SDCC 2014: MARVEL: AVENGERS & X-MEN AXIS - ULTRON is Back in OGN, More
art from AVENGERS: RAGE OF ULTRON
CREDIT: Marvel Comics
Editors Nick Lowe, Mike Marts, Jordan D. White, and e-i-c Axel Alonso took the dais along with writer Rick Remender.
All-New Captain America #1 was first up, with Remender confriming that Sam Wilson as Cap will still fly, and will be joined by Ian Rogers as Nomad, confirming speculation from earlier this week. He also said they'll be "making HYDRA into something really big and new and scary."
Avengers: Rage of Ultron is a new OGN coming out in April 2015. It's in-Continuity by Jerome Opeña and Rick Remender. "Jerome is a nutjob. He's a lunatic. I've been working with him for a decade, and it's so great to be back with him. The storytelling comes first, and the absolute labor he puts into it. An OGN is perfect for him. It's literally the work of his life, and to be teamed back up with Jerome and Dean is so great.
"One of the things Tom Brevoort and I were really trying to establish with this was that it was something that felt like The Killing Joke It's a really strong done-in-one story, but really pushes things forward in the story. There will be consequences for the current team, the post-Axis team. By th end of this, we'll have a whole new Ultron, a whole new status quo, and will lead to some new things with that character. Oh, and Starfox plays a really big role. We're going to make Starfox the coolest Avenger we can!"
Moving back to the title of the panel, AXIS, Remender said, "Well in Cap, it's all leading to the new Captain America, so no one knows who that's going to be, it's a big reveal in Cap #25 (laughs). But Now we're seeing Zola and the Red Skull both moving plans forward. That will feed into AXIS, and we'll see whether people live or die, with the ultimate fate of Jet Black.
"And in Uncanny Avengers we'll see that team trying to unravel Red Skull's plan. So here on #24 we see Rogue, Scarlet Witch, and Havok in Red Skull's reeducation camps."
Lowe said, "One of the coolest things about hits event to me is that you initiated this story in Uncanny Avengers #1."
Magneto #9 is another tie-in, and Lowe says he plays "a huge role in AXIS."
It all leads to AXIS #1 in October, drawn by Adam Kubert and written by Rick Remender. That issue will spread out into most of the Marvel Universe. The opening of the first issue (and first act) will see "them dealing with Plant Man, who is one of my favorite Marvel villains. Adam has redesigned him - a character I plan to return to, and the most recent squad of Avengers is in the midst of going to Los Angeles where he's grown vegetation across the whole city," Remender teased. "And Falcon-Cap looks so cool. Doing flying Cap has been great. And that's the Vision there. One of our priorities in the Avengers office is to make The Vision the badass that he used to be. We're building him up to have a big role in AXIS and a huge role in the OGN."
AXIS #2 will see "Scott and Alex have huge ramifications for those two characters. They'll have a brotherhood and a bond reforming here."
More tie-ins were talked about, with AXIS: Carnage by Rick Spears and German Peralta, AXIS: Hobgoblin by Kevin Shinick and Javier Rodriguez, "I wish we could talk more about what these series are about but they have to do so much with what's happening in AXIS," Lowe said.
AXIS: Revolutions is another companion series, starting with Dennis Hopeless, Simon Spurrier, and Ken Lashley doing the first issue. It's in the vein of Original Sins or AVX.
Uncanny Avengers and Deadpool will also cross over in October. Remender said he "loves what Cullen is doing with Magneto right now. When we started talking about AXIS we knew there had to be a big Magneto vs. Red Skull fight. There's so much there, you know you had to see it. So in Uncanny Avengers #25, we have Daniel Acuña coming back to close out the story I've been telling since issue 1, and AXIS is born out of the conflict between Magneto, Scarlet Witch and Red Skull."
Deadpool's crossover has the regular team, and White said, "I will say, I know that Rick is good friends with Brian and Gerry. They've come up with a pretty great tie-in. If you're a fan of Rick writing Deadpool in Uncanny X-Force, he has some great moments in AXIS."
Magneto, Loki, and All-New X-Factor all tie-in in October, as well.
Alonso stressed that "the stakes are equal across both sides, the Avengers and the X-Men" in this crossover. Act II is "Inversion" and an image was shown for only a second, but included a snarky-looking Tony Stark in his new all-silver Iron Man suit.
And then, fan Q&A.
Q: How do the other recent event comics inform this one?
Lowe: "We've never rebooted, we've never started over, so all of these events are part of the same huge tapestry."
Q: Avengers and X-Men are in this, but what about the Fantastic Four?
Lowe: "They're great, and have a great story going on by James Robinson right now, but they're not big in this one."
Alonso: "We just had a retreat a couple weeks ago, talking about another big story, and the Fantastic Four play a huge role in that one because they fit better - particularly one character from that team"
Q: The X-Men join the Avengers, any chance of seeing it go the other way?
Lowe: "The X-Men are much more defined by their genetics, so it's not really the same thing."
Q: Big fan of 90s X-Men, so I jumped out of my seat when I saw Red Skull Onslaught, so how did you come up with that?
Remender: "Credit for that goes to Tom Brevoort. Now that we have Red Skull having biowelded Xavier's brain into his own, we were looking at how he could go, and Tom said 'what about Onslaught?' And I was saying no, nothing against what you loved as a kid and in that time. But I spent some time sitting on it and it struck me as gold. So that led me to the notebook and if I get to my notebook, I know something has clicked. So I don't want to give too much away but the on-ramp all leads to each piece. The Red Onslaught is the A and the X, and it fits what we did with Red Skull and Xavier's brain."
Q: Why did the cover of AXIS #1 change from Green Goblin to Hobgoblin?
Lowe: "Once we saw what happened with Green Goblin at the end of his storyline in Spider-Man, he didn't really fit in AXIS anymore." Remender mirrored the answer and said he'd be working with Hobgoblin and Jack O' Lantern and "some really unexpected Carnage stuff."
Q: Did each of these stories build off each other, or did you have an idea for a story that would last like 7 years?
Remender: "I get story ideas and just put ideas and ideas into these files. In what started in Uncanny X-Force and then went into Apocalypse NOW and the Twins and Avenge the Earth - many of those things did come from what was a thrid year for Uncanny X-Force, and I merged taht with new ideas. It was reformatted to be a story for that book, but the throughlines do go back years into my outlines and notebooks."
Remender revealed to a fan who asked about the Event process that he has to work very closely with the other writers so that events in the book work well with what they have planned for their characters. "I put every big idea I had on the table, and we have big things happening to the Hulk, Huge things happening to the X-Men. There's a return villain in the 4th. There's tie-ins we haven't announced yet. And coming out of it, you'll get new Avengers, changed Avengers, and a new status quo for a lot of villains."
Q: Any use for Dani Moonstar or Madrox in the near future?
Nothing they can talk about right now, but then White said, "Madrox is going to have a guest star appearance in a non-Avengers or X-Men book very soon. So buy all the comics."
Q: There's a lot of Avengers stuff and not a lot of X-Men stuff at this convention and at the booth and all.
Alonso: "Everything you've read on the internet is absolutely true. Why would we want to put one of the greatest super teams ever in the spotlight and our publishing plan?"
Remender: "AXIS has eaten a lot of that up - but there's a huge X-Men presence in AXIS. There's some big reuniting moments, and by issue 7 it hits in a big way, with a huge moment for the X-Men."
Q: Will female Thor play any part in AXIS at all?
Remender: "Based on the timeline, it doesn't make sense for her to play a role in this, but it DID make sense for Odinson to be in this. There's a - the biggest Loki beat ever in this. We'll see her coming out of AXIS in a big way in the Marvel Universe. We talk to each other and care. Jason and I have spent hours on the phone and planning it out - this is an Odinson story. When you see where it goes, and how it hits with Loki, you'll understand why."
A fan's question about whether there were plans to kill Cyclops at the end of AvX was met with a surprise.
Alonso: "There was a point during our conversations where there were people advocating us killing all the Avengers and replacing them with the X-Men! That was an actual idea we considered, and that was during an Avengers movie year! We'll consider everything - anything comes to the table with."
Q: What made you decide to put Falcon in the Cap role, and what do you think of the feedback?
Remender: "I really liked the idea of looking at the Marvel Universe differently. Sam has a very different view of the world. It's Sam as the character. I went to great lengths to establish in All-New Captain America who Sam is, what his origin is. He's equal parts Steve Rogers and Bruce Wayne with his own spin on what Captain America and the world is. There was no pushback from Marvel on it. But this isn't an easy reset thing, this is what we plan to have around for a long time."
Alonso pointed out, "All these ideas were writer-generated. Female Thor was Jason's idea. Sam as Captain America was Rick's idea. So if you're blasting Marvel for doing these things, you're blasting the writers too."
Q: Any plans for Elixir?
Marts: "Conversations came up for him about two weeks ago at our creative retreat, and there are plans to bring him into a book soon."
Q: Any Young Avengers plans, even for them individually or for the younger heroes in the Marvel Universe?
Lowe: "On the X-Men side it's Wolverine and the X-Men. We'll talk about big plans for younger characters in the Spiderverse panel tomorrow. But there are some other big plans in the works right now. Original Sins has a Young Avengers story too by Ryan North. It's a cool story."