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Bendis and Quesada News Bonanza at Wizard World!

Brian Michael Bendis is a Skrull! That was just one of the myriad shocking revelations unloaded today to comic connoiseurs–some themselves dressed in the most shocking of attires, as Dooley is so nicely illustrating–at Wizard World during the Powers and Avengers scribe’s hour-long panel. There’s a lot to get through, so I’ll dispense with the pleasantries and jump right in. Brian Michael Bendis

HALO UPRISING

Bendis spent quite a bit of time discussing the upcoming 4 mega-issue series, which he described as a “great, hardcore sci-fi graphic novel in the tradition of European graphic novels. Uprising will take place in between the events of Halo 2 and the upcoming Halo 3 (he was, by the way, given a chance to watch the threequel in action, though not allowed to actually play it–”It’s everything they said it would be.”) Sadly, this means that the Master Chief’s A.I. sidekick Cortana will not be making an appearance, as the two were separated at the end of Halo 2. But there will, according to Bendis, be a storyline looking at the battle raging on Earth to run parallel to MC.

Playing Watson to Bendis’s Sherlock is Alex Maleev, whose challenge for the series was to absolutely recreate the look of the game down to the smallest detail–a mandatory part of the duo’s deal with Bungie. But this does lend certain benefits, namely that a few new objects featured in Halo 3 will also appear in the comics. The cover of one issue, for example features the Master Chief riding a seriously badass chopper, while another has him holding a long staff with a serrated blade on the end–I smell competition for Gears of War‘s chainsaw move. You may begin bombarding me with Halo vs. GoW comments….now.

NEW/MIGHTY AVENGERS

Elektra is a skrull, and Bendis was more than eager to share his thoughts on the matter. He didn’t say anything new outside of the excellent interview he gave IGN when the issue hit the stands, but he did elaborate on the idea that everyone in the Marvel universe is now suspect, including Luke Cage and Jessica’s baby–whose last glance at the reader, Bendis admits, was a total rip-off of Damien in The Omen. To illustrate his point, he staged a fan in the audience to accuse him of acting skrully, then briefly ran offstage. Hardy-har-har. Then he had to spend quite a few minutes trying to convice the crowd that this isn’t a total rip-off of Battlestar Galactica–look at issue #1, page 2 of New Avengers, he says, to look for the first signs of Elektra acting skrully, he says. But he also said that, just like in Battlestar, there may be sleeper Skrull agents who have no idea they’re Skrull *coughi’llbetyouanythingit’shawkeyecough*. He ended his Avengers discussion by saying that, “If the message during Civil War was ‘Whose Side Are You On?’ the message now is ‘Who Do You Trust?’”

He also showed the cover for Mighty Avengers #7, which was drawn by his soon-to-be-departed Bagley and features several Venoms loose in New York City after, Bendis says, a symbiote virus hits the streets. I have to say, the concept and the art look pretty amazing.

ULTIMATE SPIDEY

Bagley is leaving, and he’ll be drawing half of #111 alongside Stewart. After his departure, Peter Parker will face a story arc Bendis is calling “Death of a Goblin.” He’s bringing back both Harry and Norman Osborn, and he says, “You won’t believe the ending. It will change Peter Parker in the same vein as the Clone Saga did.” Well Bendis, you may have just lost me if this arc confuses me as much as the Clone Saga did…

But this is all just leading up to Bendis’s upcoming pet project–the return of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends!! So look for future team-ups with Iceman and Firestar, and a lot of conflicting reviews as to whether or not this will actually be a good thing. I can tell you that the fan reaction was, well, tempered after this revelation.

ULTIMATE ORIGINS

Yes, we’ll finally have origin stories for Nick Fury, Wolverine, Cap, Hulk and all your favorite Ulitmate Universe friends. This won’t just be a Bendis undertaking–Quesada, Millar, and even later on Jeph Loeb are all taking the story on with him. But the only hint proffered was, “It’s all interconnected. You’ll be shocked at who knew each other when.”

SPIDER-WOMAN

All evidence to the contrary, Bendis has not forgotten about Spider-Woman, and promises to return to it after Halo is out of the way.

POWERS

Bendis says he and Oeming are still trying to adjust to the new format–longer, better paper, and less frequent–but said that in the new arc called “The 25 Best Dead Superheroes,” Deena and Walker will no longer be partners, and will both be cruising along “on a collision course with destiny.”

Hayden Panettiere from NBC's HeroesOkay, now I’ll take a break to admit that yes, I did go to Heroes cheerleader Hayden Panettiere’s panel–why she was at Wizard World Philly rather than Heroes Con, I have no idea. Well, other than fueling some of my latent statutory fantasies, the discussion was pretty much worthless. Sylar might still be alive, she hinted! GASP! I didn’t see that one coming, I tell you…The only interesting thing she said was that if the first season of Heroes was about ordinary people becoming extraordinary, the second season will be about “what happens when extraordinary people try to be ordinary again.” Oh yes, and she sang the National Anthem. It was weird.

Next up today was the Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada panel, where he once again broke news that all the Spider-Man series will consolidate into a thrice monthly Amazing Spider-Man, though he was mum on who will be undertaking such a daunting print schedule. After some audience pressure about the possibility Kirkman, however, executive editor Tom Breevoort let slip, “Well SOMEBODY has to write these issues…” Take that to mean what you will.

Quesada also announced the new X-Men event: Messiah Complex, which much akin to Age of Apocalypse and other X-Men events will spread out among all the X-titles and deal with Wanda Maximoff’s now legendary “No more mutants” declaration–which, if you ask me, was a total load of b.s. But we’ll see how they at least attempt to cover those tracks…or not.

The final announcement he made was that Peter David will be taking over the creative team for She-Hulk, which I along with the rest of the comic community welcome with enthusiastically open arms.

Breevort announced that the famous lost issue of Lee Kirby’s Fantastic Four will finally be hitting stands in November. And Quesada said that Bendis has a man-crush on Luke Cage–so look for some, um, awkward things coming down the pipe in that department.

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