Marvel's Avengers panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego found "Uncanny Avengers" and "All New Captain America" writer Rick Remender, "Original Sin" and "Thor" scribe Jason Aaron, "Punisher," "Black Widow," and "Dethlok" writer Nathan Edmondson, Nick Spencer, Senior Editor Nick Lowe, and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso assembling to discuss the upcoming changes in the team's line up as part of Avengers NOW.
Nick Lowe began by highlighting the Sara Pichelli promo image featuring Superior Iron Man, female Thor, Sam Wilson Captain America, and more.
The "Captain America" #25 image showed the silhouette of the new Captain America, which Remender jokingly treated as if it were still a secret. "It's Aunt May," Lowe said. "Instead of a shield, she's got a giant wheatcake,"
More directly, Remender said that the upcoming arc will "reveal what Red Skull and Zola have been up to," and what it will cost to stop them.
Nick Spencer then joined the others on stage, with Alonso joking that he was "arriving late, like on of his scripts."
Returning to the topic at hand, Remender said that after the "Dimension Z" arc, Steve Rogers is "sidelined in a way he hasn't been before," and the Falcon will "earn the mantle in #25."
Lowe announced "Captain America and the Mighty Avengers" by Al Ewing and Luke Ross, debuting in November.
In October, "Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier" debuts from Ales Kot and Marco Rudy.
Spencer then spoke about "Avengers World." "We've been exploring the Avengers' role throughout the world," he said. "In this arc, starting with #10-11, is where everything comes to a head, where all the disparate challenges converge. Euro Force led by the Black Knight and a Chinese team called the Ascendent will feature heavily.
Edmondson's "Dethlok" also debuts in October. "Just like with 'Black Widow,' we realized the time couldn't be more right to bring Dethlok back into the spotlight," the writer said. "He's a leading black ops operative, without being aware that he's any of these things." He will watch his actions "later, sitting at home in his kitchen, without realizing he was right in the center of the action."
Dethlok is artist Mike Perkins' favorite character, Alonso said. "I think he would have kneecapped me" if he didn't get the series, the editor said.
Next came the new "Thor," whom Aaron joked was "also Aunt May -- we should probably coordinate these things better." He said that he's been building up in "God of Thunder" to "the point when Thor was no longer worthy of the hammer." The new wielder will last "not just for a few issues," and Aaron noted that very few women have lifted Mjolnir, despite the fact that "many of his supporting characters are female."
"This new character is someone from Thor's world, but we don't know who it is initially -- nobody does," Aaron added.
Aaron spoke about artist Russell Dauterman, whose style he described as more "poppy" than what's been seen from Esad Ribic in "God of Thunder." Lowe added that Dauterman came to Marvel's attention during a convention portfolio review.
In November, Kieron Gillen and Marguerite Bennet write and Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans illustrate "Angela: Asgard's Assassin," a new ongoing series.
"It gives her a part where she's clearly a part of the Marvel Universe," Aaron said, while the series "gives her a chance to tell her own story."
Asked whether the "Angela" series means she is not the female Thor, Aaron said, "She can have two books, right?"
"Superior Iron Man" by Tom Taylor and Yildiray Cinar launches in November, which sees "Tony Stark -- and it is Tony Stark, it's not somebody else in his head -- surrendering to his id and he becomes 'Superior.'" Uploading Extremis to the populace creates new superhumans, but not everyone uses their abilities to noble effect.
Lowe then opened the floor to questions.
Asked whether the Superior Iron Man's move to San Francisco means he'll crossover with Daredevil, Alonso said, "I'd say it's very likely they'll run into each other, yes."
A fan asked for clarification about a slide identifying Thor Odinson as "Unworthy Thor," asking whether he'll have his own title. "He'll still be appearing in 'Thor,'" Aaron said, but the focus will be off him for the duration.
On "Superior Iron Man," Alonso said that Remender "set up the inciting incident to allow Tony to become this way," and he reached out to Tom Taylor based on that writer's work on DC's "Earth 2" to run with the story.
Alonso said that a story coming up "will be spitting out new villains, and recalibrating old villains."
Asked about good entry points, Alonso recommended any of the recent All New Marvel Now series, specifically citing "Captain America," "Black Widow," and "Ms. Marvel," while Lowe added "Punisher," "Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man," and more.
"If you want to pick one, pick one, and read that to start," Alonso said. He added that, even for events, he looks for ways to make the story accessible to new readers.
Like with Thor Odinson in "Thor," Steve Rogers will still appear in "All New Captain America," "but the focus has to be on Sam."
Asked about coordination between writers, Remender said that female Thor will not appear in "AXIS" because of "a huge moment between Thor Odinson and Odin," so he and Aaron worked out the timeline and other details.
As to whether Steve Rogers would become Nomad, Remender said, "there is a new Nomad coming up who is related to Steve Rogers, but Steve is no longer physically able to do the fisticuffs" since his real age has caught up to him without the super soldier serum.
Alonso then joked to the young fan, "So if you've ever fantasized about your all-time favorite character being a frail old man, now's your time."
A fan suggest an ongoing for Sif rather than setting up a new female Thor. "I did get a few tweets about that in the last week," Aaron said, also incorporating the question of "Why not just create a new female character?" "If you want a Sif ongoing, I'm all for it. But it's different." He said it's "the difference between telling a story about Robin and a story about Batman. I didn't want to just create a new Robin for Thor."
A fan joked that, since Disney owns Marvel and Thor is now female, if there would be a Disney Princess Thor. "If that happens, I think we can agree that I'm the guy to write it," Aaron said.
"We have firm plans for Doctor Strange," Alonso said when asked about the character. "We have a writer, we more than likely have an artist, and more than likely have a target date. There's a reason Doc Strange has a huge role in 'Original Sin.'"
Asked about music for writing, Remender said it varies by project while Spencer said he makes a playlist for each project and makes them public on Spotify. "I don't listen to anything when I'm writing, I need dead silence," Aaron said. "I don't even like other people to be in the house."
As to whether Hercules might "interact with the female Thor," Aaron said, "I wouldn't be surprised if you saw that." But, he added, "don't expect credit."
Remender said that "interesting stuff is coming up for Loki" in "AXIS."
Asked about the parody image of Stephen Colbert becoming the new Falcon, Remender said, "Oh yeah, that's canon. That's happening."
Lowe added that "Sam's still got most of the costume; a Falcon without wings would be difficult."
A young fan asked whether "DC would fight Marvel in 'Avengers 2.'" Alonso said that "I think it's safe to say that that won't be happening. But I too would like to see Thor and the Hulk fighting Superman."
Aaron said that Thor Odinson "will not be completely depowered without his hammer," as he still has some weather powers.