WC12: Marvel's "Avengers Vs. X-Men" Panel

The crowds were more densely packed on Saturday afternoon at the 2012 WonderCon in Anaheim as Marvel Comics got its "Avengers Vs. X-Men" panel underway. Hosted by Director of Communications, Publishing & Digital Media Arune Singh, the spotlight on Marvel's upcoming event also included Executive Editor and SVP of Publishing Tom Brevoort, Head of Television and writer Jeph Loeb and writer Mark Waid.

Singh noted to start that the panel was actually the very first "AvX" panel ever, starting what is most certainly a long con season run of promotion for the 12-issue event series written by the team of Brian Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron and Jonathan Hickman and drawn by John Romita, Jr., Olivier Coipel and Adam Kubert.

The panel started by talking about Loeb's "Avengers: X-Sanction" after Loeb joked that he was on so much cold medicine that "I may start blathering in Kryptonese, but thankfully Mark is here to translate." The writer said that he was as happy as the fans to have Cable back in the Marvel U. He noted that by the time the series wraps with next week's issue #4, readers will know how strongly it ties to "AvX" as the finale of the comic leads right into the opening scene of the event.

The group teased early that they had copies of "AvX" #0 and #1 for fans to read on the dais if they asked good questions. Of the former issue, Brevoort said, "If anyone's not familiar with [Hope, the Avengers or the rest of the cast]...this book sets up exactly where they're at leading into the event."

The all fighting tie-in series "AvX: Versus" came up, which Waid referred to as "Less chattering, more battering." Loeb will write a story for issue #3 of which he said, "I can't tell you where it takes place. I can't tell you how it takes place. But I can tell you that I called Ed McGuinness [to do his Kirby-esque best] on Colossus Juggernaut versus Ben Grimm."

The first "Infinite Comics" story by Waid and Stuart Immonen was also previewed on the screen and with an iPad Brevoort had to show off. "We're really proud of the way it looks," Waid said with Loeb adding, "As a huge Nova fan, the story that Mark wrote and the way Stuart drew this and the colors on this thing are amazing. This really is the future of what comics will look like."

The panel then went through the "AvX" solicits for June, starting with issue #5 of the main series by Matt Fraction and John Romita Jr. before Hickman writes #6 for "Act 2" penciler Olivier Coipel, which will feature the return of the Scarlet Witch to the fray. They also revealed that Chis Yost and Terry Dodson will do the other story for "Versus" #3 and that the Avenger crash into "Wolverine & The X-Men" in a major way that month.

An upcoming tie-in arc of "Avengers Academy" brings together the teen Avengers clash with the cast of "Generation Hope" over the Sentinel the former school kids have on their campus.

Before fan questions started, Brevoort polled the audience on who was for which side of the events conflict, and X-Men fans seems to vastly outnumber Avengers fans.

The first questioner asked what the villains would be up to when the Phoenix Force returned to earth, and Brevoort noted that that question would be addressed some in Kireon Gillen's tie-in issues of "Uncanny X-Men," and he added, "You'll see the whereabouts of some villains, and the story does hit all corners of the Marvel U...you'll see what happens on a global scale and on an intergalactic scale...we'll see what happens with the heroes, the villains and the innocent bystanders you know and love."

The panel soon revealed that both Hulks - Red and Green - would appear in the series, and both would get a chance to throw down against the Colossus Juggernaut.

A fan asked how Captain America - who normally tries diplomatic solutions - would be drawn into such a violent conflict with other heroes. "As a somewhat impartial observer...I buy your premise that Captain America is not really about punching if he can talk it out," Waid said. "Having said that, having seen [what's at stake], I totally buy the idea that this has to come to blows, and I credit the writers with pulling that off."

Another questioner wondered how the conflict of "AvX" matched up to the highly politically metaphorical conflict of "Civil War" to which Brevoort responded, "'Avengers Vs. X-Men' doesn't have that kind of conflict at the heart of it...but both Captain America and Cyclops believe that there's one course the world has to take, and those ideas are at odds with each other...Along those lines, it's very similar to 'Civil War' where we had the Cap side and the Iron Man side truly believing in what they were doing." Waid said that "Civil War" was about how society responds to heroes while "AvX" is more about heroes asking themselves how they best use their powers to impact the world.

Brevoort told one fan that Deadpool showing up in "AvX" was not out of the question but declined to reveal any specific details.

The editor then spoke to the fact that an idea of "Avenges Vs. X-Men" story of some kind has been bubbling beneath the surface since "House of M" since many depowered mutants are still wondering what exactly happened to them. But now was the time for those ideas to come to the fore. Loeb added, "At the same time, it's a completely accessible story...you can pick it up with issue #1 and run with it. And when it ends, you'll be completely in. Marvel Comics will be part of your weekly budget from here on out."

Another reader wanted to know whether the Scarlet Witch's appearance may lead to a "No more superheroes" moment rewriting the Marvel U. "We get to the end of it, and it's all over. We're closing up, and there will be no more books," Brevoort laughed before reassuring, "There's no reboot coming."

A young fan asked the panel which side of the conflict they were on. Brevoort said, "I've edited 'Avengers' for like a dozen years, and I can't stand those fucking X-Men" to which Waid replied, "Marvel Comics - fun for the whole family!" Loeb opted against going blue, saying that as the man who just brought Cable back, he was on the side of the X-Men. He then added an obligatory plug for Joss Whedon's "The Avengers" film. Waid said he's on whatever side Daredevil ends up on.

Someone wanted to know whether Scarlet Witch would turn Jubilee back from being a vampire. "I don't think so," Brevoort said, to which the fan replied "Well, she can do it."

In the lightning round, fans asked whether the Dark Avengers would appear (No) and whether anyone would die to which Brevoort sais, "If they did, would we tell you?" When pressed on by the audience, Waid simply said, "Nes."

Could "AvX" ever be turned into an animated series? Loeb said "Yes."

Stay tuned for more from WonderCon all weekend long on CBR!

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