It's been a turbulent summer for the X-Men. Torn apart by the events of "X-Men: Schism," Marvel's merry mutants have split into two distinct factions, with Cyclops leading Utopia while Wolverine heads back to the X-Men's roots in Westchester. Now, the X-Men are going through a complete restructuring and "Regenesis." Marvel Comics writers Jason Aaron ("Wolverine and the X-Men"), Marjorie Liu ("X-23"), Brian Wood ("Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha and Omega") Kieron Gillen ("Uncanny X-Men"), Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning ("New Mutants"), Peter David ("X-Factor"), Greg Pak ("Astonishing X-Men"), James Asmus ("X-Men Legacy"), Editor Jeanine Schaefer and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso took to the stage on Sunday at New York Comic Con to discuss the all-new relaunch, the fallout of "Schism" and raise questions about the all-new, all-deadly X-Men universe.
Moderated by Director Of Communications, Publishing & Digital Media Arune Singh, the panel kicked off with a short introduction of the star-studded panelists and some insight on the two factions of the X-Men, splitting the sides and going through the books in a quick-fire style, with each creator speaking a bit on their upcoming plans.
Kieron Gillen spoke on "Uncanny X-Men," and how he'll be taking Cyclops' team to become the world's greatest peacekeeping force. "This is the X-Men operating on a scale they never have before," said Gillen. "This is them trying to be the world's premiere super-team."
Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's "New Mutants" will maintain the focus that Dani Moonstar's team has had since its formation. "Cyclops gave Dani the job of cleaning up the leftovers the X-Men have left behind them," said Abnett, citing that this was much more than just a mutant team with a roster that has a good deal of mutagenic diversity. "They're not a street cleaning team...they're about integration"
One of the more mysterious character appearances in the upcoming Regenesis is the that of Sebastian Shaw in "Generation Hope," written by James Asmus, who explained that Shaw's appearance in the book spins directly out of his most recent appearance in "Uncanny X-Men." When the Black King appears back on the grid, Hope's team follows their first directive and hunts down the new mutant signature. "The book is going to spiral wildly from there, including all the hormones and kissing that a teenage book should have," said Asmus.
Although not much was revealed about "X-Men," the panel did mention that Victor Gischler will be bringing the original vampire arc full circle, exploring more of Jubilee's role on the team.
One of the most exciting announcements was Greg Pak's "Astonishing X-Men," and while the writer wasn't able to talk about his plot (or the teaser image of Mohawk Storm kissing Cyclops), he did express his love of the characters. "The X-Men are the characters that will give me a tear in my eye, curl up on the couch and give me a manly sob," he said. As a teaser, he also mentioned that readers are "going to see some people who may not meet up at this time meet up in some unexpected ways." A teaser image was also displayed of a mysterious character with golden claws.
With the wrap-up of Team Cyclops, Team Wolverine was up with Aaron's "Wolverine and the X-Men" held up as the flagship book. Aaron did a quick overview, mentioning that the "Jean Grey School for Higher Learning" has Wolverine in the role of Professor X -- but with his own twist on being headmaster. "There's a Danger Room, but it's not the one we've seen before; there are classes, but they're not the ones we've seen before," he teased. "It's all thrown into a book where Wolverine wears a shirt and a tie."
The companion five-issue miniseries, "Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha and Omega," heralds Brian Wood's return to Marvel, and he's starting off with a battle royale spinning right out of the pages of "Schism." "This is kind of Logan vs. Quentin Quire," said Wood. "They have a contentious relationship. They have it out here in a way you might not think. It's a confrontation that's on Quentin's terms almost entirely." Wood also mentioned that fan-favorite character Armor would be "a little bit of collateral damage."
The panel then saluted longtime "X-Men Legacy" writer Mike Carey for over five years helming the title before introducing his replacement, writer Christos Gage. Marvel Editor Daniel Ketchum filled the audience in on the book and how it continues Rogue's story as relates to her allegiance to Wolverine while addressing the possible love triangle between Magneto, Rogue and Gambit.
Next up was Peter David's fan-favorite book, "X-Factor," and while David was keeping things close to the chest, he did describe a bit of how Havok and Polaris came back under his wing. "The timing absolutely could not have been better in terms of the overall story I was doing," he said, referencing some of the tragic events that occurred recently in the X-Factor Investigations ranks. "It's really an all-time low as it comes to morale. The idea of Havok and Polaris, the former leaders of the team...coming back is more attractive to some members of the group and not as attractive to other members."
David also referred to how classic "X-Factor" fans would find a lot of value in the reunion of his original team. "It's been a lot of fun to bring them back to explore the new dynamics and really, really shake things up in the group," he said. "It's an incredible opportunity."
"Uncanny X-Force" will be continuing with Rick Remender as writer, despite the NYCC announcement of him pulling writing duties on "Secret Avengers." The teaser image featured Psylocke and Fantomex with Wolverine, Deadpool and Nightcrawler in the foreground. "It's important to pay attention to the art and see who's there and who's not there," said Singh. The PR guru then announced a brand new X-Men series, "Age of Apocalypse" by David Lapham and Roborto De La Torre, spinning directly out of Remender's current "Dark Angel Saga" storyline. The upcoming "Point One" one-shot directly addresses and will provide a lead-in for the new series.
"Wolverine" hits a milestone this year with the 300th issue and features Adam Kubert on art. Series writer Jason Aaron set fan expectations very high for the issue. "I'd say it's the biggest Wolverine solo story that I've done," he said. "Everything I've done in 'Wolverine' has been building towards this." Fans were also lucky enough to get a first look at Jeph Loeb and Simone Bianchi's "Wolverine" run next year that re-introduces Sabretooth.
The fans went wild when Marjorie Liu was introduced to discuss some of what she's got planned for "X-23." After finishing up the "Chaos Theory" arc, X-23 will be dealing with Hellion's return to the East Coast and getting a babysitting gig from the FF that goes horribly wrong. Rob Williams' "Daken: Dark Wolverine," by contrast, will be featuring fan-favorite characters, the Runaways, who, editor Jeanine Schaefer said, Daken might not be able to deal with with the brutal efficiency he typically employs. "He underestimates them a little bit," she said.
No X-Men panel would be complete without some "Deadpool" coverage, but fans may be saddened by the newest arc. Entitled "Dead," beginning #50, the Merc with a Mouth may finally succeed in finding Death's cool embrace. "At Marvel, we have a policy that none of our characters die," said Alonso, prompting laughter from the audience. "But you might be surprised."
As the panel wrapped, one of the most exciting teasers was displayed on screen with the "It's Coming" image featuring the Phoenix. Singh urged the audience to pick up "Point One" and assured them that it would answer a few of their questions. "It's really a Rosetta Stone for 2012."
The floor opened up for questions, and while there were some excellent points discussed, some amazing signs held up by Peter David (including "Hi, Mom!" "Han Shot 1st" and -- very late in the panel -- "I have to pee"), one of the most revealing was that there are concrete plans for "X-Statix" in the future, confirmed by Jason Aaron. "Doop is in 'Wolverine and the X-Men,'" he said. "There's a little teaser, but there are plans for them."
10-year-olds were asking some amazing questions, including one member who asked, "What political parties do the two sides support?" When asked which party he supported, the young man said, "Republicans."
"Would you side with Cyclops or Wolverine?" asked David.
"Wolverine," said the young man.
"Because Scott's more of a libertarian right now," joked Asmus.
However, the biggest reaction from both the fans and the panelists was when a 10-year-old boy dressed as Jack Power walked up to the microphone and asked, "Who is Jean Grey's true lover?" After the audience calmed down, Singh asked the young X-fan, "Who do you think it is?" The child then said, "Cyclops." For his audacious question, the young man was awarded an Archangel action figure, with the box signed by the entire panel.