Marvel Comics' EIC Joe Quesada was joined by Associate Editor Nick Lowe, C. B. Sebulski ("X-Men Fairy Tales"), and the "New X-Men" team Craig Kyle and Chris Stills to discuss the future of the all things mutant, at the X-Men Changes panel, on Day Two Of Wizard World Los Angeles.
Quesada opened with a slide show of some of the current X-books: "Astonishing X-Men," the free comic "Runaways/X-Men," "X-Men: The 198," "Apocalypse/Dracula," and "Wolverine: Origins." The show also came with its share of revelations:
- Painter John Watson is now exclusive to Marvel. His first projects will be the covers for "Civil War: Frontline" and "Uncanny X-Men."
- "Uncanny X-Men Annual #1" will be Chris Claremont's last issue before Ed Brubaker takes over the reins. It will deal with what Storm has been up to since we last saw her in the "Black Panther" crossover, and sports a cover by Lenil Yu.
- Black Tom Cassidy is BACK in "New Excalibur" issues 6 & 7.
Craig Kyle put in a few words about the future of "New X-Men." They're trying to bring the kids into the X-Universe: "a lot of them are dead now, a lot of them will die." It's time the horrors of the X-World find them. As Chris Stills said, "this is the feel good book of the year."
Craig promises a "big reveal in the next issue," and that if you like Astonishing or any of the other X-books, you should give this one a shot.
Next up was C. B. Cebulski talking about his upcoming "X-Men Fairy Tales" limited series. His inspiration was "X-Men" #151, "Kitty Pryde's Fairy Tales," which Cebulski really loved. The four issues will be:
- A re-telling of the origin of the X-Men based on a Japanese folktale, "Momotado the Peach Boy."
- The meeting of Xavier and Magneto based on an African legend, "Friendship of the Tortoise and the Eagle."
- A "Grimms' Fairy Tale" Dark Phoenix Saga. According to Sebulski, "Sleeping Beauty wakes up and all hell breaks loose."
- And, under wraps until now, the fourth issue will be a Southern ghost story featuring Mystique, Rogue and Gambit.
The "Exiles" will be wrapping up their World Tour with visits to the Future Imperfect and Heroes Reborn universes, after which Tony Bedard says good bye. Chris Claremont's taking over, and he's bringing Psylocke with him.
Lowe and Quesada then teased us with character designs from Chris Bacahlo for his upcoming run on "X-Men" and Billy Tan's character designs for "Uncanny X-Men."
Two last surprises from Nick Lowe finished off the slide show:
Yannick Paquette is now exclusive to Marvel, and will be illustrating David Hine's "Civil War: X-Men" four issue series (Hine spoke with CBR about the book). Archangel will be a "cornerstone character" in this book.
And the O*N*E Sentinels have gotten smacked around in all of the X-books lately, and the Sentinels are getting some new, unique designs. The two Nick revealed were called Shrapnel and Ogre. We'll be hearing more about the pilots and why these models were made very soon.
Then the floor was open to the fans.
- Mr. Sinister was in a precarious place at the end of "Colossus: Bloodline," but Nick Lowe assures us, "he'll be popping up somewhere late this year or early next year."
- In "New X-Men," according to Craig, the mystery surrounding Guthrie's wings will be resolved in "one or two issues."
- Also, regarding the New X-Men and "Civil War," Craig says, "there will be some moments," they can't escape the scope and size of the event, but the book will not be part of the major push.
- A new, very big Salvador Larocca project will be announced soon.
- Will one of the core members of the Exiles be leaving to make room for Psylocke? According to Nick Lowe, "Blink, Morph and Sabretooth are the core members," and that will not change, but there will be some movement for the others.
- A "New X-Men / Runaways" team up is "probably inevitable in the next five years" according to Quesada, "but nothing's planned." Craig followed up by saying there's a year arc at least before that happens.
- Yet another question about Thor was answered with, "Fantastic Four #536."
A question about the rumor that Wolverine and Storm will be a couple in "X3," the latest X-Men film, prompted a question about why Storm chose Black Panther in regular Marvel continuity. "Wolverine hooks up with everybody," said Quesada, and explained that in the first movie they wanted a certain synchronicity between it and the books, but now, he feels there's enough material out there for people interested in the comics that as long as the movies remain true to the characters, there isn't a problem.
The Stepford Cuckoos are still alive after the bus explosion that killed 42 children in "New X-Men." It will have a lot of repercussions for Emma, Kyle said, "this isn't the first time this kind of thing has happened to her."
In response to a question about Cassandra Nova's apparent responsibility for Emma's secondary mutation, and whether or not Nova is responsible for ALL secondary mutations, Lowe could only say "keep reading, there's lots of cool stuff coming up."
In "Origins," Wolverine is going to have to going to have to weed through his true and false memories, "like going through a forest with a machete," and it may bleed into the regular series. In all the writers that have written Wolverine, there are certain themes that remain constant, and Wolverine will discover those themes and learn that this is more than just memory loss.
- The fate of Chamber will be revisited soon.
- Wolverine is apparently "very tired," said Joe Q. of being on so many super-teams, "he called, he's pissed at me." But at the moment he's only an Avenger (sometimes) and in the "Astonishing X-Men."
- Questions about fallout from Civil War for mutants will be answered in "Civil War: X-Men."
- The first arc of "Wolverine: Origins" will deal with his healing factor "in a very interesting way."
A fan's comment about "devolving Beast back to when he was cool" resulted in a vote of what the best Beast was. Blue beast won overwhelmingly, but Grant Morrison's "Cat Beast" was voted for by the majority of the creators in the room (and one CBR correspondent). The results from a similar vote at the New York Comic Con have "forced" the editors and creators to think about the issue, though.
"Generation Next," a look at what would happen if the X-Men aged in real time, is being worked on right now. There wasn't a lot of information available, but according to Nick Lowe, "it looks beautiful." A follow up about whether Wolverine would have several kids from different women, prompted Quesada to say, "stay tuned. It's a real world look at the X-men."
- The 198 will be popping up around the Marvel Universe.
- The revelation of Emma's true allegiance in "Astonishing X-Men" is going to change "New X-Men." It's going to be interesting to see Emma's kids, trained for war, going back to talk peace, said Craig.
- There are no plans to bring Jean Grey back.
- The power Wanda took away from the mutants has affected 2 people. One in "X-Men: Deadly Genesis," and one in "New Avengers."
There is no chance that the de-powered mutants from "House of M" will get their powers back.
"Especially those kids on the bus," added Craig.
Straight from the mouth of Quesada, the reason they de-powered the mutants was to bring the mutant status quo back. "They're the minority, the downtrodden, the picked upon." We've all had that feeling, we can all relate to it. Mutants having their own country is not as interesting as them being ostracized. And now there are kids and people who aren't special anymore and that makes for great stories.
When asked if some of the de-powered mutants would be working for the government, Quesada said, "Not a bad idea. Write that down."
Craig jumped in here, "People think we slaughtered a bunch of kids just to make an exciting issue, and we sort of did." Moreso, he said, this is about former mutants who have empathy for "the other side (mutants)," if they're allowed back into society, what will that do to us? "This is the perfect time for the mutants' enemies to strike."
- "Many meetings" decided which mutants would be de-powered. "The easy ones to decide were, well, who's in the movie? They need to stick around. Then below that, what makes the most interesting story?"
- Big stuff coming up in New Avengers for Magneto, and really big plans late this year/early next year.
- Xavier will show up in "Deadly Genesis," but Quesada was not sure about "Civil War."
- When asked if Billy Kaplan and Thomas Shepherd from "Young Avengers" are mutants, Nick replied "keep reading." Asked if they were Wanda's kids, he replied, "Who? Bwaaa?"
- Regarding the specificity of 198 mutants left, Joe said, "198 just sounded really cool." Also, 198 refers only to the mutants accounted for. There are probably around 300-350 total. There is also a list of the 198 at Marvel's office, with "a few spots open" for new characters.
- Craig and Chris will be exploring Dust's religion in regards to her mission and her abilities in "New X-Men."
Why did some mutants get de-powered and others not? "Wanda's power is chaos magic, and chaos is not systematic, so it got thrown out there and wasn't a perfect thing." Quesada talked about this exact point with Bendis, about a future story where someone asks Wanda that. "So we have an answer, but we don't want to say what it is yet."
Also, there are no plans for Wanda at all right now.
A point of contention on Lockjaw, the giant Inhumans bulldog, "Lockjaw went from being a person who was morphed into a giant bulldog with a pitchfork on his head to just a giant bulldog with a pitchfork on his head." Just so we're all clear.
Iceman never really lost his powers, it was all mental. He just freaked out.
Lorna, however, has lost her powers.
As every panel must end, a question about what's happening with Doop. According to Joe Q., Doop "eventually will kill Wolverine, with a broken bottle, in fact." Nick explained that "every few months we ask Peter, do something with Doop!"
And according to Craig, "If it will make people buy the book, he's in every issue [of "New X-Men]."
CBR's coverage of Wizard World Los Angeles is Sponsored by Comics Unlimited.