Monday, March 24, 2008


Marvel marketing guru Jim McCann took the lectern at the WWLA X-Men panel Saturday afternoon clad in a black and red X-Men jacket as Peter David, Matt Fraction, Craig Kyle, Aubrey Sitterson, and Chris Yost took their seats. Marc Guggenheim phoned in while he fought traffic on the I-10 freeway.

The two screens displaying the Marvel logo over Lenil Yu’s Skrulls switched to a presentation for the “Divided We Stand” event. Addressing the slide for “X-Men Legacy”, Sitterson said, “there’s a nostalgia aspect to it, but it’s also a story picking up directly from "Messiah Complex". Sitterson also revealed that Daken returns to “Wolverine Origins”.

When the slide of Mutant Town was presented, Peter David remarked that X-Factor will have to protect the town as it is being burnt to the ground. David also mentioned the Quicksilver and Layla Miller “Divide We Stand” one-shots. The Layla Miller one shot will address what happens to the character after she was stranded in the future at the end of Messiah Complex. Artist Larry Stroman will be returning to “X-Factor” to draw an upcoming X-Factor/She-Hulk crossover, which is also a Secret Invasion Tie-In. In addition, Darwin and Longshot will be joining the X-Factor team.

The presentation moved on to the other “Divided We Stand’’ one shots, focusing on Cannonball, Surge, and Nightcrawler. The Nightcrawler one-shot will be written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Jamie McKelvie. This will be McKelvie’s first work for Marvel.

After a bit of shtick involving Ed Brubaker’s answering machine, it was revealed that Matt Fraction will co-write “Uncanny X-Men” with Brubaker starting with issue #500 in July. Greg Land and new Marvel exclusive Terry Dodson will rotate art chores. A story fourteen months in the making, Fraction joked, “Stuff explodes, everybody has lots of sex, and then everybody dies…and then the team moves to San Francisco to clear their heads.”

Jim McCann noted that Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi will be taking over “Astonishing X-Men” with issue #25. Bianchi is doing costume redesigns for the team, and slides were shown of Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine in their new uniforms.

The floor opened up to questions from the fans, and David responded to one regarding the Siryn-Madrox pregnancy:” There will be developments that will happen in that storyline that will make the internet light up like a Christmas tree.”

When asked about Dazzler by Jim McCann, Fraction confirmed that Dazzler will return in “Uncanny X-Men #501” as “the mutant Madonna”, discovering a late career as a mutant entertainer in San Francisco.” On CBR there’s a thread that just exploded”, McCann joked.

The presentation moved on to “X-Force” with Kyle and Yost. Kyle said that the X-Force team should grow to six by the issue #7 or #8. “After issue #3, you’re going to see how big and bad this book is going to get,” remarked Kyle. “We’re going to give you as much as we can pack into twenty-two pages.” At the point, Ed Brubaker returned Fraction’s phone call, and Marc Guggenheim finally arrived. Of “Young X-Men”, Guggenheim revealed, “The first arc really set the tone for the next two years worth of stories. There are seeds planted throughout the arc. Hopefully you won’t see the seeds planted. It’s a book with a lot of surprises. I’m planning to twist the plot like a pretzel. The book, unlike me, is never late.”

The floor opened up to fan questions again. In response to a question about Forge, Jim McCann revealed that Forge will return, but he may not cross paths with Storm. When the same fan asked if there was a chance of Jean Grey coming back, McCann replied, “It’s Jean, there’s always a chance.”

A British fan asked about UK Mutants like Pete Wisdom, to which McCann directed fans to “Captain Britain and MI:13”, an ongoing series that addresses the Secret Invasion of the Skrulls in the UK. Another fan asked about Havok. Sitterson answered that the character would appear in “Divided We Stand” issues #1 & #2.

One fan asked about the red haired mutant baby from Messiah Complex, to which Matt Fraction informed the audience that the baby was Arcade’s. Another fan asked if there were any plans for the Hellfire Club. Fraction replied,” There’s a Hellfire cult."

When asked about plans for Firestar, McCann answered, “She retired in ‘Civil War: Frontline’, but I can say we haven’t seen the last of the character.”

And with that, the panel came to a close.

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