NYCC 2019: Marvel Has Many Next Big Things

by Noah Sharma

“Are you ready to find out about Marvel’s Next Big Thing!?” asked Marvel EiC C.B. Cebulski. Introducing a panel consisting of Donny Cates (Absolute Carnage, Silver Surfer: Black) , Al Ewing (Immortal Hulk, Valkyrie, taking over the Marvel Universe), Nic Klein (Artist CLASSIFIED), and Dan Slott (Fantastic Four, Tony Stark, Iron Man), Cebulski assured the audience that this was a panel to be seen.

Incoming! is Marvel’s Christmas present to the fans, an 80 page giant that will tell you what happened in 2019 and what will in 2020. It actually goes beyond that, back to the origins of the Marvel Universe. All of the major books at Marvel will be represented with stories about those characters written by their current writers. Al Ewing will be writing the spine of the book, but he revealed (seemingly to Cebulski’s distress) that Dan Slot is writing almost an equal amount. Ewing called Incoming! “a murder mystery. It’s a whodunit, it’s a howdunit, its a who gets it, it’s a whydunit.” It’s promised to be a classic locked room mystery that balloons out to touch the entire Marvel Universe. Cates promises that you’ll see the fallout of Absolute Carnage in Incoming!.

The masked raider investigating the corpse that launches the entire thing. Slot cryptically hinted that the victim is a character we’ve seen before.

Cates called Silver Surfer: Black “one of the most passionate and rewarding books I’ve had the pleasure of working on.” Black follows the Silver Surfer through the black hole he was thrown through at the start of Cate’s Guardians of the Galaxy run back to the beginning of time. There he encounters the dark god Knull and its a battle between the light in the Surfer and the all consuming darkness.

Over in GotG, Rocket’s bioengineered modifications are beginning to fail and he is dying. Rocket and Magus, an evil Omen-esque Adam Warlock clone, are facing off with the Universal Church of Truth. However while the stakes are high for Rocket they may be even bigger for Cates. Cates confirmed that GotG #12 is his final issue of the series. With a heavy heart he said goodbye to Groot (via a Funko pop) and handed the reins over to one Al Ewing.

Ewing acknowledged that he is known for world building, but promised that this will be universe building. Ewing says that he’s basically taking over space! Rocket (not necessarily the same one as is currently dying, Ewing carefully added) is back in his suit for spy-fi action with “a cast of billions” Ewing will be joined by Juann Cabal.

But Cates isn’t nearly done, he’s still got Venom in a big way. Dark Carnage is facing off against a symbiote-suited Immortal Hulk in Absolute Carnage, but Eddie Brock won’t be counted out yet. The story is huge but this is only the end of act 1 of Cates’ Venom saga. New villians, characters, and stories are coming.

“Absolute Carnage” was heavily inspired by “Maximum Carnage” but the next arc is an homage to a classic story where Venom took Spider-Man to an island and hunted him. Now we will return to that island to see the fallout of “Absolute Carnage” and Cates promised that there will be brutal consequences.

Speaking of brutal consequences, Slot recalled how Tony downloaded and uploaded his personality during Matt Fraction’s run. Then he rebuilt his body in Brian Michael Bendis’ run…

Have you heard of the Philosopher’s Axe? If you take an axe and replace the handle but later you replace the head, is that the same axe? That’s what Tony is left with. Especially now that he’s been fused with the suit, is this really Tony Stark or just a being that believes it is? The answer may surprise you, especially since he revealed that Tony Stark, Iron Man will be ending with issue #19 in December…

At the end of 2019…

What can we expect for Iron Man in 2020?

Iron Man 2020 from Dan Slot, Christos Gage, and Pete Woods! “We are fulfilling the promise that has been around since the 80s,” Slot proclaimed. In 2020 Arno Stark will be Iron Man. All the 2020 characters have been set up for the story and Slot has been psyched for this ever since he realized he would be writing Iron Man in the year 2020. He also assured fans that this wouldn’t just be a change of protagonist. “It’s gonna get weeeeiiiird!” “Robot revolution, what side are heroes gonna fall on, what kind of hero is Iron Man 2020 gonna be, Machine Man — everything you love about him from Nextwave…” Slot was clear that “this is Marvel in 2020.”

“Don’t show the other suit,” slot chuckled impishly…

Al Ewing has been playing with the Eighth Marvel Multiverse for a long time, but Immortal Hulk is the only book that will be set in the Ninth Cosmos, an unimaginable time where the Hulk is the only human creature left. Ewing promised a strange world where inhuman creatures like amoebas rule the universe. For these creatures, communication is different. It’s less about words and more about color. Color is very important to them. All except one, all except the forbidden color: green.

We won’t linger in this far away future for too long though, as Ewing took us through a whirlwind tour of the constantly changing concepts the book would explore over its next few issues. Ewing was particularly excited to tease a face off with Dario Agger, the Minotaur owner of the Roxxon corporation. The last arc has been all about how the darkest, most dangerous part of the U.S. government have failed to stop the Immortal Hulk “We’re gonna see what the private sector can do.”

The strangest cover was probably one to Immortal Hulk #28 which introduced the Teen Brigade. Donning matching Hulk masks, these delinquents have mysterious motives. “Are they fighting him? Are they selling him?” Or is it both?

Ewing spoke about some phrases that he’s been teasing. Fans who read issue #24 know what the Steel Throne is but the Minotaur is the Beast of Myth. The Thoughtful Man is still a mystery and then there’s the Hulk that Was. It seems that that’s Xemnu, the Living Hulk and now it will be Hulk vs. Hulk. Xemnu is capable of hypnotizing the entire earth and he will.

Ewing also promised that 5 Kaiju would destroy Phoenix, Az, so look out for that.

Fans of Earth-X will be excited to hear that Alex Ross is taking readers back to that world in Marvels X with Jum Krueger and Well-Bee.

The latest arc of Fantastic Four takes a look at the very mission that created the Fantastic Four. A mission that went uncompleted thanks to a certain cosmic ray accident. Now they’ve decided to finish it and visit the planet Spyre. Spyre is a strange place where the Four may be trapped and every citizen is assigned a soulmate by the Great Eye. Strangely enough, Johnny Storm seems to have one…

The role of a Valkyrie is to take the souls of heroes to an afterlife and after the War of the Realms, the role was vacant. Mephisto definitely noted that. He’s been setting up the Grim Reaper as a possible Valkyrie and Jane ruined that. Now he’s going to fix that and claim some souls and it looks like the first one will be Doctor Strange’s.

Jason Aaron insisted that they have a horse living in a New York apartment, leading to Mr. Horse. “So my revenge was to make the horse very northern, very North Yorkshire. It’s got the voice of Sean Bean… He’s a good horse…”

Valkyrie: Jane Foster #6 sees Jane trying to save the life of “the ultimate patient” by convening a team of mighty medics, including obscure picks like Cardiac and Whitman Knapp alongside favorites like Faiza Hussain. It’s “What if Gray’s Anatomy was full of punching”

Cebulski promised  that every Thor artist will return for King Thor #4. But that is the end.

Cates had two dream characters from a young age and got one with Venom. Now he got the other. Thor #1 from Donny Cates Nic Klein and Matthew Wilson is coming in January! Cates, shaking with excitement, promised a “mighty run” from he and Klien on every issue. “Matt Fraction very famously said once that when you read a Thor comic it should sound like Zeppelin. Well I want mine to sound like Norwegian Black Metal.”

The cover to Cates’ Thor #1

Cates has been working in cosmic Marvel since Thanos, but there’s one last area of the cosmos he needs to touch and that’s Thor. Every issue will be an event.

Cebulski handed Cates a Mjolnir pin to mark him as the worthy writer of Thor.

Asked about Dylan Brock, Cates promised that there are significant plans for the character and you should keep both eyes open.

A fan asked Slot if he would come back to Spider-Man. He respectfully declined, saying the Spider-verse is in good hands.

Cebulski refused to reveal the artists on the Star miniseries, but said that they would announce the artist, what project Carmen Carnero would be moving to, and what to expect from Kelly Thompson soon.

Cates described his writing process, saying that he does three passes on every script. The first is for grammar. The second is for plot. The third, the most important one, is to determine if that script is worth $4, if there is enough comic book in this comic book to justify your $4. Every issue of Thor, he promised, has “the most comic book that has ever been in a comic book.”

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