Marvel True Believers Panel // C2E2
At C2E2, the Marvel’s True Believers panel was open only to Marvel Mastercard holders and Marvel Unlimited Plus members, but You Don’t Read Comics was there to bring you all of the latest reveals.
Guests of the panel were given copies of Thor #11, Astonishing X-Men #11, and Avengers #1 with exclusive variant covers.
The panel was moderated by Ryan Penagos, and featured Matthew Rosenberg (writer Uncanny X-Men), Tini Howard (writer Thanos, Belit), and Nick Spencer (writer of The Amazing Spider-Man).
Nick Spencer discussed the current arc in The Amazing Spider-Man, “Hunted.” Asked how to choose which characters to include, Spencer expressed the challenge--”Wikipedia was a thing.” In April, Marvel will be releasing The Amazing Spider-Man #18.HU by Spencer with art by Ken Lashley, featuring The Gibbon. “It’s a tear-jerker,” Spencer said. “This is kind of the story of his experience in the park. There will be more .HU issues, featuring Black Cat and The Vulture.
Next, Matthew Rosenberg discussed his upcoming issue of War of the Realms: X-Men #1, with art by Pere Perez. “The X-Men are going to be dealing with the upcoming crisis of the War of the Realms,” said Rosenberg. Penagos noted that the Distinguished Competition doesn’t own the word “crisis.” “The X-Men have an odd history of dealing with Asgardian stuff,” Rosenberg continued, discussing Dani Moonstar’s time as a Valkyrie and other Mutant/Asgardian entaglements. Rosenberg and Penagos discussed the story’s roots in classic Walter Simonson/Arthur Adams run on Thor.
The panel included sneak peeks at some terrific new art. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed.
Rosenberg also went on to discuss his upcoming Uncanny X-Men #15, with art by Salvador Larocca. “Our Uncanny team is the last X-Men team left on earth...they’re keeping a low profile,” Rosenberg said. “The Mutant Liberation Front...are going to be as much of a problem as possible.” Rosenberg revealed that the MLF is now being led by Hope Summers, who is “a little more Cable-like.” He added “It’s not going to end well for the X-Men.”
Penagos segued to Tini Howard and her recent Christmas story featuring Hope Summers. “Hope is in a position which I think a lot of us have been in, where she’s in the corner looking at videos on her phone [at a party]...and it turns out to be videos of Cable protecting her.” Howard and Rosenberg discuss this moment as “The moment Hope was radicalized.”
Penagos asked Rosenberg when he decided to put Wolverine and Cyclops in their classic costumes. “Real early,” Rosenberg responded. “We wanted to do a looking back so we could honor the [sixty-something] years of X-Men that we’ve all loved.” He added “There’s a middle point between nostalgia and forging a new path.” He reasoned that since both Scott and Logan are coming back from the dead, they are rediscovering who they are so they are wearing classic costumes rather than the costumes they wore when they died. Rosenberg reasoned that Cyclops has softened, and Wolverine has become harder. “Also they’re real awesome,” Rosenberg added about the classic costumes.
Penagos asked the panel who are their favorite animal-themed characters (aside from Spider-Man). Howard chose The Lizard. Rosenberg chose The Vulture; “I like him because he’s the only villain in the Marvel Universe that I’m like, I could take him in a fight.” Nick Spencer chose The Beetle, and referenced his classic run on The Superior Foes of Spider-Man.
The panel went on to discuss Uncanny X-Men #16, which comes out in April. Rosenberg discussed the appearance of Dani Moonstar in both Uncanny X-Men and the currently-running alternate universe Age of X-Man event, and revealed that Magneto will also be appearing in both continuities. The issue will also feature the return of Kwana (?), the assassin who spent years being inhabited by Betsy Braddock aka Psylocke.
Penagos asked the panel for their favorite obscure X-Men character. Howard chose Rictor. “I’m also a depressed kid who grew up Catholic, so I relate to Rictor a lot,” said Howard. Rosenberg chose Skids. “In my head I have like this Skids vs Boom Boom rivalry which isn’t really on the page,” said Rosenberg. Spencer chose Emma Frost.
Penagos went on to discuss Rosenberg’s run on The Punisher with Szymon Kudranski. “Frank...has decided to hunt Baron Zemo and kill him,” Rosenberg explained. “Frank ended up in prison [in Bagalia]...Frank likes going to prison, because there are plenty of people to murder.” This is a problem because in Bagalia the people in prison are good people, who are missionaries and aid workers, so The Punisher leads a big jailbreak.
Penagos and Howard discussed her run on Thanos with Ariel Olivetti. “It’s about the story of...why in the world would the baddest dude in the world adopt an annoying snotty kid,” referring to Gamora. The story will be told from Gamora’s point of view. “The conceit of the story is that she and Thanos have a secret...she sees a very different version of Thanos, that nobody else sees.” She goes on to explain that it’s a prequel story of Thanos and Gamora on board the Zero Sanctuary, an older ship of his, that she describes as a “Winchester mystery house in space.”
“The first glimpses of Thanos that we get are through the eyes of other people,” she said. “It’s hard to write Thanos vulnerable, because the audience has to believe it.” The series will also involve Thanos’ infatuation with Death, and Gamora’s involvement with that. “You’ll see the Black Order when they were all assistant managers,” Howard joked. “I’m so intensely proud of this book...it is pure doom metal and the loneliness of space,” she added. Penagos recommends Venom Space Knight for more Ariel Olivetti art.
Howard is also writing Age of Conan: Belit, with art by Kate Niemczyk. “This is the story of Conan’s one true love...she shows up [in the original Robert E Howard stories] and she’s already the coolest in the world and she dies for him,” Howard said. This is the story of how she became the character that Howard introduced. “The first issue takes a rapid dive from joy to misery,” Howard added, as art from the second issue was shown. “I’m a big gamer, so kept using things I like as visual reference like Assassin’s Creed,” Howard said. “I love stories of lady pirates...I write sea-shanties in this book.”
Penagos showed a clip from the season 2 of Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger TV show, exclusive to the panel. The clip began with Cloak practicing basketball while Dagger practiced ballet, set to hip-hop music. Following this was a confrontation between Cloak and Dagger, as Ty apologized to Tandy for something and then asked for her help. Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger premieres in April on Freeform.
Penagos shared an exclusive code for 10,000 Marvel Insider points, followed by a Q&A section.
Q: In canon, what do your characters keep in their pouches?
Rosenberg: Cyclops is the ultimate boy scout. He’s got wet wipes, and a compass, granola bars, toys in case he meets a child, a folding poncho. I wanted to do a whole series about that, here’s Cyclops fixing your plumbing because he’s got a workman tool in there, but they said no.
Spencer: Spider-Man doesn’t even have somewhere to put a wallet.
Howard: I imagine there’s nothing in those pouches, he just put an empty belt pouch on to close his robe so he can go kill people.
Rosenberg: I like to think Thanos’ pouches are just full of ashes.
Q: In a world where people in the real world put on body armor and kill people, why does the Punisher still exist?
Rosenberg: The Punisher is villain. He’s not a good guy...He’s not an aspirational character...I want his feet planted in the Marvel Universe so that we can see how much the Marvel Universe doesn’t like him. He is a bad guy who hunts bad guys. This is not something we endorse. It’s a study in the same way Friday the 13th is a study of Freddy Kreuger. The Punisher is a man who broke. He’s a cautionary tale. He’s a complicated and difficult question to wrestle with. We don’t want people wanting to be him. He’s not someone that the Armed Forces or anyone should think is great. He’s terrifying.