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ComicsAlliance Vs. AvX: Ringside In San Diego [SDCC]

In the words of the poet Dirk Garthwaite, check yourself before you wreck yourself: it’s the Avengers versus X-Men panel at San Diego Comic-Con. Regular readers of ComicsAlliance will know that I’ve been keeping track of developments in Marvel’s big summer event series — and keeping score between the sides — in my ComicsAlliance Vs. AvX recaps. Now I’m reporting live (to tape) from the floor at San Diego Comic-Con for the Avengers vs X-Men panel. It’s the palaver by the habor; el fuego in San Diego; the violent tiff in Room 6BCF. It’s Avengers vs X-Men, raw and unleashed.

On the card for tonight’s tussle: Chief creative officer Bone-Cracking Joe Quesada, talent coordinator C.B. ‘Crazy Bob’ Cebulski, editor-in-chief Axel ‘Grinder’ Alonso, X-Men line editor Nihilist Nick Lowe, and one – count ‘em! – one creator, Cracklin’ Christos Gage. Your MC is Marvel director of communications Arune ‘the Goon’ Singh. Let’s get straight to the action.As with the previous day’s Cup O’ Joe panel, Joe Quesada kicked things off by asking the audience to cheer for the team they wanted to win Avengers Vs X-Men. Whereas the previous crowd was clearly on the Avengers’ side, this crowd seemed to equally clearly back the X-Men. Quesada checked to see if this audience was as keen as the last on the idea of killing Cyclops, and they were. No matter whose side you’re on, everyone wants to kill Cyclops.

Arune Singh had two minor announcements. Number one: the Avengers Alliance game on Facebook will get an AvX module featuring the Phoenix Five minus Namor plus someone else, for reasons he didn’t get into. Basically you can’t poke Namor. Number two: there will be hats. They made hats. Avengers Vs X-Men baseball caps. I’ll be honest, if Ed Hardy ever makes an Infinite Crisis shirt, these are the hats you’re going to want to wear with it.

Singh also revisited some of the Cup O’ Joe announcements with a little extra detail. The A-Babies Vs X-Babies one-shot was inspired by a promotional illustration Skottie Young produced for Midtown Comics, but Young’s obligations to the Wizard of Oz books meant that he could only write the one-shot, so Gurihiru were brought on to do the art. Asked if the book was “in continuity”, Axel Alonso joked, “Absolutely. It counts”, prompting Quesada to ask, “Which baby dies?”

And if you’re still trying to work out who dies in AvX, well, Cyclops remains the best guess. A closer look at the cover for the AvX fallout title AvX: Consequences, shows feet around the chalk outline that clearly belong to Thing, Spider-Man, Cap, Iron Man and Thor. Alonso noted that for one superhero team the consequences of AvX would affect “its leadership and where it’s headed in the future,” adding “AvX ends with a bang. It’s going to be very controversial. Some of you are going to be clapping.” That heavily implies that it will be Cyclops, given that the other team leader, Captain America, died in the last superhero war, and there is always a lot of clapping when people talk about killing Cyclops.

On the other hand, Cyclops is in the Marvel NOW image. But so is Jean Grey, so this could be the young Cyclops from the past, or someone else emulating Cyclops, or a complete red herring.

Speaking of the Marvel NOW image, Quesada said that he didn’t do the costume redesigns seen on the image. The artists on the books were assigned redesign duties by their editors, and Quesada had to continually revise the illustration as the new designs came in.

On the eternal question of why Marvel NOW is a relaunch but not a reboot, Quesada noted, “Marvel has a tradition of not rebooting our universe. We don’t have a crisis. … There’s nothing wrong with the Marvel universe.” Suck it, DC.

A woman in an awesome Monica Rambeau Captain Marvel costume asked when Monica will get a new gig in the Marvel Universe. “Five months”, was CB Cebulski’s straightforward answer. So it’s going to be a very merry Christmas for all of us Monica Rambeau fans.

Another attendee asked about Domino and Deadpool, and Lowe confirmed we would see a lot of “both of them” in Marvel NOW. The guy who asked about Kylun and Darwin didn’t get such a good answer. Shockingly, there are no plans for obscure mutant Kylun and his sound-emulating powers. Darwin may be part of Peter David’s X-Factor plans. As for Generation Hope’s “five lights,” Idie will be “very central” to future stories.

Asked how the much derided X-Men: Prelude to Schism book connected up to X-Men: Schism, the editors essentially admitted that it didn’t, and Axel Alonso acknolwedged that it was a mistake to label the book as a prelude. “They were character studies, not official preludes. We will be clearer with our labeling in the future.”

On the subject of Wolverine, and how he’s been kind of unlikeable in AvX, a questioner asked, “after the event, are we supposed to like him again? Are we supposed to take him seriously?” Lowe said, “There’s a lot of changes going on in Wolverine and what he believes and what he thinks and you’re going to see a changed man coming out of it.” Alonso added that we may revise our views of Wolverine by the end of the event. Good luck, guys! ‘Cause right now he’s basically awful.

Will there ever be an AvX movie? Joe Quesada pointed out the obvious: the properties are controlled by different studios. He doesn’t see it happening.

Are deaths permanent? “Bucky came back”, says Gage. Alonso effectively reframed the company policy on character deaths by saying, “Resurrection is one of the most exciting things about comic books. We should embrace it.” That’s a definite change from Joe Quesada’s “dead means dead until it doesn’t” policy, which suggested that resurrections were only justified if the story was good. In Alonso’s version, it sounds like resurrection is justified because it makes good stories.

The panelists were asked which team they wanted to be on when they were younger. Cebulski said New Mutants, Lowe, Gage and Alonso all said X-Men, Quesada said West Coast Avengers and Singh said, “I’m from Canada so my answer has to be Alpha Flight.”

Which AvX character did the panelists want to see dead? Cebulski, Gage and Quesada were all too chicken to answer. Nick Lowe suggested Thor and Axel Alonso suggested Namor, so clearly the men of Marvel editorial feel threatened by sexy guys. Cebulski offered that rather than kill a character, he’d revert cat-Beast to his previous look, which seemed like a popular suggestion in the room.

Alonso was asked if there are plans to spread out the major events in the future. Alonso was firm in his belief that readers want events and said they should be treated like “a summer blockbuster.”

Finally, Quesada asked the audience if they preferred Emma Frost or Jean Grey. The cheering was louder for Jean, who we know is coming back in All-New X-Men. Maybe she’ll get back in time to see them kill Cyclops?

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