Tag Archives: #X-Men

Avengers VS X-Men Launches In New York – And All Over The World!

Original post: http://geek-news.mtv.com/2012/04/04/avengers-vs-x-men-launch-midetown-comics/

 

The most surprising thing about Marvel Comics’ launch of Avengers VS X-Men in New York City? Given the fighting focus of the book, you’d expect things to be coming to blows… But nope, this wasn’t a Civil War, it was more like a Civil… Thing that was civil*.

For those of you not up to speed, Marvel’s mega-giant-humungo-Event would normally have gone on sale on Wednesday, April 4th – but due to an early shipping time, the Publisher was able to start parties all over the country (and even internationally) at 8pm on Tuesday, April 3rd. To spice things up a bit, they released Avengers and X-Men variant covers of the first issue, with stores having to choose a side before receiving one or the other

It’s a fun idea, of course, and part of the draw for fans to the event: who are you with, The Avengers, or The X-Men? But maybe part of the reason the Midtown Comics launch – ostensibly the flagship launch for Marvel Comics – was so subdued: because they own three stores, Midtown was able to toe the line, and sell both variant covers. And in fact, a rough poll of the crowd showed that they were evenly split, too, with most people falling on the side of just being excited.

The crowd at New York’s Midtown Comics stretched down the block at 9PM.

Don’t get me wrong: this wasn’t fans going through the paces, buying comics because they wanted to keep up with what was going on in Marvel’s superhero universe. The first fans showed up at Midtown at – no joke – 8am in the morning on Tuesday. And though it had only grown to an even dozen by 11am, according to one Midtown employee, by 5pm the crowd swelled to a capped-off amount of 200.

That’s the joy of having a big, reliable comic book shop like Midtown Comics, of course: if they build it, they will come. I don’t think I’ve attended a launch at Midtown that wasn’t packed to capacity quickly and efficiently. Littler comic book stores in non-metropolitan areas like New York have to do a lot more than post on Twitter and Facebook to motivate their base, and this might be what was missing. I kind of wanted to see an Avengers and X-Men themed bake-off, or some back alley fighting. Here, everybody was happily hanging out with their friends, and calmly waiting in line to pick up a copy of the book.

So sure, from the perspective of a reporter looking for something insane to happen I could hang this event recap on, I was sorely disappointed. But I was, really, the only one. Chatting with Midtown’s Thor Parker, he told me that they were briskly selling out of the book – a big question of course, as the 250,000+ copies “sold” of the first issue are actually sold to retailers, and still need to actually end up in the hands of fans – with most fans buying at least two copies. Parker also noted that the (totally freaking awesome) Skottie Young variant cover, featuring X-Men and Avengers babies duking it out, would probably be the first version to go.

Avengers VS X-Men for everybody!

Also a nice bonus for fans? Though John Romita Jr couldn’t make it to the signing at the last second, artist Andy Kubert brought a special gift to make up for the absence: a splash page from the EIGHTH issue of Avengers VS X-Men, pencilled by Kubert, which doesn’t hit comic book stands until July. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it looks like a few months day the road this book doesn’t turn into “Avengers Love X-Men” if you get my drift.

And for Marvel’s Arune Singh, who I also chatted with briefly, they couldn’t have been happier with the excitement from fans, and the reactions to those who have actually read the book. He, and the rest of the marketing team basically had nothing to do but hang out and enjoy the signing, while Midtown took care of the rest. From Ryan Penagos – Agent M if you’re nasty – happily snapping pictures of AvX exclusive hats, to new host of Marvel’s The Watcher Lorraine Cink excitedly chatting with the signing crew of Kubert, as well as Editors Nick Lowe, Tom Breevort, and Axel Alonso, the Marvel crew was in full force, but, like the fans, being surprisingly confident, calm, and composed. Heck, they even ordered twenty-five pizzas for the fans waiting on line, which makes waiting since 8am worth it, right? RIGHT?

Marvel’s Lorraine Cink does her wrap-up speech!

If there’s a reason for all of this calmness, it’s that Marvel doesn’t have a whole lot to worry about with Avengers VS X-Men. The first issue is a solid, fun kick-off to an event, with the fireworks sure to come in the next few issues (and if the issue eight splash is any indication, will continue for several issues beyond that). And the Infinite Comic – a digital experiment by writer Mark Waid, and artist Stuart Immonen – is stellar. If Marvel wants to get more readers back to their comics, Infinite Comics, not motion comics (or even the DVD bonus feature AR app) is the way to do just that.

Midtown, as I’ve mentioned, is always efficient in their events, keeping things moving briskly along, and being pleasant to the fans. One of the big changes they implemented this time around? Pre-selling the comic, so fans just had to bring vouchers in, pick up their books, get ‘em signed, and be on their way to reading the book. That, if anything, is a great metaphor for what Marvel has going on for AvX: they’ve pre-sold the book. You know what the concept is from the title, you know as a comic book fan that you’re going to be into it, and what they deliver is fun.

Agent M snags pics of the exclusive AvX hats.

Does it need to deliver month after month, and not end up in some sort of deep continuity hole like most events seem to do these days? Oh, sure. But as long as the Avengers keep punching the X-Men, we have a feeling fans reactions will keep the fighting on the inside of the book, rather than the outside.

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Avengers vs. X-Men Launch Party

What’s up everyone, your nerdy fanboy Austin here with an update for Avengers vs. X-Men. Here’s a complete list of retailers participating in the massive and monumental event that is AvX. This right here is the link to a pdf file that Marvel.com released yesterday giving you guys the address and the name of the comic shop that will have the event: http://i.annihil.us/u/prod/marvel/i/pdf/AvXEventTable_complete.pdf

 


Marvel Reports First-Day Sell Out for AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #0

 

Marvel announced Wednesday that Avengers vs. X-Men #0 has sold out at Diamond on its first day of release, potentially signaling similar news to come over the next few months during the course of the 12-part, biweekly event series.

 

As usual, a sell out at the distributor level means that copies may very well still be available on store shelves.

“Having Avengers VS. X-Men #0 sell out the same day the book goes on sale is phenomenal,” said Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso in a statement. “The excitement level around this event has been monumental, and now fans can finally experience the story that we’ve been waiting years to tell.”


WHEN TWO TRIBES GO TO WAR: “AVX” – THE TELEPATHIC ADVANTAGE?

Imagine facing an enemy you couldn’t lie to; an enemy who knows exactly what you’re thinking and can also manipulate your thoughts. That’s what you’re up against when you confront the mutants of Marvel Comics’ X-Men, whose ranks include some of the most powerful telepaths in the world. Confronting daunting challenges is the precise reason the Avengers, another premier Marvel super team, came together in the first place, and this April that’s just what they’ll do as they take on the X-Men in a battle to decide how best to save Earth from the threat of the destructive cosmic entity known as the Phoenix.

That battle will be chronicled in “Avengers Vs. X-Men” a 12-issue miniseries by an all-star team of Marvel creators. In today’s edition of WHEN TWO TRIBES GO TO WAR, CBR’s in-depth look at “AvX,” we take a look at the X-Men’s seemingly telepathic advantage over the Avengers. What are the X-Men’s telepaths capable of? What kind of strategic advantage do they give the X-Men leader, Cyclops? And how will the Avengers work around and fight back against the mental might of their adversaries? Helping us answer these questions and more are Senior Editor Nick Lowe who’s in charge of the X-Titles, and Senior Vice President of Publishing and Executive Editor Tom Brevoortwhose office oversees the Avengers titles.

Because we can read your minds, we know that are some of you who are just joining us. In that case, welcome! Feel free to get caught up on our previous installments where we look at the role team loyalties will play in “AvX,” the conflict’s four “generals,” and the “heavy artillery” members of the X-Men and the Avengers.

Tom Brevoort: The Avengers have had a few over the years, characters such as Moondragon — but telepathy really hasn’t been a regular part of their arsenal. As for the X-side, I think that comes from two interconnected things: Jean Grey and her status as not only a founding X-Man but as the lynchpin of probably the book’s best-remembered storyline, and the fact that Chris Claremont was a heavy SF reader during a period where numerous authors were exploring the idea of telepathic and telekinetic powers and how they might plausibly work within a SF context. Chris adapted, adopted and improved on a number of those ideas as he wrote “Uncanny X-Men.”

With mind-controlling mutants like Emma Frost on their side, will the X-Men have an advantage in “AvX?”

Nick Lowe: Let’s read between the lines, here. It’s because the X-Men are the best.

Telepathy in its most basic form is the power to send and receive thoughts, which is a useful communication tool with a number of strategic uses in battle. What kind of advantage does it give Cyclops and other characters in terms of communication and coordinating troop movements?

Lowe: It certainly doesn’t hurt. Cap and the Avengers know going in that the X-Men have this advantage, so you’ve got to think they’ve got some defensive planning in place to keep Emma from just shutting their brains down. And the coordination helps, but you have to remember how training centered Cyclops is. You can’t go more than an issue of X-Men back in the day without Cyclops drilling his team in the Danger Room and that hasn’t changed. He’s always training his crews and they operate like well oiled machines. No one does as much teamwork as the X-Men (heck they have well-known moves like the fastball special).

Telepathy also allows a person to reads the thoughts of others, which makes it a useful to gather intelligence. Of course, many mutants have a personal code that keeps them from reading the thoughts of others. How would a conflict like “AvX” affect that code? Are there some heroes that won’t have qualms about reading the thoughts of Avengers once things heat up and get tough?

Brevoort: I think it depends entirely on the individual character. My expectation is that the Avengers and the X-Men both are going to comport themselves as heroes, no differently than they’ve ever done. That said; the stakes they’re fighting for are so important that they will push our heroes to the wall in terms of what they will and will not do. And certainly some of the X-telepaths have used situational ethics to guide their actions in the past. Of course, keep in mind that Tony Stark has a lot of experience in building tech to protect himself from telepathic intrusions or attacks.

Lowe: Tom is right (yeesh that felt weird coming out of my mouth) about how the X-Men are going to behave. They’re still heroes. And like I said before, Cap would have to be an idiot not to have something in place to defend his team from this on some level. And he’s no idiot.

Powerful telepaths have another morally gray ability, the ability to erase and control minds. This begs the question, when things get tough will there be some X-Men tempted to use this ability? Or is this seen as a last ditch “nuclear option?”

Lowe: This would not be something Cyclops would be down with unless there were no other option and even then — but, and sorry to repeat again, the Avengers need to have some sort of plan for this.

Brevoort: Again, I wouldn’t think this would be an easily-used option if it were ever seriously considered at all. The X-Men haven’t done this sort of thing even to their most ruthless foes, so I don’t think they’d be inclined to do it to guys they know are heroes but whom they happen to be in contention with.

We’ve talked a bit about how effective an ability telepathy is in general, so let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about how effective it is against the Avengers in particular. Are there any Avengers who have a natural immunity to telepathic and psionic powers?

Brevoort: Iron Man’s armor has been proofed against telepathic attacks in the past. The Vision’s android mind is such that it’s anybody’s guess whether a telepathic strike would do him any harm. A telepathic attack on the Red Hulk is likely to just make him angrier and more savage, so if it didn’t immediately take him down it would likely make things worse. There are a few other examples, but they’re mostly the exceptions — for the most part the Avengers are no more protected from a telepathic assault than anyone else would be.

How aware are the Avengers in general of the strategic applications of telepathy? Can we assume that leaders like Captain America are aware of what telepaths can do and are ready and able to work around them?

Brevoort: I’d say it’s a certainty — especially since there are present and former X-Men among the Avengers’ ranks, who would be likely to disclose that information even if Cap wasn’t already aware of it.

Lowe: They definitely know it.

The X-Men may have an advantage in the area of mental powers, but the Avengers have three of the greatest scientific minds on the planet in Tony Stark, T’Challa, and Hank Pym. How easy would it be for these guys to whip up something that makes them and their team mates resistant to telepathic powers?

Brevoort: Given that we’ve seen Tony at least do this before in the past, I’d say it’d be relatively easy. Doesn’t mean that it’ll work, though, or be 100% proof against a determined X-Man digging down deep and fighting for a legitimate cause.

Lowe: It’s not going to really matter in the end as the X-Men are far superior in every way.


Infinite Comics Line From Marvel

For a long time, cutting edge comic creators and readers have been talking about how the digital age makes for an “infinite canvass” where comic stories can roll out endlessly panel after panel rather than in a classic magazine or book print format. But even in an era where every major mainstream publisher has an app to sell digital comics for tablet devices and phones, no commercial comics company has made an attempt at producing new content that capitalizes on the infinite canvass concept. Today, Marvel Comics made official their plans on that front with a new program called Marvel Infinite Comics.

Announced as part of their appearance at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Infinite Comics is one plank in Marvel’s new digital product branding “Marvel ReEvolution” Starting April 4th, 2012, the publisher will release new comic stories built for iPads and tablet devices and on sale in the comiXology powered Marvel app for $.99 cents or free with a purchase of “Avengers vs. X-Men” #1. The debut story is a Nova comic by Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen, the first of three Infinite Comics tie-ins to the upcoming “Avengers Vs. X-Men” event (read more on the story and the Infinite Comics format with Mark Waid here).

To help parse out the whys and wherefores of this particular SXSW announcement, CBR News spoke to Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada about where Infinite Comics came from and why now was the time to launch. Below, the artist describes his own history in the digital realm and how it impacted the final product, how he and Waid bonded over a love for cutting edge comic creator Yves “Balak” Bigeral and what’s next on the horizon for the format.

Joe Quesada: Yeah I have, but sometimes you have to wait for just the right time for the right idea. As you know, these days I only have enough time and bandwidth to get involved in the larger stories and ideas in our publishing division, but Infinite Comics is something really near and dear to my heart, so when the opportunity arose to pull the trigger on them I jumped at it.

The first Marvel Infinite Comic will be a Nova story by Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen.

The Marvel Comics App expanded pretty quickly once tablet devices like the iPad came along, but how soon after that did you guys begin planning to make content for this platform specifically? Did you have some kind of “Eureka!” moment with an iPad that drove you to work in this arena?

There were two “Eureka!” moments, the most recent happened in summer of 2009, about six months before the iPad was announced, but it actually began long before that.

In 1996, a young John Cerilli, then the Editorial Director of Marvel Interactive (yes we actually used “Interactive” back then), was producing a series of “Cyber Comics.” These Cyber Comics were only available on AOL at the Marvel Keyword and then later published online in something we called The Marvel Zone. The Cyber Comics employed this very cool Flash-based tech that allowed the reader to click through the story and control the pace.

In 1998, John asked Kevin Smith, Jimmy Palmiotti and I if we could produce a Daredevil “Guardian Devil” #0 Cyber Comic. I was really taken by the whole idea behind them and sensed that there was something there, but at that time in the history of publishing and the digital world, it was nothing more than a fun novelty. “Hey look what we can do with comics on your computer kids!” The general public just wasn’t clamoring for their comics in that fashion yet. That’s why very few people even remember these Cyber Comics if they were even aware of them at all. Still, it was an interesting experiment and certainly got me thinking.

Now flash forward to ’09; that’s when I came across the Deviant Art website of a French artist and animator named Yves Bigeral on which he clearly demonstrated his vision of what he thought the future of digital comics could be. I was absolutely floored, not only was it similar to those old Cyber Comics, but Yves took it to a whole other level as well as explained in very simple terms how it was the best methodology, and I couldn’t have agreed more. The next day I was running up and down the halls of Marvel showing his technique to anyone who would listen. For a while now we had all been struggling with trying to envision what the future of digital comics could be – what form they would take, what they’d look like, how they’d be constructed – and here Yves crystallized it all in one brilliantly elegant solution. Here was something that used the digital platform and all the tools that make it great yet still keeps the purity of what makes comics “Comics.” Still, the time wasn’t right, so I kept it in my back pocket and then in January of 2010 came the iPad.

Here’s the link if you want to check out what he did. Be forewarned, there is some adult language.

Talking particulars, what were the main challenges – both from a technical perspective and a creative one – that you guys had to crack before bringing out some original digital material like this? In other words, what are the things that a Marvel Infinite Comic needs to have to make it work best?

The two most immediate challenges were having an audience who was digitally savvy and a proper widespread platform to deliver it on. Truthfully, we could have produced a comic like this years ago, but it wouldn’t have stood a fighting chance.

The next hurdle – and this is one we are currently crossing – is how artist and writers apply themselves to this new style of building a comic. Is it any harder or easier to produce than a standard paper comic? How much content is enough, how much is too much? These are things that we’ll be learning the as we go, but that all depends on how the fans responds.

From an artist perspective, I can tell you that the possibilities this technique allows us thrills me to no end. There are whole new sets of tools that we get to play with to tell a story. From a nuts and bolts perspective, there are areas where we can save time; reuse of backgrounds in an artful way is one that comes immediately to mind. On the other hand, you have to think about how to tell your story in a much more thorough fashion. If you’re a comic artist without great storytelling skills, you’re going to have a hard time with this.

As for technical issues, we’re still exploring many of them. Because this is new, there are certain effects that we’d like to use, but initially comiXology’s app is made specifically for our needs, so they’re working hard to eventually get us there. They’ve been great to work with, but they’re reader is built on a very specific platform and we’re throwing them a curve ball here, so I think there are many more storytelling tricks that you’ll see our creators using in the future that may not be possible right at this very moment.

“AvX” #1 will also feature a free augmented reality app called Marvel AR.

One debate we heard a lot when motion comics were first showing up was that adding animation and other film-like transitions to comics took away some of the “comic-ness” of the stories. Obviously, releases on the Infinite Comics platform won’t be animated like a motion comic, but what kinds of discussions have you had about where the line is drawn on what storytelling choices you can make while still making a project a comic first?

We haven’t had too many conversations yet about where to draw the line, but I agree with you. Motion comics are pretty wonderful, but they’ve grown into something else – a hybrid between comics and animation and in some cases when done as beautifully as “Thor/Loki,” just animation.

What I found so compelling with Yves technique is the beautiful simplicity of it. It’s essentially an animatic, but what makes it a comic is that the reader controls the timing in the same way that they control the turn of the page. That’s a key component of comics as is the artists and writers ability to guide your eye across that page and through the story. In an Infinite Comic, all those attributes are there only there is no page. There is only the screen and on that screen the possibilities are endless.

Looking at the Nova comic you guys are launching with, readers will see a few tricks of the trade on display, particularly the way captions and word balloons can tumble in as a form of panel transitions. Were these kinds of aspects things you’ve discussed with and disseminated amongst creators working on these comics in advance, or do you think those storytelling changes will come naturally once people play with the format?

I think we’re only touching the surface. Stuart, like all of us working on the Infinite stuff, is discovering things as he goes. By the way, that’s why he was our first choice to do this. Not only is he a brilliant draftsman, he’s also one of the best storytellers in the industry.

And yes, the great thing about Infinite Comics is that even the writer gets to play with the medium in ways they never have before. Not only can the artist guide the reader through the story, but the writer now has control of not only the pacing of the visuals, but the pacing of their narrative. It used to be that the only tools a writer had to pace their narrative in a standard comic was the placement of their balloons and caption boxes, the number and sequence of panels and the turn of the page. Now in an Infinite Comic, they control the caption boxes and how they’re delivered to the reader. It’s pretty damn sweet.

One of the other cool things about the Infinite Comics technique is that it’s going to allow us to tell different genres of story in a much more effective fashion. For example, I’ve always found that horror never really quite translates to comics like it does in movies, and it’s incredibly difficult get that visceral moment of shock that all great horror movies do so well. The reason for this is the reader’s ability to control the timing and rhythm of a scene with the turn of the page as opposed to the control a director of a movie has over their audience. With an Infinite Comic, while you control the timing of the panels and captions, you don’t know what the next panel or caption is going to be. This allows storytellers scare as well as shock and surprise us in ways we’ve previously not been able to do in comics. So there are little things like that that I think creators will be experimenting with as we move forward.

Speaking of creators playing with this format, I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to most fans that Mark Waid is writing these comics right out the gate. When you reached out to him to work on this, what did he bring to the table from his own research into this new technology that helped Marvel overall?

There were several reasons why we asked Mark. First, he’s one of my favorite writers and people in this industry. Secondly, he has a great working relationship with Stuart. And third, he’s working on a very similar kind of storytelling technique on a few of his creator owned projects. But then we got an added bonus. When I pitched Mark on the project and explained the Infinite Comics technique as well as Yves tutorial, Mark laughed and said that Yves was a dear friend and he knew exactly what I was talking about. This was amazing news as I felt that since Yves was the initial inspiration for all of this, I was hoping we could get him to do at least one chapter, which he’s in the middle of right now. I’ve seen the layouts, and it’s breathtaking stuff. You can tell he’s the master at this.

Let me also add, like Yves, there are several creators in the comics industry who are experimenting with digital comics and some are employing techniques similar to what we’re doing. Reilly Brown is someone who comes immediately to mind. At the end of the day I think we’re all going to learn from each other and we’re end up in some pretty amazing creative places.

On the particulars of the story, we’ve heard Axel talking for a while about Nova being a lynchpin character for Marvel moving forward. What is it about this new take on the classic character that you, Jeph Loeb and the rest of the animation guys have become so enamored with, and why was he chosen as the launch character for Infinite Comics?

Marvel fans who love our Cosmic Universe and characters have been asking me for well over two years if we’re ever going to do something significant with that corner of the Marvel U, and for the last couple of years I’ve had to bite my lip and simply say, “Wait and see. We have big plans.” Well, that time is starting to slowly creep up on us, and Nova is a very important part of that. Some fans think that it has to do with our upcoming “Ultimate Spider-Man” animated show (premiering on the Marvel Universe block on April 1 on DisneyXD), but here’s news for you, it’s the exact opposite. The reason Nova is part of the “USM” cast is because we have such big plans for him in publishing and these plans started percolating several years ago.

As for Nova being the lead in this first Infinite endeavor, that had more to do with the particular story we wanted to tell. I’d love to lie to you and tell you that it was all part of the synergistic plan, but this one was just sheer luck. Still, we’ll take it.

One thing we’ve heard from folks like Dan Buckley is that Marvel comics these days are meant to live in as many formats as possible. Since Infinite Comics are made to synch so strongly with the tablet reading experience, does that make an eventual transition to print tougher or even impossible?

It could, but it all depends on the story and the creative team. But I think that’s where you can get into trouble. We gave Stuart very few parameters with this first story with one exception, we told him not to worry about print. Draw the story and only concern yourself with how it’ll work on a tablet. If we can translate it to print later, great, but let us worry about that. This is where I think many attempts at digital comics fail. Either they’re a print comic that is reconfigured to work in digital, or it’s a comic that is designed for digital, while also keeping how to build the inevitable print version firmly in mind. What happens is that, when it’s all said and done, you end up with something that is neither fish nor fowl.

Overall, what kind of content are you most excited to see in this format moving forward as both a reader and a creator? How often can we expect to see new Infinite Comics launching, and what’s the element of the program folks may miss in all the flash of swiping through these rad panels?

With respect to what kinds of future content I’d like to see, well the sky’s the limit if you ask me. I just want to see how fans react to this technique first. As for how often can you expect to see Infinite Comics? Right now it’s way too early to speculate. Like everything we do, it’s really up to the fans. Our current plans consists of three Infinite Comic installments for “AvX,” but you never know. If the reaction is great, we may do one or two more. As for what our next set of Infinite Comics will be after “AvX,” you’re going to have to wait and see what we do next. You know we always have something up our sleeve.

To Infinity and… oh wait.


WHEN TWO TRIBES GO TO WAR: “AVX” – THE HEAVY ARTILLERY

The heroes of the Marvel Universe can perform many frightening and awe inspiring feats such as cracking mountains, controlling the elements, and altering the fabric of reality itself. When they fight one another it’s truly a spectacle, but when they go to war against each other you get an epic conflict that can literally shake and change the world.

That’s exactly what will happen this April when an all-star team of Marvel creators presents the 12-issue “Avengers Vs. X-Men” maxi-series. In today’s edition of WHEN TWO TRIBES GO TO WAR, our look the important elements and characters of “AVX,” we look at some of the more powerful and prominent characters of the conflict. How dangerous are these characters? What’s motivating them? And what might happen if they lose control of their powers? Joining us to answer these questions and more are “Uncanny X-Men” writer, Kieron Gillen; “Avengers Academy and “X-Men: Legacy” writer, Christos Gage; “Hulk” writer, Jeff Parker; Senior Editor Nick Lowe who’s in charge of the X-Office; and Senior Vice President of Publishing and Executive Editor, Tom Brevoort, whose office oversees the Avengers titles.

If you’re just joining us feel free to get caught up by reading our first installment of the series where we discussed how various loyalties will come into play in “AVX,” and our second installment where we examined the four “generals” of the conflict. Don’t worry, our artillery strike won’t begin until you get back!

CYCLOPS’ UTOPIA-BASED FACTION OF X-MEN

CBR News: Kieron, Cyclops’ “Extinction Team” of Emma Frost, Colossus/Juggernaut, Magik, Hope, Storm, Danger, Magneto, and Namor are the biggest guns of his Utopia-based faction of X-Men. When “AvX” breaks out will these characters be sitting on the bench waiting to be called in? Or will the Extinction Team come out swinging when the opening bell rings?

Kieron Gillen: The point of the Extinction Team is that they’re a deterrent. Therefore you’d expect the Extinction Team to be there when X-Men first meet the Avengers. It’s Scott’s way of saying to them, “You don’t really want to do this.” If they force him to press the red button that is the Extinction Team, he will do it.

So we’re dealing with the implicit moral question of the Extinction Team. There was a chance they would be called upon to fight whoever attacked mutants and if they do they might destroy a city or something worse. That was always the ethical question behind the Extinction Team. It’s not whether or not Scott would send them into battle, but what would happen if he was forced to? So the worrying questions are what could the Extinction Team do and what will they do?

The most powerful and destructive member of the team is Colossus, who recently became the Juggernaut, the avatar of the powerful demonic being known as Cytorrak. Becoming the Juggernaut made Colossus impossibly strong but it’s also made him highly unstable. How will Cyclops feel about calling him into battle against the Avengers? Does he realize how hard Colossus is struggling to keep from raging out of control now that he’s the Juggernaut?

Gillen: Cyclops definitely does. There are a lot of pieces coming to a slow boil in the “Uncanny X-Men” issues leading up to “AVX.” His emotional turmoil will increase with each issue. The questions about Colossus’ control over his Juggernaut form will arise. We’ll also see how that affects his relationship with Magik, who Cyclops is also worried about.

In “Uncanny X-Men” #9 we reveal that she’s still in prison in between missions. She’s part of the Extinction Team, but she’s still wearing the bomb suit beneath her outfit. So Fundamentally she’s on a leash. That whole relationship is a powder keg.

And yes, Colossus is phenomenally powerful. He’s a man who can crack mountains. He was strong before, but now as the Juggernaut he’s incredibly dangerous. He’s one of Cyclops’ most powerful weapons.

You mentioned Magik, so let’s talk a little bit about Colossus’ sister. She’s a powerful teleporter with supernatural abilities that come from her own experience with demonic possession. How stable is she when “AvX” begins? What’s motivating her?

Gillen: As I said, Magik’s relationship with Colossus is a key part of the story I’m telling in the “AvX” tie-ins of “Uncanny X-Men.” She’s sort of his sponsor in demonic possessions anonymous and there’s a lot of territory that we can explore with her. For instance, Magik got most of her soul back. What exactly does that mean?

Cyclops believes Magik and Colossus are in danger of straying over to the dark side, but the Extinction Team’s ranks include two members who have done exactly that: the Master of Magnetism, Magneto, and the physically powerful ruler of Atlantis, Prince Namor. We imagine these two would have interesting perspectives on what it means to fight the Avengers.

Gillen: Ah yes! [Laughs] There was a line I cut from issue #11. It was a scene I did with Storm and Magneto. I cut it because of space, but Magneto comments on the situation they’re in with the Avengers. He says, “You know things could be worse. Fighting super heroes is something I have a lot of experience with.” So this isn’t the first time Magneto has been in a situation like this and Namor is the same way having attacked civilization god knows how many times.

It’s not like if Storm were to fight the Avengers. It’s weird for her. Whereas Magneto and Namor can go, “Yeah, I’ve done that.”

Is Storm in an especially difficult situation because of her membership in both the Avengers and the X-Men?

Gillen: Yes she’s extremely powerful, but she’s going to have to think long and hard about how to use her abilities. Making things even more difficult for her is the fact that she’s the ethical anchor of the Extinction Team. She’s supposed to pull them back if they go too far. That’s going to be very problematic for Storm.

Emma Frost suffered a pretty serious injury in your first arc of “Uncanny X-Men,” but we know she’ll have recovered and be back in action in time for “AVX.” How formidable will she be in the coming conflict and what’s on her mind when fighting breaks out?

Gillen: Emma’s thrown everything behind Scott and Utopia. The emotional side is obvious, but in pure financial terms too. She’s liquidated her commercial empire to pay for Utopia. She writes the checks. It’s arguable that she, more than anyone else, is the one with most to fight for. And with someone as icily cold as Emma, you don’t want to back her into a corner. Her diamond form is one thing — but as a psychic, that’s one area where the Avengers are seriously outgunned. Between Emma and Extinction-team-reserve Psylocke, that’s an awful lot of sheer mind-power coming your way.

Emma and her teammates each have their own unique perspective, but the robotic life form Danger must have an especially interesting point of view on the “AvX” conflict since it involves two groups of organic life forms in an escalating ideological conflict. Danger has many powerful abilities like shape changing, the ability to control machines, and the ability to generate powerful hard light holograms. Should the X-Men automatically assume Danger is going to be on their side in a conflict over how best to save the planet from the destructive cosmic entity known as the Phoenix?

Gillen: I would say Danger is someone you should watch very closely in this. The question of Danger’s loyalties are absolutely core to my “Uncanny” run and by “AvX” you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

We’ve talked about her teammates on the Extinction Team, but now I’d like to discuss Hope, who plays a unique role in the “AvX” conflict. Hope’s mutant ability to mimic other mutant powers and amplify them makes her a valuable ally in a fight. That said, given her connection to the Phoenix Force will Cyclops allow her to take part in fights?

Gillen: This is a tricky question to talk about without spoiling things, but Hope and Phoenix are right at the core of this story. And as such Hope will be protected, but that’s not something she responds to well. One of the problems between Hope and Scott is that they both agree she’s the Messiah. Since they both believe that she’s fundamentally important, that makes any disagreement they have really, really touchy.

If Scott decides Hope needs to be kept safe and he sticks her in a bunker he’s going to have a fight on his hands. Her take is that she’s a good soldier and has lots of things she could do. In “Generation Hope” I set up that believing she’s the mutant messiah is a weird thing for her, but she has to believe it because it’s one of the reasons her dad died. So she has to be the Messiah otherwise her dad died for nothing. So there’s an emotional powder keg there. Hope is being pulled in all sorts of directions and the question of the Phoenix only complicates things for her.

So Hope and her fellow members of the Extinction Team are all incredibly powerful characters, but during “AvX” they’re going to be plunged into situations where they’re powers can only complicate things?

Gillen: Yes, the Extinction Team is a powder keg. It was designed as one and I knew it would blow up. What happens afterwards, though, is the really interesting question because, as you point out, this is a group of really powerful people, and any one of them could make a mess of things.

The chance to answer those questions and be part of this event reminds you that Marvel has some of the best toys in comics. To be able to throw them at each other in a big story like this is a great joy. I’m writing one of the “AvX” fight books. I’m doing a Spider-Man versus Colossus story and there’s nothing that’s not fun about that. Writing a story featuring these big guns gives you scale and meaning, but it also has the fundamental joy of super hero comics. I’ve seen all the scripts to these stories [so] far, but every time I see pages it’s exciting.

WOLVERINE’S FACTION OF X-MEN WHO SERVE AS THE FACULTY FOR THE JEAN GREY SCHOOL OF HIGHER LEARNING

Wolverine’s camp has quite a few heavy hitters in it. Perhaps the biggest is Bobby Drake AKA Ice Man. Just how powerful is Bobby? If pushed to cut loose, what kind of damage could Bobby inflict on a team of Avengers?

Christos Gage: I think Bobby himself is still testing the limits of his power. He’s definitely someone who could take on a number of Avengers alone, and maybe pull out some moves no one’s seen before.

Nick Lowe: You’re going to see a lot of how far Bobby has come in “Wolverine and the X-Men” #7. It’s an “AvX” tie-in that pits him against one of the biggest and strongest Avengers there is. I can’t wait to see how people react!

Another powerful teacher at the Jean Grey School is Rogue. She’s fought the Avengers before and the nature of her powers suggests she could be more than a match for an entire team of Avengers. Given her role as a teacher, would Rogue be part of any offensive actions in “AvX”? Or would she view her role as staying behind and defending the kids?

Gage: You’ve hit on some of the central issues behind our first two crossover issues in “X-Men Legacy,” #266 and 267. You’re right — in her very first appearance, the classic “Avengers Annual” #10, Rogue did indeed take down nearly all the Avengers by herself, including Thor and Captain America. But that was also the start of a very dark period in her life, as she accidentally absorbed Ms. Marvel’s powers and persona when she held on too long, and had them for years, which nearly drove her insane. She’s changed a lot since then. Will she feel that fighting Avengers again might take her places she doesn’t want to go? Will she feel a duty to step in on the X-Men’s side regardless of her own misgivings? Or will she enthusiastically jump into a fight she knows she can win?

Lowe: Rogue’s role is very complex and really awesome! Christos has been awesome at playing with Rogue’s powers in “Legacy” and it only gets better in his “AvX” issues.

While we’re on the topic of kids, let’s touch upon them. The student body of the Jean Grey School has some kids that could qualify as heavy artillery like Kid Gladiator, Quentin Quire, and Genesis. I know the school was established to keep these kids out of harm’s way, but if these characters decide they wanted to fight could they be dissuaded? And how much damage could they do?

Gage:They could do plenty of damage, but I think you’re right that the adults of the Westchester school will not want them involved. As to whether they can enforce that rule, we’ll have to wait and see. An equally pressing question is what happens if trouble comes looking for them!

Lowe: Kid Gladiator DEFINITELY gets into the action, which shouldn’t be too surprising. What it will be is too amazing. Readers may lose control of bodily organs after reading.

Kid Gladiator is definitely a big gun style character, but we have to wonder about the status of another character, Rachel Summers. Could you clarify exactly what she can do with her powers and how effective she would be in a face off with a group like the Avengers?

Gage: Rachel is not as powerful as when she hosted a part of the Phoenix Force herself, but she is still one of the leading telepaths and telekinetics on Earth. We saw in “X-Men Legacy” #262 how she engaged Exodus in a battle for mental supremacy on multiple planes of reality at once, and managed to match him blow for figurative blow, which definitely makes her a heavy hitter. If I were the Avengers, I’d bring in some telepaths of my own.

Lowe: Do not mess with Rachel. She is a certified bad ass.

The Jean Gray School has some powerful teachers, but it’s also had some very powerful guest lecturers, namely Charles Xavier. He’s been off to the sidelines for awhile, so can we expect Professor X to return in a major way during “AvX?”

Lowe: You will definitely see him show up in “AvX” and play a really interesting and pivotal role.

Are they any other heavy artillery style characters at the Jean Grey school that I haven’t mentioned yet? And if so how powerful are they?

Gage: Gambit showed some creativity when he turned Exodus’ cape into a bomb recently. I could see him energizing Iron Man’s armor or Cap’s shield — that would be a big deal.

Lowe: You should watch Angel for sure.

Gage: And of course the Avengers have some pretty big guns of their own–it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ve been a part of Marvel events since “Civil War,” and out of all of them, this one hits me right in the fanboy heart the most!

Lowe: The best thing about “AvX” are the twists along the way. Crazy stuff happens ALL THE TIME in it.

THE AVENGERS — THE RED HULK

Jeff, from what we’ve seen the Red Hulk will be one of Captain America’s key soldiers in the battle against Cyclops’ forces. Given his vast power, what kind of damage could the Red Hulk do to a small place like Utopia if left unchecked?

Jeff Parker: Wrecking an island is a classic afternoon activity for a Hulk. Especially one that would think in terms of knocking out defenses and power plants in order like a military campaign.

The Red Hulk is extremely powerful, but knowledge is power too, and it’s a power Cyclops wields incredibly well. How much does Cyclops know about the Red Hulk’s abilities? Does he have any clue how powerful the Red Hulk is?

Parker: They had a brief run-in back in “World War Hulks,” where Cyclops, Wolverine and Iceman were all hulked out, so they would understand the brute force coming at them. And surely Cyclops would realize the danger of Red Hulk being able to think clearly in addition to that.

General Ross’ physical power as the Red Hulk is a dangerous weapon, but so is his mind. In terms of military strategy and tactics how cunning is Ross? Have the X-Men ever faced a foe like him before that’s both physically powerful and tactically resourceful?

Parker: I would say Magneto probably kept them ready for that for years! But Ross also has that willingness to go all the way to win that a lot of people don’t have. I think that’s what makes him particularly dangerous. His self-preservation instinct is fairly low.

Power and cunning are good, but they’re especially dangerous wielded by a man who wants to go to war. Going into “AvX” how do you think Red Hulk would view Cyclops’ branch of the X-Men? Would he see them as dangerous outlaws? Or might he understand some of the persecution they feel?

Parker: Red Hulk isn’t big on sympathizing — his condition is exactly like Bruce Banner’s, and it doesn’t help him connect on that common ground.

THE AVENGERS

Tom, at the time I’m writing this question, the Scarlet Witch is back and is one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. We also know she’ll have a role in “AvX.” Can you talk about how dangerous Wanda could be in the wake of “Avengers: The Children’s Crusade” #9? Given her power would she be someone that would be called upon right away or would Wanda be more of a reserve “nuclear option?”

Tom Brevoort: From the point of view of the X-Men, she’s the most dangerous player there is. Despite being powered down in “Crusade,” she still eliminated the mutant powers of the majority of their species — so even psychologically that’s got to be a daunting thing to face. And beyond that, there are still a lot of unresolved issues amongst the mutant community towards Wanda. I expect that there are any number of X-Men who’d love to beat her black and blue simply on principle. That said, as of the end of “Crusade,” she’s not an active Avenger, nor are her whereabouts necessarily known — so she’s more of a wild card in terms of where she’ll show up, and how. And let’s not forget that she’s a mutant as well, and that she would desperately like to be able to undo the effects of M-Day — so perhaps she’ll be fighting on the side of the X-Men!

Interesting! The Witch’s power is quite intimidating, but so is the power of another long time Avenger, Thor. Will we get a chance to see how devastating Thor is in action against the X-Men? Or will he be using all his power to confront something equally intimidating, the Phoenix Force? If so, what kind of battle will that be?

Brevoort: As we’ve already shown in the preview of “AvX” #1 we’ve been running, Thor’s going to be at the forefront of the Avengers away team tasked with preventing the Phoenix from ever reaching the Earth — so he’s going to be away from the team vs. team fighting at least at the outset. When facing something akin to the Phoenix Force, Thor is one of the very few Avengers capable of operating very comfortably on that level. But assuming he gets back to Earth and enters the combat with the X-Men, he’ll be a pretty unstoppable force. I wouldn’t bet on the Juggerlossus against him, for instance.

Thor’s power lies primarily in the supernatural world and so does the power of another Avenger, Doctor Strange. Doc isn’t the Sorcerer Supreme any more, but he’s still a master of the mystic arts. Just how dangerous is he?

Brevoort: Very dangerous in that his powers are such that there’s no easy and effective counter to them. That said, there are a number of X-Men whose abilities are derived either wholly or in part from magic. And as you say, Strange is no longer the Sorcerer Supreme. But he’s still the most learned and most experienced fighter there is in that arena.

We know from cover images that another character wielding mystical powers, Iron Fist, will play a role in “Avengers Vs. X-Men.” At first glance Danny Rand is a pretty powerful character, but could he go toe-to-toe with one of the X-Men’s big guns? And will Danny’s status as an Immortal Weapon of Agamotto affect his role or power level in this story?

Brevoort: Danny’s about as good a hand-to-hand combatant as it’s possible to be — he’s a master of the martial arts in all their forms, even apart from his ability to generate the Iron Fist. Additionally, there’s information buried deep within the archives of the histories of K’un Lun and the chronicles of the previous Iron Fists that’s going to prove to be a real game-changer as the battle goes on. So while he’s not the mightiest player in terms of lifting battleships and the like, Iron Fist is nonetheless a key participant. Expect to see a lot of him.

Sounds like knowledge is indeed power in this story, and two of the most knowledgeable characters in the Marvel Universe when it comes to science are Iron Man and Giant-Man of the Avengers. When “AvX” begins how valuable are the scientific and inventing skills of Hank Pym and Tony Stark? Do the X-Men have anybody who can match these guys in terms of brain power?

Brevoort: I think you’d have to count T’Challa in that same breath along with Tony and Hank. And while the X-Men do have their X-Club science team, none of its members loom quite so large in the field as these three do. I’d expect Tony in particular to be especially dangerous, as he’s among the more pragmatic Avengers, the one most likely to strike a decisive blow where others might hesitate.

The Avengers are comprised of a pretty huge roster. Are there any other extremely powerful “Heavy Artillery”-style Avengers you would like discuss? How powerful are these characters? And what makes them valuable assets in a conflict with the X-Men?

Brevoort: I think there are any number of other heavy hitters among the Avengers: The Vision (people forget how powerful he is, especially since he hasn’t been around a whole lot recently), War Machine, Captain Britain, Valkyrie, Ms Marvel, Red Hulk, the Thing. And those are just to name a few.

The power these characters wield is tempered by their commitment to their mission. Unless the objective is to wipe the X-Men out for some reason, they’re going to be fighting to incapacitate rather than kill or maim.


NOVA BLASTS INTO MARVEL INFINITE COMICS WITH AVX TIE-IN

Today, Marvel Comics released a teaser for its upcoming Infinite Comics digital program to be revealed at SXSW this weekend. The image, featuring Nova rocketing through space, is branded with the “Avengers vs. X-Men”banner, but offers no additional information. The member of the Nova Corps depicted does not look to be Richard Ryder, but rather the younger Nova in Marvel’s “Point One” special in 2011 with a smaller frame and redesigned uniform, teasing the return of the Phoenix. The unnamed member of the Nova Corps is drawn in the promotional piece by “New Avengers” artist Stuart Immonen, as revealed by Marvel Executive Editorial Director Ryan Penagos on Twitter

In the “Point One” story “Nova: Harbinger” written by Jeph Loeb with art by Ed McGuinness, Nova takes on Terrax the Tamer in an attempt to warn him of the oncoming, all-consuming threat of the Phoenix. As Terrax and the entire planet of Birj are consumed by the fire of the cosmic entity, Nova rockets away, attempting to outrun the Phoenix Force as it presumably heads towards Earth.

“Jeph has a strong vision for who Nova should be in the Marvel Universe, and Ed is the perfect artist because he has power that can’t be contained on the page – kinda like Nova himself,” Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso said in 2011. “I’m not going to say much more about our future plans for Nova, but I will say that [the “Point One” story] is a glimpse of the character as you’ll see him in 2012 [Laughter] and it includes a nifty two-page spread should give you a loud-and-clear idea what type of $%#$storm is headed to the Marvel Universe.”

Last week, Marvel also revealed the new “Ultimate Spider-Man” version of Nova, a new teen member of the Nova Corps named Sam Alexander, who Loeb had a large hand in designing. Although the possibility certainly exists that the writer inserted a new Nova into the Marvel U for readers to connect with “Ultimate Spider-Man,” there is no current information linking the two characters other than Loeb’s involvement. Should this be true, it would be another example of Marvel’s synergistic approach to introducing new characters, such as Agent Coulson appearing in both “The Avengers” film and “Ultimate Spider-Man.”

While no other details about the teaser image or Marvel’s Infinite Comics program has been revealed, it is a possibility that Stuart Immonen has joined the massive “Avengers vs. X-Men” crossover. The image’s association with both “AvX” and the Infinite Comics announcement implies Nova’s involvement may begin in a digital-only tie-in story to help launch the new initiative. All questions will likely be answered at SXSW on Sunday, March 11 during the Marvel: House of Ideas panel.