Editor Will Moss and writers Brian Michael Bendis, David Walker, James Asmus and Charles Soule appeared at WonderCon in Los Angeles today a panel they had to call Marvel: The Next Big Thing. The group offered updates on their current titles and teased a few details about the upcoming Civil War II.
Following on Kieron Gillen‘s revelation regarding Tony’s biological parents, Bendis intends to reveal his true parents in International Iron Man. “It’s Tom and Martha Wayne,” he joked. “They were sick to death of that whiney kid [and faked their deaths].” It will also inform Tony’s decision-making in Civil War II.
The first issue of International Iron Man also flashbacked to Tony’s college days, which Bendis noted was not a well represented part of his history.
“Miles Morales is a part of the Marvel Universe proper,” he said of his series focusing on the former Ultimate Spider-Man. “He’s trying to figure out his place in that world,” the writer explained. Bendis also said there will be a character joining Miles at school that will change the dynamic of the series.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, the focus on unlikely team ups will continue with the Thing and Rocket. “It’ll be your favorite new thing” Bendis said. He also teased a major character will be returning in an upcoming story.
“We were talking about what’s on our minds, lately. It was not unlike our conversation during the first Civil War,” he said of the origins of Civil War II. Where the first event revolved around civil liberties, the new Civil War will focus on personal responsibility. “We have presidential candidates saying nonsense and getting shocked when there is repercussions,” Bendis said. As the idea coallesced, the title was suggested because “everyone will call it that anyway.” He also noted the Marvel Universe is a different place with different people representing the marquee characters this time around.
“The train is on time,” he said about the release schedule.
Walker will be writing an upcoming Nighthawk series with art by Ramon Villalobos. “The first note from our editor when Ramon’s work came in was ‘you can’t show bones.'” The decision was reverse a few days later.
He is also working on a Deadpool 13 special. “It’s an 80-page book with four stories, one written by myself.” he said. “We got an outline for it and the note was ‘just do something funny.'” His story will bring Deadpool to Power Man and Iron Fist.
“People are really liking the book,” he said of his current run with Luke Cage and Danny Rand. “Every day I pinch myself because I’m working on it.” The book sees the two working together again with Danny hoping it will be a permanent reunion. “Part of what we’re showing is how relationships grow and how as you get older, one person can see it different from the other,” he explained. He added that the story will see “the best and worst” of the characters and how they relate to the rest of the universe.
As for Nighthawk, he said, “It’s a character study of a guy who is either a hero or villain depending how you look at him.” It’s a classic trope in the genre, but he wanted to take it one step further and move the character into a space where even the Punisher is unsure about him. The character is still an urban myth in Chicago and he wanted to take a look at how the city views him.
“He doesn’t care who he leaves dead,” he explained. “Every superhero is like this tragic figure. And I want to write about one who really is messed up.” Though raised by moral people, Nighthawk can only seem to honor them only by killing.
Asmus credited Soule with re-establishing the Inhumans in the Marvel Universe, but said his All-New Inhumans is a “globally political superhero book.”
“It complicated things in a tremendous way,” he said. “It’s like the choices Rick makes in The Walking Dead.” He said real world issues will be “blown up with sci-fi majesty” and the series also digs deeper into the characters Soule created in Inhumanity.
Asmus said he fell in love with Marvel’s way of putting idiosyncratic characters together and into extreme adversity and hopes to recreate that experience in his book.
Noting that he failed to put a jokester on his team, the current storyline features a guest spot with Spider-Man. The skyspheres have also crashed to Earth and the story will explore the mystery of them and their effect on the Inhumans.
Soule added, “That’s part of a long play in the Marvel Universe. These spheres crashed and there’s a reason for it and for way they’re connected to the Inhumans.”
“We wanted to give you guys some payoff on the things we’ve been planning,” he continued.
The Inhumans will play a big part in Civil War II with the group going after Tony.
Soule’s Uncanny Inhumans focuses on the royal family and in Civil War II, they have a “meaty story” starting in #11 of the comic.
“The weakest tie-in is what the whole thing will be judged by,” Bendis said of the first Civil War and noted Soule’s plan for the Uncanny Inhumans tie-in surprised him as an unlikely story.
“In general, Uncanny Inhumans is a lot of fun to write,” Soule said. With new characters coming to the sanctuary, Soule added that he wanted to put the established characters in new situations.
For instance, Medusa’s relationship with Johnny Storm creates a certain discomfort for the characters. Upcoming issues will reveal how they get together and what happens when Johnny’s ex Crystal finds out.
“I imagine they smell like burnt hair,” joked Bendis.
As for Soule’s Daredevil run, he said he’s enjoying the return to Matt’s life as a lawyer and hiding his identity. “It’s intimidating to think of some of the guys who’ve written the character,” he added. “I’ve been gratified by the response.”
The first story, featuring the new villain Ten Fingers is wrapping up with the next storyline featuring Elektra. He mentioned a subsequent story will feature a character making “murder tableaus” a la Hannibal.
Soule also talked about his upcoming Poe Dameron book for the Star Wars line with Phil Noto. “We’re trying to make it feel like the way the movie felt. That fresh, but familiar feeling will be there in the Poe book.” It will also feature a new villain with “a great mustache.” He also teased that BB-8 is “all over it.”
“Do we find out how he turns into Apocalypse?” asked Bendis.
During the Q&A, the group was asked about the arrival of more prominent female characters in recent time. Dennis said the new Thor was in the works for some time, but the recent female books are a reflection of audience interest.
Asmus adde, “There’s support for a broader [choice of] leads of book … We are able to naturally create new characters and wonderful people from around the world.”
Walker teased that he intends to have a female supporting character in Blackhawk eventually take over the book. He also wants to bring more female villains into the universe.
Bendis addressed a concern about how sides were chosen in Civil War II. “Charles and I and a small pocket of editors discussed who would be the leads of this thing. Carol became the obvious choice,” he said. During the Marvel retreat, Bendis asked the writers of each book where they thought their characters would stand. It pretty much evened out, convincing Bendis he was on the right path. But he added that everyone wanted their characters to switch sides. “That, we’re not doing.”
When asked about Soule re-establishing Matt Murdoch’s secret identity, Bendis said, “So you don’t turn into a crappy Alan Moore, you let it go.”
“For me, there was a real disconnect about a vigilante practicing law,” Soule explained. The aspect of Daredevil’s older status quo compelled him to return to it.
In the final question, Bendis was asked if Miles’ old life before Secret Wars still happened. “Everything that happened, happened,” he declared.