The entire Marvel Universe is getting a facelift this fall, and Friday at New York Comic Con, the "All-New, All-Different" looks hitting the heroes of the Avengers franchise got a spotlight that ranged from "Sam Wilson: Captain America" to "Astonishing Ant-Man" and beyond.
Stepping up to the publishers Iron Man and the Avengers panel were incoming "A-Force" writer Marguerite Bennett, "Cap" and "Ant-Man" scribe Nick Spencer, writers Joshua Williamson, Greg Pak, Gerry Duggan, Al Ewing and Frank Tieri joined Executive Editor Tom Brevoort.
The proceedings started with some motivational salesmanship as Brevoort invited a Maria Hill cosplayer on stage to read and review the just released "Invincible Iron Man" #1 by Brian Bendis and David Marquez. "We're making 'Iron Man' the kind of keystone book of the Marvel Universe and making him as important to our publishing plans as he is to our films," the editor said, showing off art from upcoming issues.
The flipside of that idea was the elevation of movie and comic hero Sam Wilson to the role of Captain America, which will continue next week in Spencer's first issue. "Sam has taken over for Steve Rogers, and he is struggling a bit with the job. Public opinion is not going his way, so it's fun to see Captain America as an outside. It's sort of a fun, lighter touch which we're enjoying. Misty Knight is in it a lot, and we've got a new sidekick for Cap as well," Spencer said while showing off art from Daniel AcuÃ±a.
"Astonishing Ant-Man" also got a moment in the spotlight. "Scott is in Miami trying to make his security company work and trying to repair his relationship with his daughter," the writer said of the book that picks up eight months after the last volume as many Marvel titles are. "If you dug the movie or dug the first volume, definitely pick it up."
Continuing the new face theme will be the incoming "The Totally Awesome Hulk" starring Amadeus Cho in the title role. "He has zero impulse control, like his hero the Hulk," Pak said of the launch, noting that the mystery of why he's taken over for Bruce Banner will be a big part of the book. The writer said that the key to the book is that Cho loves being the Hulk, and he will dive into the role in full force by doing things like punching two-headed dragons.
Bennett and Brevoort talked about mixing the high brow classical nature of the world "Angela, Queen of Hel" takes place in with fast-paced action, and then Duggan dug into the new volume of "Uncanny Avengers" co-starring Deadpool. "I'm inheriting a very difficult scenario in the Marvel Universe. There's a great need to unity -Â not just amongst mutants and humans but also amongst humans and Inhumans. They're trying to protect unity, but they also have a secret mission that will play out over the first few issues...I'm having a lot of fun writing my first Avengers comic," said the writer, showing off some art where the team takes on the Super Adaptoid.
Brevoort noted that some fans were disappointed that there were fewer X-Men characters in "Uncanny Avengers," but he promised that they would be even angrier as the series progressed from #4 to #5 with some shocking developments for the mutant world. "But you will continue to read it and continue to love it," the editor promised with a laugh.
Deadpool's status on the Avengers team will impact his solo book as Duggan noted that his more public role will be a new challenge for the normally loose cannon Wade Wilson. "We have a really lovely villain turn for a character who shall remain nameless," the writer said. "We're having a lot of fun with some of the supporting characters from the last volume...but if you've been curious about Deadpool comics, this is as good a time as any to jump into the 'Pool."
Tieri's new "Black Knight" series came about thanks to fan support and the writer's own lobbying. "You finally let me do it!" he said to his editor laughing. "It's kind of like 'Breaking Bad' meets 'Game of Thrones.' Dane has succumb to the power of the bade, and he feels like he needs to do that." Tieri added that the book will start out in the "Secret Wars" landscape of Weirdword which he said was "like 'Alice In Wonderland' directed by Quentin Tarrantino."
Ewing's group of "Mighty Avengers" will get a facelift and a realignment as an Avengers super spy book of sorts where the team fights a "half-scorpion, half-gorilla with a floating fourth dimensional crystal for a head...and that's not the weirdest thing they encounter," the writer said. He's also taking on a new 616-based "The Ultimates" series which will deal with "enormous, cosmic, epic events -- the impossible is where they start...In the first issue, they take on Galactus, and you may think you know where that happens, but you don't," he said showing off Kenneth Rockafort art featuring Captain Marvel.
Brevoort then showed off the Alex Ross cover to "All-New All-Different Avengers" #4 which features Sam Wilson and Jane Foster in a passionate kiss.
The panel wrapped its news portion by announcing the "Avengers" Standoff" event to mark Captain America's 75th Anniversary which runs through many Avengers titles starting with a story by Spencer and Jesus Saiz. "This is about us trying to celebrate the Cap Anniversary in the biggest way possible," the writer said noting that the team gets trapped in a small town with mobs coming after Steve Rogers.
The event will have an "Alpha" issue and then run through various Avengers titles over two months, which Brevoort said was meant to be a smaller "family" event in the style that the X-Men books have often done in the past. The editor explained that he has wanted to do this with the franchise for years, but every time they came up with an Avengers story idea, it grew so big that it had to be a full-on Marvel Universe event.
During the audience Q&A portion, Brevoort revealed that "Cloak and Dagger will be showing up in 'Amazing Spider-Man' in a few months in a big way."
Brevoort and Spencer discussed how much the comics should align with the Marvel Studios movies. While making Iron Man close to the Robert Downey, Jr. portrayal is important, the editor said, they work to not make everything exactly as it works on screen. Spencer said that while many assumed that Cassie Sandsmark would appear in his Ant-Man book because of the movie, the creative and editorial teams had long debates about whether or not she should come back for the book. Similarly, Marvel was happy to present a very different version of Cap in Sam Wilson even as Steve Rogers continues to fight on the big screen.
Asked if he could pick any character to be "the next Ant-Man" as Eric O'Grady once did, Spencer said, "I think Cassie has more than proven herself."
Contradicting some commonly assumed wisdom (even in this report), when a fan called the universe the new "Ultimates" series one that took place in the 616 universe, Brevoort tellingly said, "Is it in the 616?" Ewing went on to say that no matter the world, there would be elements from the Ultimate U in the new Marvel Universe, including the Triskellion HQ which will also include the Wakandian embassy in NYC. "I know in other books they're playing with it as well and finding out new things to play with," he said. "I think the important thing here is that the new Marvel Universe is not the old Marvel Universe with a few things thrown into it...I think it would not be wrong to expect all sorts of things not just from the Ultimate Universe but also from 'Secret Wars' to show up," Brevoort said, finally.
So far, the Marvel staff has taken to referring to the new Marvel U as "Universe 8" but would not reveal what exactly that was in reference to.
Asked about the teased story "Civil War 2," Brevoort would only say, "What?!?"