As Original Sin moves quickly to its inevitable end of killing off Nick Fury Sr., we look ahead to what’s the next big thing from the House of Ideas will be, and that’s Axis. Well, it was AXis before, but since it wasn’t obvious enough that that meant A(vengers)X(-men)is, it’s now Avengers/X-Men Axis. Or possible Avengers/X-Men AXIS. All-caps is cool, so we’ll go with that.
The Red Skull has the late Charles Xavier’s telepathic powers. That is the worst possible person to have Professor X’s powers, because he is an evil Nazi jerk bent on world domination. So what’s he going to do with them? The Red Onslaught, no doubt. Revamping the 90s character that was an evil combination of Xavier and Magneto into an evil combination of Xavier and the Red Skull means there will be big shakin’s going on. So we’re at the San Diego Comic-Con panel to tell us what we need to know and what we’ll get to know.
On the panel is writer Rick Remender, who gave us this development in the pages of Uncanny Avengers. We’ve also got editor Nick Lowe, Marvel EIC Axel Alonso, executive editor Mike Marts, and Jordan D. White, editor of Deadpool, X-Factor and more.
Related Link: Rick Remender Shares Details About Marvel’s Axis Event
Here’s the panel, live as it happened:
All-New Captain America from Remender and Stuart Immonen in November – Falcon takes over for Steve Rogers, who had the super soldier serum taken from him. Remender says it’s an entirely new tone for the series, and he’s having a lot of fun writing a flying Captain America who can get “whirly and dirly.” Alex Ross variant cover revealed. There’s a certain rigidness to Rogers that Sam Wilson doesn’t have, and he’s not really a soldier and has different priorities. Nomad will be featured as well, and a new Hydra will rise – they will infiltrate the Marvel Universe in a way we’ve never seen. Remender says Immonen is a rare breed of person who can tell amazing illustrated stories and also be On Time. Stuart’s one of the very, very best. A bit at the end of Cap #25 will be a taste of Stuart, which will play with some of the Winter Soldier: The Bitter March characters as well. WS:TBM is one of the things Remender is most proud of in the world. Stuart will be off All-New X-Men, though.
Avengers: Rage of Ultron Original Graphic Novel – in continuity from Remender and his Uncanny X-Force partner Jerome Opena and Dean White. Coming in April 2015. Remender jokes that Opena is in a cage and they feed him tortas under a door. Opena’s work is where storytelling comes first, and nobody works harder on pages than him. It’s literally “the work of his life,” according to Remender. It will coincide with Avengers: Age of Ultron. They’re going for a kind of Killing Joke effect of a one-and-done story that has a significant impact on continuity. Flashing back to the John Byrne era – something they did with that version of Ultron will have impacts on the now. New Avengers from Axis will be involved. There are many things planned with a new type of Ultron afterwards, and Starfox will play a big role. They want to make people Starfox fans. Apparently, he’s not joking. Seeing Jerome draw all the old school Avengers like Beast is a real treat.
Captain America #24 and Uncanny Avengers #24 will lead right into AXIS. Remender jokes that Cap #25 will be a “huge surprise” because everybody already knows it. They’re building up to what Arnim Zola really wants, and with the Red Skull’s plans linking up with them. There will be some returns they haven’t spoiled yet, the ultimate fate of Jet Black. In UA #24, some of the Uncanny Avengers are needed for the Red Skull’s plot – Scarlet Witch, Rogue and Havok will be brought into Skull’s re-education camp with his S-Men. The #25 issues lead into a huge climax that blows up into AXIS. Lowe talks about how great long-form storytelling is, since Remender’s been building this for so long.
Magneto #9 is great – he will play a big role in AXIS. Loki: Agent of Asgard #6 featuring Dr. Doom will also be huge.
AXIS is revealed, Act I: The Red Supremacy. This October. They are really trying not to spoil Act II. They have many cool things planned. Adam Kubert is on art with Remender. It opens when the Avengers are dealing with Plant-Man, who is one of Remender’s favorites. He believes there is a lot of potential. Kubert has redesigned Plant-Man, and Remender plans to return to him. Plant-Man has grown vegetation over “the fetid wasteland of Los Angeles.” They talk about how cool it is that Captain America can fly now, so he doesn’t have to be carried around by his armpits. The Vision is back, and will be a badass, and a priority is making him a badass again. Vision will also play a huge role in the OGN, and Daniel Acuna has redesigned him.
Cyclops and Havok are going to have some serious character development and get over some of their differences and find their brotherly bond.
AXIS: Carnage is a tie-in book from Rick Spears. AXIS Hobgoblin from Kevin Shinick and Javier Rodriguez, will tie into a lot of Dan Slott’s story threads.
AXIS Revolutions: Dennis Hopeless and Simon Spurrier are teaming up to write with Ken Lashley on art. It is what Original Sins is to Original Sin. Deadpool #36 will tie in. Uncanny Avengers issues will tie into AXIS. Remender loves what Cullen Bunn is doing with Magneto. They were clear that they needed a Magneto/Red Skull fight. Acuna will be back for this. “Comics are lucky to have him.”
White says Rick and Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn came up with a good tie-in story, and Deadpool has great moments in AXIS. All-New X-Factor will also tie-in. Loki: Agent of Asgard will have Doom and Loki teaming up.
Alonso says that the stakes are equal between the Avengers and the X-Men. AXIS: Act II is called “Inversion.” Looked like Iron Man was in a weird suit and drinking. Only a quick glimpse.
Q: How do the big Marvel events influence AXIS? They are all a part of the same big tapestry, the same huge story that’s been going on since the beginning of the Marvel Universe – no reboot necessary. It was originally going to just be in Uncanny Avengers, but it was too good and they had to blow it up.
Q: Captain America kid named Rory asks about the Fantastic Four. Lowe says this story doesn’t involve the FF. It’s very Avengers and X-Men centric. Alonso says they just had a retreat a couple weeks ago discussing a new story that the Fantastic Four will be big players in – one character in particular.
Q: You can make an entire team of Avengers out of old X-Men, but not as much the other way. Will we ever see more of that? As soon as they mutate. There aren’t many non-mutant X-Men. Longshot, Danger… maybe Deadpool?
Q: 90s X-Men fan loves Onslaught. How did Remender come up with Red Onslaught? Credit for that goes to Tom Brevoort, who presented Remender with the idea as Red Skull is learning to control his new “gifts.” Remender’s first response was “no, come on!” at the idea, but 90s ideas are ripe for modern twists, and after five minutes of sitting on it, he realized Tom was right, and if it gets into his notebook, he knows it’s good. The role of Uncanny Avengers is to find things that affect both team’s continuities, and this was a wonderful merging of the A and the X. White says that Onslaught is one of the few villains important to both teams.
Q: Longtime collector has gone digital wonders if improving their app is on the docket to help discover the tie-ins? Lowe says they are in a constant process of trying to improve it and digital comic consumption. They’re trying to find a way to have the old editor boxes referencing other comics that you can click on and actually go to that comic. Soundtracking comics is also something in the works.
Q: Kid asks the cover change where Green Goblin became Hobgoblin. Lowe says that was a planning thing – “Goblin Nation” hadn’t ended yet and set Norman Osborn off in a very different direction, so they figured out a way to make it Hobgoblin instead so it would work. Remender didn’t want to step on anyone else’s book, and it worked out for the better to work with Hobgoblin and Jack O’Lantern (which Remender built up in Venom comics) since so much of Dark Reign was Osborn. It was a happy accident.
Q: Jeremy from a podcast asks if these are ideas building off ideas or stories that were planned for 7 years? Remender has realizations when writing interactions when ideas come up, and he makes side notes about things he’d like to see with them, and then works stuff out from there. Things that started with Uncanny X-Force, were reformatted into “Ragnarok Now” and the Apocalypse Twins and what-not – and mixing them up with Kang to keep the A/X mix.
Q: Is the writing process for AXIS different than Uncanny Avengers? Once it’s an “event” and everybody’s bought in with tie-ins, the scope changes. Giant ramifications for Iron Man going back to Kieron Gillen’s notions of selling Extremis as an app. Tony Stark will be affected in new ways. Remender says Secret Wars was the first comic he bought, and this is his chance to tell a story that has huge ramifications like that. It’s a bigger canvas so bigger things can happen. He’s not limited, and he put every big idea on the table – big things happen to the Hulk, huge things happen to the X-Men, there’s a return villain in the fourth issue that he’s been building since UXF, and tie-ins they haven’t announced yet, which will lead to a new status quo for a number of villains, too.
Q: Who did the actual melding of the Skull’s brain with Xavier? Arnim Zola did it, they are in cahoots.
Q: Will Dani Moonstar or Madrox be involved at all? White says ‘no.’ Madrox has a guest appearance in a non-X-Men or AXIS book very soon. “So buy all comics!”
Q: Big X-Men fan notes there’s no X-Men panel and no X-Men stuff at the booth. What’s going on? Remender jokes that they decided the X-Men are just done forever. Alonso jokes about how “everything you’ve heard is true” and they have no reason to use one of the most popular supergroups ever. Remender seriously says there is a huge X-Men presence in AXIS. There are beats in here that reunite pieces of the X-Men with real heart, a return of an X-Villain we haven’t seen in a long time, and towards the end, the X-Men make a HUGE stand like never before. More in the Cup O’Joe panel.
Q: New Female Thor – Unworthy Thor has the Jarnbjorn axe – will Female Thor have any part in this? Remender says he tried but it didn’t make sense for her to participate in this with Jason Aaron’s plans. But there is a big Loki beat in here that he cooked up with Jason Aaron. She will not be in AXIS, but she’ll be in a lot of stuff spinning out of this. He’s spent hours on the phone with Jason plotting out relationships with Odinson and Loki and such.
Q: Is it true that Cyclops was planned to be killed after AvX? It may have been an option, but it was never a plan. Some people in retreats suggested killing all the Avengers and replacing them with X-Men. They’ll put almost anything on the table, so that was a possibility.
Q: How did the Falcon as Cap decision come about, and was there backlash? Remender says it’s been mostly positive. The idea came about in the middle of Dimension Z based on a lot of his plans of putting Steve Rogers through a meat grinder. He wanted to see something that left Steve on the board but incapable of filling the role of super soldier. Sam was a character Rick just fell in love with. They’re both patriots willing to give their lives, but they are two different generations – Greatest vs. GenX. Their perspectives are so different that Sam would be a great choice. He’s the first “African-American” superhero (Black Panther is just African, you know), and he’s got a fantastic background with his own view on America. It’s not a reset button – it will be here for a long time. Lowe admits there have been some negative responses, and there are always going to be. Remender says they are often reading cynicism into everyone’s motives, which is what the internet does now. But they’re doing this to make it a more inclusive Marvel universe and they love the characters. All these changes were writer-generated. Anyone blasting Marvel about these things are blasting the writers. Alonso needed no selling on Sam Wilson – Sam was the guy who helped Cap when he was out of his depth about the modern world.
Q: There are different incarnations of Apocalypse these days – will the real En Sabah Nur return soon? Remender fell in love with Apocalypse as a kid going back to Walt Simonson’s first turn of Archangel. Remender has so many notes about him that if he does return, it will be earned – and it may be someday soon in the future. Sounds like sooner rather than later.
Q: Elixir – where’s he? Marts says he came up in conversation two weeks ago at the retreat, and there are plans to bring him to a book soon.
Q: Young Avengers fan wants to know what plans there are with them and other young heroes? Wolverine and the X-Men focuses so much on the Jean Grey school kids. There are big plans for some teenage characters in Spider-Verse, and they were talked much in the last retreat and there are more plans. Original Sins has a Young Avengers piece from Brian North. Lowe jokes that he doesn’t like praising Tom Brevoort books, but there’s a great Dr. Doom story that just came out in Original Sins.