An appearance by Marvel Comics writer Brian Michael Bendis is a rare event these days, but a Bendis panel is a well-oiled machine. And Saturday at the 2016 WonderCon, the man behind “Spider-Man," "Iron Man" and the incoming "Civil War II" led a capacity crowd in a discussion that hit every corner of his creative life.
"I have tons of stuff from Marvel that Marvel was going to show yesterday but didn't get to," the writer joked at the start of the panel. Bendis then showed off a trailer for Season 2 of PlayStation's "Powers" calling it "A show that is completely reinvented from Season 1 to Season 2" where new additions to the show include Joss Whedon's preferred costume designer, Harrison Ford's preferred stunt coordinator and a wide range of new cast members like Tricia Helfer, Michael Madsen and Wil Wheaton.
The trailer follows many points of reference from the comics by Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming where the Powers division is taken over by the federal government in the wake of the death of RetroGirl. The new season premiers for subscribers to PlayStation's service on May 31.
The writer then showed a premier clip of the opening of Season 2's first episode where the investigation into RetroGirl's death gets underway as the lives of the main cast spin out of control. The clip ended with an explosive moment, and Bendis said, "If you ever get a chance in your life to blow up a car in the middle of downtown Atlanta, it's so cool." He promised that as Season 2 gets underway, the show will push to do things that no other comic book show can do, and the episode he's written in particular gets a little explicit.
Bendis then turned to the incoming "Civil War II" event, saying that artist David Marquez was a talent he originally wanted to do a long run on Iron Man with, but once the story idea for the spiritual sequel to the soon-to-be movie Mark Millar/Steve McNiven story firmed up, he knew the artist was the only man for the job. Things get underway in this year's Marvel Free Comic Book Day special, which Bendis called the inciting event of the whole series. It will be followed by a #0 issue drawn by Olivier Coipel.
The writer showed off many pages of interior art showing the All-New Avengers in some kind of pitched battle with a cosmic deity as Iron Man takes the fight hard. Bendis shared the cover to issue #3 of the event where the Hulk smashes Tony Stark in violent fashion.
The talk moved to "Spider-Man" where Bendis showed off many pages of Sara Piccheli's incoming artwork. "Black Cat's mission statement going forward is different from what we've seen," he said revealing a cover with the longtime Spidey anti-hero. "Who she's working with and why she's gunning for Miles will all be answered." Coming up will be an appearance by Ms. Marvel who will be hanging out with a regular supporting cast member: Bombshell.
In upcoming issues of "Guardians of the Galaxy," readers will meet a new love interest for Ben Grimm and a new character Bendis joked "will be the new Deadpool" — a mushroom-headed space teenage. An upcoming focus on Kitty Pryde will also be a highlight of the book's rotating story style.
Meanwhile in the world of Iron Man, artist Mike Deodato will draw several issues of "Invincible Iron Man." The writer said, "He's so fast I feel like I'm just being chased." The new stories will involve several new villains and some tension between Mary Jane and F.R.I.D.A.Y. The writer will soon team with his frequent collaborator Alex Maleev on his "International Iron Man" series, but "I told Alex we can't even start 'Iron Man' until we finish 'Scarlet,'" he said. Bendis showed off a spread that presented thumbnail images of the final issue of "Scarlet" book 2, proving that the late creator-owned series will ship three issues in a row.
Bendis then played a cruel joke on the fans in the room by fake announcing that he and artist Adam Hughes would be doing an "Indiana Jones" comic. He stressed that this isn't actually happening after fans audibly cheered, but he'd really like it to be a thing. "It was either this [as my fake announcement] or a DC Rebirth comic that's adult Sugar and Spike with Jason Shiga. I thought this one would be funnier. I was wrong," he laughed.
As fan questions opened up, Bendis said that he and Mark Bagley will return to their creator-owned book "Brilliant" saying that some very good things have happened on that front recently, but he wasn't ready to make a full announcement yet. He also said he'd love to return to true crime tales like "Torso" at some point. His "United States of Murder Inc" actually started out as a true crime project, but he didn't want to retell a story that's been told many times. Bendis said that the reason "Torso" worked was because it was a piece of history that had become hidden to the general public, and if he ever finds another story like that, he'll return to true crime.
Asked about the fate of Adam Warlock, the writer said the character is coming back but not in one of his books so he couldn't spoil anything about Marvel's plans.