Sunday, April 28, 2013

C2E2: X-men Panel Announcements - Wolverine and Battle of the Atom

I liken Marvel and DC as being the only two massage parlors in town. They both offer the possibility of happy endings, but it's very rare that they actually deliver. But because there's no other game in town and there's no other way to get that elusive happy ending, we keep coming back in hopes that our overly generous tips will one day get us what we want. And more often than not, we're disappointed.

Now to be fair, DC Comics has been much more willing to get dirty and work the shaft with their events compared to Marvel. They actually have had a number of events that end on some happy note. It's usually not so nice that it would make it into a Mr. Rogers rerun, but at the very least you won't have to up the dosage of your Prozac prescription. For Marvel, they must have a fuckton of stock in pharmaceutical companies because most of their events end with someone being killed, screwed over, and a little of both. Events like House of M, Civil War, Fear Itself, and Avengers vs. X-men all have one thing in common. Someone usually has to die and/or get screwed over for it to be a true Marvel ending.

For a jaded drunk like me, that's no big deal. But after a while, shit gets old. Marvel has been essentially copying and pasting a lot of old tactics lately, from time travel to big media-hyped deaths. Yet they somehow call themselves the House of Ideas. I think that's grounds for Webster's Dictionary to sue, but I'm not a lawyer so I'll only assume someone is sending a few judges a steady stream of blow and hookers. And yet guys like me keep coming back for more because as shitty as these events are at times, there are some pretty awesome gems in between like Schism, All New X-men, Uncanny X-men, and Uncanny X-Force. It may not give your dick all the attention it wants, but it's worth it.

That brings us to Marvel's latest batch of announcements at C2E2 this past weekend. It has been teased for a while that Marvel will be doing something to celebrate the X-men's 50th anniversary. I had planned to hire a few strippers, a midget, and some guys I met at a gay bar for a house party in Miami complete with pools of booze and cocaine. But Marvel has their own plans and here's what they announced, courtesy of CBR:

Marvel Director of Communications Arune Singh led the roundtable talk with "X-Men" writer Brian Wood, "Wolverine" writer Paul Cornell, Editors Jordan White and Tom Brevoort, "Wolverine & The X-Men" artist Ramon Perez, "Venom" artist Declan Shalvey, colorist Jordie Bellaire and "Uncanny Avengers" writer Rick Remender.

The panel started talking about "Uncanny Avengers" upcoming arc focusing on "Four Deaths" in the form of resurrected characters like Banshee, Sentry, Grim Reaper and Daken. The Apocalypse twins born of Archangel and Pestilance who were raised in the future by Kang raise the four for their own purposes. "What the Apocalypse twins have done is create the Four Horsemen of Death...this sounds like I'm sitting in my house playing D&D by myself," he joked. "Each one of them have context with our cast. You're going to see a big Sentry/Thor knockdown fight."

White teased incoming strife in "All-New X-Men" as Mystique and Lady Mastermind work behind the scenes to build a group against the time-dispalced original X-Men. Meanwhile in "Uncanny X-Men," young Warren Worthington has joined Cyclops' team, but the real question moving forward is can Magneto be trusted with the team?

"Wolverine & The X-Men" will flash to the future in May's issue #29. Perez announced that he'll be leaving the book after the issue. "I got to draw the school about 50 years in the future with a million and one characters," he said. "Wolverine looks kind of cool with a get to see what kids make it and what kids don't make it in the future. It is an alternate future, though," he said leaving the story possibilities open. The artist said he'll probably stick with the X-Men line in his future work before he and White noted that issue #29 will see a character defect to the Hellfire Club.

As for Wood's "X-Men," the writer said, "Who's tired of waiting for this book?" to applause. He then announced that a seventh, as of yet unseen cast member on the book will join the book on the very last page of issue #1.

The panel then announced that for September's 50th Anniversary of the franchise, Marvel will publish a new crossover event called "X-Men: Battle of The Atom" which has been put together by Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron and Brian Wood as all of their books will play a part in the ten-part story. It will launch with a "Battle of the Aton" #1 issue drawn by Frank Cho before running in "Uncanny X-Men" #12-13, "All-New X-Men" #16-17, "Wolverine & The X-Men" #36-37, "X-Men" # 5-6 and then wrapping in "X-Men: Battle of The Atom" #2.

The story adds some new players to the Cyclops/Wolverine divide when a group of X-Men from the future land in the present including Kate Pryde, Molly Hayes, Deadpool, Lady Xorn, a futuristically mutated Beast and something called "Ice-Thing" – all designed by Arthur Adams.

The next announcement on the slate was a new story called "Killable" starting in "Wolverine" #7 in August by continuing team of Cornell and Alan Davis. The story will reveal how Wolverine can be killed, and when Sabertooth learns the secret, he gathers a cabal of killers to come after Logan. "It's a dirty, great revenge story with Sabertooth and a number of the great X-Men villains who decide that because of something that's about to happen, Wolverine is about to become killable...leading to a kind of Western-style revenge story," the writer said. "We're leading him to the shadow of the valley of death with Kitty Pryde by his side."

The panel promised that by the end of the story, Wolverine would be fundamentally changed – a story beat Singh said would be all over the national media. There were a number of jokes on the panel about that alongside the idea that fans should shower Cornell with love now as they're going to hate him when "Killable" wraps.

"Deadpool" kicks a new story called "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly" in issue #15 by Gerry Duggan, Brian Posehn and Shalvey as new interior artist. The story digs into Deadpool's past where Wade teams with former "Weapon Plus" comrades Captain America and Wolverine. "I'll be honest, I'm a really, really big Wolverine fan," Shalvey said of the gig. "It's a slightly darker story...which really pulled me in." Bellaire added that she hated Deadpool for years after a Deadpool cosplayer was rude to her at a show years before, but working on this book has brought her back around to the character.

The panel then announced that "X-Factor's" September issue will be its last. The move is writer Peter David's choice as he found a natural endpoint of his story. "Right now they're in the middle of the 'Hell On Earth War' arc which really wraps up a lot of the supernatural stories that have been running through the arc," White explained saying that the very final issues will focus on the character relationships in the book including Polaris' relationship with Quicksilver after she accepts that she is, in fact, Magneto's daughter. They then showed a brief video David recorded on the end of the series which has to be seen to get the full effect of the humor, but the writer did say he had another Marvel project in the works.

White then took out his ukulele and led the audience in a "sing along" of the theme from the '90s "X-Men" animated series.

The panel opened up to fan questions, starting with a question as to whether Marvel had any say in how the new "X-Men: Days of Future Past" movie was turning out. Brevoort explained that some higher ups at Marvel were in the loop and could give some notes, but unlike Marvel Studios films, the X-Men franchise is really solely in the control of the team at 20th Century Fox. Similarly, a fan asked after the possibility of more X-Men Legos to which the panel said there may be more sets coming in September.

Wood told a fan that his "X-Men" book would start as a self-contained story and then jump write into the big "Battle of the Atom" event. After that, he'll find a better mix of his own concerns and story beats that play off the events in some of the other X-books.

A fan scoping images online as the panel went asked after another cast member of the "Battle of the Atom" event wondering if Wolverine and Mystique would have a daughter in the future. The question got a "No comment."

Sentry's choice as a Horseman of Death came up, and Remender said the Apocalypse twins have been picking team members based on what they've seen in the future, and what they've seen necessitates certain characters. "We played with Ares as an option, and after going back and forth on it, I went with the Sentry because there was...not untapped potential, but I had some ideas for him," the writer said, adding that it also worked thematically for the idea of a mix of X-Men and Avengers concerns in the book and specifically to lead to the Thor/Sentry rematch. Brevoort said he argued for Ares, but he ceded to Remender's choice in the end.

A fan asked after resurrections of characters might happen in "Battle of the Atom" – particularly Nightcrawler and Jean Grey. The panel took the temperature on the room for either return before declining to comment in any specific fashion.

Wood said that other female characters from the X-Franchise like Pixie could possibly show up in the long term plans for his "X-Men" title, but at the start he wants to get the core cast established strongly.

See those parts I bolded? Well those aren't just the parts that led me to take a few extra shots of tequila. Those are the parts of the announcement that prove my earlier points about Marvel being a shitty massage parlor.

First off, there's time travel. Oh Odin have mercy, there's even more time travel. First we had the Original Five X-men come from the past. Now we've got another team coming in from the future, mostly likely to inform the X-men that they once again fucked up and the world is a dystopian wasteland of killer robots, mutant concentration camps, and Nazi cos-players. Gee, where the fuck have we heard that before? And aren't they making a movie with the same premise? If any of these questions crossed your mind, you need better weed.

Given what's taken place in Age of Ultron right now, Marvel isn't just fucking with the space time continuum. They're drugging Father Time, date raping him, and carving dicks on his face with an ice pick. I know Marvel does a lot of time travel shit, but at some point you gotta give Einstein a chance to stop rolling over in his grave. I'm not saying this event can't be good. Hell, I'll be the first in line to read and review it on my blog with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bottle of lube just in case. But some new ideas wouldn't hurt.

At the very least, it looks like one of the new characters from the future that was teased involves someone that may or may not be proof that Wolverine and Mystique eventually bone again. It's hard to imagine the circumstances where these two would want to get busy in the current set of circumstances, but that doesn't mean I won't be jerking off to it later.

Smut fanfiction writers, you know you want to show how Mystique and Wolverine make this!
Then there's the announcement that will probably kill my boner. It's yet another tease that Marvel is killing yet another big name character. If ever there was a universal trigger to make every comic book fan erupt in a volcano of bitching and moaning, killing a big name character would be it. And who is bigger than fucking Wolverine? The guy has yet another movie coming out after the last one sucked so bad that the word Barakapool is now considered a synonym for comic book movies that suck elephant balls. And now Marvel wants to kill him?

They don't say outright that he's dying, but it does fall perfectly in line with a rumor that Bleeding Cool ran earlier this year that I reported on that said Wolverine would die in 2014. The man is going to lose his healing factor and his worst enemies are going to take advantage of it. How else can this shit end?

We've seen it with Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four, Charles Xavier in Avengers vs. X-men, and Peter Parker in Ultimate Spider-Man. Killing big name characters draws attention and for some reason it gets fans to fork over their money. I've said it time and again on this blog. The only reason Marvel keeps doing shit like this is because it sells. If this shit didn't sell, Marvel would stop and try to figure out another way to get us to give them our hard-earned money. But it hasn't stopped working. We fanboys are like perpetually PMSing teenage girls and Marvel are the ones dishing out the Midol and chocolate. And we keep taking it like the gullible bitches we are. It's not Marvel's fault. It's ours. And until we understand that (and we won't anytime soon), we'll keep getting fed shit like this and we'll keep gobbling it down.

He's gonna die without knowing how Jean Grey's breasts feel. Poor bastard.
So between time travel and major deaths, the future of X-men looks both promising and infuriating. Yet the high quality of books like Uncanny X-men and All New X-men as well as upcoming books like Brian Wood's all-female X-men give me hope that I'll still have plenty of reviews to do on this blog. And unless you're a Nightcrawler fan or a fan of Peter David's X-Factor, you should have plenty to look forward to. But if you're still holding out for a possible happy ending, keep your lube and porno handy. Because I don't think Marvel is going to deliver once again. Nuff said!

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