Event comics. The bane of many a comic book fan and potentially a way in which to tell a large scale story cast across a bigger canvas. From Crisis on Infinite Earths to Secret Wars to Civil War and Flashpoint, DC and Marvel Comics have both dipped into readers’ minds and wallets again and again. Whatever your opinion of them, event books are not going away.
In fact a sequel to the upcoming AXIS is already in the works that will shake up the status quot of Marvel’s heroes and villains. Personally, I have been satisfied with the follow through Marvel Editorial has exhibited as far back as Avengers: Decimation all the way to the current comics. The characters have changed, and their relationships became dynamic and different, making the shared universe fresh.
And it’s changing again…
Marvel Comics revealed what’s coming in Avengers & X-Men: AXIS Act 2 Monday afternoon, ahead of November 2014 solicitations. To bring the information, they held a conference call with writer Rick Remender and Exectuvie Editor Tom Brevoort, along with members of the comic book press.
Marvel PR Chris D’Lando introduced the people on the call. “What is inversion you ask? Call it the recalibration of the Marvel Universe’s moral compass.”
Remender started with the high concept of Act II. “The fun of something like this in my mind is to constantly subvert expectations and surprise people with exciting new things. We all have our attention spans destroyed by our cell phones so I don’t want to linger on any one idea for more than about five pages (laughs).
“Moving to a new high concept each act keeps people on their toes, keeps things exciting.”
Act I is about the Avengers and X-Men teaming up to stop the Red Skull, and that leads to Inversion.
“The way things go and how our heroes have to deal with Red Onslaught leads to a bit of a whammy. With the Inversion aspect, I put on my Dungeon Master’s cap and start twisting alignments around.”
“It’s not so cut and dry for everyone as ‘good guy becomes super bad guy.’ I think there are a lot of character-defining moments, especially in the second act. It shows you the antithesis of what they normally are and getting into their character.”
This all leads into the next act, which Remender says is “the biggest X-Men showdown I could think of, and really for everyone. Big things for the Spider-Man world, big things for the Avengers clan.”
Inverting Tony Stark leads directly to Superior Iron Man, with the character “switching back to where he started out,” which shows how far he’s come as a character, the writer said. He praised where Tom Taylor is taking the character as well in the ongoing series.
Several of the characters will get new looks to go with their new outlooks, but not all of them. Deadpool, for example, is in a grey costume, Luke Cage is in a suit with sunglasses, and Tony debuts his new silver armor.
“Deadpool will be playing a really big role in AXIS in a couple of surprising ways,” Remender said, “I’m really excited with what’s happening with him in the book. There’s huge changes coming for Scarlet Witch, Magneto, Doctor Doom, Loki, huge huge beat for Loki. Kid Apocalypse – basically it’s all fireworks here, there’s no lead-up.”
The tie-ins for AXIS will often focus on the Inversion status. Carnage and Hobgoblin in particular use inverted versions of those characters for their tie-in mini-series. “It allows us to look at these characters in a new light,” said Brevoort. “It’s a morally upstanding Carnage and a Hobgoblin who’s a good businessman.”
Remender teased, “I don’t think I’m spoiling anything saying that Carnage trying to be a good guy, on a redemption arc, still winds up having some bloodshed. I don’t want to spoil what they’re doing there, it’s really cool.”
Sam Wilson in his first major moments as Captain America had a “shifting role” in this series. “You will be seeing a pretty nice big fight between Sam Wilson Captain America and all of the X-Men, which doesn’t go great for anybody, but was a lot of fun.” He’ll also have the shifted dynamic with Tony Stark, and Remender says it’s a nice stage to give Sam his first go as Cap.
Marvel.com asked the first press question, wondering if Remender will be building off work he’s done with the Apocalypse storyline for the last few years.
“Yeah, there’s a beat in here. Apocalypse is back, and that’s part of the big pyrotechnics show of #4.” That does come from his runs on Uncanny X-Force and Uncanny Avengers. “At a certain point, this story – I didn’t know it was going to be an event. As it built and the X-Men had a larger role, the Apocalypse beat grew into.”