A panel of Marvel editors joined by their all-star pitcher Brian Michael Bendis teamed up on the last day of Wizard World Philadelphia to throw a bone or two to Avengers fans. Of course the number one topic of conversation was the Skrull event in New Avengers #31, which I've already written enough about so will only go so far as to report that everything will be crescendoing over the course of the year for an epic story arc sometime early next year. After the promises of House of M failed to meet my expectations, however, I remain hesitant as to what Bendis considers "epic." But I'm certainly curious to see where this BSG-esque plotline goes.

Marvel's New Avengers

In other news, for some godforsaken reason, the Avengers will be returning to the World of M for a House of M: Avengers 5-issue series later this year. The story will focus on Luke Cage's journey within Wanda's fantasy realm, and in my opinion is really only a cheap stunt to drum up sales. Oh wait, no it's not my opinion! Editor Bill Rosemann explained that the idea for this came up when they noticed how well House of M titles were selling and they wanted a way to keep cashing in. Well, as long as you're not sacrificing artistry and creativity for the bottom line...

And hey, speaking of selling out: New Avengers/Transformers! Described as a series Cover art from Marvel's New Avengers/Transformerswith "widescreen military" ambitions, the first issue penned by Stuart Moore and penciled by Tyler Kirkman will be released July 5. And because teaming up Captain America--I mean, hello, it is the fourth of July after all--and Optimus Prime is more important than pesky little things like continuity, the storyline supposedly takes place before Civil War. I suppose it's a better solution that resurrecting him as a Decepticon.

For all of you Ellis fans out there, the Marvel team was happy to announce the return of Machine Man--from Ellis's hilariously off-kilter series Nextwave--in an upcoming issue of Ms. Marvel. During the heroine's attempts to become "the best of the best" superhero, she demands S.H.I.E.L.D provide her extra resources in exchange for leading the Mighty Avengers. S.H.I.E.L.D gives her Machine Man, lending further credence to the theory that Tony Stark is either a dick or a Skrull.

Coming in July will be the long-awaited return of Thor, a new series by J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Copiel, which promises to explain where the hell he's been.

Finally, Ellis protegé Matt Fraction, who previously co-wrote Iron Fist, will be resurrecting The Champions in a new series called The Order--"The Champions" is apparently trademarked to a different company. Not much was divulged about this new series, except that it will at some point feature bears fighting robots. Would you expect anything less?

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