Marvel has a new event in the works. Maybe you heard about it? Avengers VS X-Men? Anyway, they’re expecting this thing to be pretty big. So big that they organized a special panel for it at this year’s C2E2. Speaking at the Avengers VS X-Men panel was Chief Creator Officer Joe Quesada, Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, Senior VP of Creative & Creator Development CB Cebulski, Director of Communications Arune Singh and writers Jason Aaron and Rick Remender.
One of the first pieces of information is that Captain America and Wolverine will slug it out in issue number 3. While the pair did seem to have some sort of agreement in the first issue of the series, evidently things take a turn and Wolverine decides that being a mutant is priority one over being an Avenger. Though Marvel didn’t release any details on what causes the split between Cap and Wolvie, it’s bound to be a game-changer for the series. The timing of the series is no accident either. With the Avengers movie hitting theaters, Marvel wanted their other big-team, the X-Men, to be at the center stage as well. Avengers VS. X-Men allowed them to tell a big event story while maintaining the popularity of the film.
Though Marvel pushed for sides to be chosen from the beginning, having promoted retailer parties asking retailers to choose who they’d like to see come out on top, Alonso actually hints that those loyalties may change as the series goes on. He also states that the series will be “wall to wall fighting told across 12 issues, in 3 acts”. Given all of the hype and promotion, with a set of character matchup teasers that Marvel released, I would expect no less from the series. Issue #7, written by Matt Fraction with art by Olivier Coipel, is referred to as “the heart of Act 2” by Jason Aaron. Meanwhile, Avengers VS X-Men: Versus is described by Alonso as “comic book porn. Zero percent story, 100% action.” A four issue series, each issue will have two fights apiece. Spider-Man vs. Wolverine. Gambit vs. Captain America. The final issue sported Thor with his female opponent blacked out.
Rick Remender chimes in to discuss the New Avengers and the Secret Avengers, and how the team plan on going after the Phoenix Force. The Kree will play a role in the Avengers fight against the Phoenix, with a “suicide team” going after the cosmic entity. Remender states that he wants to pay homage to Jim Stalin in his storytelling. At this point it’s revealed that Thor will fight Captain Marvel, but the question remains is this the Carol Danvers Captain Marvel who is set to make an appearance soon?
Jason Aaron discusses his Wolverine and the X-Men tie-ins. Wolverine has a choice to make, which will lay heavy on his school. Kitty Pryde, Iceman and Rogue are all caught in the middle, as are the students. We have an idea of which side Wolverine chooses, but what ultimately drives him to this decision?
At this point the discussion moved onto Marvel’s Re-Evolution. The purpose behind the Re-Evolution was to provide a new digital experience, not just to upload pages to a digital reader. The Re-Evolution is a form of animation, but not exactly. The reader controls the flow while the story maintains its integrity. Joe Quesada also discusses how the idea for the Infinite Comics came about even before the iPad revolutionized digital reading. Also explained were the different ways to purchase the issue, and how each digital copy purchased would come with access to the Infinite Comic.
Next the segment moved on to a showing of the “Marvel What The-?!” series of videos based on Avengers VS X-Men, which led into questions from that audience. One of the more memorable questions was about Wolverine’s feelings towards Hope after Nightcrawler’s death. Nightcrawler’s sacrifice definite affected Wolverine, so maybe this will play a role in his choosing sides. Many of the audience’s questions centered around which characters will be part of the series. Doctor Strange, Thor, Noh-Varr are all mentioned as playing some role, but no specifics are given. When questioned about Cable, panelists refused to answer as it was deemed a “spoiler”. So I would expect to see Cable pop up somewhere.
The panel affirms questions of whether the event will have repercussions, with Jason Aaron stating that there will be definite winners and losers. Some characters will even be disgraced by their actions.
Marvel was very careful to reveal only certain information, remaining tight-lipped on other aspects of the story. Will Avengers VS X-Men play out as they hope, with an event so big and exciting that it goes down in comic book history? Or will fans get another summer cash grab that gets ret-conned in the next few years? Now that the series is finally here, I guess it’s up to the fans to decide.