Marvel's Everything but "Secret Invasion" Call

Marvel held a press conference this afternoon to discuss a wide range of its titles, looking to generate a little buzz to run alongside the "Secret Invasion" hype. Executive Editors Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso, Senior Editor Mark Paniccia, Editors Bill Rosemann, and Nick Lowe, and Jim McCann were on hand to discuss the post-"Messiah Complex" X-Men titles, the world of Hulk, a new "Deadpool" series, and much, much more.

Rosemann said a few words about "Dark Tower: The Long Road Home," which debuts this week. Like "A Gunslinger Born," this new series will feature material that has been referred to but not seen in the "Dark Tower" novels.

Alonso sounded very excited about the new "Cable" series by Dwayne Swierczynski and Ariel Olivetti, which he described as "a sci-fi spaghetti western that is tied directly into the X-Men books." "It's no spoiler to know there's another one-armed protagonist out there looking to ruin Cable's day."

Alonso also said "Messiah Complex" was "a launching pad for titles with a specific role, that would each scratch a different itch." "X-Force" will "do the dirty needs needed to get done in the post-'Messiah Complex' landscape."

Garth Ennis's last arc on "Punisher MAX" is "a brilliant high concept," according to Alonso. "Frank is stuck with opponents he can't shoot back at," he said. The new creative team will be announced soon and there are fifteen issues "already locked and planned." There will also be a new cover artist, replacing Tim Bradstreet who is moving on to other MAX projects.

Nick Lowe: "Axel says goodbye, I say hello," to Garth Ennis, as "War is Hell" debuts in March. Lowe said the series "takes a very keen look at what a war comic can be," and that it is a "really chilling work that tears away at you." The series will include John Cassaday covers, and the artist is apparently "a big fan of propaganda-type art."

"If you don't know much about World War I, I can't recommend it enough."

Paniccia said the former "Incredible Hulk" is now permanently "Incredible Hercules." "Marvel's committed to it for the long haul," he said. Issue #115 is a showdown between Herc and Ares. Also: "we've got plans for the puppy."

Rosemann on "Ultimates 3": "The answers are all forthcoming in the next two issues, leading into 'Ultimate Ultimatum.' Everyone's loving the rollercoaster thrill ride," he said, noting that he was very pleased to have a new issue out every month.

Also answering questions, in "Annihilation: Conquest" #5 and #6, Ultron's true plans are revealed. "We'll also see the further evolution and stepping up of Adam Warlock," The similarly-named Warlock, once long ago seen in "New Mutants," will also return. Rosemann also suggested that "Nova" #11 and #12 would be key issues for the end of "Conquest," though they are not marked as tie-ins.

Brevoort repeated writer Millar's assertion that "Fantastic Four" is "the one book that makes all other titles irrelevant." He also said that the series, with art by Bryan Hitch, was complete through #562, and that it "will come out when it's supposed to."

A double-booking of the conference line had led to a "Brand New Day" conference call crossing over with the first few minutes of the press conference. Coming round to "Amazing Spider-man," Brevoort joked, "you all heard it, we're making it up as we go along." Following March's arc written by Bob Gale and illustrated by Phil Jimenez, the next team be Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo. "Bachalo is the wunderkind discovery of the Spider-man universe," Brevoort said. "He's done a lot of other work before, but he's never done Spider-man. Boy, his Spider-man is terrific." Rosemann also said that the last issue shipping in May will see "something that all Spidey readers, the ones that love us right now and the ones that hate us, will want to see."

Following May's "X-Men" specials, editor Nick Lowe said to expect "big, big things coming in July."

Rosemann said "Annihilation: Conquest" #6 is a double sized issue to give fans "widescreen fun" and set up May's "Guardians of the Galaxy." Bantering about the allegedly very controversial cover to issue #2 of that series, Rosemann said "you'll be wondering what the hell that is, if we're allowed to print it."

"Avengers/Invaders," coming in May from Jim Krueger and Alex Ross, will be set in the modern day Marvel universe, in continuity. Brevoort noted that this is unusual for Ross. For a preview of "Avengers/Invaders," click here.

Nick Lowe on "Young X-Men": "The X-Men are scattered to the four winds, Cyclops is putting together a team of youngsters. But not all is revealed in that statement." He also said the series would "absolutely flabbergast people."

Brevoort said the new "Invincible Iron Man" ongoing would feature "Matt Fraction, Salvador Larrocca, and more variant covers than you can shake a stick at." The series will pick up on some plot threads from Fraction's "The Order," but would be a "clean enough entry point" for those not familiar with that series. For a handful of preview pages from "Invincible Iron Man," click here.

Among the editors, "Iron Fist" emerged as a favorite underdog book, with Brevoort offering praise for "Runaways."

Though the "Parker luck" is plaguing Spider-man these days, the character will remain an "upbeat and enjoyable sort of read," according to Brevoort.

The current "Iron Man" series will be formally renamed "Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D." as of issue 29. The subtitle has been appearing on the cover since "Civil War." This series will continue to focus on espionage, while "Invincible Iron Man" will be a "balls to the wall superhero book," Brevoort said. "He will continue to show up in all the other titles, because he's one of the three most important people in the universe right now."

According to Brevoort, the juxtaposition on the last two pages of "Fantastic Four" #554 of an end-of-the-world failsafe with the next issue's cover featuring that device's use was "a fluke" rather than a brilliant piece of planning, as Millar might claim. But, he said, "you can expect to see some pretty mindblowing things from Mark and Bryan."

Running down their list of favorite books coming up in the next few months:

Rosemann: "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Alonso: "Right now it would be 'Cable,'" but there is also a new "Deadpool" series farther off, written by Daniel Way.

Paniccia: "'Incredible Hercules' #116, which is the prelude to our 'Secret Invasion' arc." Also, "Hulk" #4, which the editor said features "the battle that everyone's been waiting for. It's gonna sell out again. At the end of this there's a character you're not going to believe, which leads into another fight you're not going to believe." And, further, "Giant Size Hulk," which has eight-page stories by Art Adams, Frank Cho, and former "mystery artist" Herb Trimpe.

Lowe (jokingly): "Young X-Men." "It's like 'Titanic' recast as a space opera, or if 'Conan the Barbarian' were written by Jane Austen.

Brevoort: "'Cable'-not only does it have a great Dwayne Swierczynski story, and Ariel Olivetti art, but once it comes out Axel will stop talking about it. Everytime he opens his mouth, it's about 'Cable.' Once it comes out, we'll be hearing about 'Deadpool' or something else."

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