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State of the Marvel Universe

Marvel's top editors speak to the press about the future of the characters and title under their care

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By Marc Strom On Wednesday, February 27, several Marvel editors took part in a conference call with online journalists and Marvel.com has your full report on the proceedings. In attendance: editors Bill Rosemann, Mark Paniccia, Nick Lowe, Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso, all talking about what fans can expect in the next three months from their favorite books. Check out some of the highlights: -A new storyline coming this June in AMAZING SPIDER-GIRL will be entitled "Brand New May." Make of that what you will, True Believers!

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-Classic Hulk artist Herb Trimpe will be the third contributor to the KING SIZE HULK special seeing print this May. Trimpe joins Art Adams and Frank Cho in illustrating stories by regular HULK writer Jeph Loeb which fill in gaps from the ongoing series. -April sees the double-sized conclusion to ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST, and Bill Rosemann warned that fans who haven't been reading the regular NOVA series may want to track down the last couple issues which set up key elements for the event's conclusion. With the return of Warlock in the pages of NOVA, Rosemann wondered aloud, "What's up with Adam Warlock and Warlock coming into the same event?"

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-And all this leads into the new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series in May. Remarking upon the cover to issue two of that series, Rosemann commented that fans will certainly be surprised, but only "if we're allowed to print it." -Axel Alonso continued to spread the word about the new CABLE series beginning March 5, calling it "a science-fiction spaghetti western, and make no mistake, it's tied thoroughly into X-Men continuity." And what's this about a certain one-armed protagonist on Cable's trail? -As far as the PUNISHER MAX series goes, Alonso remained tight-lipped about any plans for the series after current scribe Garth Ennis takes his leave, only saying that the series will definitely continue, with the first 15 post-Ennis issues

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already planned out in detail. -While Ennis says goodbye to PUNISHER he says hello to WAR IS HELL: THE FIRST FLIGHT OF THE PHANTOM EAGLE, a series which Nick Lowe thinks of as "a labor of love of mine and Garth's for several years." Lowe promises that the series will "take a keen look at what a war comic can be," something no Garth Ennis fan will want to miss. -Tom Brevoort dropped a few hints about a major Spider-Man event which both fans and detractors of "Brand New Day" have been clamoring for starting in the pages of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #560 at the end of May. -Brevoort also confirmed that new FANTASTIC FOUR artist Bryan Hitch has finished

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through issue #562, meaning every issue is guaranteed to ship on time every month. -When INVINCIBLE IRON MAN came up, Brevoort described the book as being the "action super hero book" with lots of "big tech threats," while IRON MAN: DIRECTOR OF S.H.I.E.L.D. will retain its darker tone of more complicated and espionage-centric plots. Brevoort also added that fans may want to pick up the last issues of THE ORDER, as seeds for future INVINCIBLE IRON MAN stories are being planted there. -Lowe promised that "not everything is as it appears" in YOUNG X-MEN #1, though

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he wouldn't say too much for fear of ruining any of the big reveals fans have in store for them come April when the series launches. However, he did bring up that the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants make their return in the debut issue, and that many of their faces will be very familiar to X-fans. -Finally, over in the regular HULK book, Mark Paniccia promised "the battle everybody's been waiting for" in HULK #4, culminating with the reveal of a character fans will not believe.

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