Marvel Comics kicked off Saturday at New York Comic Con with their first news-filled panel of the convention. The panel had multiple announcements queued up from host and executive editor of the X-Men line, Mike Marts.
Marts introduced the panelists. Editor Katie Kubert, Editor Jordan White, writer Gerry Duggan, writer Charles Soule, writer Brian Bendis, writer Peter David, and writer Greg Pak.
Bendis started things off with the All-New X-Men. They're in the Ultimate universe right now, and "there's a very good chance that not all of them will make it back to the regular Marvel Universe. Ultimate Kitty will be making a big appearance. Jimmy Hudson vs X-23 will happen, you're welcome."
Uncanny X-Men was next, with the Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier. Bendis teased that the new "most powerful mutant on the planet" will be recruited successfully by Scott Summers. "It becomes a big marvel universe story as Scott starts making his big moves. And the young newer mutants on his team start to realize they're maybe not on the right team."
Andrea Sorrentino is illustrating the dual Annuals in December telling "the Secret Life of Eva Bell. We'll be telling the story of what happened when she accidentally time traveled - she'll see Killraven, X-Men 2099, and more. If you don't know Eva or read Uncanny X-Men, you should read this anyway just for the gorgeous artwork," Bendis said.
Amazing X-Men brings the next announcement - the new arc will be "The Return of the Juggernaut," Marts teased, with Chris Yost.
Spider-Man and the X-Men #1 hits in December, as previously announced. "It's basically how Peter Parker gets in the school to be a teacher there - and he has a mystery to solve. Not everyone is who they claim to be."
Next Wednesday sees Death of Wolverine #4, and Marts said it's "The most fun we've ever had killing a character." Soule thanked fans for positive feedback on the series, and praised Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, and Justin Ponsor's art. "It was really really something. With all the thank yous out of the way, he dies on Wednesday.
"We've been building up to this big ending. We've hit touchstones on Wolverine's life. We've done Canadian wildman, and Madripoor and Japan. So the last issue we go back to Weapon X. We look at how that affected me and how it will affect the Marvel Universe going forward."
After that is Death of Wolverine The Logan Legacy, 7 interconnected one shots by rotating creative teams. "So Logan Legacy is one of two bridge series coming right out of it," Soule said. "Wolverine was stopping a lot of people from being as evil as they can be, and now he's gone. It's definitely something to pick up because Wolverine is dead and not coming back anytime soon."
The other series is Weapon X Program, which will see "five new characters who are very closely tied into Wolverine - you'll see one in Death of Wolverine #4. These are not the heroes, not the super soldiers, they're the lab rats of Weapon X and they escape. I think of it as Runaways meets Frankenstein," Soule said.
Marts said that of course Wolverine's death will affect others outside of the X-Men directly.
Death of Wolverine: Deadpool and Captain America will "be fun, have some fun gags, and then has an ending that I don't think you'll see coming. It's an epilogue of sorts to our story The Good The Bad and the Ugly."
Life After Logan is a one-shot anthology featuring stories with Colossus, Armor, and Cyclops reacting to the death.
Wolverines #1 will launch an all-new weekly series in January. It's written by Charles Soule, Ray Fawkes, and art by Nick Bradshaw.
"This isn't a save-the-universe kind of team. This is the "we're all trying to survive each other" team," Soule said. Mister Sinister is featured on the cover to the second issue. "Fin Fang Foom shows up at one point, sort of. There's crazy guest stars. It's really gonzo. Remember Nextwave? This isn't that, but it reminds me of how anything can happen in there."
Storm #4 & #5 will be a Death of Wolverine aftermath tie-in, too. Pak thanked fans and said, "this character means so much to me. Storm is a character, a hero who will always stick up for the underdog. She sees problems and sees things no one else sees."
"The first few pages of #4 will probably break your brains. So we see how she grieves, and then she'll take care of some of his unfinished business. She doesn't know all his secrets, and she'll find one out, and it's connected to Yukio.
"We'll discover they had a dangerous undertaking and Storm is commited to taking care of his business there."
All-New X-Factor got a big applause - the series was recently announced as canceled as of early 2015.
"I'm very pleased with the response to the one-off issue with Scarlet Witch coming to hang out with her sister," David said. "The next three issues will tie-in to Axis, then we'll send them to Israel - we're not calling it Israel, but it is that. Then in Issue 18, Danger gets laid. In Issue 20, we'll reveal the secret of Harrison Snow and what he's done, where he's come from."
David is also writing Deadpool's Art of War, a mini-series that has long-gestated in his head. "He wants to use the Art of War as a survival book on how to survive if the entire world is at war - and he realizes the entire world is not at war, so he decides to take care of that so that he can get his book published." He said it's his first real use of Deadpool and "the character is just fantastic!"
Meanwhile in Deadpool, the next couple issues will tie-in with Axis as well. Due to the Inversion, "Deadpool's whole worldview will change. He has a wife now who may not love the changes to his personality. Coming right out of that we have some big changes to his life as well. We're calling him Zenpool, and we're having a lot of fun with it. On the other side we'll light a bit of a fuse and see what's happening."
Return of the Living Deadpool is a sequel to last year's book, and all the zombies that Deadpool thought he saved are now also deadpools.
And then, fan Q&A.
Any Quentin Quire reaction from the death of Wolverine?
Marts: "In Wolverine and the X-Men!" Duggan: "He's in the Axis tie-ins for Deadpool, too."
Duggan and White say "Deadpool can bounce back from any wound so we have to hurt his heart instead." Duggan also said that he is very personally affected by Wolverine's death. "If I had to hand people one Deadpool comic that I wrote, it would be that one-shot."
Q: Is it true that you can't make any new X-Men characters?
Bendis: "If you've been reading my books, almost every character is a new one. I'm not exactly sure where that's coming from. I'm constantly creating new X-Men to put them in the toy box. I've been doing it constantly."
Q: Why did you decide now was the time for Death of Wolverine?
Marts: "It's instinct, it's in your guy. We came across a similar thing 10 years ago when we were thinking about telling the Origin of Wolverine. It's a lot of planning and discussion, and you just know in your gut when it's the right time."
And during the panel, the Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex blog posted an interview about this new Juggernaut-centric Amazing X-Men story beginning in #15. In that interview, Yost said that this is about the two-best known wielders of the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak – Colossus and the original Juggernaut, Cain Marko – will be the lead characters in this arc.
“When we catch up with Cain, he’s still big and somewhat strong, but nowhere near to what he was with the Juggernaut’s power,” Yost tells Hero Complex. “But he’s turned his back on the supervillain — it’s brought him nothing but trouble. He’s found peace. And that’s when the Gem comes back of course.”
For Colossus, it’s about dealing with the fact that the last time he possessed Cyttorak’s gem it corrupted him and turned him against his friends and allies in the X-Men.
Yost says this story in Amazing X-Men begins when the namesake of the gem, Cyttorak himself, places the gem back on Earth in hopes of acquiring a new avatar for himself. The writer calls this “the next chapter” in Juggernaut’s story, and that even if Marko doesn’t re-acquire the gem this will show “why he’s such an enduring character.”