Fans of the X-Men poured into room 6DE at San Diego’s Comic-Con International to hear the creative teams behind their favorite mutants speak at the Marvel Comics X-Men panel.
Moderator Arune Singh began the panel with the creative teams behind the X-books onstage: senior editor Nick Lowe, Brian Michael Bendis (“All-New X-Men”), Paul Cornell (“Wolverine”), Gerry Duggan (“Deadpool”), Peter David (“X-Factor”), Sam Humphries (“Uncanny X-Force”), Chris Hastings, and Brian Posehn (“Deadpool”). Singh told the room editor Jeanine Schaefer will be joining them later, and that Frank Cho and Terry Dodson may also appear later on, interrupting his introduction to cheer Schaefer as she ran up to the stage.
“This is the best panel you’re going to see all convention!” Singh told the packed room to cheers and applause.
They then began by speaking about Marvel’s brand new September and October “Battle Of The Atom” event happening over the X-books, featuring art by Frank Cho, Stuart Immonen, David Lopez, Chris Bachalo, Guiseppe Camuncoli, Esad Ribic.
“The X-Men from the future show up and tell them they have to get out of here, right now, just go,” Bendis said. Of course this does not happen, and the events that follow kick off the crossover, something Bendis promised would have “Major implications for the line.”
“It’s the first X-Men event that Brian [Bendis] is working on with us...and it’s the first one Brian Wood is working on,” Lowe said, adding that it will be the past, present and future of the X-Men colliding.
Singh also showed the image for Steve McNiven and Rick Remender's “Uncanny Avengers” “Ragnarok Now” story, which showed Scarlet Witch’s shattered hat.
Cornell then said in “Wolverine” the character has lost his healing factor, “An original idea, I know!” he joked as the room laughed.
Drawn by Alan Davis, Cornell said that Wolverine will first be grappling with the idea of dying, then defending himself as every foe he’s made decides to go after him, something that Cornell told the room would end in a major shift for the book and character.
“It’s a Wolverine you’ve never, ever seen before and you have no idea what’s coming,” Schaefer said.
“And we killed Peter Parker twice, we’re serious!” Singh joked as the room cracked up.
“It’s a guy whose whole fighting style is ‘Throw myself in front of bullets.’ When he doesn’t have that anymore, what does he have?” Schaefer added, she and Lowe telling the room that his loss of powers will be consistent over all the Marvel books.
“Uncanny X-Force” was next, Humphries telling the fans that “Runaways Artist Adrian Alphona will be drawing a solo story starring Spiral in issue #12, telling the story of her hunting down a young girl. Ramon Perez will also be working on the book.
The room cheered as Duggan and Posehn’s “Deadpool” issue #18 cover flashed up on the big screen.
“We kill Wolverine. Spoiler,” Duggan joked. Posehn said that issue #20 was his favorite upcoming issue so far, Duggan asking the audience “Do you like some Kirby crackle?” to applause and whistles.
Lowe laughingly recalled how the editors had to “Re-examine their life decisions,” after reading the scripts for the upcoming issues that took a “Dark turn.”
“We haven’t dropped the ball yet,” Posehn joked to audience laughter, adding, “But don’t go on the internet.”
Looking at the end of “X-Factor” which showed X-Factor literally closing shop, story drawn by Neil Edwards, David laughed, “That has nothing to do with the story, but it’s a good cover!”
He then said he was so happy to have written the book and to hear fans come up to him and saying how they loved how he turned around B and C-level characters in the book.
“It’s one of the steadiest books in all of comics...’X-Factor’ is this unstoppable, strong and steady book,” Lowe said of sales. Singh added that David will have another new book coming out from Marvel soon.
David also took the time to praise artist Leonard Kirk’s work, telling the audience the industry doesn’t always appreciate a “real solid artist like Leonard,” before leading the room in a round of applause.
Dodson joined the panel in time for Singh to announce he will be joining Brian Wood’s “X-Men.” Schaefer said of the decision to make the team all women, a first for Marvel, “It just made sense.”
“We decided to call it 'X-Men' because they were X-Men, they weren’t X-Women, they were always X-Men,” Schaefer added, telling the room Marvel was very supportive of female-led books and that it was a passion project for her.
“We’ve heard female-led books don’t sell, but...all you have to do is point at ‘X-Men,’ point at ‘Captain Marvel’...you’ve proven the critics wrong,” Singh said to thunderous applause.
Hastings then announced his new book, “Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe,” wherein Longshot, “Gets very lucky,” Hasting said to audience laughter. With artist Jacopo Camagni the first issue will be out in November.
The room bursts into applause again as Singh asked who in the audience wants Nightcrawler back in the Marvel Universe. The room cheered again as the panel announced Nightcrawler will be in the brand new series “Amazing X-Men” by Jason Aaron and artist Ed McGuinness.
“Firestar is going to take her place as a major X-Men character for the first time,” Lowe added, pointing to her on the cover of the first issue along with Azazel. The panel then called Aaron and had the room cheer into the phone.
“We’ve been having to keep this a secret pretty much since Jason was writing ‘Wolverine And The X-Men,’” Lowe said, adding that this book will answer where the little blue and red Bamfs have been coming from. “Nightcrawler is dead, but that’s not the end of his story,” Lowe continued, explaining Azazel is a pirate that is stealing something the X-Men need and Nightcrawler needs to stop him. The team on the book will also include Northstar, Wolverine, Beast, Iceman and Storm.
The panel then threw the floor open to the floor, everyone saying each fan’s name as they came up to the microphone. The first fan asked if the X-Factor characters will be in other books. Lowe said the characters will show up in other Marvel Comics books and places, “In very important roles.”
The next fan wanted to know what characters they want to kill or bring back. “Kill Jim Balushi?” Posehn joked.
“I’m happy with Nightcrawler and I’d like to kill Wolverine!” Cornell laughed. Bendis said Peter Parker to both.
“I’d say bring back Uncle Ben but I already did that, and killing -- is Pixie still around?” David asked as the room cracked up.
“I love Maggot!” Schaefer said as Lowe rolled his eyes and the room cracked up again.
A fan wanted to know if in “Battle Of Atom” there would be new future X-Men yet to be revealed. “There’s a lot of things to be revealed,” Bendis said.
The next audience member to the microphone wanted to know why more mutants haven’t sided with Cyclops. “We’re just at the beginning to see how a lot of mutants are going to react to this, to how some of these new mutants aren’t seen as ‘pure’ mutants by older ones so there’s some racism in their ranks,” Bendis told him, adding all that will begin to be revealed in the next few issues.
Another fan said he wanted to give his well-wishes to David, who explained to the room he had suffered a stroke and had to relearn how to walk. He also said he was surprised how many people and fans gave him messages of support and prayers, including a temple of Buddhist Monks because they, “Liked my run on ‘Hulk!’” David said as the room laughed. He then thanked the comics community for the love and support as the room cheered.
That fan then asked the panel what superpowers they would want.
“Flight!” David said. Lowe wanted teleportation, Bendis wanted “the power of a nap,” Hasting wanted teleportation "without the smell," Cornell wanted Storm’s powers, Posehn wanted “invulnerability to sadness,” Duggan wanted Kitty Pryde’s powers, Dodson wanted Multiple Man’s powers and Humphries wanted the Phoenix Force.
“Should we just kill you now?” Lowe joked as Humphries laughed.
The next fan asked about the possibility of a “Deadpool Max.” Duggan said there was no plans at the time.
“As far as Max, I feel like we’re pushing it already,” Posehn added with a laugh.
Lowe told an X-23 fan the character will show up again, though he wouldn’t say where. He then laughed along with the audience as Bendis pointed to himself.
A fan from the earlier Ultimates panel wanted to know why Brian Wood’s “Ultimate Comic X-Men” was glossed over at the panel. Bendis said they glossed it over because anything they said about the book, “Would be a spoiler” for what’s coming up.
Bendis also reported that Aarons had text him back from the grocery story, reading the text out loud.
“Please tell everybody there I’ve been waiting years to do a story with Nightcrawler...and does anybody there know what a shallot look like?” Bendis said as the room yelled back that a shallot was a “green-looking onion.”
Posehn told a “Cable And Deadpool” fan that somewhere down the line they wanted to have Deadpool and Cable meet up and, “They might be wearing trench coats and they might have Tommy guns, form another time,” the writer said as the panel laughed.
Speaking more about bringing Nightcrawler back, Bendis said they took the idea of resurrection very seriously and didn’t want to do it cynically or do it just for the shock.
Bendis also told there was something coming down the line called “The Utopians” which will have some female X-Men and other mutants readers haven’t seen yet.
The last fan to the microphone was a young boy who reprimanded the group for killing Peter Parker, the audience laughing as the panelists shrugged and Singh brought the panel to a close.