In a panel slightly delayed by technical difficulties, Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski served as ringmaster as writers Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction and Jonathan Hickman delved into the shadows of "Dark Reign: The List."
Coinciding with an announcement at Wizard World Philadelphia, Marvel announced eight one-shot issues to be released under the "Dark Reign: The List" umbrella in order to further the "Dark Reign" storyline. The titles, which will begin shipping in September, will be:
- "Dark Reign: The List - Avengers" by Brian Bendis and Marko Djurdjevic
- "Dark Reign: The List - Uncanny X-Men" by Matt Fraction and Alan Davis
- "Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors" by Jonathan Hickman and Ed McGuiness
- "Dark Reign: The List - Punisher" by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.
- "Dark Reign: The List - Daredevil" by Andy Diggle and Billy Tan
- "Dark Reign: The List - Wolverine" by Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic
- "Dark Reign: The List - Hulk" by Greg Pak and Ben Oliver
- "Dark Reign: The List - Amazing Spider-Man" by Dan Slott and Adam Kubert
There also was an announcement of a "Dark Avenger: Ares" series, written by Kieron Gillen and illustrated by Cory Nord. It will run three issues, beginning in October.
Bendis and Fraction have been co-planning much of the overall event, to the extent that they were finishing each other’s sentences on the panel.
"This is Norman Osborn…" Bendis began.
"…energized," Fraction finished. "He puts together his big to-do list. It’s a big story. There are big changes."
The story centers on Hawkeye, who decides at the start of the event to take on Osborn, leading to a clash of the New Avengers and Dark Avengers.
Bendis said that the event will serve as "a great opportunity for our friends who are awesome writers to work with kick-ass artists and do awesome stories."
He compared it to the annuals of yesteryear.
Hickman said Joe Quesada encouraged the event as a response to "event fatigue" among fans and creators alike.
Addressing fans’ questions, the group delved a little into their plans, though details were limited.
Fraction said Namor will play a big role in "Uncanny X-Men" and "Avengers." When a fan asked about Red Hulk, Bendis called Jeph Loeb and the entire audience yelled out a message when it went to voicemail.
Fans of female characters Echo and Pixie reveived good news, as Echo will be appearing in the upcoming "Spider-Woman" series, and Fraction promised "huge hero moments" for Pixie in "Uncanny X-Men."
Bendis hinted that the Void and Sentry will be playing a big role in "Dark Reign."
"We know that the Sentry is much more complex and dangerous than Norman knows," he said. "Norman’s mistake is thinking all these people are his lackeys. Doom is no one’s lackey."
One of the most interesting bits of information to come out of the panel was Fraction’s admission that he had originally planned to kill off Frank Castle when he first took over "Punisher." He used the anecdote to illustrate how much leeway Marvel’s top brass gives to writers.
"That’s incredible," he said.