Uncanny Arena Defenders

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 bring you a special two-part installment of AXEL-IN-CHARGE as our regular interview feature allows the Editor-in-Chief to riff on this week's big news of Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachelo's "Uncanny X-Men" relaunch and Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney's "Fearless Defenders." Plus! We've got an extra installment of CBR TV from New York Comic Con where Axel digs into Marvel NOW! including new word on the building blocks of "Avengers Arena." Read on!

Kiel Phegley: We had news of two new Marvel NOW! titles hit this week, and one of those is "Uncanny X-Men," which not everyone expected to make a comeback so soon. We knew that the plan was to have "All-New X-Men" serve as the flagship for the mutant world coming out of "AvX," but how does this second series expand the general mission statement for Brian's conception of the X-line?

Axel Alonso: "Uncanny X-Men #1" follows the adventures of Cyclops, Emma, Magneto, Magik and...well, if you're wondering about all the blips that appeared on Cerebro at the end of "Avengers Vs. X-Men" #12, this is the place to learn more. Joining Brian to tel this story will be [artist] Chris Bachalo, who was born to draw X-Men. So what you're looking at is two cores titles - "All-New X-Men," by Brian and Stuart Immonen, and "Uncanny X-Men," by Brian and Chris. How does it expand on the mission statement of X-Men? Well, as always there are at least two paths that mutants can choose. It used to be those paths were carved by Xavier and Magneto. Now they're by Cyclops and...read on...

He and Bendis also have a working relationship going back to certain stories with the Avengers. How did those two become the pair for this title?

Alonso: The stars were aligned for Chris to do this. He's been doing an outstanding job on 'Wolverine & The X-Men," along with [artist] Nick Bradshaw, and we hate to see him go. But when you're doing "Uncanny X-Men" #1 with a high concept as strong as this, you've got to bring out your biggest guns.

On the other side of the coin, we've got "Fearless Defenders." This feels like a bit of a follow up to "The Fearless" from last year that you've spoken about a lot in terms of a title that works to raise the profile of female characters and excite Marvel U fans. How did all that roll into this new series getting the greenlight?

Alonso: Cullen hit a home-run with his pitch. The Defenders has always been a team whose roster is as offbeat as the threats it faces, and this new tea fits the bill to a "t." The all-new, all-female Defenders team is uniquely qualified to take care of your problem - whether it's aliens, trolls, ninjas, zombies or zombie ninjas!

Valkyrie is a character we've seen often of late, though Misty Knight has had a tougher time, I feel, getting across with fans. What about this take do you think sets her up for success?

Alonso: Hey, I'm a big Misty Knight fan, dating back to Marvel's Kung Fu and Blaxploitation comics of the '70s and '80s: "Sons of the Tiger." "Daughters of the Dragon," "Luke Cage, Hero For Hire," "Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu." As a Misty Knight fan, I'll say I think Cullen has nailed her character, and he's put her in a great setting to make her sine. Cullen's "Defenders" is kind of a comic book "buddy movie" featuring two characters -- Misty and Valkyrie -- that have little in common but are forced to form a team that, as the first cover hints, will deal with extremely diverse threats. The interpersonal dynamic of this book will surprise a lot of readers who think they know these characters.

So these two titles are definitely a bit cooler in terms of sheer numbers from the massive wave of announcements that hit for December and January. Are we at the end of the Marvel NOW! rollout here?

Alonso: We definitely have some more surprises in store - big surprises.

But we're not done yet! Just press play below to see Axel dive deeper into Marvel NOW! in a recent CBR TV interview including new details on the setup and tone of "Avengers Arena!"

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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