Chicago, Day 3: Dark Phoenix is back … again

Those fans that stuck around Sunday at Wizard World Chicago and attended the X-Men: Reloaded panel got to look ahead into the lives of Marvel's Merry Mutants.

The biggest news was that Dark Phoenix will return to the pages of X-Men to commemorate her 25th anniversary in February 2005. With story by newcomer Greg Pak and art by Greg Land, Joe Quesada promised the book would thrill.

"I can assure you that Emma [Frost] will be in this, and there will be sparks."

Pak, whose first published Marvel work will debut this month in "Warlock" #1, was described by Quesada as "the best writing find that you know nothing about."

According to Quesada, Pak has written numerous stories for Marvel already, but due to different reasons, none of those scripts have made it to publication until now.

Also of note, X-23 will make her first appearance in a core X-title in "X-Men" #450. X-23 will also get her own series, with story by Craig Kyle and art by Billy Tan. The series will feature the origin of X-23, which was originally created for the X-Men Evolution cartoon.

"It's a pretty intense origin that you could never see in a cartoon," Quesada said. "But this is the actual origin as they intended it to be. At the end, this is how she comes into NYX."

Preview art of numerous X-books, including "X-Men: The End," "X-Force," "X-23," "Wolverine" and "Gambit" were shown. After the slideshow, Quesada opened up the floor to questions for the panel, which included John Layman, Sean McKeever, John Romita Jr., Dan Buckley, Joss Whedon, John Cassaday, Robert Rodi, Micheal Marts, C. B. Cebulski, Chris Claremont and Mark Millar.

Joss Whedon was the main attraction and fielded the most questions. One fan asked if there was any chance he could direct "X-Men 3," with Brian Singer moving over to the new "Superman" movie. Whedon jokingly responded, "I did read on the Internet that someone wanted me to. I'm negotiating with the Internet so far. It's going very well. It's a fantasy so far, but it is my fantasy."

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