginning with the creation of Captain America, it gave him a great springboard to tell the other stories he’s tying into the series. He’ll be using the story of the characters to “counterpoint” actual historical events that involved a single bullet changing the world, such as the death of JFK or Gandhi.
There are currently no plans to tie “Bullet Points” into the other “What If?” alternate universe titles.
“For a good portion of the book, it is darker and gloomier,” said JMS of this new Marvel Universe. At the end of the five issues, expect to see things brighten up by the end, when we will see the human spirit triumph over the darkness. “At its core, it’s ultimately about hope and the power of the human spirit to persevere.”
If you’re a fan of continuity, you’ll be pleased, because when it comes to research, JMS said he did, “Quite a bit. What I didn’t know, I went to Tom Bervoort about, because he is keeper of knowledge and all things.”
When asked if he believes that the world has forgotten the power that one person has to change things, JMS said, “It’s the reason for writing the whole book, to make that point. We are told media, by government, that one person can’t fight City Hall. One person can make a difference.” He added, “I want to reinforce that human life is important, not just because of the changes I made, but on its own terms. When there’s a body in a casket, it has an impact and repercussions besides the obvious body in the casket.” He feels that there’s a general lack of respect for others in the world and feels it’s important to encourage that kind of respect.
There’s also a strong message about guns in “Bullet Points,” with issue #1 beginning with an explanation of what a bullet can do and how it works. It’s quite detailed and JMS added, “I want people to understand what a bullet is…and what it does.”
Peter Parker and Steve Rogers will be the main characters of the book, each providing half of “Bullet Point’s” theme and commentary on humanity. Like his regular Marvel Universe counterpart, Rogers will embody the heart and strength of humanity, putting himself through torture to become Iron Man and defend his country. JMS noted that Reed Richards is one of the characters most changed and will experience a tragedy in his life that will, “change his character quite a bit,” teased JMS.
Don’t expect to see many mutants in the book, as JMS wanted to leave those characters alone for now, leading McCann to joke, “a book without Wolverine?” and JMS said that may not be the case.
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