WWLA: The X-Men Panel

With Marvel's master of media Jim McCann running the show, this early afternoon panel featured Chris Yost and "his life partner" Craig Kyle, "Casanova" creator Matt Fraction, editor Aubrey Sitterson and legendary writer Peter A. David.

McCann had writer Marc Guggenheim on speaker phone explaining why he couldn't be on time, "fifteen minutes away," because he believed he could speedily take the I-10 freeway during daylight hours on a weekend.

Citizen discussed, "There's a nostalgic aspect of it, but it's also a story picking up directly from Messiah Complex. X-Men Legacy picks up what's going on with Professor X after he takes a bullet to the brain. We're checking in with these giants of the Marvel mutant universe." Gambit will be among those noted in that series.

McCann's usage of the word "awesome" was annoying David, ("I'll get you for this, McCann," David muttered) as he discussed the "psychadelic" stuff happening on "Uncanny X-Men."

"Daken will be coming back, the son of Wolverine," Citizen said.

David said, "We have major things happening in Mutant Town, we're going to kind of burn it to the ground, which is exciting for X-Factor becayse they protect it. There will be a Quicksilver one shot, and what's really kind of interesting, different people have said they want different things to happen, and all of them will happen in the first issue. We've just gotten the go ahead to do a Layla Miller one shot to follow up where we left her in Messiah Complex. The concept is that I'm glad you guys have come to like her enough to be devastated by the loss."

Larry Stroman is back on "X-Factor" after a long hiatus from monthly comics, which will feature a She-Hulk crossover. "She is charging straight at Monet, and it will not end well."

"It's also a Secret Invasion crossover," Citizen said. "We're gonna subtitle it 'X-Factor She-Hulk Secret Invasion Give Us Your Money.'"

Longshot and Darwin are joining the team as of "X-Factor" #33. "After Darwin we're bringing in Einstein and Freud," David joked.

Marc Guggenheim and Yannick Paquette are working on "Young X-Men," which is said to be unexpected.

"Divided We Stand" features a Matt Fraction story with "Phonogram's" Jamie Mckelvie doing his first Marvel work, and Ed Brubaker will co-write "Uncanny X-Men" with Fraction starting on issue #500. Greg Land and new Marvel exclusive Terry Dodson will rotate art chores. "Stuff explodes, everybody has lots of sex, and then everybody dies. And the team moves to San Francisco," Fraction said. That may have been a joke.

Of course CBR had already spoken to Marvel's Axel Alonso about Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi taking over "Astonishing X-Men" as of issue #25. Bianchi is doing costume redesigns, including shown images of Nightcrawler, Cyclops and Wolverine.

David discussed a fan question, saying, "The baby will be born, and I don't say that jokingly. What happens as a result, I will not tell you, but there will be developments in that story that will make the internet light up like a Christmas tree."

Dazzler will be back in "Uncanny X-Men" #501, as the "mutant Madonna," discovering a "late career as a mutant entertainer in San Francisco. We're building a team where it's not very team based, but more ensemble based," Fraction indicated.

"On CBR, there's a thread that just exploded," McCann thought.

"It's funny, we actually hit our stride at #3, and we haven't stopped surprising you guys," Kyle said.

"Who's left to kill at the end of #6?" Yost wondered.

Another character is joining "X-Force," and McCann made a case for Dazzler, which then Kyle thought meant killing her. "We have a team of six by issue seven or eight," Kyle noted. "We're focusing on them and the sea of villains. The first two reveals are something but after two and three, you're gonna see how big and bad this story is gonna get. We're really trying to give you great moments throughout the book and give you as much story as we can in twenty two pages."

Ed Brubaker called and was put on speaker phone, and Fraction said, "We already announced it, but I'm co-writing 'Uncanny X-Men' with you."

"Who is this?" Brubaker asked, incredulous.

"Geoff Johns," Fraction responded quickly.

"I'm also writing 'Criminal,'" McCann said, "and Dazzler is in it." Brubaker stopped laughing at that.

Guggenheim showed up at 12:54 PM (the panel arguably started at 12:30), complaining about traffic on Los Angeles' oft-crowded I-10. "What can I tell you here?" Guggenheim wondered. "This is our new young book of X-Men ..."

"Thus the title," McCann deadpanned.

Originally it was to be titled "New Mutants," but this title was chosen because "there are no more new X-Men coming, this is it. Cyclops decides, 'the X-Men disbanding never stopped me before' and rounds up a new group of X-Men to continue the legacy ..."

"That's a different title," McCann added.

Guggenheim continued, "The first arc really sets the tone for the next two years worth of stories. There are seeds planted throughout the arc. Hopefully you won't see the seeds planted. It's a book with a lot of surprises. I'm planning to twist the plot like a pretzel. The book, unlike me, is never late."

The panel opened up the floor to questions, and fans found out Forge would be back but they wouldn't say whether or not he'd cross paths with Storm.

Jean Grey? "Bring her back," Kyle said, promising to kill her off again.

When asked about the She-Hulk crossover, David said, "I actually think it's not a bad idea to tell stories where fans will see a good story without saying 'this will change everything forever."

"There will be irrevocable changes in 'X-Factor!'" Citizen joked.

"I don't wanna get into a lengthy 'She-Hulk' answer, but it's going to drag She-Hulk and Jazinda directly into Secret Invasion, since Jazinda's father is the Super Skrull."

Why can't Warpath fly anymore? "We're aware of it," Yost said. "I thought he was a little embarrassed by the whole flying thing."

Whither younger X-Men? Guggenheim said, "I got Dust, I got Rockslide, I got Blindfold, I got kids in adult situations -- not inappropriately adult situations -- with a slightly lower mortality rate. At the X-Summit it was like 'I like this character.' 'Dead.' 'Oh, I like this one.' 'Oh, killed 'em.'"

"It's a giant red flag if any of them show up in your book," Fraction said to Kyle.

"No real plans for Deadpool," in "X-Factor" David said but he said he liked a lot about Darwin and Longshot and thought they'd introduce interesting elements into the team dynamic.

"Craig and Chris can't kill him yet," Citizen said of Daken. "In 'Cable' you've got two huge beefy guys from the future with robot arms fighting over a baby. If that's not comics, I don't know what is. It is gonna have ramifications in the main books." For some reason this led to a digression about the show "24."

Guggenheim said, "I have plans for Blindfold that will make you look at her in a different light. You'll be able to go back and look at all of her previous appearances in a different light."

"But she can't go back and look at them, that's mean," McCann said. There will also be a new Brotherhood in "New X-Men" with established characters, one of whom "used to work for the Hellfire Club, but you'll know by the end of the first issue," Guggenheim teased.

"The baby is Arcade's," Fraction joked about the Messiah Complex baby.

"The bowtie has a way with the ladies," Kyle said.

Everyone on the panel had an interest in bringing back the Hellfire Club, so McCann suggested a "Hellfire cage match" to settle it after the panel.

McCann promised a return for Northstar and Firestar as the panel finally made its halt.

Now discuss this story in CBR's X-Men Comics forum.

EXCLUSIVE: Uncanny X-Men #5 Preview Fundamentally Changes the Marvel U

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