Cup O' Q&A: Dark Reign, Ultimate Comics & More!

Welcome back to the all-fan Friday of CUP O' JOE, which we call CUP O' Q&A. Exclusively here at CBR, Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada answers questions posed by you, the readers, in CBR's Marvel Universe forum.

Of course, we're hot on top of CUP O' JOE content across our mini-site with new installments of Joe's regular interviews with the CBR staff, new polls and of course CUP O' DOODLES, where you can presently see Joe Quesada's special Captain America feature, which we published last wek in celebration of the United States' Independence Day.

In this week's all-new CUP O' Q&A, Quesada answers your questions about Norman Osborn, whose Dark Reign over the Marvel Universe is in full effect. Joe also goes behind the scenes of the Ultimate Comics line, hints at new developments for the Black Panther, and yes, more Spider-Girl!

CUP O' JOE is Executive Produced by Jonah Weiland and Produced by Kiel Phegley.

Kiel Phegley: There's a huge amount of questions about Norman Osborn and the whole Goblin family. Let's begin with sora_thekey who asks, "A few months back, there was a solicit of a title named: 'Dark Reign: The Goblin Legacy.' Was the whole project dropped or something?"

Joe Quesada: Hey sora_thekey, it's absolutely still coming out. It's a reprinting of "Amazing Spider-Man" #39 and #40, in which Norman Osborn's identity as the Green Goblin is revealed for the first time with a brand new framing sequence by Karl Kesel and Mike Mayhew. As a matter of fact, how about if we show you some beautiful black and white preview art from Mike Mayhew!

Kiel Phegley: CBR Forums member bloc-op was one of a few people asking, "Is there any chance to see the Hobgoblin in Dark Reign? It would be great to see him in that storyline. I think he is not use a his full potential he should be with the Zodiac gang."

Joe Quesada: It's always a possibility, bloc-op, but I'll be honest with you right now, at the moment there are no plans for Hobgoblin and I don't think we'll see him during Dark Reign.

Jonah Weiland: Why not?

Joe Quesada: It's just that we've got enough! [laughs] There comes a point where everything that's in the story has got to be in the story for a reason. So I don't think you'll be seeing him in Dark Reign.

Kiel Phegley: Lastly, Steven Ghost and MikeFitz both wanted to know about what Baron Zemo was up to in regards to Norman, with Mike asking, "Will we see Baron Zemo and any of the original Thunderbolts soon? I'd love to see Songbird go to them and have the new T-bolts go against the original T-bolts? I'd love to see Zemo vs. Osborn. Might we see Citizen V and V Battalion?"

Joe Quesada: It's a great question, Steven and Mike, and I guess you can say you heard it here first. Old school T-Bolts fans rejoice! Songbird is actually going to begin to assemble the original TBolts in issue #134. Her mission basically is to destroy Norman Osborn and his crazy pack of killers who have taken the good name of the original T-bolts. And yes, Zemo has been discussed internally, so stay tuned. We haven't decided just yet... or maybe we have and I'm just not going to tell you. [laughs]

Kiel Phegley: From Norman popping up in "Amazing Spider-Man," as an ongoing threat to his headlining role in both "Thunderbolts" and "Dark Avengers," he's all over the place just like Tony Stark was after Civil War. Has it been challenging for Marvel writers to get a good grip on Norman as a "lead character" for the big Dark Reign story because he's much more shady than Tony was? Is there a "point man" writer or editor for Norman's character and where in the Marvel Universe he pops up?

Joe Quesada: You know, I think it's a little bit easier with Norman. Norman, at his core, has been a villain for a very, very long time and having a character like Norman dance along the line of villainy or redemption is much easier than with a character like Tony, who has been an iconic hero for over 40 years. With Tony, it was obviously more difficult for several reasons. The first was the manner in which we wanted to play him, we wanted to lead readers into believing that Tony had fallen towards the dark side when in fact he was driven by what he felt was the right thing to do. Dancing on that edge can be very difficult, only to be made more difficult because of the feelings that Civil War stirred in people due to the political undertones and questions that the core metaphor of the story asked.

Just as readers wrestled with these questions, our creators, and we as editors, did as well and I do believe that effected Tony's portrayal from title to title and we had to try to keep a very vigilant eye on it. I think that's why on occasion you would see Tony perhaps being portrayed a bit more callous or villainous, depending on your point of view, in some titles. Everyone working on Civil War had strong feelings working on those books, but at the end of the day, within certain boundaries, we left creators up to their own interpretations simply because Civil War was bringing out the best in all of us. In the end, I think this enhanced the series and worked very well because it gave readers all the different sides of Tony and virtually overnight made him the most interesting and sought after character in the Marvel U.

With Norman, I think it's a little easier to do just because his character has been clearly defined as a bad guy for all these years and the road he seems to be heading down is one that could end up being pretty rough when all is said and done. Heck, the word "dark" is in all our books. Ultimately, [editor] Tom Brevoort is the guy running the show with all the Dark Reign books, so he's the end-all be-all on how Norman is portrayed, much as he was with Tony, and he keeps an eye on consistency as best as any human being with a mighty beard can.

Kiel Phegley: Obviously, there's an end point for Dark Reign on the horizon. Is there a book for you that works as the focal point to the story of Norman's biggest triumphs or tragedies ahead?

Joe Quesada: I would think it starts with "Dark Avengers." There are other books that he's involved with too. I think "Thunderbolts" is another key book for us. But the end point is coming, and we know exactly where it's going to happen. I wish I could pinpoint it a little better for you guys, but it's still a little bit too early to talk about. But it's going to be cool, so stay tuned.

Kiel Phegley: Two questions this week from the Ultimate corner of things, starting with Comicbookfan, who wants to know, "What does the future hold for the 'Ultimate X-Men' comic? I know 'Ultimate X-Men: Requiem' is coming out. But I see the Ultimates have a title - 'Ultimate Comics Avengers' -- and Spider-Man has 'Ultimate Comics Spider-Man' but will there be an X-Men comic in the new Ultimate universe?"

Joe Quesada: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You're making a huge assumption here, Comicbookfan, which is that mutants will survive "Ultimatum." I think you really need to wait and see what the outcome is before asking a question like that.

Kiel Phegley: We spoke with Jeph Loeb recently, and he had said that early in the planning stages for "Ultimatum" there were discussions about whether you'd put a so-called "cosmic reset button" into the story to help reboot things, but that kind of an idea didn't seem to work for the universe. How did that decision affect the story?

Joe Quesada: While it did affect the long term, what it did more significantly was set up some very interesting challenges for us in respect to where we wanted the line to be and how we were going to get there. Before entering "Ultimatum," we took a hard look back at the line. While it's been very, very successful for us, there have been a few missteps here and there that were more known internally for us than they were for fans at large. Those were the things we wanted to set out to correct with these re-launches and "Ultimatum." All I can say to fans is stick around and watch what happens. It's going to be incredibly unexpected because the one thing the Ultimate Universe does offer us is the ability to do things that we would never, ever consider doing in the Marvel Universe - simply because we have to continue publishing the core titles and while we do some pretty radical things in the standard Marvel U, there is usually a line we can't cross because it would be the point of no return. The Ultimate Universe and "Ultimatum" offers us that opportunity, and we're going to use it to it's fullest.

You know what else, it just occurred to me as we're speaking about that, that I don't know if I publicly thanked Damon Lindeloff. About a year and a half ago, when we were first putting together the ideas for what would become "Ultimatum," we had a small creative summit in LA and I asked Damon if he would pop in and help us out. Without missing a beat Damon jumped right in with us and was amazing and really helped us put this thing together. He really challenged us and pushed us to go further, and I simply wanted to say thanks to Damon for being so gracious and generous.

I also want to thank him for "Star Trek."

Jonah Weiland: When we spoke with you and Bill Jemas about the tenth anniversary of the Ultimate line, one of the things you said was a misstep was that the characters aged too much. Is that something you'll be addressing moving forward?

Joe Quesada: Yeah, it happened here and there. It was unavoidable at the time but moving forward we're going to try to be a bit more vigilant about keeping the characters as youthful as possible without putting somebody in a machine and de-aging them, which is the kind of a cheat we didn't want to rely on in the Ultimate Universe, as Jeph had mentioned.

Kiel Phegley: A user simply known as Don... or wait, maybe it's "The Don"...

Joe Quesada: You know what's really funny? We're sitting here answering questions from fans with all sorts of ridiculous screennames, and you're making fun of a guy just called Don.

Jonah Weiland: But it's "The Don." There is an article before it.

Joe Quesada: Is there? Okay, let's make fun of him.

Kiel Phegley: The Don's question is, "Will there be an explanation as to how Ultimate Nick Fury still has his right arm? I recall him losing it in "Ultimates 2." Does he have a robotic arm now or was it somehow reattached? I know this is a bit obsessive, but it has been bothering me since the solicits for 'Ultimate Avengers' were released."

Joe Quesada: It's something that will certainly be addressed. It's not going to be addressed immediately, but it is a story that we definitely want to tell. It's going to be one of the secrets of the Ultimate Universe that will need to eventually be told. Are we cool, "The Don?"

Kiel Phegley: User Hypestyle had a bunch of questions this week, and I liked them all, so I think he'll make for a good lightning round transition into talking about some of the African-American voices in the Marvel Universe, both characters and creators. First, Hypestyle asks, "What, if anything, will Reggie Hudlin be doing for Marvel now that he's left 'Black Panther?'"

Joe Quesada: First of all, Hypestyle, let me be clear that Reggie hasn't left "Black Panther." He's still consulting on the book, and Jonathan Mayberry is writing the book. Reggie is also currently writing a Marvel Knights limited series that we'll definitely announce in San Diego at Comic-Con. We're all excited about it, and Black Panther is actually in it. But let me stop there. I think I've said enough.

Kiel Phegley: "Now that Dwayne McDuffie is no longer doing 'JLA,' are there characters/concepts that you'd like to see him write at Marvel?"

Joe Quesada: Actually, I spoke to Tom Brevoort and his mighty beard about this because I know we've been asking Dwayne to pitch on some stuff. I think that most recently, we've asked him to pitch on a Spider-Man story. I don't know where that's gone so far, but we are asking him to pitch us on stuff if there's anything he'd like to do.

Kiel Phegley: Hypestyle's third question wasn't exactly related to the other two, but I'm from Michigan so I had to pass this along: "Will Michigan get an Avengers Initiative team? The University of Michigan has 'wolverines' for mascots."

Joe Quesada: No! [laughs] That's it, sorry. I kid. Maybe not. We've unveiled a bunch of new teams all the way from Oregon to North Carolina, Maryland and Delaware in "Avengers: The Initiative" #26. But there hasn't been a team announced yet for Michigan. I'm assuming there's one in place, and we'll get to it. No, we really probably wont.

Jonah Weiland: While Michigan may not be getting a team, our readers have discovered today that the quickest way to get a question asked is to have it involve Michigan.

Joe Quesada: Absolutely. Put Michigan in it, and Kiel will deliver your question immediately.

Kiel Phegley: I am a cheap, cheap man. Lastly, Hypestyle asks: "Will we see more Blade now that 'MI13' is ending? I'd like to see John Romita, Jr. do the art on a mini."

Joe Quesada: There are no plans right now for Blade. He happens to be one of my all time favorite characters too, so I'm assuming we'll see him somewhere down the road, but right now there aren't any plans for him. With respect to Johnny, if he were to do something with Blade it'd be pretty far down the road as we've got him locked down for his next three projects and none of those involve the character. If I was a betting man, I would expect a Blade book sooner than I would expect Johnny to be drawing a Blade book.

Kiel Phegley: I don't think there's a fan of superhero comics in general who wouldn't want Romita to draw their favorite character at some point.

Joe Quesada: I've often referred to Johnny as the world's greatest comic book artist, and I still stand by that statement. It's based upon the fact that he can draw anything and do it amazingly well. Johnny can draw two guys sitting at a bar and having a drink and make that compelling. Are there guys out there who maybe can do this quiet scene a little better than Johnny? Yeah, maybe. Johnny can draw a fight scene with two gods demolishing a city and do it brilliantly. Are there some artists who might be able to do that better than Johnny? Maybe. Johnny's knowledge of anatomy, storytelling and action is impeccable. Are there some guys who have one of those three talents who can do it better? Mmmmmaybe. Is there anybody on the planet who can do all those things that Johnny does with the skill and talent that he has? There isn't a person on planet earth who can do it all.

If he were a baseball player, he'd be a five-tool player - a superstar - because he does everything incredibly well. And that's why, to me, he's the world's greatest comic book artist. I don't think there's been a better comic book action artist than Johnny since, well, Jack Kirby is the only person that comes to mind. I think Johnny is the Kirby of his generation, and he produces as quickly as the King without a drop in quality. I always said it even before I worked at Marvel. When I was just a fan, "This guy's the best." I'd love to find Johnny a great nickname, if Kirby was "The King" would Johnny be "The Prince?"

Kiel Phegley: marvell2100 and Greg Anderson are big Bishop fans whose thoughts were summed up well by Greg asking, "I'm a Bishop fan and absolutely hating this current direction that he's in. Please tell me it's almost over and that he'll be redeemed. I'd hate to have the character pushed so far off the edge that the only direction for him is to die. This current direction is a slap to the face of Bishop fans."

Joe Quesada: Thanks for asking marvell2100 and Greg Anderson. Now let's back up a little bit. With respect to "pushing characters to the edge," that's our job here. That's what we do. We create characters in order to push them to the edges and see what happens. That in essence is what's at the core of storytelling and great storytelling to boot. So if we were to do nothing with these characters, than guess what? They'd be boring, and nobody would want to read about them and Bishop wouldn't even exist in the Marvel Universe. But more to the point, I do think it's a mistake to dismiss Bishop by saying he's a villain. Everything he's doing, he's doing for a good reason. Bishop has seen the future, and in his future the little girl in Cable's protection, Hope, is the mutant Anti-Christ. For lack of a better way to say it, if he kills her he prevents the mutant Holocaust. This is that age old argument: if you could go back in time and meet Adolf Hitler as a little kid, what would you do?

On the other side of this is Cable, who believes that Hope is mutantkind's only chance for staving off extinction. So both of these guys are driven by conviction and are ready to make any sacrifice they have to in order to accomplish the mission at hand. Really, who's to say who's right and who's wrong? Maybe one. Maybe the other. Maybe both, maybe neither. To call Bishop a villain is really misinterpreting the mission at hand for him.

Kiel Phegley: Nova2814 was one of a few guys to ask about the collection status of one of Marvel's most acclaimed revivals from a few years back. "Last year, the first Marvel Knights issues of your 'Daredevil' run and Ennis & Dillon's 'Punisher' run were collected in hardcover. Any chance we could see the same for the Paul Jenkins & Jae Lee Inhumans series? While you're at it, put Priests' first twelve 'Black Panther' issues in hardcover as well."

Joe Quesada: There aren't any plans for either of those to come out in hardcover, Nova2814, but that doesn't mean that you'll never see them again. So you never know. These things come and go and are very cyclical.

Kiel Phegley: After last week's heartfelt discussion about Spider-Girl's role in Marvel's publishing history, board member fan4fan pointed out that "Amazing Spider-Man Family," where Spider-Girl's world sometimes appears in print, is not solicited beyond the current issue #8. Is the title canceled, and if so, will we be seeing any of the material from the "Family" title continue in other books?

Joe Quesada: fan4fan, we're changing where the Spider-Girl material will be seen, so stay tuned. There will be an announcement soon enough about the further adventures of Spider-Girl. There will be more Spider-Girl. Do not panic!

Kiel Phegley: But is "Amazing Spider-Man Family" cancelled?

Joe Quesada: We're still not certain of the future of "Amazing Spider-Man Family."

Kiel Phegley: Finally, one of our members who calls himself MIMIC616 keeps asking this, so I must pass along the query, "Will Mimic get a miniseries after 'Dark X-Men?'"

Joe Quesada: You'll be getting plenty of Mimic coming up but not as a solo miniseries. He's a big part of the X-Men books launching in November. So stay tuned.

Have some questions for Joe Quesada? Please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It is from this dedicated thread that CBR's staff will pull questions for our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer session with Joe, which will be this Friday.

Discussion about today's feature may take place at the link immediately below.

Green Lantern Corps Liam Sharp
DC May Have Just Renamed the Green Lantern Corps

More in CBR Exclusives