NYCC: Marvel's Axel-In-Charge Panel Reveals "Fantastic Four" Fate, New "Ant-Man" and More

It's Sunday at New York Comic Con, and though it's the last day of the show, it's still a busy schedule of panels -- including Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso's first-ever "Axel-In-Charge" panel, which shares a name with his Q&A column that runs weekly on CBR every Friday afternoon.

On the panel along with Alonso: James Robinson, Kieron Gillen, Gerry Duggan, Phil Noto, Nick Spencer, Ales Kot, Charles Soule and G. Willow Wilson.

Alonso started the panel by talking about his pride in the diversity in Marvel's current publishing lineup, transitioning to the announcement of the new "Hawkeye" creative team, following the award-wining run of Matt Fraction and David Aja: writer Jeff Lemire and artist Ramón Perez

Lemire joined the panel. "It's an impossible act to follow," he said. "I think that Matt and David have set the bar for bringing a personal point of view to a modern superhero comic. I think it's the high watermark for comics. All I can do is hope I have a really good story to tell. I really did have a story to tell, which is why I said yes."

"We needed to find our own style and our own point of view, and I think we have," Lemire continued. The book will relaunch with a new #1 under Lemire and Perez, which is slated for spring 2015.

Turning to Robinson and "Fantastic Four," the writer said that he had a challenge going into the book; doing something new while also honoring the legacy of past writers on the series (naming Matt Fraction, Jonathan Hickman and Mark Waid).

Robinson acknowledged that the series has taken some dark turns, but, "They're going to all come back and be the team that you love." In the story, "Everyone will have their moment, from Sharon Ventura to Wyatt Wingfoot."

Confirming what was listed previously by Marvel's bookstore distributor Hachette Book Group, Robinson stated, "The book is reverting to its original numbers, and the book is going away for a while. I'm moving towards the end of 'Fantastic Four.'"

"I just want to reassure people that you will not leave this book with a bad taste in your mouth," the writer continued. "Fantastic Four" #642, the start of "The End is Fourever," is slated for release in January.

Soule discussed "She-Hulk," saying he's had a "wonderful experience" writing the book, and has been especially pleased that he's found that the book has a lot of young fans.

Moving to different thematic territory, Soule teased the "Death of Wolverine" finale -- on sale this coming Wednesday -- saying that the last few pages are a "gut punch," even for him.

Kot talked the recently launched "Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier," saying he's been pleased by the amount of Marvel weirdness he's able to explore in the book, and enthusiastically praised the fully painted work by series artist Marco Rudy.

Here's another announcement -- a new "Ant-Man" ongoing series will debut in January 2015, from Nick Spencer and artist Ramon Rosanas.

"This has been on the radar for a while," Spencer said. "Scott is a character I really connect with. Scott wants to be a hero, and he wants to be a good guy" -- yet he has "great Marvel style flaws," as the writer put it.

Wilson told the crowd she was grateful for the support that "Ms. Marvel" has received, saying that she feels if the book was launched 10 years ago, it might not have found the audience that it has. Wilson also complimented series artist Adrian Alphona, and the amount he puts into each issue.

Alonso talked "Black Widow," saying he was "deeply involved" in its development and happy with how its progressed. Noto talked the book, thanking fans for reading it -- saying he wasn't sure what type of response to expect, even with the spotlight on the character due to the movies. "I'm chugging along on issue #12, and I'll stay until the train crashes on the tracks or whatever."

In February, Marvel will release a series of 20 variant covers illustrated by Noto.

Next, Alonso turned to Duggan, asking him about the start of he and Brian Posehn's run on "Deadpool" in 2012. "We knew we were getting a chance to do a new #1, but he was also a character at cruising altitude in terms of popularity," Duggan said, referencing the fact that the co-writers were following a long and successful "Deadpool" run.

"I think now we're really writing for Wade Wilson, the man who puts on a mask and becomes Deadpool," Duggan continued. "I hope there are gags, but what we are really liking to do now is find other ways to hurt him. If we can hit him in the heart, that's what we're trying to do. We're getting the opportunity to tell big, long stories."

"2015 is going to be a really big year for Deadpool in the publishing world," he said. "And then I guess the year after something big is going to happen that I had nothing to do with."

Gillen talked the upcoming "Angela: Asgard's Assassin," which he's co-writing with Marguerite Bennett. "I expect it's not what people expect of the book."

With fan Q&A underway, Alonso said the reason comics with diverse leads like "Ms. Marvel" are successful because they appeal to wide audiences. "Our sales are not because we have 16-year-old Pakistani Muslims reading that book," Alonso said. "It's because we have everyone reading that book."

A fan asked if there was a chance of seeing Eli Bradley soon. Alonso said with Falcon as the "All-New Captain America," there have been talks about Eli Bradley, though nothing concrete yet (and Alonso pointed out that he's a big fan of both Eli and Isaiah Bradley, as the editor of 2003 series "Truth: Red, White & Black").

With Scott Lang starring in the new "Ant-Man" book, what's the status of Hank Pym? "All I can say is we have a plan," Alonso said, though Scott Lang is firmly Marvel's current Ant-Man. "He's valued, he has a long history. Stay tuned"

With "Fantastic Four" ending, are more series headed to a close? Alonso pointed out "Death of Wolverine" out this Wednesday, and said that Marvel currently likes to "bend things like taffy and break them like eggs," and that more unexpected moves may come soon.

Towards the end of the panel, a fan asked Wilson why she chose to set "Ms. Marvel" in Jersey City (the fan's hometown). Wilson said she chose it because the city is "incredibly diverse" and a "thriving Pakistani-American community" -- plus it's "right across the river from Manhattan," which puts Kamala Khan in close proximity to much of Marvel's superheroes.

"It made sense for a young, up-and-coming superhero to be in that place," Wilson, who was also born in Jersey, said.

Catch up with all of CBR's coverage from New York Comic Con!

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