With Wolverine due for execution this Wednesday, the entirety of the Marvel universe, which has increasingly come to depend on the ol’ canucklehead, is preparing for a drastic change. How will Marvel’s world be changed? How will those closest to Logan react to losing the one person they thought would be there forever? Marvel is counting on our interest in those questions. And so, on Saturday, Marvel assembled the architects of its X-Men line for the “Death of Wolverine – The Logan Legacy” panel.
Moderated by X-Men group editor Mike Marts the panel included Death of Wolverine and Wolverine and the X-Men editor Katie Kubert; Jordan D. White, editor of All-New X-Factor and Deadpool; Gerry Duggan, author of all manner of Deadpool craziness; Charles Soule, apparent human dynamo and the mastermind writer behind The Death of Wolverine; X-Men architect and writer of Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men, Brian Michael Bendis; Peter David, the writer of All-New X-Factor; and Storm writer, Greg Pak.
The first title the panel addressed was All-New X-Men. The current storyline sees the time-warped heroes venture even farther from home as they team up with Miles Morales in the Ultimate Universe. Bendis told the crowd that issue #36 will pit the team against the current Ultimate X-Men and will feature a couple of particularly interesting match-ups. He promised a showdown between X-23 and Jimmy Hudson, their respective universe’s truest child of Wolverine, as well as important interaction between Jean Grey and her Ultimate counterpart. “Jean meets a Jean that’s more like her than the Jean in the Jean Jean,” Bendis said with a laugh. He’s not wrong either. The young Jean Grey of All-New X-Men is much more similar to the fiery, short haired Ultimate Jean than the red haired angel that hung around 616.
Bendis also reminded the audience that the Ultimate Mutants are man made and promised that this would have repercussions for the original X-Men. Most interesting of all, he openly stated that not all of them are definitely coming back to the 616 universe. Does that mean that one of the O5 X-Men will choose to stay behind in the Ultimate universe and, if so, what will that mean for the 616 timeline?
Turning to Uncanny X-Men, the panel revealed that Scott Summers will be taking the dangerously powerful Matthew Malloy under his wing. It’s a fairly logical pairing, as their relationship with Charles Xavier makes them two of a kind almost as much as their uncontrolled and destructive powers. However there’s some question as to Cyclops’ motives. Bendis has done as good a job as anyone defending Scott from accusations of villainy since he split from the other X-Men following AvX. Scott’s “Mutant Revolution” has been a defensive and a spiritual one, providing safety to young mutants and fanning the flames of human sympathy for the plight of his people. With Matthew on his side, Cyclops has the weapon he’s needed. The revolution is coming, Bendis says, and the entire Marvel universe will have to decide how to react.
As Scott is growing ever more militant, his students are starting to wonder if they’re not fighting for the right side.
Bendis also took a moment to talk about the “Secret Life of Eva Bell” story running through Uncanny X-Men Annual and All-New X-Men Annual this December, calling it the X-Men project he’s most proud of. Both issues are drawn by Andrea Sorrentino, who Bendis seemed thoroughly taken with, and together will form a “graphic novel”. He revealed that Eva’s powers would take her to many different times and introduce her to characters like Killraven and the X-Men of 2099.
Next the panel announced the return of the Juggernaut in issue #15 of Amazing X-Men, which kicks off a four-part story called “Call of the Juggernaut” in January.
With that, the panel turned to the recently announced Spider-Man and the X-Men. The series is drawn by Marco Fallia and written by Elliot Kalan, the head writer of The Daily Show! Editor Katie Kubert stopped to ask if the crowd had heard of the obscure Comedy Central news show, prompting a laugh. She also assured us that there would be lots of dinosaurs, especially in issue #2.
One thing that struck me as interesting on multiple levels was Kubert’s statement that the series would see Peter Parker trying something he’s never had to do before: namely, be a teacher. This seems to ignore a brief period where Parker worked as a New York City science teacher during the JMS years. Either way, it’s certainly true that Peter’s never had such responsibility as a teacher and that seeing the Marvel universe’s most famous science student try to guide a school of mutant students through high school is an interesting hook.
The panel then turned to Charles Soule to discuss The Death of Wolverine. Soule described the book as looking at the beautiful in something horrible. The first three issues of the mini-series have examined famous milestones in Wolverine’s life – the Canadian wilds, Madripoor, and Japan, respectively – and Soule told us that the final issue will do the same with Weapon X and explore, one last time, how the shadowy government project affected the man called Wolverine.
Soule also took a moment to thank fans for their support, claiming that, while they expected resistance from some readers to the idea of killing Wolverine, he didn’t think there were any objectors. Soule quickly amended his statement as a man dressed as Logan from Death of Wolverine #2 lumbered towards the stage. “Well, there might be one objector…”
The previously announced The Logan Legacy mini-series received a great deal of excitement from the panelists and a positive response from the crowd. The series will examine how those closest to Wolverine will deal with his passing. The series is written by Soule and a slew of talented creators, many of them crossing over from DC, and will tellingly focus primarily on villains: Lady Deathstrike, Sabertooth, Daken, Mystique, and X-23, just for spice. Soule said that the villains each have a choice, to change for the better now that their rivalry with Wolverine is over or to indulge the kind of evil Logan always kept them from perpetrating.
Soule then spoke about his second, lesser mentioned, follow-up mini-series to The Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Project. The series begins in November with art from Salvador Larroca. According to Soule, five new characters with ties to Wolverine have escaped from Weapon X. These characters are very different from previous subjects of the Weapon X program. Wolverine, Deadpool, Maverick, and their ilk were the program’s nearest successes, but these are the lab rats that led to the kinds of discoveries that made them possible. Soule called the series “Runaways meets Frankenstein.”
After the heaviness of these series, the panel gave us a breather and turned to the upcoming Captain America/Deadpool one-shot. The series will team the now geriatric Steve Rogers with Deadpool as they sort out their own complicated feelings about Logan’s passing. Gerry Duggan was always a fan of this pairing but thinks that Steve’s advanced age will make this story especially funny.
If your hunger for reactions to Wolverine’s death is still not satisfied, you can check out the Life After Logan one-shot, which will feature characters like Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Armor. When the book drops next month, make sure to check if your store has a copy of Julian Totino Tedesco’s incredible variant cover.
With all of November’s events out of the way, the panel announced one more project dedicated to the memory of James ‘Logan’ Howlett, Wolverines by Charles Soule, Ray Fawkes, and Nick Bradshaw. The weekly series will see the cast of The Logan Legacy forced together. The book will be a fast-paced weekly adventure that will touch upon strange and interesting parts of the Marvel universe, an appearance by Fing Fang Foom being offered as an example. Soule described the series as “gonzo” and said that he imagines that it will appeal to fans of Nextwave. Look for it in January.
Meanwhile, Greg Pak will explore “how a goddess grieves” in the pages of Storm. Storm and Wolverine have been in a relationship since Wolverine and the X-Men (vol. 1) #25 and dear friends for far longer. Pak said that Ororo would find out about Logan in this month’s issue #4 and reminded us that Storm doesn’t just magic rain and thunder out of nowhere, but actually affects the planet’s atmosphere. That could have serious repercussions, he warned the audience, especially because her powers can react to her emotions without her conscious control.
Once she deals with the first wave of her grief, Storm will be clearing up some of Logan’s unfinished business, promising to see it through. This, however, may be something of a mistake. Wolverine has gone places that Storm never has and she may wind up regretting her promise, Pak warned. Thankfully she’ll have help. Storm will soon be crossing paths with Yukio her…friend? Idol? Lover? Lover’s Lover? Chris Claremont, everybody! Regardless of the strangeness of their relationship, Yukio has been an important part of both Storm and Wolverine’s lives ever since the she met them and it seems only right that she return now.
Pak thanked the readers for their support of the book, citing Storm as one of the first characters who made him understand that comics are for everybody. He also told us that, while the series had been largely episodic, there is a serious status-quo shake-up in issue #6 which will begin the first longer story of the series.
Up next was Peter David, who revealed that X-Factor would be heading to Israel in issue #18. Well, kind of. Marvel understandably didn’t want to get involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so they didn’t call it Israel but, between us, it’s Israel, he told the crowd. The issue would also contain an exciting milestone: Danger is going to get laid! Though he wouldn’t say who the lucky guy (I think Danger is straight…I think straight would mean guys in her case…the X-Men, everybody!) would be, he was very happy for her.
Perhaps the only way to top that, David also revealed that the series ending issue #20 would reveal the truth behind Serval Industries and Harrison Snow.
Even as All-New X-Factor comes to an end, one of David’s long dreamed of projects is coming to fruition in the form of Deadpool’s Art of War. David has long possessed an appreciation for Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, one shared by Wade Wilson who will take the text very much to heart and decides to use it as a guide to life. Unfortunately, The Art of War only describes, you guessed it, war and is unhelpful in times of peace. Seeing the dilemma, Deadpool will solve it the only way he knows how: by starting a world war. The series will be drawn by Scott Koblish and marks David’s first go writing the merc with a mouth.
Deadpool’s regular series is busy exploring who Wade Wilson, the man behind the mask of Deadpool, is. “Axis” is set to seriously change Deadpool, Duggan told the audience, but Wade is a married man now and his wife is not fond of these changes. The panel showed us a series of covers for issues #36 to 38, all of them great. Mike Marts described the cover to issue #36 as a particular favorite around the office.
Of course, Deadpool’s work is never done these days, so he’ll also be starring in Return of the Living Deadpool. A sequel to the Zombies vs. Deadpool story, Night of the Living Deadpool, Return sees the surviving zombies at war with an army of Deadpools.
Marts then opened the floor to questions.
One fan asked if Quentin Quire would be turning to Captain America for a father figure following Wolverine’s death. Though the panel assured them that Quire’s reaction would be addressed in Wolverine and the X-Men and the Deadpool Axis issues, there are no plans to pair him with Cap at this time.
Another man begged the panel not to create a new Wolverine, citing his disdain for “drivel” like Dick Grayson’s Batman or “Reign of the Supermen”. With a laugh, an amused Pak emphatically shot back, “Steel is not drivel!” Though the panel didn’t explicitly rule it out, they said that they were actively trying to do something different with this death.
One fan asked if Marvel would be wiling to set some more of their stories in Pittsburgh, prompting Duggan to shoot back that if he did, they’d have to be trying to escape before Bendis cut in to say he’d consider it in exchange for some local sandwiches.
Bendis also refuted the rumor that editorial has placed a freeze on the creation of new X-Men characters in order to spite Fox. “If you’ve been reading my book, it’s mostly new characters,” he said. The rumor has gained traction with the confirmation that Fantastic Four, a comic whose movie rights are similarly owned by Fox, is being canceled and an apparent substantiation from Chris Claremont has only fueled the fire . Bendis’ answer doesn’t necessarily answer the question, as many of his new characters were created early last year, before the rumored policy went into effect, but, whatever the truth, it makes Marvel’s position on the rumor clear.
A fan asking about Jubilee’s reaction to Wolverine’s death received a vague answer before the final questioner asked why they decided to kill Logan now. Marts answered that it felt right and that there was a story to tell.