One of the biggest events to take place in comics this year will undoubtedly be Marvel's "Avengers vs. X-Men." Pre-orders on the first issue are huge, with some stores celebrating the book's release with a midnight release parties and signing events. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Marvel Comics' "AvX" panel at the Emerald City Comicon was filled to capacity.
On the dais were two of the writers behind the event, Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker, patiently waiting for C.B. Cebulski, Marvel's VP of Creative & Creative Development, when Fraction's spider-sense told him the crowd was getting restless. The scribe went to the podium and kindly acted as moderator until Cebulski could arrive.
Fraction talked a bit about the event, and if his and Brubaker's enthusiasm is indicative of the title's quality in any way, fans are in for a treat! They called it the most incredible thing Marvel has ever done and can't wait for fans to get a look at it. Fraction had curious audience members line up behind the microphone on the floor to ask questions -- at which point Cebulski came into the room and quietly took a seat with the superstar writers.
The first inquiry was indicative of the type of details most fans want to know: will Hulk and Juggernaut fight?
Fraction responded, "Yes, in issue #5."
Brubaker mentioned that issues one through five, which he termed "'AvX's' first act," would normally be considered an entire event by most readers, and the remaining issues would be two years' worth of stories for most publishers. Fraction added that issue five is so big, it feels like an ending, but it's not -- "There's seven more issues after that."
Fraction followed up, saying, "In issue #6, Hickman has written Colossus as you've never seen him before."
The next person asked Fraction if he had been planting seeds for "AvX" as far back as when he was writing "Uncanny X-Men," as there appears to be a connection between the two. Fraction replied that this connection was intentional. During an editorial retreat many years ago, when they talked about "Second Coming," those attending decided it was a good idea for characters with Phoenix fragments to lose them in that event. The writer noted that when he was writing his earliest X-Men issues where he has the Phoenix come to Emma and say, "Get ready," he knew it would make him look like a "genius" in a few years.
In response to the question, "Who came up with Hope?" Brubaker said he believes it was Joe [Quesada], but no one on the dais could say for certain. They explained that the way ideas are batted around at editorial retreats, everything feels shared. Brubaker did say he distinctly remembered Joe talking about a scene that was to take place at the end of "Second Coming" where Emma was going to be holding the baby and realize it was Jean, but they didn't end up using that or going in that direction. Fraction added that Axel [Alonso] was a big proponent of that idea as well and Brubaker mentioned how he recalled the inception of "AvX" taking place five to six years ago with Jeph [Loeb] and Axel pushing for the idea.
"The Young Avengers are there, but not necessarily as the 'Young Avengers,'" Fraction said in response to another fan's inquiry. "Young Avengers fans will be happy in the coming months," Cebulski added
With jokes and laughter flying around the room during the panel, Fraction said that the atmosphere reminded him of a Marvel editorial retreat. This prompted Brubaker to direct fans to MTV Geek to see webisodes of the retreat, debuting online to coincide with each issue. Fraction added that the film crew has been to his home to film him working, and Brubaker said he is next on their list to visit.
The remainder of the Q&A resulted in fans being told Professor X appears in "AvX" #6, characters will switch loyalties throughout the event and fans should expect a wide variety of mutants to make ann appearance during the course of the storyline.
The two writers then decided to conclude the panel by sharing their most and least favorite parts of working on "AvX", with Brubaker citing the summit meeting at Brian Michael Bendis' house as a high point for him and Fraction saying he most enjoyed working on the story with other writers.
Brubaker's sole disappointment was not being able to collaborate with artist Olivier Coipel, while Fraction said, jokingly, his least favorite thing was that all the plot points that concerned him most in the planning of the event, he somehow ended up having to deal with in his issues.