Comic-Con 2013: X-MEN Panel

Tue. July 23, 2013 12:00 AM
by Danny Bernardo

With the mutant community divided after the events of Avengers vs. X-Men, this year's worth of books of X-Books will culminate in the event X-Men: Battle of the Atom, in honor of the franchise's fiftieth anniversary. As previously announced at this year's C2E2 , the event will pit the time-displaced five original X-Men with the X-Men of the present and futre. At the panel to give an exclusive sneak peek at this year's Comic-Con were editor Jeanine Schaefer , senior editor Nick Lowe , and writers Brian Michael Bendis (All-New X-Men), Paul Cornell (Wolverine), Gerry Duggan (Deadpool), Sam Humphries (Uncanny X-Force), and Brian Posehn (Deadpool)

Battle of the Atom

To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the X-Men, Battle of the Atom will bring the past, present, and future X-Men at odds with each other in a two-month long event that will span all the X-Books. Previously announced at this year's C2E2, the event will be written and drawn by a roster of all-stars including Frank Cho, Stuart Immomen, David Lopez, Chris Bacchalo, Giuseppe Camuncolli, and Esad Ribic.

"I promise that a lot of things will change for all of the books at the end of the storyline," said writer Bendis. "It's a big payoff for those who have been following the X-books this year and a good jumping on point for those who haven't."

Editor Lowe noted that this event is not just hugely important for the Marvel Universe but artistically as well as it will be the first X-Men event that Bendis and Brian Wood (writer of the current all-female led run of X-Men) will be joining on. There will also be a mobile game based on the event (featuring new character costumes) that will be released before the end of the year.

It was also noted that this event will not tie-in to six-issue event Infinity , which will be running concurrently.

Uncanny Avengers

The biggest announcement about the current run of this series was that artist Steve McNiven will be joinining in November. As a teaser for the handoff, an image of the shattered headpiece worn by the controversial character Scarlet With was shown.

Wolverine: Killable

Another arc that was announced at C2E2 has come in full swing, as Wolverine lost his healing factor in issue 6. Because the character crosses so many books in the Marvel Universe, writer Cornell and editor Schaefer had to get clearance from every writer and editor who had Wolverine featured in their series and they were met with much excitement about it.

Writer Cornell shared that issue 7 will have Wolverine dealing with his mortality and getting used to the idea of getting old while subsequent issues will focus on his foes coming after him now that he is no longer relatively invincible. "Issue 13 is where the really big change happens," noted Cornell.

Usually in the front lines because of his relative invincibility, editor Schaefer noted that his fighting style will change and a new costume added this fall is a function of that. "It affects all of the books wolverine is in," Lowe added.

Elsewhere in the X-Books, Runaways artist Adrian Alphona breaks an almost decade long hiatus to join writer Sam Humphries on Uncanny X-force this October. Also in October, Deadpool fans will enjoy a "Weapon X adjacent arc" featuring Captain America and inspired by a Power Man (Luke Cage) and Iron Fist story from the 70's.

X-Factor writer Peter David joined the panel (one of his first since he recovered from a stroke last December) to discuss the details of the series' end this fall in September with issue 262. "It's been tremendously exciting working on X-Factor for ten years and that's just the current run." David said, referring to the title having gone through two previous iterations since the eighties.

"X-Factor is such a special book," Lowe remarked, noting that it is: "the steadiest book in our history, [which is a] testament to Peter, the artists, and to the fans for sticking with it.

"Peter does have something coming up at Marvel up soon, " added Singh, promising details to come soon. Also promised were that the characters of X-Factor would live on in other X-Books, including a special miniseries for Longshot entitled Longshot Saves The Marvel Universe coming in November.

Conversation then turned to the highly anticipated new run of an female team of X-Men which launched late May of this year. "Brian Wood wrote a run on X-Men last year that was all ladies and Colossus. It wasn't weird, it was just what it was," editor Schaefer said about the inspiration for the series. She noted how supportive Lowe and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso were about her "passion project."

"Our fans are great for proving the critics wrong," Singh added. "Female characters can lead books."

Perhaps the biggest news revealed on the panel was the return of fan favorite Nightcrawler after his death in 2010's X-Men: Second Coming . Though alternate universe versions of Nightcrawler have graced Marvel pages in the interim, the teleporting furball we all love will return in a new book Amazing X-Men , which will launch hot on the heels of Battle of The Atom in November. Joining Nightcrawler on a soul-saving battle between himself and his demon father Azaezal are X-Men Iceman, Wolverine, Northstar, Storm, Beast, and former Avenger/mutant Firestar.