Fan Friday: "Age of Ultron" & Horror Heroes

Fridays on CBR mean Axel's In Charge.

Welcome to MARVEL A-I-C: AXEL-IN-CHARGE, CBR's regular interview feature with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso!

An editor with years of experience who's brought out comics to both critical acclaim and best-selling status, Alonso stepped into the chair at the top of Marvel's Editorial department earlier this year and since then has been working to bring his signature stylings to the entire Marvel U. Anchored by regular question and answer rounds with the denizens of the CBR Message Boards, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!

This week, we're back in action with an all-fan Friday installment of A-i-C! Below, Axel takes your questions on everything from the modern face of events and their future with the X-Men and the Avengers. Plus, a look at the particulars of "Age of Ultron" including the role Hank Pym will play in the Brian Bendis-written event. And Axel takes a run at the Horror Heroes of Marvel from Blade to Damian Hellstrom to Ghost Rider and more. Read on!

Kiel Phegley: Axel, in an all-out fan week of questions, I thought we'd start big with some event talk. T.M. Anthony was wondering: "Are you planning on letting these new Marvel NOW! titles carry narrative momentum for the MU in place of using line wide crossovers? (Like Fear Itself and AvX?) Or should we get used to the idea of an annual line wide crossover? It seems like, despite their financial success, readers are getting event fatigue, especially over hero vs hero affairs."

Axel Alonso: "Despite their financial success." Those're key words, T.M. If readers were truly "fatigued" by big events -- as a lot of people on this forum continually assert -- wouldn't sales plummet when publishers deploy them? Wouldn't that be the inevitable outcome? Doesn't reader disinterest lead to low sales or cancellation?

Look, Marvel -- and our distinguished competition -- do events because (a) They remind readers of the interconnectedness of our titles, and (b) Tll evidence points to the fact that enough of you guys -- the fans that plop down your hard-earned money at the comic stores every Wednesday -- desire them. Does that mean we don't care about the stories told in individual titles? Absolutely not. For that reason, our policy in regard to big events is that creators decide if their book ties in or not. With the upcoming "Age of Ultron," titles like "The Superior Spider-Man," "Fantastic Four" and "Uncanny Avengers" will tie in, but those tie-ins will be additional issues that don't interrupt the run of the regular book. So they're sort of like Point One issues. With Marvel Universe event we have planned for summer, some series will tie in, some won't, and some might do similar dedicated tie-ins.

Meanwhile, JaggedFel asks, "Are we going back to separate Avengers and X-men events or is it joint events from here on out?"

Alonso: A little of both, JaggedFel. What "Avengers Vs. X-Men" did -- and "Uncanny Avengers" continues to do -- is remind readers that Avengers and X-Men exist in -- and fight for -- the same universe. So look for dedicated X-Men events -- particularly next year as we celebrate the X-Men's 50th Anniversary -- as well as greater involvement of the X-Men in line-wide events.

Looking at the next big event, a user going by Ka-Zar had this query: "What can you say about Hank Pym and Vision's roles in 'Age of Ultron'? Considering how close they are to the villain, can we expect to see a lot of them?"

Alonso: Wait and see, Ka-Zar. But I'll caution you that not every Ultron story need be the same. While Hank Pym and the Vision have a strong connection to Ultron -- and do appear in "Age of Ultron" -- it's not a given that they'll be major players in that story. Brian has a few tricks up his sleeve...

Keeping on the "Age of Ultron" tip, SilverZeal wonders, "Will Black Panther/Tchalla, Blue Marvel and/or Photon/Monica Rambeau be in Bendis' 'Age of Ultron'?"

Alonso: One of them will.

Shifting topics slightly, Tracks had a specific question in terms of some of Marvel's horror-themed heroes. He wants to know: "Marvel NOW! Has done a great job of diversifying their books. I'm wondering if it's in the plans for horror characters, like Blade or Werewolf by Night, to find a home some time in the future. There were talks, a while ago, of a Blade/Wolverine story by Marc Guggenheim with art by Dave Wilkins. It was supposed to be released in 2010 and has been steadily pushed back since then. I'm wondering if we'll ever see the release or has it been shelved permanently."

Alonso: We love Blade and Werewolf By Night, but there are no immediate plans for them in the future. As for Marc and Dave's "Blade/Wolverine" project, let me just say that, very few projects are ever truly dead. We hope to come back to and finish this one some time.

Continuing with that theme, Prince Of Orphans asks, "Despite being dead in one book and a prisoner in the other, does Marvel have any plans for Daimon Hellstrom in the future? And if so, what writers are making plans with him? And also, is he the Son of Satan or not? Can you confirm who the father is, and settle the debate a few of us have been having on here once and for all?"

Alonso: You spoke too soon, Prince Of Orphans. If you read the end of Brian's final "New Avengers" story, you saw that Daimon was still alive there! And yes, he'll be showing up again soon in the pages of "Venom." His father, of course, is Joe-Jerome Hellstrom.

He follows up with this: "Any upcoming appearances for Ghost Rider?"

Alonso: Not at the moment, but it's only a matter of time.

In the deeper recesses of Marvel's horror bench, jkavlock asks, "Axel, are there any plans for one of Marvel's most underused characters, Elsa Bloodstone? She was great in Nextwave and would be completely capable of carrying a solo book that would fill a unique niche in the Marvel Universe."

Alonso: Elsa recently appeared in "Wolverine" #314-317, an arc called "Covenant." Beyond that, I expect that she'll show up in "Fearless Defenders" at some point, probably at the end of the first arc, which features a virtual army of female characters. And she'd make a pretty cool character for the MAX line...

Finally on this front, the aptly named moderator Expletive Deleted wants to know, "Will the MAX line will be available digitally any time soon? I've made the leap to digital, but I can't get all the way there with Fury MAX only available in print."

Alonso: There are plans to introduce MAX content in the future, digitally. Stay tuned.

Broadening out to the rest of the Marvel U, Dustellar was one of a few guys wondering, "Will Iron Fist have another regular book in the near future?"

Alonso: I sure hope so! He played a pretty big role in "Avengers Vs. X-Men."

Spidey616 is back to ask, "During his AvX tie-ins of 'Avengers,' Bendis ended the relationship between Noh-Varr and his girlfriend Annie with him cryptically leaving her a mysterious gift. Don't suppose we can expect Bendis to pick up his thread in his upcoming cosmic title 'Guardians of the Galaxy'?"

Alonso: I don't know of any plans to do so in "Guardians of the Galaxy." But Noh-Varr does appear in Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's "Young Avengers" #1. Hmmm...

Finally, Argentinean fan Coyote popped in to ask, "In a percentage scale, what is the chances to see The Sentry in future events?"

Alonso: Not good.

Have some questions for Marvel's AXEL-IN-CHARGE? Please visit the CUP O' Q&A thread in CBR's Marvel Universe forum. It's now the dedicated thread for all connections between Board Members and the Marvel Executive staff that CBR will pull questions for next week's installment of our weekly fan-generated question-and-answer column! Do it to it!

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