Last weekend was the 8th annual New York Comic Con, the largest “pop culture event” on East coast. Boasting 133,000 attendees this year, about a 13% gain as compared to NYCC 2012 and putting it on par, size-wise, with San Diego Comic Con, the convention was definitely packed, and with the crowds came a mixed bag of good and bad occurrences that I’m sure you’ve heard about (I’ll touch on that in another post).
For me, the most exciting part of Comic Cons (aside from meeting up with con friends and seeing all the costumes) are the panels. This year, NYCC had a broader selection of panels; fewer seemed to focus on comics, and more on television (Sleepy Hollow, Dracula, Venture Brothers, Archer, and The League were just a few of the many tv shows with a panel). While it lacks the “Hollywood”-style movie focus that SDCC has seemed to gain over the years, NYCC is certainly no longer a comics-only event (and honestly, it hasn’t been a comics-only event for quite some time). That said, Marvel, DC, Valiant, Image, and others certainly used it as an outlet to announce some major comics news.
Marvel had a huge number of announcements over the weekend, but their first major panel, on Friday, focused on the Amazing X-Men corner of the universe (while also explaining some of the teasers they had recently been posting online). See, Marvel is revamping their lines. Yet again. Dubbed “All-New Marvel NOW!” (likely due to the success of Bendis’ All-New X-Men), it’s basically Marvel’s “second wave” of new releases. Much like when the original Marvel NOW! came out, books will be staggered, so there will likely be new titles and story arcs released almost every week, including many substantive #1′s that also exist as part of the continuing series.
The panel was huge, featuring Peter David, Jerry Dugan, Dennis Hopeless, Marjorie Liu, Brian Woods, Charles Soule, Simon Spurrier, Nick Lowe, Jeanine Schaefer, and a few others. While some Marvel panels (the Avengers) featured only one woman (Kelly Sue Deconnick), it was nice to see that this panel had both Liu and editor Schaefer, and that they were fairly verbal.
One of the first teasers–”SINNERS”–was revealed to be that Ghost Rider would be joining the All-New (but not SO new) Thunderbolts team starting with the up coming “No Mercy” arc. The comic, which is to be written by Charles Soule now, will tie in to the idea of vengeance and repentance, and may also feature the Peter David-created character “Mercy.” Soule commented that “I like dudes with flaming skulls,” but that Ghost Rider would also fit into the team and offer an interesting contrast from the rest of the cast, who are “frankly horrible people.”
Soule will also be writing the upcoming She-Hulk titled, with art by Javier Pulido. Soule spoke with great respect for the character and the Dan Slott solo series that came out in early 2000s. An attorney himself (as well as a writer, what an accomplished guy!), he will pull some of his real life experience into the book to make Jen’s life and career seem real. She-Hulk will be put in a position where she has to prove herself, and her work as an attorney means she can “meet almost anyone in the Marvel Universe at any time.” The book will feature all of Jennifer Walter’s life, from work to superheroics to down time. While I’m still not sold on the new costume, which was revealed at the Women of Marvel panel, this is the new book for which I am most excited.
The panel primarily focused on X-Men, and everyone agreed that Battle of the Atom was really a “labor of love” for Bendis, and everyone who was involved was happy to be able to work with all the different characters, trying to give them as many small moments and nods to canon as they could. Battle of the Atom was also mentioned multiple times in relation to almost every X-comic, saying that its effects would be wide felt throughout the books.
Amazing X-Men, which heralds the return of Nightcrawler, will be one of these. The book, called “swash buckling” multiple times, features Nightcrawler, Storm, Firestar, Northstar, Wolverine, and Iceman, among others and will be treated as a very “big event” style book. The “secret of the Bamfs” will be revealed in the first issue, and will be an adventure book that travels through time, space, and dimensions.
The book that will be “most impacted” by Battle of the Atom is All-New X-Men, with “big news to come” in the next few weeks. Aside from issue #20, which features X-23 kissing a mystery man (who “better not be Cyclopes!” shouted one audience member, to which Lowe commented that they wanted to do a fake out cover where she was kissing Doc Ock dressed as Wolverine), All-New will also have a crossover with Guardians of the Galaxy called the “Trial of Jean Grey” (which was earlier teased as TRIAL and JUDGEMENT). The released covers feature a makeover of the original 5 X-Men, wearing futuristic, but chromatic (almost X-Factor inspired) costumes (which X-23 seems to be wearing as well) and will feature an “unleashed” Beast.
The next arc of Brian Woods’ X-Men will add the Dodsons on art, as well as Monet St. Croix (aka M) to the team. The upcoming issue with feature a fight with Lady Deathstroke and “a whole lot of ‘tude.” Woods is excited to reunite Jubilee and M, and Monet was actually on his original list of X-ladies he wanted to feature in X-Men.
A comment was made that fans will be “throwing things” at Brian Michael Bendis in regards to the upcoming Uncanny X-Men #15, which includes the introduction of a possible ire-inspiring character.
SHIELD is set to play a big part in Wolverine and the X-Men as it comes out of Battle of the Atom. Of the cover, that featured Wolverine ripping through the SHIELD logo, one panelist commented “Wolverine is very critical of graphic design.”
And on the Wolverine end of the world, the upcoming Savage Wolverine arc will have Storm and Logan get in a dispute over his annual hunting trip, along with a number of cameos from X-Men and heroes of Africa. Savage Wolverine is treated as an artist playground, a place for creative teams to play with characters, tell a story, and then “drop the mic.”
The WRATH teaser was for the four issue Savage Wolverine arc by Richard Isanove. The arc will be set in the 30s, focusing on prohibition and the beginning of the dustbowl.
In all of canon at the moment, Wolverine is without his healing powers (as acknowledge in a recent issue of Battle of the Atom), this ties back into Wolverine, where he, along with Kitty Pryde, are searching for a cure to fix him. Wolverine will have his final confrontation with Sabertooth, but Schaefer emphasized that Wolvie may not get his healing powers back.
Spurrier spoke briefly about Legion and commented that it’s “a really different book” and that he was very thankful for the fans, teasing that the book was headed towards a climax and that there will be announcements to come. Deadpool is also wrapping up a big story arc, but the panelists were very tight lipped about it, only commenting that it was a “very fun game.”
Marjorie Liu commented that she was very honored to have written Astonishing X-Men, which just wrapped up with issue #68. Her goal was to write very human, character driven stories, and to make the X-Men feel like real people. She also commented that her next project would likely be another novel (she’s written over a dozen novels).
The Uncanny X-Force are set to battle Cable and the X-Force in a small crossover where the two teams confront each other for the first time. Bishop will be a big player in this crossover, and it sounds like he will possibly antagonize both teams.
Strife and Longshot will both also return to the Marvel Universe. Longshot will save the world in Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe, where his luck powers will come in handy. Most surprisingly, Longshot will NOT have a mullet in this book, but instead “an equally trendy, modern haircut.” Maybe a Bieber?
CORPORATE was the teaser for the upcoming All-New X-Factor, by Peter David. This new comic has been teased at in Peter David’s recently wrapped up X-Factor and will feature Polaris, Quicksilver, and Gambit (and two other team members who like a bit like Cypher and a red hoodied-Warlock). The book will feature X-Factor as a team corporately backed by the mysterious company “Serval,” and will focus on the familial relationship between Pietro and his half-sister Lorna.
Among the question period of the panel, it was mentioned that big plans were coming up for Juggernaut. The panel also said Cataclysm will be huge, but remained tight lipped for the time being. Kitty Pryde, unlike the rest of the All-New team, will not be getting a new costume…”yet.” They also said “there are plans” for Multiple Man, but “nothing yet” for Eli Bradley and most of the New X-Men kids.
Other new titles announced by Marvel over the weekend included:
Dan Slott and Mike Allred on a new Silver Surfer book that Slott wrote specifically with Allred in mind.
Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore will be working on a Ghost Rider solo series “like you’ve never seen before.”
Ales Kot and Garry Brown will launch an Iron Patriot book, where Rhodey gets “fed up” with what’s happening on the Secret Avengers.
Avenger’s World, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spence, which features Infinity aftermath.
Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker on Avengers Undercover, a follow up book to Hopeless’ Avengers Arena.
Al Ewing and Lee Garbett with Loki: Agent of Asgard, featuring a mysteriously aged not-so-Little Loki.
Next up: DC Comics makes a surprising announcement…after dodging a bunch of questions!