Baltimore '08: Slott Takes On Mighty Avengers, More Marvel

The Marvel Comics Q & A, titled "A Cup of B," at Baltimore Comic Con featured editors and writers answering fans' questions about the Marvel Universe.

"B is for bulls&*t," Brian Michael Bendis explained to laughs.

The panel featured:

Writer Dan Slott

Editor/writer C.B. Cebulski

Editor Tom Brevoort

Lauren Sankovitch, who joined the panel late from the audience.

Bendis said there were no announcements. But Slott cleared his throat. Brevoort, after looking at Slott, said there could be one announcement. So Bendis told the audience: "I'm leaving Mighty Avengers with Issue #20."

Bendis said he's moving on to a new series called Dark Avengers with art by Mike Deodato. "It's very, very dark," he said.

Dan Slott will take over Mighty Avengers with Issue #21.

Slott said he's leaving the Initiative, but Chris Gage will pick it up as solo writer. "You'll get a lot more Taskmaster," Slott said.

Spider-Woman: Agent of Sword by Bendis and Alex Maleev will debut March 2008. It will be the first ongoing by the team since they left Daredevil. "We're hoping, god-willing, you guys-willing, we'll stay on that book for a long time on this one as well," Bendis said.

Slott said that "New Ways to Die" concludes with Amazing Spider-Man #573 that has a back-up story with Marvel presidential candidate Stephen Colbert in it. "After that, the train just keeps going," he said. "We've got one of the best single issue Spider-Man stories ever coming out with Marc Guggenheim and Barry Kitson." Slott said they will also be introducing a supporting cast character that fans will "immediately love."

Slott said he will also soon be explaining how Harry Osborn is back, and a John Romita Jr. arc with Marc Guggenheim will answer a lot of the questions people have been asking about Spider-Man. Slott said everything in the Spider-Man Universe will come to a "giant climax" in that story.

Bendis said Issue #47 of New Avengers is a Luke Cage issue by artist Billy Tan, but Michael Gaydos will be able to return for a few pages for a story that explores some of what fans had seen in Alias.

The writer said Powers #30 was the last issue of Volume 2 of the series. It is suspended for a few months. "We never meant for the schedule to go so out of control," Bendis said. "We're going to get four or five issues in the can and then we'll be launching a new #1 that will line up with our 10th anniversary. It will ship sometime in the middle of next year. Hopefully, it will tie into the Powers television show that will be announced at the same time next year. "

Cebulski told the audience that Damon Lindelof's scripts are all turned in for Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, and the art will be worked on after Secret Invasion.

The panel was then opened up for questions:

- Will everything be explained about "One More Day"? Slott: Yes. Everything. "One panel," he joked.

- A fan in the audience said he made a jacket out of the repetitive tie-ins to Secret Invasion. "That's not even in the top 20 of the crazy s*&t I've read online," Bendis said.

- Any Morbius or Man-Thing mini-series coming up? Brevoort: Not a new Man-Thing series but there is a one-shot with Spider-Man and Man-Thing in January. Morbius will be in Spider-Man post-Ultimatum. And Marvel Zombies 3 has lots of Morbius.

- What is happening with Black Panther? Brevoort: It will be continuing and relaunching right after Secret Invasion around February. Secret Invasion will affect it. It will still be Reggie Hudlin writing and will still be monthly, but it's just setting up something new after Secret Invasion.

- Will Luke Cage have an updated costume? Bendis: I'm proud I got him out of the yellow shirt and tiara. Now he's more defined as a person. New Avengers #47 is part of a flashback story about him and his father that explains how he is now vs. how he was. There will be a lot of Luke post-Secret Invasion. "To me [the costume] is something like leg warmers," he joked, indicating the costume is a thing of the past. There is a retro Luke Cage series in the works by the creator of Samurai Jack.

- Steve Rogers? Bendis (who said he just caught up on Captain America issues): "I actually think Bucky is more fascinating than Steve Rogers."

- What inspired the way Secret Invasion is being told in non-sequential order? Bendis: I'm a big fan of fractured storytelling. "As it's unveiled, hopefully as things unfold, you'll get this great tapestry."

- Where was Xavier during House of M? Brevoort: House of M: Civil War, which is coming out soon, includes an explanation of Xavier's role.

- What is Dark Reign? Bendis: Dark Reign is what happens on the last page of Secret Invasion #8. From that, it spills out into all the other major Marvel books, including Avengers books. When Secret Invasion #8 hits, fans will be pummeled with information of who's on what team, who's where. The structure of the Marvel Universe is collapsing during Secret Invasion. "Something will take its place." It's not an event, but it more like "how after Civil War we saw the Initiative." It will be labeled on certain comics. "It won't be an event as much as an overall tone."

- Remarriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane? Brevoort: No. Not going to happen. Bendis [joking]: "It's going to be hard because Peter and Flash start dating."

- Is Ultimatum the end of the Ultimate Universe? Bendis [joking]: "It's the end of my relationship with Jeph Loeb." The Ultimate Universe "as it is" will be no longer, but there will be something else. The supporting cast of Ultimate Spider-Man will be different. "Ultimatum #1 is easily the best thing David Finch has ever done."

Cebulski: The Ultimate Spider-Man Annual with art by David Fuente deals with, as Bendis put it, "Peter Parker's virginity."

- More Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane? Bendis: It just relaunched written by Terry Moore with art by Craig Rousseau.

- On the WordBalloon podcast, Bendis mentioned a Powers TV show. What network will it be on? "I will say it this way: It's sad The Shield is coming to an end."

- Status on Ultimates 4? Brevoort [joking]: "After Ultimates 3." Sankovitch: Issue #5 just hit stands this week. Ultimates 4 is in the works by Jeph Loeb and Frank Cho. Ed McGuinness was originally planned to work on the series but moved to Hulk. The artwork he did on Ultimates 4 will be reused in some way, shape or form.

- Will it be explained how Richard Parker and Eddie Brock's dad made the Venom suit in Ultimate Universe? Bendis: Not in a scientific way, but you should read Ultimate Origins #4.

- More Power Pack? Cebulski: It will continue for the foreseeable future.

- Would Bendis have done anything differently with Daredevil than Ed Brubaker has done? "I'd have been a lot nicer to Milla. Jesus Christ!" Bendis said.

- How long has the history of Ultimate Spider-Man been? Bendis: In my head, it's nine months. "I think after Ultimatum, if he lives through it and he's still Spider-Man, he'll turn 16."

- Who are the Evil Illuminati? Bendis: We can't talk about that. Secret Invasion #8, last page, will tell you about it. A Secret Invasion: Dark Reign one-shot will come out right after Secret Invasion with art by Alex Maleev and will set it all up.

- What's up with the Iron Man movie sequel? Bendis: Matt Fraction brainstormed with Jon Favreau last week and is really enthusiastic.

- Is 3-D Man sticking with the Initiative? Slott: There will be a Skrull Kill Crew mini. He'll be there.

- Do the Skrulls have the space gem? Bendis: It's coming up.

- Plans for the Scarlet Witch? Brevoort: You'll see her sooner rather than later.

- Why isn't Dr. Strange involved in Secret Invasion? Bendis: He has failed as a Sorcerer Supreme, so the question is -- if Dr. Strange isn't the Sorcerer Supreme, who is? That will all be answered in New Avengers post-Secret Invasion.

- Any Ultimate Spider- Woman? Bendis: In Ultimate Spider-Man #129, one of Peter's friends has the hots for her and doesn't know she's Peter's clone, so it's kind of funny how that plays out.

- In Avengers: The Initiative, is Mutant Zero who it looks like he is? Slott: You will find out in Avengers: Initiative #20.

- Jessica Drew? Bendis: If she's still alive, and "if the Skrulls didn't eat her for Skrull Rosh Hashanah," she might be in Spider-Woman: Agent of SWORD. And you'll find out in Secret Invasion #8 whether she still has a life.

- Is Nextwave in continuity? Bendis: Nextwave is one of the best comics of the 21st Century. He would like to see them in Marvel continuity more. Slott: Machine Man is in Ms. Marvel, and he'll be in Marvel Zombies 3. Cebulski: It's definitely in continuity.

- Are there any deaf characters in the Marvel Universe? Bendis: Echo is one of the New Avengers. He thought about dealing with her signing but hasn't been able to fit it in, but Marvel has talked about her having more appearances where she might be able to do that.

- Does Bendis do any drawing when he scripts? Bendis: I used to, but there was no reason to do it when the artists are so good at what they do.

- In Alias, Rick Jones talked about Skrulls. Was Bendis thinking about Secret Invasion that far back? Bendis: Yes.

- How much longer is Stuart Immonen on Ultimate Spider-Man? Bendis: He's on for awhile. We're planning stuff for the future.

- In X-Men, is it necessary for every woman Cyclops dates to have her DNA stolen? Slott [joking]: "Only if they're telepaths." Cebulski: Coming up in Uncanny X-Men, Matt Fraction revisits all the women from his past.

- Will Xavier be seeking out more mutants? Cebulski: He'll be visiting mutants from his past and a few new ones. The mutant births already seen will have lasting effects, but there will be no more mutant births.

- Will Secret Invasion and Spider-Man's series cross over more in the future? Bendis: I think I've typed the word Skrull for the last time in awhile.

- Will we see Kitty Pryde more? Bendis [joking]: She's the new Bucky.

- Will we see new or old villains in Ultimate Spider-Man? Bendis: Gwen Stacy will return, and there will be a mixture of both old and new villains in upcoming issues. Ultimate Mysterio will become a major villain for Peter Parker for the foreseeable future.

- How do other writers feel about Bendis controlling so much in the Marvel Universe? Slott [joking in a robot-type voice]: It's the most wonderful thing in the world. Bendis: It's all talked about in the retreats and everyone participates in how we're going to do these events.

- Why doesn't Bendis draw? Bendis: I like to draw, but I noticed that "it's amazing that when I stopped drawing, things started going well for me." He said he'd rather see other artists' versions of characters than his own. A story he drew called Fortune and Glory will be coming out in color as part of the Icon imprint soon, so people who want to see his artwork can get that story.

- Any plans for new Ultimate Universe titles? Bendis: There will be announcements next year.

- When will we find out who the Red Hulk is? Bendis [joking]: "The Red Hulk is Bucky."

- Will Loki be left as a woman? Bendis: She will stay a woman. It will be a plot point in that Evil Illuminati story coming out.

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