<i>By <a href=http://www.twitter.com/graemem>Graeme McMillan, Newsarama Contributor</a></i> <p>Brian Michael Bendis has responded to rumors that he'll be replacing an <em>Avengers</em>-shaped hole in his schedule with <em>X-Men</em> by <a href=http://blog.newsarama.com/2012/02/24/avx-1-might-be-massive/>saying that his true post-<em>Avengers Vs. X-Men</em> plans are "so much more than this..."</a> <p>But what, exactly, could fit this description? Here are some guesses that just may come true for you to consider or for Marvel to rush into production, in case they haven't already thought of them. Who knows? The post-<em>AvX</em> Marvel might start right here. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>


Oh, all right, this one might be a little unlikely. But wouldn't it be great if Bendis had slyly told us <em>exactly</em> what his post-<em>Avengers</em> plans were, but we were all too suspicious to realize? The best place to hide, after all, is often in plain sight...


What could be "so much more" than the X-Men? How about the rest of the universe? Since the end of the Abnett/Lanning "cosmic" books, Marvel has been curiously lacking in terms of books set in space, even though the more cosmic ideas are all through series like <em>Fantastic Four</em>, <em>Uncanny X-Men</em> and, of course, <em>Avengers vs. X-Men</em> (with both Nova and the Phoenix itself). <p>Could it be that Marvel is slowly taking the time to reintroduce such concepts to readers in high-profile, well-read books before spinning them off into their own titles, with a suitably big name writer (such as, say, Brian Michael Bendis)? Stranger things have happened, and it's not as if it's a terrible idea, if it turns out to be the case.

52, MARK 2

We've seen Marvel increase the frequency of their ongoing series recently, as well as release high-profile books like <em>Fear Itself: The Fearless</em> and, of course, <em>Avengers vs. X-Men</em> as bi-weekly series. <p>What, then, if Marvel were to follow DC's lead and follow <em>Avengers vs. X-Men</em> with a mini-series created to offer definition and create depth into the Marvel Universe that exists afterwards as a weekly series, a la <em>52</em>? Unlike the DC effort, however, it's possible that Marvel could do it all with just one writer: Brian Michael Bendis. After all, with the <em>Avengers</em> books and <em>Moon Knight</em> off his plate, there's space for an additional four issues every month.


One of the more ambitious superhero projects of recent years was DC's <em>Seven Soldiers</em>, in which Grant Morrison reworked multiple characters from the publisher's past into updated, contemporary forms in seven separate-but-linked mini-series, essentially creating a new franchise from scraps. <P>With a 50+ year history, Marvel has countless characters left in limbo and worthy of rethinking and revival, and projects like <em>Moon Knight</em>, <em>Alias</em> and even his <em>Avengers</em> run have shown Bendis to be not only familiar enough with Marvel's history but also eager enough to rework semi-obscure characters and creations to suit modern audiences. Could this be the kind of thing that would interest Bendis enough to undertake...? If nothing else, just imagine the artists he could bring to such a project...


It's been awhile since we've seen the Ultimate Universe attempt a crossover - <em>Ultimatum</em> came out in late 2008 - and, with the line as healthy creatively as it's ever been and a market that seems to respond positively to "line-wide events," it's possibly time to bring all the threads connecting the various Ultimate books closer together. <p>After all, Bendis himself has talked about his excitement over what's coming up for the line, including ideas that he himself thought would never get approved... With his experience writing Marvel Universe events such as <em>House of M</em>, <em>Secret Invasion</em> and <em>Siege</em>, and his position as the sole creator to stay with the Ultimate universe since its debut, who better to create the latest storyline that will change everything we know about the Ultimate U all over again?


We've <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-spider-men-teaser-120201.html>seen a tease for something called "Spider-Men,"</a> seemingly splicing the emblems for both Peter Parker and Miles Morales' different Spider-Mans, but what if the storyline or event that teaser image is leading up to isn't a return for the Ultimate Peter Parker (or, for that matter, a team-up with the Ultimate Spider-Woman), but a full-blown crossover between the Ultimate and mainstream Marvel Universes? <p>That would, indeed, be "so much more" than a new writer on the <em>X-Men</em> - but considering that such a crossover has, in the past, been described as a sign that Marvel Comics is "out of ideas," it's also fairly low down on the list of likely outcomes. Unless everything is up for grabs in the light of <em>Avengers vs. X-Men</em>...


Often rumored - and just as often rebuffed by Bendis - is the idea that the creator could take an editorial position within Marvel as some kind of promotion for his sterling work over more than a decade with the company. No sooner had Bendis offered his "so much more" comment about the X-Men rumor than a new rumor started doing the rounds suggesting that Bendis was just seconds away from ousting Axel Alonso from the Editor-in-Chief position at Marvel. <p>That is, of course, ridiculous, but not <em>entirely</em> so; given that Bendis is already part of Marvel's Creative Committee when it comes to movies, would he be that resistant to the idea of doing the same kind of thing for the publishing division? After all, Chris Claremont took on this kind of role when he became "editorial director" for the publisher in 1998, so there is some kind of precedent...


Axel Alonso has teased that comic fandom's long, long wait for Marvelman material that isn't reprints of the original Mick Anglo series may come to an end later this year, but has so far held off talking about what that might actually mean: The Alan Moore material back in print? Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham getting to finish their run? Or, perhaps, the character showing up in the Marvel Universe with an all-new creative team? <p>A new <em>Marvelman</em> series could give Marvel the same kind of publicity that DC received for <em>Before Watchmen</em> (but without the negative element of creator ownership and approval), and who better to head up such an important project than the man who is arguably Marvel's top writer, having steered the Avengers franchise to prominence and launched not one, but two different Ultimate Spider-Men? Let's just wait and see if Captain Marvel is the only prominent revival to come out of <em>Avengers vs. X-Men</em> by the time the series is over.


Tom Brevoort has offered a couple of hints that <a href=http://www.formspring.me/TomBrevoort/q/297564982046887303>Marvel may have plans for the New Universe stable of characters</a>, created in 1986 and revived for a short while back in 2007 by Warren Ellis and Salvador Larocca. Could said plans have something to do with letting Brian Michael Bendis work his magic on an entire universe? <p>The "world outside your window" thinking behind the original New U could allow Bendis to take ideas from his creator-owned <em>Brilliant</em> (and early days of the Ultimate line, for that matter) even further, and in different directions, while also allowing him the chance to fix a line that seems cursed, between the flawed execution the first time around and computer crash that wiped out the second attempt. <p>Could Bendis make it third time lucky for a line that doesn't really deserve the reputation it's somehow ended up with? Or, maybe more to the point, is that something that he'd even be interested in? <p>(A related aside: What is the possibility that <em>Avengers vs. X-Men</em> could end in a <em>Flashpoint</em>-esque merging of imprints into one universe, allowing characters and concepts from the New Universe, Ultraverse or CrossGen lines to become part of the Marvel Universe? If that were the case, would that make Bendis' potential interest in the New Universe more understandable?)


What if the rumor is <em>kinda sorta</em> true? After all, Bendis didn't outright deny it although that's likely more due to his amusement over the rumor existing in the first place than anything else which gives him plausible deniability if a variation on it ends up being the case. <p>A variation like, for example, Bendis acting as plotmeister for <em>all</em> of the X-Books, with other writers working from his overall directions and plots, a la the short-lived "Counter-X" promotion of 2000, in which Brian Wood, Ian Edginton and Steven Grant scripted <em>Generation X</em>, <em>X-Force</em> and <em>X-Man</em> based upon input from Warren Ellis. Such an arrangement wouldn't be unknown for Bendis, who worked on the initial six issues of <em>Secret Warriors</em> in a similar way, and who has often spoken about the upside of collaboration. <p>Perhaps best of all, such an arrangement would only up the ante for those who wonder just how many books that Bendis can write per month as it is.


Date: 06 March 2012 Time: 08:55 PM ET