[preview art following the report]The Marvel Dark Reign panel focused on Norman Osborn and his "Cabal of Evil," as well as the announcement of the new creative team on Fantastic Four.
On the panel were Joe Quesada, Tom Brevoort, Dan Slott, Greg Pak, Matt Fraction, Jim McCann, Jonathan Hickman, Warren Simons, Christos Gage, Jeff Parker, Rick Remender, Andy Diggle, Frank Tieri, and Paul Cornell.
Although it's not tied to Dark Reign, Quesada announced that the new creative team on Fantastic Four once Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch finish up are writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Dale Eaglesham. Hickman and Eaglesham team will take over Fantastic Four in September.
Marvel also announced that Dale Eaglesham is the latest artist to sign a Marvel exclusive contract. He will debut as artist on a an eight-page Amazing Spider-Man story by Joe Kelly, then begin his run on Fantastic Four with Hickman.
Dark Reign: Young Avengers is a new five-issue mini-series beginning in May that will have focus on what the young heroes do when the Dark Avengers and New Avengers are at odds -- because they are at odds with a new band of young people who steal their name. It will be written by Paul Cornell with art by Mark Brooks.
Cornell said the mini-series will be about superheroes that live in New York. A slide showed heroes named Enchantress, Egghead, Coast of Arms, Executioner Melter, and Dig Zero. They have grabbed the Young Avengers name during Dark Reign. And Eli and the rest of the Young Avengers are put into exactly the same position that the New Avengers were put into when the Dark Avengers took their name. "I'm loving it," the British writer said to cheers.
McCann also pointed out that Captain Britain and the MI 13 is NOT canceled, despite untrue rumors to the contrary.
Jeff Parker reminded the audience that he's writing a mini-series Dark Reign: The Hood. Brevoort also announced upcoming comics Dark Reign: Zodiac, Dark Reign: Mr. Negative, and Dark Reign: Anti-Venom.
The panel was opened up to questions from the audiences:
- What's the deal with the Sentry on Dark Avengers and where's his personality? Bendis: Dark Avengers answers both questions.
- Will Red Hulk be McCann: Jeph Loeb is not on this panel for a reason ("Joking! Joking! I love him!)
- Will Harry Osborn be involved in Dark Reign since his father's in charge? Brevoort: Yes, in April the American Son story in Amazing Spider-Man #595 to 599 will show that story. Slott: Check the Weekly Webbing interview with Wacker on Newsarama.
- Does the hair on Pepper's armor do anything? Fraction: It's not hair.
- How much is the Dark Reign related to the Bush Administration? Quesada: Dark Reign has been planned for quite awhile.
- Who's watching the rest of the world? Cornell: MI-13. Slott: Mighty Avengers.
- In the last page of Secret Warriors, how much impact will that have on the Marvel Universe? Hickman: A big one.
- Will Thor ever appear in Dark Reign? Brevoort: Yes.
- Why doesn't Doom put Norman in his place? Bendis: That would be Issue #4 of Dark Avengers. It's a central issue of the first arc.
- How long is Dark Reign going to last? Can we take a break from events? Quesada: So you don't want books where something happens? Pak: I think we should have Marvel Battle of the Bands. McCann: Dark Reign isn't really an event; it's what's happening in the Marvel Universe. Quesada: Dark Reign leads to an interesting place in the Marvel Universe. I think you'll see a pulling back at the end of Dark Reign, but you'll understand at the end of it what we were trying to get to.
"When we produce books that aren't part of an event, there's a significant drop-off," Quesada added. "You vote with your dollars.... We try to give you the stuff you want to read. When it's not successful, we stop publishing."
- What's going on with Dormammu and the Hood? Bendis: New Avengers #51 through #55 is the search for the new Sorcerer Supreme now that it's not Dr. Strange.
- A fan said he's a huge fan of Captain Britain and the MI: 13. Cornell said: "New storyline: Dr. Doom on the Moon with Dracula. Dr. Doom's not taking second fiddle to anyone in my series."
- Are the Fantastic Four going to get messed up like everyone else in the universe? Brevoort: Dark Reign: Fantastic Four is all about how that plays out.
- What's the thinking behind Emma's placement on the Cabal, and Namor's placement? Bendis: Namor will do anything he thinks is good for his kingdom. He's the only one who knows the first Illuminati and the Dark Illuminati both exist. Fraction: The Uncanny Annual that just came out explains most of why Emma's doing this. Emma's doing what she believes is best for mutant-kind.
- Any plans for Omega Flight? Fraction: Keep reading Uncanny.
- Were there hints to what happened at the end of Secret Warriors? Hickman: There are tons of hints about where we're going in the information in the back. There's a long, complex story coming.
- Will there be a Pulse or Frontline for Dark Reign? Isn't the press interested in this? Quesada: The prior events were so huge that we needed a ground level view in a special series. This is not that kind of thing so it's not necessary to have a series from that point of view. Brevoort: You'll see some of that in Amazing Spider-Man. Remender: And also in The Punisher.
- Is Nick Fury's team a permanent thing or just to stop Norman Osborn? Hickman: Permanent, but it's not going to be the only team in the book.
- A fan showed an Iron Fist tattoo, and Quesada had him come up front and show it off, then shook his hand.
- Is Bullseye going to be killing lots of people? Bendis: Yes. Diggle: Dark Reign: Hawkeye is all about Norman trying to keep control of the guy. He'll also be in the Dark Reign: Elektra series.
- Will Captain America tie into Dark Reign? Brevoort: You'll see Avengers characters hanging out sometimes with Cap, but Ed Brubaker will be doing what he's been doing.
- Is Magneto involved in Dark Reign? Fraction: No, but we'll be checking in with him soon.
- What's next for the Initiative? Will Gargoyle stay around? Gage: Gargoyle retired. The next story is Initiative Disassembled, and that's what it is. Norman Osborn will be changing things in the Initiative in a big way. And the New Warriors are coming back.
- Will anyone switch sides during Dark Reign? Bendis: Characters are going to be pushed in different directions. So you'll see what happens in all the Dark Reign books with all these heroes as they react to being pushed to the limit.
- Is Black Panther really a woman? McCann: Check out the Black Panther panel tomorrow.
- Daken seems to have bone claws like Wolverine. Is he getting an adamantium skeleton? McCann: As of Issue #75, Wolverine becomes Dark Wolverine, so that's where the answer will be.
- More Howard the Duck? Bendis: That character has shown up in six issues I've done, and I've never typed the words Howard the Duck.
- Has Norman Osborn given up the Spider-Man obsession? Almost everyone on the panel said: No!
- How long until we get into the Ebony Blade in Captain Britain and the MI: 13? Cornell: You'll see the Black Knight get the Ebony Blade back in the next issue.
- Is Dark Reign influenced by Acts of Vengeance? Bendis: It's not consciously linked to it. Brevoort: Acts of Vengeance collection this year.
Steve Wacker came into the room at that time and was introduced as "the weekly Wacker," to laughs.
- Is there big Spider-Woman news? McCann: Come to the Digital Comics panel tomorrow. Bendis; Why would we be announcing Spider-Woman news at a digital comics panel? I've been sequestered and can't talk about it, but Alex Maleev is drawing it.
- A woman offered to sit on McCann's lap if he'd give her a Marvel comic. McCann: "Did you just offer ME a lapdance? Everyone knows me, right? It's not going to work."
- What's the body count of Dark Reign? Bendis (joking): 18. McCann: We now have to come up with 18 people to kill. Bendis: Well, there's Howard the Duck. And we'll kill Doom first because he doesn't take a back seat to anyone.
- What's the plan for The Hood? Bendis: Remender has some excellent Hood plans.
- Will we see more intimate stories about Nick Fury? Hickman: Yes. Secret Warriors is about Nick Fury's journey, so yes.
- What's up with Scarlet Witch? Slott: You're going to find out what's up with the Scarlet Witch by Issue #23.
- Is Steven Strange done? Bendis: No, you'll be very happy because Steven gets a lot of face time, and we'll take a tour of Marvel's magical universe and see who's worthy of being Sorcerer Supreme.
- Any interactions between the Thunderbolts and the Dark Avengers? Diggle: You'll see interaction, but the public thinks the Thunderbolts don't exist. The Avengers are there to take the spotlight.
- Will the lists and information in the back of Hickman's comics going to continue in Fantastic Four? Hickman: Not really, because we're going for something different in FF. I think you'll like it though.
- Will we see Magneto's opinion of Dark Reign soon? Fraction: Yes.
- Will we see a battle between Norman Osborn and Spider-Man? Brevoort (sarcastically): It's absolutely out of the question.
- Will Mephisto be in Dark Reign? McCann (joking): I forgot who that character is.
- When will Quesada draw again? Quesada: I have a project I really want to do, but it is going to have to wait because of obligations with Marvel West with all the animation and movies and everything else at Marvel.
- How old is Aunt May? McCann: She's in her 60s.
- Will the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man story in April in Amazing Spider-Man affect Dark Reign? Slott: It will have major repercussions on the Marvel Universe.
- Do you worry you're making things too gray? Quesada: No, at the end of the day, we're just trying to tell good stories. Marvel characters have always been gray. There's lot of that stuff.
- What does H.A.M.M.E.R. mean? Brevoort: Evil!More New York Comic Con 2009 Coverage: NYCC '09 Video Page