Joseph Schmidt reporting for Bleeding Cool:
Marvel’s latest event is gaining steam and many participating writers, artists and editors are here today to discuss it. The usual round of clips were shown before the panel began followed by introductions by Nick Lowe. Panelists include editor Steve Wacker, writer Rick Remender, EIC Axel Alonso, writer Sam Humphries, writer Frank Tieri, writer Zeb Wells, writer Nick Spencer, writer Charles Soule, and artist Mike McKone.
The panel began with Lowe previewing the Jonathan Hickman’s helmed event. He then introduced Soule, writer of Thunderbolts.
“They’re trading missions with each other,” Soule said. “They’re literally going to be drawing names out of a hat. Deadpool finds a hat.” Then INFINITY happens. “It all goes really crazy really fast.”
Next Zeb Wells discussed taking over Nova.
“It’s a lot of fun writing a character trying to be a superhero,” Wells said. “[Thanos] doesn’t have a lot of love for Nova, so he sends lieutenants out to kill him.”
“Sam is going to feel the shadows the Nova helmet casts over the universe,” Wacker said.
Secret Avengers was brought up next, and Spencer said we’re going to find out what really happend on AIM Island.
“Daisy Johnson is out, Maria Hill is in,” he said. “You’re going to see the team fundamentally different when they come out of this.”
Ed Brisson will be writing the Infinity tie-ins before Spencer picks back up.
Lowe then talked up the involvement of the Inhumans in Infinity, and how the aftermath will be important for the characters.
“They’re the game changer in the Marvel Universe,” Alonso said. “They’re going to be relevant in the Marvel Universe for the future. Inhumans can’t take comfort in anything. They were born in a genetic experiment… and they were abandoned. They’re bastard experiments.”
Remender then began discussing his latest story, Ragnarok Now.
“What we’ve been building here is coming to a head. The Apocalypse Twins are going to instigate a worldwide mutant rapture. We’ve seen a lot of infighting among the superhero population, going back to Civil War.” That theme has carried through, Remender said. “The consequences of that is what Uncanny Avengers is all about.”
Next came Sam Humphries discussing Avengers A.I.
“Dimitrios, the main villain of the series, has a message for humanity. You stink. You suck, we’re over you,” Humphries said. “If he was here right now, he’d tell you to enjoy Comic-Con this year because next year the world will be ruled by machines.”
The team will fight with each other about how they tackle these threats. “The Vision will be taking a trip to a place called ‘the Diamond‘ which is the home of all A.I.s in the Marvel Universe.”
McKone was brought up, as his and Warren Ellis’ Avengers OGN is on the horizon. Art was shown quickly before they began discussing Frank Tieri’s Infinity companion series, The Heist.
“This book is more of a crime noir, with Iron Man villains.” Tieri said. “More Reservoir Dogs, more Ocean’s Eleven, more Usual Suspects… Like all good heist movies, things go wrong.”
Lowe then opened the floor up for questions, stressing that creators HAD to answer whatever question was asked.
The first fan asked about if kids might be intimidated by Hickman’s “dense” Avengers series. Alonso said the purpose of Marvel NOW! was to make the books accessible. “I don’t think Jonathan’s demographic is 6 or 7 year olds.”
“The Marvel comics in the 70’s were tailored to an older audience than the DC books,” Wacker added. “My son is 10 and he loves Jonathan’s Avengers. Of course there’s some stuff that’s going over his head. There’s stuff going over my head, and I’m 22.”
“What do 6 and 7 year old want to read? Something a 10 year old is reading,” Alonso said.
A fan asked how they manage all of the stories that tie-in to each other and what their process is. Axel mentioned the regular summits their creative teams take, where they roadmap future stories.
Another fan asked if the Avengers movie had an influence on Infinity, and Axel said the fact that Thanos showed up at the end was… influential.
“We wanted to be ahead of the curve on Guardians of the Galaxy,” Alonso said.
Another fan asked if the Purifiers think of Thor as a false god, which Nick Lowe reinforced.
The next fan asked about Matt Fraction’s Inhuman, and whether it will be like Game of Thrones.
“It’s gonna be a slowly creeping phenomenon,” Alonso said. “We’ll show you characters you know already… We’ve teased the fact that there are lots of them and they may not all like each other.”
When asked the origination of Zeb Wells’ first name, he said “I’d assume it’s from the Bible…”
When asked what they’d do if they controlled the Marvel Universe, Wacker said he’d marry Peter Parker and Mary Jane. Remender said everyone would Die. Axel said Luke Cage would be the #1 selling book. Spencer said he’d do a year with the villains and heroes roles reversed. Charles Soule said he’d explain Red Hulk’s mustache.
Asked about the initial idea of Infinity, Lowe said that Hickman stepped up to the plate.
Alonso responded to a fan’s question about how Event stories never end and whether corporate influences seep in. “There’s no guy in a suit and tie that punches things into a calculator and says ‘can it end like this?'”
Newly announced Cataclysm was asked if it would tie in to Hickman’s world-crashing incursions. Alonso played coy, but said that they were aware of the connections and to read the books.
TRON Deadpool came up next to ask if Uncanny Avengers’ cast would get bigger. “Actually they will get smaller,” Remender said, reiterating the consequences of heroes not getting along.
When asked if Infinity’s ending would be “lackluster” like Age of Ultron, Alonso joked, “We always strive for our endings to be a little more lackluster.” Seriously, he supported the controversial ending and spoke highly of the stories that will come out of it. “It’s complicated what we do. We can’t always please you. We get so many complaints about Superior Spider-Man, but sales couldn’t be higher.”
The topic of artist bullpens for titles like Avengers, and whether that would be going forward. Alonso said that with the accelerated schedule, they found their best artists to tell chapters. Alonso spoke of their next event, and how they hope it will have one artist (which they are in the process of locking down).
“Will you explore how Thanos got out of the Cancerverse? Will we see repercussions of the destruction of the Infinity Gems?” Yes to both, read Nova, Guardians and New Avengers.
Asked about New Warriors in new Nova book, Wells said “I got you, buddy.”
About Avengers Arena, what’s next? “We’ll be talking about it soon.”
With the Uncanny Avengers constantly screwing up, Remender was asked if they’ll get their act together. “Things are gonna break down from here. As for how they get that back together, or when, that was the purpose of that book. For the Avengers and the X-Men to earn it.”
When asked about Dr. Doom’s role, Remender revealed a spoiler that Dr. Doom from 2099 will be playing a huge role in his book.
A fan is confused about the timing of the Age of Ultron story, and whether it was the trigger for the events in the Avengers and New Avengers. Lowe directed him to Tom Brevoort’s Tumblr account.
Wacker said there is no plans to undo the brainswap of Doc Ock and Peter Parker, and that will drive the book going forward. He also said that were Peter to return, the guilt over Uncle Ben’s death would always linger.
The young girl who chided everyone at the Cup O Joe panel over Runaways, now wearing a Hawkeye t-shirt, asked if Yamblr was bought by Tahoo in the Marvel Universe. “YES. Who comes up with your questions?”
Remender received a question about Gambit’s influence as a Horseman and whether it’d be mentioned. He said maybe, which is a reason why he brought in Sunfire, and that the Death Seed is a fascinating aspect of his story.
Last question asked, what’s your favorite superhero and what would their adventure be if they were in a retirement center.
Remender said he wanted to pitch Nick a book called GeriatriX, about Sabretooth making Wolverine poop his pants. He followed with Fantomex as his favorite.
Wacker said Captain Marvel, who would beat anyone with her walker.
Alonso said, a very frisky Luke Cage.
Wells said Elektra would be fashioning sai’s from catheters.
Spencer said Iron Fist, who would play cards with Luke Cage.
Mike McKone ended with saying Captain Britain, “And he wouldn’t have problems because he has universal healthcare.”
To an eruption of laughs, Lowe ended the panel.