ComicMix at WWLA: The X-Men Panel
Day Two at Wizard World LA and this time around it’s the X-Men Panel, hosted by Marvel Marketing Honcho Jim McCann. Featured on the panel are X-Force co-writers and "life partners" Chris Yost and Craig Kyle, as well as Matt Fraction, Marvel editor Aubrey Sitterson and X-Factor writer Peter David. Young X-Men writer Marc Guggenheim ran a bit late but managed to phone in and confirm, via speakerphone, that he would be arriving shortly.
And so, with introductions over, McCann went right into the announcements and the slideshow.
The first slide showed three of the "Divided We Stand" titles which include X-Force, Cable and X-Men Legacy. Seeing the slide, McCann jokingly referred to Cable as "Two men, two natural arms, and a baby."
Sitterson then chimed in and talked about X-Men: Legacy, saying "There is a nostalgic aspect to it, but it’s also a story picking up directly from ‘Messiah Complex.’" He continued: "X-Men Legacy picks up what’s going on with Professor X after he takes a bullet to the brain. We’re checking in with these giants of the Marvel mutant universe. Gambit will be among those that show up in the series."
Next, McCann let the audience know about the current story arc of Uncanny X-Men — particularly why everyone seems to be heading for San Francisco. "The San Francisco stuff is not just for fun, this is definitely leading up to something," he said. ‘It all makes sense what Brubaker is doing."
Peter David then talked about X-Factor, specifically the previously announced Quicksilver one-shot. He also mentioned fans would soon see the return of Layla Miller, courtesy of a one-shot. This book will deal with what happened to her after she was stranded in the future in "Messiah Complex."
"We are going to be showing where she’s been, what’s going on, and some surprising developments," promised David.
He also elaborated on other X-Factor story developments: "We have major things happening in Mutant Town, we’re going to kind of burn it to the ground, which is exciting for X-Factor because they protect it. There will be a Quicksilver one-shot, and what’s really kind of interesting, different people have said they want different things to happen, and all of them will happen in the first issue."
David also confirmed that artist Larry Stroman is returning to X-Factor , saying, "his art has done nothing but get better." David continued, revealing that Stroman will also be drawing an upcoming crossover between two of his current Marvel books: X-Factor and She-Hulk.
Sitterson added that this cross-over story will also tie-in to "Secret Invasion", mostly due to She-Hulk’s current travelling companion. "We’re gonna subtitle it ‘X-Factor She-Hulk Secret Invasion Give Us Your Money,’" he joked.
Next up were two upcoming "Divided We Stand" one-shots that will showcase what happened to certain characters, like Cannonball and Surge, after "Messiah Complex." Matt Fraction will also be contributing an 8-page Nightcrawler story to one of the books.
"And if you’re a fan of eight page stories," joked Fraction, " this is the one you’ve been waiting for."
This led to the announcement that Fraction will be joining Ed Brubaker as co-writer of Uncanny X-Men starting with issue #500. Artist Greg Land will also be joining the book as well.
McCann then announced another artist coming to the book: "Our newest Marvel exclusive, Terry Dodson. And we’re very happy to have him."
McCann then asked Fraction for some clues as to what’s going to happen with Uncanny X-Men. Fraction’s response: "Stuff explodes, everybody has lots of sex and then everybody dies." He also said the team will be moving to San Francisco to "clear their heads."
Next, Simone Bianchi sketches from his upcoming run on Astonishing X-Men were shown. These included a new "team shot" comprised of Beast, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, Storm and Armor.
At that point, McCann opened the floor for some Q&A. First up, a fan asked about the Siryn-Jamie Madrox pregnancy. As in, what happens?
"Developments that will happen in that storyline that will make the Internet light up like a Christmas tree," answered David.
McCann then turned to Kyle and Yost to talk about X-Force. Kyle said the team should grow to six by issue #7 or 8. "After issue 3, you’re going to see how big and bad this book is going to get," said Kyle.
"We’re going to give you as much as we can pack into 22 pages," he continued, "it will be like three issues of story in one 22 page comic."
Guggenheim, who finally arrived cursing the LA traffic, chimed in to talk about Young X-Men. First, he confirmed that the title of the book was originally New Mutants but it was changed to Young X-Men because it was a "truer" title. Unlike New Mutants, who were "cadets" or "X-Men in training," according to Guggenheim, the cast of his book will be X-Men for sure.
A fan then asked if there was a possibility that Storm and Forge’s paths will cross again. McCann answered that they’ll both be in X-Men books, but they may not "cross paths" again. Particularly because Storm is a "married woman now."
The same fan asked if there was a chance that Jean Grey might come back. "It’s Jean. There’s always a chance, " McCann answered. Kyle and Yost then joked that they’d like for her to come back so they can kill her off again in their book.
Next, a fan asked if the X-Factor / She-Hulk cross-over will man big changes for X-Factor. David responded that it won’t, since "I don’t think it’s a bad idea to tell a story where a fan can just see a good story, instead of ‘This will change your life forever!’ Everything doesn’t have to be earth-shattering."
Someone then asked what was going to happen to Pixie and other characters from New X-Men. Fraction answered that Pixie will be "our Kitty Pryde, our Jubilee" in Uncanny. Yost answered that Young X-Men is a follow-up to New X-Men, and the characters will be showing up in various places in that book sooner or later and that it will all be explained.
A British fan then asked about characters like Captain Britain and the MI-13. To that, McCann answered that those characters were important and that more about them would be revealed in the "Secret Invasion" panel later.
The next question concerned whether or not the rest of the X-Force team knows that X-23 used to be a prostitute.
"I like that side of the character," answered Kyle. "Someday we may speak for that part of her life, if there’s a good story. We don’t want it to suddenly come up like ‘Hey, I was a whore!’"
Another fan asked if Deadpool will be in X-Factor anytime soon. "There’re no real plans for Deadpool, and there’s really no plans for Shatterstar," said David. "I try to reach a certain tone with the book, and a guy with a mullet and a broadsword just doesn’t fit in with that tone."
Another question from the floor: "Is there anything you can tell us about what’s going to be happening with Cable and the child?"
Sitterson: "Cable is in the future, but it’s not a book that’s off to the side. It is a core X-Men book. We are going to be checking in with Cable and it is going to have ramifications on the regular book."
Fan: What are upcoming plans for Blindfold?
Guggenheim: "Part of the problem with this book is that I have so many plot twists coming up that it’s hard to talk about it. I have plans for Blindfold that will make you look at her in a completely different light."
Question from the audience: "What about Kitty Pryde? Is it basically confirmed now that she’s dead, since she’s ‘lost’?"
McCann: "All that was said was that Piotr ‘lost’ a love. It didn’t say that she died. We’re very careful with this so go back and read it again"
Is New Exiles getting canceled? McCann: "No, it just got relaunched."
Is the Warren Ellis/Bianchi Astonishing X-Men going to be separate from the rest of the X-books like the Whedon/Cassaday run was?
According to Fraction "no." There’s a "comprehensive tapestry where everything fits" and "everyone’s sharing scripts." In fact "Warren’s Astonishing is quite actually astonishing," Fraction added.
Another fan: "Plans for the Hellfire Club?"
Fraction: "There’s a Hellfire cult."
A fan: "Plans for Bobby Drake? "Just a taste of Bobby, a hint" Fraction joked.
"You’re going to taste Bobby Drake," joked MCCann.
"That’s not what I said, you’re reading into it," responded Fraction.
"Plans for Firestar?," asked a fan.
McCann: "She retired in Civil War: Frontline, but I can say we haven’t seen the last of the character."
Finally, the last question. A fan asked: "Any plans for Northstar?
McCann: "Yes, but its too early to say more. Keep reading."
And with that, the X-Men panel ended.