With the first batch of “All-New, All-Different” Marvel Comics series now in stores, a whole new era has arrived for the House of Ideas. It’s eight months after we last saw these heroes, prior to the events of “Secret Wars,” and whole host of surprises lie in wait as the new status quo of the Marvel Universe is revealed. Marvel Editor in Chief Axel Alonso and writers Dennis Hopeless (“All-New X-Men,” “Spider-Woman”), Jason Latour (“Spider-Gwen”), Tom Taylor (“All-New Wolverine”), Robbie Thompson (“Silk”) and David Walker (“Power Man and Iron Fist”) as well as editors Nick Lowe and Katie Kubert assembled at New York Comic Con to tease what’s coming up in the Marvel Universe.
The standing-room-only panel kicked off with moderator Nick Lowe greeting the assembled crowd. The presentation started with “Black Panther,” with Alonso saying that the discussion with writer Ta-Nehisi Coates began when he interviewed Marvel editor Sana Amanat. “We started a dialogue,” said Alonso. “He brings a passion for Marvel Comics and a skill of writing that is indescribeable. His first arc will chronicle a revolution in Wakanda that will force T’Challa to figure out if being the same Black Panther will save the day.” The presentation showed artist Brian Stelfreeze’s concept art, and Alonso said that the artist wanted to make T’Challa “blacker, because he’s African.” “We said of course, go for it!,” said Alonso.
At this point Lowe handed out the first issue of the new “Spider-Gwen” volume to a Spider-Gwen cosplayer to read a week early. The conversation then shifted to “Extraordinary X-Men,” with Alonso saying that “contrary to popular opinion, we are not canceling X-Men. This is the core X-Men book being written by Jeff Lemire. He’s working with the incomprable Humberto Ramos This is the core X-Book. It’s going to mix the characters and have Storm, Old Man Logan and teen Jean Grey. You’ll learn early on that the mutant race is in peril by the existence by the Terrigen Mist, so this is gonna mean, let’s just say, conflicting goals for the mutants and inhumans in the future.”
Tom Taylor talked about “All-New Wolverine,” saying, “She’s stepping into the mantle of Wolverine, artist David Lopez is doing an incredible job. We don’t want to give too much away, but she’s just as kick ass as you know her, but she’s trying not to kill. She’s been around death her whole life so she’s stuck between two situations with two forces trying to kill each other, but she’s trying to not get too stabby.” Taylor said that she is still Wolverine, so X-23 will be chopping off some non essential digits if needed.
The newly revealed cover for “All-New X-Men” #4 teased the return of the Blob, and Hopeless talked about his take on the title. “The post ‘Secret Wars’ environment for mutants is awful, and we have a team of kids that have decided to go back to their roots and lead by example and be heroes and show people that mutants can be good. It’s a road trip story and we’ll dig into the teen angst that people love.”
The “Power Man and Iron Fist” slide got a round of applause. “This is pretty much everyone’s favorite duo in the Marvel Universe, and they haven’t been a duo in their own book for like thirty years,” said Walker. “This book is about these guys, in real life, Barry White and Wink Martindale were best friends so I’m using that as an influence. We all have that friend that everyone’s like, ‘Why are you friends with that person?’ That’s Luke and Danny. It’s a lot of classic adventures, but at the end of the day it’s about their friendship. That’s what appeals to me about the book. There are a lot of Marvel friendships, like Reed and Ben Grimm and Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, but they were introduced as friends. In the Marvel Universe, we saw them come together and evolve; this book is about the evolution of that relationship.”
Kubert talked about “Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” from writer Frank Barbiere and artist Brent Schoonover. “It’s a cool group and they all have their own unique abilites, so Maria Hill assembled them and wants them to get into the weirder side of things. It’s an excuse for me to put monsters in books and make some weird horror stuff.”
Thompson spoke about his series, “Venom: Space Knight,” saying, “Please, I would murder anyone to write this book, Venom in space. These are some of the adventures he goes on without the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ariel [Olivetti] is killing it on this book. It’s kind of a second chance for Flash and the suit. The suit got cleansed in Planet of the Symbiotes. This is a second chance for both of them to make a name for themselves and be what they want to be, which is a hero.”
Latour spoke about “Spider-Gwen’s” return, saying, “Back again for the third time, I guess. We’re trying to give people a way back into the universe by exploring some of the things we left hanging out there from her first appearance. The first arc is related to the night that Peter Parker died. She learns there’s a Lizard running around New York City and this is tied into Peter Parker’s legacy, so she tracks down who these lizards are and it gives us an opportunity to learn about her past. We’ll meet Harry and Norman Osborn and it will set up stuff that’s coming up later in the year.”
The Spider-mania continued with Hopeless talking about his new “Spider-Woman” volume with artist Javier Rodriguez. Lowe talked about the new status quo, which finds Jessica Drew very much pregnant. “The premise of the book since we switched things up in issue #5, is that Jess gave up the Avengers to be a normal problem,” said Hopeless. “We’re hitting her in the face with real life, and this is the start of season two, so we’re going to hit her in the face with a real life brick – she’s pregnant now. It’s about her taking on this new responsibility and having something more important than what she’s used to doing. It’s hard for her to barrel into fights and hurt people when she has this inside her body. Crazy things happen to her when she’s forced to save the day and can’t use her fists.”
Thompson spoke about “Silk,” saying that the lead character has “broke bad” and is working for Black Cat. “She’s dealing with personal issues and issues of not being able to relate to other human beings,” said Thompson. “We wanted to make this more of a personal story; it’s a bit of a bigger canvas because she’s a bad guy now, but it’s still the same Cindy Moon you guys know and love.”
Lowe then announced that in April, “Spider-Gwen,” “Spider-Woman” and “Silk” will cross over in a “Spider-Women” event. It will be bookended by one-shots and then crossover for two issues of each series. “We had a meeting on Thursday to hash out the second half of the story to make sure it worked great,” said Lowe. “It was electric.”
“Basically, Spider-Gwen was born out of a crossover. From the start she’s known there’s a multiverse, and since she’s a solo hero in her own universe, one of the things we’ll seed early in ‘Spider-Gwen’ is that she visits the 616 to get advice from Jessica Drew,” said Latour. “That opens up this thing for us where the gate works both ways. Gwen has been to the 616 a lot, but the ladies haven’t visited her, and that will lead us to meet the Jessica Drew and Cindy Moon of Earth-65 who are pretty rough customers.”
“For Jess it takes place right after she’s had her child,” said Hopeless. “The first two months of having a kid is like an acid trip you can’t escape from, so for Jess, she leaves her house to go have brunch and then awful things happen to her.”
“She’ll have to pay the babysitter overtime,” joked Lowe.
“She left her baby with Porcupine which isn’t a great decision,” said Hopeless.
With fan Q&A going on, a fan asked what’s going on with Julia Carpenter and Anya Corazon – the other two Spider-Women. Lowe said that Carpenter’s appearance in “Daredevil” will not be her last appearance, saying Dan Slott has some plans. And Anya will be in the series “Web-Warriors.” “It’s a Spider-Man team book,” said Lowe. “Spider-Men from different dimensions are going to other dimensions that lost their Spider-Men during ‘Spider-Verse’ and picking up the slack.”
A fan asked if Iceman’s sexuality would play into “All-New X-Men,” to which Hopeless joked, “Nah, we’re going to just ignore that.” Hopeless then clarified that yes, teen Iceman’s sexuality will play a part in the first few arcs of “All-New X-Men” as Bobby figures out who he is now.
When asked about the elderly characters (old man Wolverine, Captain America and Hawkeye – as well as Aunt May, as Lowe pointed out) in the Marvel Universe, the panel talked about where they will all show up next. Big things are coming up for Old Man Logan and Steve Rogers, but Hopeless also said that things are coming up for Cable as well – but no specifics were given if those plans extend past the upcoming “Deadpool & Cable: Split Second” series.
“If there’s an old man team book, I would draw it,” said Latour.
When asked if they’d consider doing an anthology series in “All-New, All-Different,” Lowe said there are no plans now but Alonso did say that their “Secret Wars” anthology “Secret Love” went to a second printing, so there’s always a chance. Alonso said that books stick nowadays that might not have had a shot in the past due to the changing market, singling out the success of “Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” and “Howard the Duck.”
A fan wanted to know if we’ll learn who the father of Jessica’s child is. “It’s not a mystery,” said Hopeless, “Jess just doesn’t want to talk about it because it’s nobody’s business. Jess really does think that; she gets asked in the first arc and she says it’s nobody’s business.”
The topic of the conspiracy theories surrounding the X-Men’s role and prominence in the Marvel Universe came up, and Lowe reassured the audience that the X-Men aren’t going anywhere. “You won’t find any bigger X-Men fans than the people on the stage,” said Lowe. “I got into comics because of the X-Men.” Lowe said that what we’ve seen of the X-Men line post-“Secret Wars” is just the “tip of the iceberg” where the mutants are concerned.
When asked about Hope Summers, Hopeless said that he loves Hope and would love to have her in “All-New X-Men,” but that she looks too much like another teen redhead that’s running around. But he wants to try to get her into a book, even if he doesn’t have plans for her right now.
Part of Miles Morales’ supporting cast will making the jump to the main Marvel Universe with him, with Lowe saying that Ganke and his dad Jefferson and Bombshell will be in “Spider-Man” in some capacity.
Walker talked about Luke Cage’s new role as a husband and a father, saying that few heroes have as incredible of an arc as Luke who went from being a hero for hire to the leader of an Avenger. “He’s grown a lot, that makes him interesting to play with.” Walker also said that members of the Mighty Avengers might show up, but the core of the book is the relationship between Iron Fist and Luke Cage.
Alonso said that “Ghost Rider” writer Felipe Smith will be returning to Robbie Reyes, but didn’t reveal any more info. “There are things we have to get in line before we do that book — I won’t tell you what it’s called but it’ll be dope.”
Lowe also said that he’s working on a book coming out in January and February that will feature Cloak and Dagger, saying that some of the first pages with them on it have come in — but it’s a secret which book it will be.
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