Marvel Comics continued its presence at New York Comic Con 2013 with a panel dedicated to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and the creators that shepherd them through the tumultuous present of the Marvel Universe. Marvel Comics Executive Editor Tom Brevoort and editor Lauren Sankovitch; along with writers Al Ewing, Jonathan Hickman, Dennis Hopeless, Ales Kot and Nick Spencer teased the future of the Avengers books and primed the audience for All-New Marvel NOW!
After kicking off the panel with a mighty “Avengers Assemble” from the audience, Brevoort ran through the titles rapid-pace, starting with Hickman’s “Avengers” post-“Infinity.”
“Hopefully, the writing will be better — the art will certainly be better,” joked Hickman.
“New Avengers,” Hickman’s favorite book, will tie-in to the upcoming “Inhumanity.” “‘New Avengers is the most important book we are publishing right now,” said Brevoort.
Ewing said “Mighty Avengers” just keeps getting “bigger, and bigger and bigger.” According to a cover, the Superior Spider-Man will get punched in the eye. Meanwhile, “Avengers Arena” is heading to the end. “Everybody dies,” said Hopeless. “You really didn’t think that through, did you?” joked Brevoort. Spencer and Kot’s “Secret Avengers” will continue with “How to Maim a Mockingbird,” the next story arc.
“Captain America” is in the middle of a new arc with Nuke. “A devastated Captain America must get up off the map to confront a super soldier of another era,” said Brevoort of the current arc. “Thor: God of Thunder” started “The Accursed” in September, and Sankovitch said Malekith is wreaking havoc across the nine realms. “Will they stop him? We’re not sure,” said Sankovitch.
After the rapid-fire overview of what’s going on in the books currently, Brevoort got straight to the All-New Marvel NOW! announcements. “Avengers” #24 will be “Avengers” #24.NOW and also “Avengers” #1 (“Just to make it confusing,” said Brevoort.) The book is 30 pages and ships on Christmas Eve. “I’m hoping to get it written soon,” said Hickman of the “Rogue Planet” arc. “I’m getting to work with Esad Ribic again and I’m unbelievably excited for it.”
The “Mindbubble” teaser with Rick Remender, Pascal Alixe and Nic Klein ended up being the next arc coming up in “Captain America.” (The issue is billed as “Captain America” #16.NOW and “Captain America” #1 in All-New Marvel NOW!) Doctor Mindbubble is introduced in “Captain America” #17, the new villain of the arc.
Sam Humphries and Andre Araujo are coming up with “Avengers A.I.” #8.NOW, which was the “Extinction” teaser. “Frenemies” by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh was a new series of “Secret Avengers” with a new #1. “It’s close to what ‘Spider-Woman’ and ‘Avengers Assemble’ feels like,” said Kot. “We’re very much going back to the mission statement of Secret Avengers: don’t get seen, run the mission, save the world and don’t get as many things broken as you did the last time.” Spider-Woman, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Coulson and Nick Fury, Jr. are a part of the cast, and there’s a secret member.
“Avengers World” was up next — Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer and Stefano Caselli’s new ongoing series. “I thought of the title and then Nick thought of everything else,” said Hickman.
“This is the Avengers coming back after ‘Infinity,'” said Spencer. “It’s about exploring the landscape of Earth [after ‘Inifnity’].”
Hopeless and Kev Walker’s next project after “Avengers Arena” will be “Avengers Undercover.” “After Arcade kills everyone, some of them come back to life and they go undercover in the Masters of Evil, but they all have PTSD after the arena, so they might find they fit in a little better with the villains,” said Hopeless.
“Loki: Agent of Asgard” was the next big series — “Old god, new tricks,” said writer Al Ewing, and stated the first thing they do is kill Thor. “The second thing we do is lie to you.” The “Atonement” teaser refers to a new ongoing “Black Widow” series written by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto. More will be revealed at the Women of Marvel panel.
With the rapid-fire overview and announcements over, the panel opened up for questions.
Hickman said Dustin Weaver is working on “S.H.I.E.L.D.” #5 and #6, and as soon as the issues are done, they’ll get solicited.
For all the Carol Corps members in the audience, Lauren Sankovitch said those wanting some “Captain Marvel” updates should attend the Spider-Man panel.
In response to a question about comparing “Avengers” to “The Ultimates,” Brevoort and Spencer took the opportunity to share some more details on “Avengers World.”
“The Avengers have gotten bigger in that they feel this has got to be an Avengers World,” said Brevoort. “We’ll see more of that as time goes on. It won’t be completely like ‘Ultimates’ per se, but we’ll see Avengers all over the place.”
“You’re going to see the Avengers show their hand,” said Spencer. “You’re going to see them tighten their relationship with S.H.I.E.L.D. and it goes very, very bad.”
While answering a question about his “Avengers” series, Hickman stumbled a bit over the new numbering convention for “Avengers” #24.NOW and called the numbering “so awful.”
A fan asked about “Uncanny Avengers,” and Brevoort said Steve McNiven would be coming on to do “Ragnarok Now,” and “deaths of major characters” happen in McNiven’s first issue. “The story only gets crazier from there and shortly you’ll hear about the third movement which starts in ‘Uncanny Avengers’ #18, and is called ‘Avenge the Earth.'”
After “Infinity,” “Avengers” will go down from a twice-a-month book to once-a-month. The second “Avengers” slot will get taken up by “Avengers World.”
A fan asked if the Government Shutdown would have any effect on the Avengers, to laughs from the panelists and the audience.
“If I had stayed on ‘Ultimates,’ there was a scene where President Cap settled an impasse by beating the shit out of the two heads of the parties,” said Hickman. “Deal’s done, man.”
Dennis Hopeless got a chance to tease “Avengers Undercover,” which he didn’t necessarily describe the series as a direct sequel to “Avengers” Arena.” “We are moving the characters on,” said Hopeless. “The book’s a reaction to ‘Avengers Arena,’ but those kids are very broken when they get out of there.”
Jessica Jones will turn up in “Mighty Avengers” #4, and Ewing said she “might occasionally punch a robot to death.” However, the writer has no plans to include Squirrel Girl yet.
In terms of “Avengers World,” Spencer was able to speak a bit about the focus and cast of the series.
“You’re going to see a pretty healthy mix,” said Spencer, who noted the mission statement of the book was getting to spread the love amongst all the Avengers, not just the movie roster, and there are plans to focus on Smasher in an issue. “It features the entire roster within the book.”
A fan asked about the “Dark Avengers” series, and wanted to know more about some of his favorite characters. “Best I can tell you right now is some of them will be showing up in some places,” said Brevoort.
Ewing had the opportunity to reveal a bit more about Luke Cage’s role in “Mighty Avengers.” “He’s taking a step away from the front line because he’s got a kid. But he’s becoming more the — I don’t want to say administration because it’s such a boring word,” said Ewing. “He’s the soul. He’s the mind directing it and pushing it forward. He’s like the leader. Issue #4, you’ll see what his plans are and how these Avengers are going to be different than all the other Avengers.”
In terms of Angela, Brevoort said the character is “a huge part of our plans” and “this time next year, she’ll have exploded in a major way.”
Original Nick Fury will be important in the next few months of “Avengers”-family books.
Perhaps one of the highlights of the panel was when a gentleman dressed as Bane asked his question in the voice that Tom Hardy used for “The Dark Knight Rises.” For committing to the character, Hickman gave him a can of Arizona ice tea signed by the panel.