Marvel Comics brought Marvel NOW! to New York Comic Con 2012 for a close look at the architects of the publisher’s upcoming X-Books. “Uncanny Avengers” writer Rick Remender, “X-Factor” scribe Peter David, “Cable and X-Force” writer Dennis Hopeless, “Astonishing X-Men” writer Marjorie Liu, “Wolverine & the X-Men” scribe Jason Aaron, “X-Men Legacy” writer Si Spurrier, “Deadpool” scribe Gerry Duggan, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, editor Jeanine Schaefer and Senior Editor Nick Lowe took the stage for a panel looking to the future of the whole spectrum of X-Men teams in a post-“AvX” world.
Moderator and Director of Communications Arune Singh was set to bring the mutant news to the assembled crowd and began the panel by introducing the panel and “All-New X-Men” by Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen, which sees the original five X-Men come to the present of the Marvel U.
“From there, the story gets even crazier,” said Lowe, who had the lettering draft of “All-New X-Men” for a few lucky fans to take a look at. The book comes out two times a month for the first six issues with a very special artist on rotation with Immonen.
“Filling in for Stuart will be ‘Ultimate Spider-Man’s’ David Marquez,” said Lowe. “He’s one of the best artists in the business and we’re very excited.”
In “Wolverine and the X-Men,” Aaron said — based on the most recent issue — some fans might be mad at him. He asked those people to keep reading and noted Nick Bradshaw would be on as artist with Ramon Perez on rotation.
Singh introduced Remender’s “Uncanny Avengers,” which has already gone to second print. The post-“AvX” mash-up book features a team of Avengers and X-Men following the original course of Professor Xavier’s dream — that mutants and humans could coexist in harmony. “That mandate and mission got lost along the years,” said Remender. “This is Captain America’s attempt to step up and help the mutants. Now that the mutants are back, it’s more important than ever.”
The first arc deals with the return of the Red Skull, who has acquired the brain of Charles Xavier. “It’s a bad, bad problem for the Marvel Universe,” said Remender, who said the Red Skull wouldn’t go away any time soon and the Apocalypse mythos from “Uncanny X-Force” will be integrated.
Hopeless was up next with “Cable and X-Force.”
“We’re taking all the cool badass stories that happened in the ’90s and wrapped it up in one big last score,” said Hopeless, who said Cable wants to do one last thing before he retires, which snowballs into a whole confluence of events.
“What you’re going to see in the first arc is that X-Force is going to be on the run,” said Nick Lowe. “They’re going to be on the run from the Uncanny Avengers, but in the first arc you have to figure out why they’re on the run.”
Remender took the microphone again to talk about his wrap-up of “Uncanny X-Force,” saying the Final Execution is coming up, building from the very beginning of the series.
“That story comes to head in a way I hope you will enjoy,” said Remender. “We’ve been working really hard to … match the end of the Dark Angel Saga in terms of scope and [emotion.]”
Lowe noted the final issues are “super intense” and “as heartfelt as anything you’ve read in ‘Uncanny X-Force.'” He also called Remender the “grossest man in comics.”
“He was no longer able to continue on as our color artist, but Dean White has made an indelible mark on the direction of that book, who is an amazing artist and an amazing color artist,” said Lowe.
Sam Humphries takes a different look at X-Force with a new “Uncanny X-Force” featuring Mohawk Storm as part of Marvel NOW!
“This will not be the only book you’ll see the mohawk,” said Lowe.
The concept, pitched by Humphries, is “if David Lynch directed a James Bond movie.” The series focuses on Psylocke and will deal with the effects of Remender’s “Final Execution.” Storm will join the team — which Lowe said was a conscious choice by editorial. “It’s always been about the grey area and you’re going to see a lot of fighting and a lot of problem between the team members as they go on doing what they do through this arc,” said Lowe.
Si Spurrier spoke about his upcoming run on “X-Men Legacy,” which relaunches at #1 in November. “Legacy” features Legion, son of Charles Xavier, who Spurrier describes as “broken” and the series centers on him attempting to find his place in the world following his father’s death.
“I like to think of it as the black sheep of the X-Men world,” said Spurrier. “It’s not like anything else out there. It just gets weirder and weirder.”
Schaefer, editor of “Savage Wolverine” by Frank Cho, spoke about the new Wolverine series, which features many Cho staples — dinosaurs, apes and more (or as Schaefer put it “Babes, Brawls and Brachiosaurs.”)
“It’s going to be this pulpy adventure with some awesome guest stars,” she said. “At the end of it, it’s going to change something fundamental in the Marvel Universe.”
“Frank is so excited and engaged in this,” said Lowe. “He’s finishing the fourth issue now.”
Schaefer noted Cho has pulled a lot from pulp comics and trying to do something special with the book.
Gerry Duggan spoke next about his upcoming “Deadpool” book with Brian Posehn and Tony Moore, which features Deadpool fighting zombie presidents. In the first issue, Lowe said, Deadpool fights FDR.
“Listen, you can’t have the Avengers fight a guy in a wheelchair,” said Duggan. “He’s not the hero you want, he’s the scumbag you need.”
Singh revealed covers where Deadpool punches Lincoln and kicks Richard Nixon.
According to “X-Factor” writer Peter David, there are some big changes in store for X-Factor Investigations. The writer recalled a story where he spoke to a panel before Layla Miller’s reappearance where he fooled readers into thinking Layla would not come back — something that informs a big change coming up in “X-Factor” #245.
“Issue 245, you’re going to get to appoint in the book where you go, ‘Wait, what? No, wait, what?'” he said. “This has ramifications in the next few issues of the book. Despite no demand for it whatsoever, we’re going to have an issue focusing on Pip.”
David is also approaching is 100th consecutive issue on “X-Factor,” which will launch a storyline that he’s been teasing for the last fifteen years called “The Hell On Earth War.”
“All the various Hell lords have been waiting for this moment … the birth of the seven billionth human,” said David. “This is going to be about a six issue storyline that is going to bring to culmination a number of story points that I’ve been teasing and dangling over the past few issue. And yet, I’m going to walk the razor thin line of making this accessible to new readers. By the end of the Hell on Earth War, basically every character in the Marvel Universe is going to be gunning for X-Factor.”
Marjorie Liu spoke about her work on “Astonishing X-Men,” and told the assembled fans that January would bring an arc focusing on Warbird, which will help to elucidate on why she’s well suited to be the Jean Grey art teacher.
“After that, I can’t talk about that, but we’re thinking about something that would be big and fun,” said Liu.
“Gambit” editor Daniel Ketchum came onstage to talk about the book by James Asmus and how the book will proceed in the future.
“In the coming year, it’s a lot of romancing ladies, it’s a lot of running up against monsters,” he said. “Also a lot of shirtless Remy LeBeau.”
Greg Pak’s “X-Treme X-Men” was up next and Schaefer spoke to the series, which features Dazzler leading a team of alternate-reality X-Men including General James Howlett and Kid Nightcrawler. In issue #9, Hercules shows up as a guest star. Other developments include Kid Nightcrawler’s home world, an alternate reality X-Force and more.
“In the 7.1 issue, we see the Brood come back to the 616 universe and getting into some scraps there,” said Schaefer.
Singh opened the floor to audience questions and the fans assembled were happy to oblige.
Lowe noted that at some point, readers will get a chance to see the date between Deadpool and Domino.
A fan of the Cable/Deadpool dynamic got the following response out of Duggan: “Stay tuned.”
“It would happen a lot quicker if Cable were elected president and killed,” joked Lowe.
One fan had a criticism of the rebranding of comics in general, which he saw as a determent.
“When we relaunched it after ‘Schism,’ we weren’t planning on some of this stuff because ‘AvX’ hadn’t come into focus yet,” said Lowe. “That was something that was a bit unforeseen. I’d like to say we’re not planning on doing any renumbering after the Marvel NOW! books we’re starting now. We’re building books that have staying power and will be around for a long time to come. I can’t promise that because if one of the writers up here pitches an amazing event that changes everything for the X-Men.”
“If it were up to me, I would do away with numbering altogether,” said David, who said he would do books by month instead of numbering, which met with a good reaction from the audience.
The question of why Hope has red hair and green eyes came up, which elicited a humorous answer from Lowe.
“Because in the X-Men universe, having red hair and green eyes is important,” said Lowe, who further explained that while Hope’s story isn’t done and she’ll be one of the main characters in “Cable & X-Force” “in a very big way.”
One of the questions had to do with X-23, who will make an appearance in Hopeless’ “Avengers Arena,” which sees Arcade taking the powerful teen heroes of the Marvel Universe in a “Hunger Games”-type competition battle to the death.
“The issue that made me say, ‘Oh, shit!’ was ‘Avengers Arena’ #1,” said Aaron. “Dennis Hopeless has done more for Arcade in 20 pages than anybody’s done in 20 years.”
Duggan explained the genesis of his pitch for “Deadpool” in Marvel NOW!
“We had a few ideas, I guess we were sick of politics and the election,” said Duggan. “We wanted a big action piece to start us out before things get darker. It made us laugh and when things make us laugh — Brian and I, we pitched it.”
Both Schaefer and Liu confirmed there are plans for Jubilee moving forward.
One fan was very disappointed that Fantomex perished in the pages of “Uncanny X-Force” and asked if he would be coming back.
“You saw a female Fantomex on the cover of Sam Humphries ‘Uncanny X-Force,” said Remender. “He was one of my favorite characters to write as well … but to make the Brotherhood matter, he had to take the hit. … There are plans, obviously, given that you’ve seen the female Fantomex, but when you read #35, email me and let me know what you say.”
The final questions had to do with diversity in comics — specifically Northstar coming out — and whether there will be any more slants toward relevant social issues.
“We are always looking to make things as real as possible,” said Lowe. “We don’t have a checklist of hot-button issues.”
“In upcoming issues of ‘Astonishing X-Men,’ I’ll be dealing with issues of immigration and how you find your home in a place where you feel totally alien,” said Liu.
With that, the panel wrapped. Stick around CBR for more LIVE coverage of NYCC 2012.