Marvel's got their big Saturday panel about Avengers vs. X-Men, their mighty crossover event that will change the face of the entire Marvel Universe when Marvel NOW rolls around. Here's our liveblog of the panel as it happened.
On the panel are Arune Singh, Joe Quesada, Axel Alonso, C.B. Cebulski, Christos Gage, Nick Lowe.
Everybody wanted Cyclops dead in yesterday's panel – and this room seems to want him dead, too. Quesada says the dead-wanters should be ashamed of yourselves!
AvX has been a huge success. Digital sales are great, Marvel AR, Infinite Comics are going strong, too. It's a story Alonso has been building towards for a while. He saw it as the epilogue to stories told for the last eight years, and he was a longtime X-Men editor who was frustrated at the segregation of the X-Men from the Marvel Universe big shakings, so he wanted to put them on the same level with the Avengers.
Lowe jokes that working with Avengers editor Tom Brevoort is the worst. He's actually incredible. Working on these events is an insane Mt. Everest of work that Brevoort makes look effortless. As a fan, Lowe is stoked by AvX.
Gage is writing an A and an x book. He's not really on either side. He has to be able to be in the headspace of both sides. His first Marvel thing was a Civil War one shot from both sides, and Avengers Academy is in the same thing with x-Men Legacy. He looks at it from both perspectives, the Avengers occupation and the X-folk at AA. He's happy to have two good-selling books.
Shout-outs to all the creators, artists, colorists, inkers, etc. This is a huge amount of talent. It was a team effort, figuring out who was going to draw which books.
Marvel Games panel news – Avengers Alliance is unveiling their own Avengers vs. X-Men module, with the Phoenix Five (all but Namor, but with a replacement member).
New Era has a new line of Avengers vs. X-Men hats, too. One featuring Jim Cheung art. Two have AvX logos. They put on the hats, and Nick Lowe looks like Bruce McCullough.
The AvX Babies project from Skottie Young is plugged again, as mentioned in the Cup o' Joe panel yesterday. October one-shot! Gurihiru is doing the art for this one.
"Everybody Pays" after AvX. AVX CONSEQUENCES happens – five issues, weekly, by Kieron Gillen, Tom Raney, Mark Brooks, Steve Kurth, Dale Eaglesham. The cover features a chalk outline of somebody (hence all the 'kill Cyclops' speculation). Lowe says AvX 12 is massive and amazing and it has consequences. There's a different artist for each issue, in the Schism model. It'll be dealing with stuff destroyed or built on both sides of the conflict. Alonso says his philosophy about character scars having meaning plays into this, and also sets up the future. One team's leadership is in flux. A lot of us will be pissed at them, a lot of us will cheer.
MARVEL NOW! A lot of major titles being relaunched, and big new titles. Alonso explains the initiative from the days when Joe Quesada was new at Marvel – find a great writer, pair him with a great artist and make them tell the best story they can. They're doing that line-wide. Most titles have new #1s with new creative teams and new mission statements. This is NOT A REBOOT. No alternate dimensions or any of that malarkey. Alonso is very excited about this because each book is doing stuff the other books aren't – no weak link in the chain with all these new books. Every week from October to February gives you a new #1. All great jumping on points for Captain America, Fantastic Four, etc.
Marvel NOW will give free digital copy codes as well, and specific AR stuff to give you some backstories to help you jump on.
New redesigns in Quesada's image for Marvel NOW. He didn't design them himself – the editors and creators did, but he had fun doing this piecemeal, and he had to redraw characters over and over again because changes kept coming in. The ink was still wet when they went to press with this. You'll find out more about why these characters look like they do as these unfold. Quesada says Marvel's philosophy is "we don't have a Crisis." But they do retool once in a while with a fresh new coat of paint without rebooting. It's rethinking the ways they deliver comics as well as all the characters and stories. Rethinking the way they do covers as well. Lapsed fans often say they don't know where to start, but you can tell them to download the AR app that will tell you recaps of whatever new books are in there. Recap pages aren't going away, either.
UNCANNY AVENGERS, launches October 10. Rick Remender, John Cassaday. It's a snapshot of the MU post AVX. Equal representatives from A and X, dealing with a very specific threat in #1, but it will become much more than that. Years ago, they wondered why Earth'st Mightiest Heroes wouldn't include Spider-Man and Wolverine, and it revitalized the Avengers when they did it. This is another seismic shift like that. This ends the segregation between Avengers vs. X-Men. People usually like one or the other with battle lines drawn. This book is "cats and dogs together."
Q: A woman dressed as Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel asks when Monica Rambeau is coming back? Lowe LOVES Rambeau, and he edited Nextwave. He wrote a Nextwave theme song, too. Cebulski says "FIVE MONTHS" and we'll get her.
Q: How did the X-Men Schism prelude connected to the Schism story – it didn't seem to connect? Lowe says the goal was not to have a specific continuity build, but rather to just start talking about metaphoric issues at stake about leadership, as that's what Schism was about – broken leadership. They wanted to specifically focus on Cyclops and his history and the landscape of the X-Men at the time. Alonso says he thinks it was a mistake to label it as "Prelude to Schism." They learned a lesson that they may have promised something more than what was delivered. They were quieter character pieces that didn't function as an official Prelude. They won't make that mistake and they will be more prudent about how they label things.
Q: Wolverine has been very political lately – what's his credibility now? He's fighting his own students and fighting against mutants? Are we supposed to like him or take him seriously after this? Lowe sure thinks so. Jason Aaron has shepherded a lot of the Wolverine stuff, and he loves putting characters through a crucible. Wolverine and the X-Men is the focus on what Wolverine is going through – that and Uncanny X-Force have a lot of changes going on with Logan, and a CHANGED man will be coming out of it. The story of AvX is far from over right now, and a lot to be seen before #12 to affect how you see him.
Q: Any chance to have an AvX movie? Quesada says Avengers is a Marvel movie, X-Men is a Fox movie, so not in the near future.
Q: A guy dressed as Magneto asks about deaths being permanent in AVX: Consequences? Gage says "Bucky came back, let's face it." If it's a good story, that makes everything right to him. He never would've wanted Bucky back, but Brubaker and Epting made it the best thing. Alonso says resurrections are the coolest thing about comics and it should be embraced. Jonathan Hickman sold the moment of Human Torch dying got so much attention even though we knew he was probably coming back. Death and resurrection is unique about comics, and we should be proud of that.
Q: What about New Mutants vs. Young Avengers or anything? Gage did note the Avengers Academy students vs. X-Men students. Lowe says 'not the New Mutants,' but X-Men Legacy and AA had cool things. "Redwing vs. Lockheed, how cool was that?" Young Avengers were tied up.
Q: Deadpool/Nightcrawler fan used to dream of being a mutant, and asks about their little kid hearts, which team would they want to be on? Cebulski chooses New Mutants. Lowe is X-Men through and through, even before he worked on them. The metaphor of being different as a stigma is very relatable. Gage agrees with X-Men, always wished he was a mutant, too. Alonso says X-Men. Quesada says West Coast Avengers and Singh goes with Alpha Flight.
Q: AVX Consequences will include Domino or Deadpool or more neutral characters? Those two aren't in AVX:C, but a lot of them in Marvel NOW that they haven't announced yet.
Q: How much does Scott being a Phoenix help resolve the Cyclops/Jean Grey relationship? The second Infinite Comic with AvX #6 (you can get it for free), you see Cyclops dealing with the Phoenix and Jean Grey, and much will happen as AvX continues.
Q: A guy wants Avengers to get giant robots merging together to fight the Phoenix? Lowe wishes he would've thought of it last year.
Q: Any plans for Darwin or Kailon from Excalibur – no plans for the latter, but Peter David never forgets anything, and Darwin will probably come back – Peter David said yesterday he's wrapping up all his dangling plotlines soon.
Q: A little kid is fascinated with comics and wonders what made them think about AvX and why they wanted to fight? They figured the timing of the Avengers movie was right, and they thought of it before and shot it down until they got the story right.
Q: How long does it take to make one comic? Depends on the creators. Some they work on for a long time in advance, and some get whipped together very quickly. As a ballpark, average penciler takes 6 weeks, an inker finishes a week later, the colorist and the letterer a week after that. Usually 8 to 10 weeks from start to finish, and then a couple weeks to print and ship.
Q: Colossus fan is aggressive but usually a pacifist, what's up? Lowe says Colossus has been going through a TON of stuff. Gillen has put Colossus through the paces. During Fear Itself, he took on the Juggernaut mantle from Cyttorak, and it's a burden ever since. This voice of "DESTROY DESTROY" in the back of his head. Uncanny X-Men will focus on that – #19 and #20 especially. #20 is one of the most chilling scripts he's ever read and it's amazing and terrifying for Colossus.
Q: Generation Hope and the Lights fan asks for those characters more regularly? They haven't been forgotten. Some of them are in Wolverine and the X-Men, and Idie will be very, very central. Hope is a huge part of AvX.
Q: Why is there a time limit on digital downloads – it expires for people in the military before they can get it, and asks about the software for AR? Aurasma powers AR. Singh says they give a year and a day on the code, and says anyone in the military can email email@example.com to discuss it with them. Lowe is really proud of their online support staff.
Q: Which character would you like to see dead in AvX? Cebulski can't answer that, he likes everybody. Lowe jokes "Tom Brevoort." Cebulski would rather see Beast change away from Cat Beast. Huge applause from the crowd. Lowe tries to champion Cat Beast and no one works. Lowe says Thor? Gage dosn't like dead characters he can't use. Quesada says 'I would never have a character killed.' Alonso says 'Namor.'
Q: Someone dressed as Hawkeye asks about AvX fallout for the kids? Lowe says it's all in Wolverine and the X-Men, and there will be a lot of reckoning for them. Aaron does not go easy on those kids. Brutal stuff coming up.
Q: Wouldn't mutants overwhelm Avengers with strength in numbers if they are all branded criminals? The mutant population is small. Cyclops thought Cap showed up like a stormtrooper, but Bendis took pains to try to understand perspectives. Cap came to Utopia with a heavy heart but a lot of muscle, needing to take action because the world could blow up. Cyclops has a lot invested in Hope as the messiah child for the mutant race. They did their best to make both sides defensible.
Cebulski plugs Olivier Coipel's artwork – and Coipel is in the room but won't come on stage. They try to urge him to come forward, and slowly he does. The crowd cheers mightily for him. Singh plugs MTVGeek's AvX war journals and Coipel's design for Namor's chaps, and he steals the show.
Q: Storm and Black Panther tension? Lowe says a lot is going on with their relationship, and you'll see AvX – AvX VS. #5 has a Jason Aaron/Tom Raney story focusing on them.
Q: Are Fantastic Four and Spider-Man in the Marvel NOW in the aftermath? Alonso says NOW is across the line, starting with A and X, but is everybody. Spider-Man was in that promo image, as was Sue Storm. Even Rocket Raccoon is up there for a reason. Singh notes a difference in Spider-Man's costume.
Q: Any chance of spreading out event books a bit more instead of cycling them in all the time? Alonso says they pace them like summer blockbusters. Don't be surprised with another event next summer. Nothing in the sales show that there's nothing to bear out the complaints of event fatigue. Alonso says they learn lessons – AvX tried to be a focused events and avoided the temptation to take it outside the core titles, and it's worked. Quesada says he didn't like getting the satellite books as a mandate to understand it. AvX only requires the core book. (ED. Really? REALLY?) A deeper understanding in the satellite books, but you don't need AvX.
Q: Is Jean Grey alive? It becomes a Jean vs. Emma poll of the crowd. Yes, the All-New X-Men has young Jean coming forward.