The House of M panel opened with a bombshell revelation: Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada is the Marvel Universe's ultimate villain. Well, kind of. Quesada narrated the opening presentation of covers and images as a gleeful Magneto explaining the plans that led him to world domination.
The sometimes-arresting images from the presentation included the new non-King of Spain cover designed to keep Marvel out of political hot water, a Peter Parker who was bald and, judging from his expression, not happy about his new lack of coif, and Carol Danvers back in her Ms. Marvel costume, simmering with power.
After the presentation, Quesada, joined by Editor Tom Brevoort and sales manager John Dokes, expanded on what the House of M event meant for the Marvel universe, although they were careful to give only the vaguest outline of coming events. The House of M is not, according to them, Marvel's version of DC Comics' "Crisis on Infinite Earths:" An attempt to clean up years of continuity twists, turns and reverse double back flips.
"It will stay just as convoluted as before," said Brevoort. Most of the Marvel characters have stayed close to their core through the years, so a massive clean-up isn't necessary. House of M will leave many characters in a new status quo afterwards, and for some it will be a move back closer to the roots of the characters established by Stan Lee and the Marvel crew in the 1960s and '70s. Some long standing mysteries, such as the true identity of the false Magneto who leveled much of New York City, will be closed.
They declined to answer whether the events of House of M will remain in character's memories and histories after it's all over, saying it's all part of the mystery you need to read the House of M mini series to uncover, but they did say that House of M and its fallout will be the driving force behind the Marvel Universe for the next 18 months.
"It'll bring Xavier and Magneto closer together and farther apart," said Quesada, a possible nod to the shared experience of both Xavier and Magneto each having a child remake the world: for Xavier, his son Legion's accidental creation of the Age of Apocalypse, for Magneto, having Wanda reshape the world to his desires.
The panel also touched on a few things not born of mutant angst. Quesada confirmed that creator and fan favorite Moon Knight will make his long-anticipated return in early 2006 and burly Norseman Thor will also return in a big way. Brevoort fielded a question about the parentage of the Young Avengers by revealing that the next arc, in issues seven and eight, will deal heavily in the pasts of the young heroes.
They also rounded out the panel with another round of everyone's favorite game, Stump the T-Voort. Fans got a chance to pit themselves against the editor's frightening knowledge of Marvel history for a chance at some nice swag, including a shiny new Fantastic Four hardcover.
Brevoort was eventually stumped by several astute fans, notably with the question "Which Avenger's wife starred in an adult video?" which left Brevoort scratching his head and led Quesada to quip, "He's wondering if he wants to admit he knows that one."
The panel ended with a few more quick questions from the crowd, with Joe Quesada hinting at a stellar new creative team for Iron Man after Warren Ellis and Adi Granov finish their run. He also said Iron Man's semi quarterly schedule was only temporary to allow Granov time to finish the run with rushing or fill-ins by other artists. The title will return to normal monthly publishing afterwards.
Oh, and the dirty, dirty girl? Honorary Avenger Rick Jones' wife, Marlo.