Eric Rezsnyak writes for Bleeding Cool:
Room 6DE was totally packed Sunday afternoon for the spotlight panel on Marvel's resurgent X-Men line. The property, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and riding high after the Marvel Now relaunch, is filled with critically acclaimed and well-selling books. And based on this panel, there are a few more on the way, including the new Nightcrawler-starring "Amazing X-Men" and a new solo mini for Longshot.
The panel included Brian Michael Bendis (writer, All-New X-Men, Uncanny X-Men), Chris Hastings (writer), Brian Posehn (writer), Gerry Duggan (writer), Paul Cornell (writer, Wolverine), editor Jeanine Schaefer, Peter David (writer, X-Factor), Sam Humphries (writer, Uncanny X-Men), Terry Dodson (artist), Nick Lowe (Senior Editor), and Arune Singh, Marvel Director of Communications.
Battle of the Atom: Past, present, and future of X-Men collide. Bendis said that they wanted to make an event that was legacy-driven. Jason Aaron came up with the idea of the X-Men of the future come to the present and tell the X-Men of the past (the original five from "All-New") to get the hell out of there. But they don't want to go home. Bendis promised a lot of change for all the books at the end of the storyline, with some big payoffs. Out in September & October.
We got to see some art by Frank Cho and Stuart Immonen, which saw a lot of Kitty and Jean yelling, Sentinels, and the future Iceman attacking the present-day team.
Uncanny Avengers by Rick Remender and Daniel Acuna, talked about the future. Steve McNiven joins in issue 14, and an image showed Scarlet Witch's shattered tiara (it had Wolverine slash marks in it) gripped by a skeletal hand.
Wolverine arc Killable by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis. Wolverine's healing factor is gone, and there's a big change coming in issue 13. A whole bunch of Wolverine villains will be coming after him after they find out that he really is able die now.
The panel talked about how crazy it would be to get rid of Wolverine's healing factor, but I feel like we've seen that storyline before. Anyone want to weigh in on that? I know after his adamantium was ripped out the healing was definitely not working properly…
Schaefer: This is a guy whose whole fighting style is "throw myself in front of bullets." And when that's gone, what happens? Is that an accurate description for a man who was trained to be a samurai?! They also tipped people off to the Con-exclusive Entetainment Weekly issue, which shows a new costume for Wolverine. They said there's a very good reason for that.
Uncanny X-Force by Humphries. Issue 12 will be the first full comic drawn by Adrian Alphona in four or five years, a solo story starring Spiral. "If you like what we've been doing with Betsy and the Fantomexes and the love square, this is right up your alley." Ramon Perez comes aboard with issues 13-15, and Humphries calls him a "smarmy weirdo."
Deadpool by Posehn, Duggan, and Declan Shalvey. There's a thread from the Power Man/Iron Fist story set in the 1970's that will continue into the book. Coming up there's a story with Captain America and Wolverine called "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," which will be a Weapons Plus-adjacent story. They repeatedly talked about killing Wolverine, but that might have been a joke. Apparently October's issue 18 is a very, very dark issue.
X-Factor ends with issue 262 in September. Peter David loves the final cover, and said that he says it's been "tremendously exciting" working on the book for almost 10 years now. He says the fans are impressed that he can make people care about these B- and C-level books. But he thinks that's the point – it's a character-driven book, and it has been fun to explore various facets of the mutant universe and the regular MU. Lowe called it one of the steadiest books in the history of comics, which is a testament to Peter and the various artists over the years. Singh said that while they cannot disclose what it is, Peter DOES have something coming from Marvel, so people can get their monthly Peter David fix. The panel then dovetailed into a nice round of applause for one-time "X-Factor" artist Leonard Kirk.
X-Men: Terry Dodson joins Brian Wood with issue 7, which featured a Dia de los Muertos-looking character with razor fingers on the cover. Schaefer talked about the origin of the women-only book, which she argued "just made sense." She referred to it as a passion project for her, and praised Marvel's support of female-led books.
Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe by Christopher Hastings and Jacopo Camagni, coming in November. What are the biggest most difficult things we can throw at Longshot, and see how his luck can come into play to save the whole Marvel Universe.
Amazing X-Men by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness, November, new series featuring Nightcrawler. Cover showed Kurt, Firestar, Wolverine, Iceman, Beast, Storm, Northstar fighting what looked to be Azazel on a pirate ship. Nightcrawler died in "Second Coming" saving Hope Summers. This has been teased with "Wolverine and the X-Men," getting the story of where those Bamfs coming from. First X-Men book by McGuinness, Firestar finally becoming a prominent X-Men character. The first arc of this series is the quest for Nightcrawler.
-With "X-Factor" ending, will we see those characters in other books?
Lowe: Definitely. Longshot, obviously, in "Saves the Marvel Universe." They threw the characters out to other writers and they were snapped up for "important roles."
-There seems to be a theme of killing people and bringing people back. Is there a character they would like to bring back or kill?
Terry Dodson said Lady Deathstrike, Paul Cornell said he's happy with Nightcrawler but he'd like to kill Wolverine, and Bendis said "Peter Parker, any Peter Parker. And then kill him again." Lowe wants to bring back Mammomax, the guy with the elephant mask. Peter David said he would like to kill off Pixie. (I agree!) Schaefer says that she knows he's a huge joke, but she really likes Maggot and thinks he could be useful. (I agree again!)
-In "Battle of the Atom" are we going to see any X-Men from the future that have not been revealed?
A lot of them have not been shown.
-Why did so few X-Men join Cyclops when he called for them recently in "Uncanny"?
The fact that he killed Xavier was a major point. But Bendis said that as Cyclops put his feet firmly on the ground, more and more characters will be inserted into that story, some of them in new and surprising ways. Some of the new mutants may not be seen as "pure" mutants by existing mutants. And there could very well be a bounty on Scott's head. All of it will be revealed in the next few issues.
-Can you guys bring back Kylun?
Lowe: Maybe? The writers have to figure out who he is first. (He was a member of Alan Davis's Excalibur team!)
Several people congratulated Peter David on his recovery from his stroke, and Peter was really charming about it and gracious for the global well wishes, and says he's doing just fine. "I guess its part of the human wonder what people will say about you after you die, and this whole thing was kind of a sneak peek. All these people were saying how much my work has meant to them. It was a tremendous experience to go through from an emotional point of view. Not to go all Sally Field, but you guys seem to like me."
-Which X-Men power would you like to have, and what would you do with it?
Schaefer: She blanked, but went with Maggot.
Bendis: The power of a nap
Cornell: Storm, so he can make weather good for cricket
Posehn: Invulnerability. To sadness.
Humphries: Phoenix Force, because there's an entire solar system that was talking shit about his sister
Dodson: Multiple Man
-Any possibility for the current "Deadpool" writers to do a "Deadpool MAX"?
They don't feel like they have any limits on the current book, and they're also too busy.
-With Wolverine losing the healing factor, will Alpha Flight be appearing?
Nope! (This seemed to disappoint the questioner, who apparently cosplayed as Vindicator at this Con.)
-Will X-23 be showing up in the X-Books soon?
Lowe said that he can't say where, because he didn't want to spoil anything. But yes. At that point Bendis made huge pointing motions to himself, so look for her to show up in either "All-New" or (more likely) "Uncanny."
-Any future plans for "Ultimate X-Men"?
Bendis said that anything they announce for that would be a huge spoiler for "Ultimate Cataclysm," and he HATES spoilers.
-Will Kid Gladiator come back to "Wolverine & the X-Men"?
Look to November, when the series Annual will tie in with "Infinity" and Kid Gladiator will be mouthing off at the Shi'ar Academy.
Jason Aaron texted back to Bendis about "Amazing X-Men" and said he's been waiting to do this Nightcrawler story for years. He was at the grocery store, had a terrible reception, and needed help identifying a shallot.
-How does "Battle of the Atom" tie into "Infinity"?
Lowe: they don't tie in directly, but you will see X-Men characters in "Infinity" and some spin-offs. But Bendis said that the fall out from "Infinity" will be related to the X-verse, specifically Fraction's "Inhumans," which is obviously thematically related with all the new Inhumans popping up.
-Will we see Cable reuniting with Deadpool?
The "Deadpool" writers said that Cable will be showing up in the not-too-distant future, and that it might involve them in a different time, wearing trench coats and using tommy guns.
-Does the death/coming back loop get tiresome?
Bendis: It's actually more about the journey. What's cool about super heroes, especially the X-Men, is the physics being bent all over the place. We all agree that as fans, we want Nightcrawler back. But we want a good story out of it. There had better be a damned good resurrection. Anything that people online say about a resurrection, the creators say 50 times worse.
-The X-Men have become kind of army, there are dozens and dozens of them. And many are great supporting female characters. Will we see any of them? (Mentioned specifically: Aurora, Hepzibah, Lifeguard, Blink)
Schaefer: Brian Wood once a week sends a list of female characters who he sees on Wikipedia, and he wants to know what he can do with them. So never say never.
Bendis: I'll drop a little hint, something called The Utopians, and some of the names just mentioned will pop up.
-Final question, a very angry person asking Bendis, "How dare you kill off Spider-Man?"
People are weird. Also, sad.
Photos by Ashley Piderman: