by Will Henderson

Cyclops is still dead. All of your back issues matter. Boom Boom has emerged as a clear favorite in the family of X-creators. And at least two readers loved Charles Soule’s second issue of Return of Wolverine. Those were several of the key takeaways from the X-Men panel on Sunday at NYCC.

Moderated by X-Men Group Editor Jordan D. White, the panel included several key creators, including Ed Brisson (Extermination, Uncanny X-Men, X-Force), Leah Williams (What If Magik?, X-Men Black: Emma Frost), Matthew Rosenberg (Uncanny X-Men, Multiple Man), Sina Grace (Iceman), Zac Thompson (Age of X-Man Alpha 1), Lonnie Nadler (Age of X-Man Alpha 1), and X-Men Group Assistant Editor Annalise Bissa. Charles Soule, who was scheduled to appear on the panel, was unable to make it, though his second issue of Return of Wolverine was farmed out to two Wolverine cosplayers, who each separately told the audience of around 500, how much they loved the issue, with one saying “it’s extremely intense” and “there’s a very good fight scene that I can’t talk about.”

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Both were asked by White not to reveal to anyone what happened in the issue, and at least for the duration of the panel, the pair complied.

The standing-room only panel included reveals of interior pages and covers from several X-titles including Iceman, X-Man Alpha 1, Astonishing X-Men, Mr. and Mrs. X, the X-Men Black titles, What If Magik?, X-Force, Dead Man Logan, and the 10-part Uncanny X-Men Disassembled that starts in November.

The panel didn’t touch on what happens at the end of the 10 issues, though two of the three writers attached to the title have had new ongoings announced: Kelly Thompson, who may be one of the busiest writers in comics right now, taking over Captain Marvel, and Ed Brisson writing the adventures of a reunited X-Force.

What the panel could say is that the 10-part story brings together most of the mutants, with Rosenberg saying that the storyline likely includes everyone’s favorite character, regardless of who that character is.

X-Man, it seems, based on cover art from Disassembled, seems poised to play a larger role in the world of the X-Men, which, if you ask Thompson, is kind of funny, since, he explained, he had pitched an X-Men story to Marvel a year ago and was told in no uncertain terms that there was no room for X-Man in the world of the X-Men.

Of course, covers can mislead, and don’t always tell the whole story, like the cover of an upcoming Uncanny X-Men Annual 1 (streeting in January 2019), which features on it several versions of Cyclops, who was last seen dead as a result of Terrigen poisoning in Death of X. Could the annual spell the return of the once (and future?) X-Men leader? No one on the panel said, though Brisson (who is writing the annual) said that the issue’s title is “Cyclops: Dead or Alive?,” so interpret that as you will.

Grace talked about his Iceman limited series, including the roles Emma Frost, Firestar, Spider-Man, and Mister Sinister will play. Williams talked about her love of Emma Frost, admitting that she thinks Frost is less villain and more someone “who is capable of doing terrible things for the right reasons.”

Rosenberg discussed his current run on Astonishing X-Men, and said that Havok (“the better Summers brother,” said Rosenberg) will hit a breaking point after which he must decide if he is hero or if he is villain, roles he has played at different times over the last few years. Brisson said that the reunited X-Force team will come together to hunt Kid Cable and Deathlok, who may or may not be involved with a group of anti-mutant terrorists.

“But what you think is happening in issue one isn’t really what’s happening,” said Brisson, who added that he’s received death threats since killing Cable in Extermination. Read that again. Death threats. For killing a fictional character. In a comic book. Is it any wonder that writers like Tom King, who also received death threats after splitting up Batman and Catwoman, travel with bodyguards?

The panel responded to audience questions about their favorite mutant, their favorite mutant storyline, their favorite villains, and if members of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four will converge any time soon.

White said that while there are no current plans for the two teams to meet, “it’s never too long before Marvel heroes run into each other.” White said something similar about the role X (the person whom Professor X became after taking over Fantomex’s body during Soule’s run on Astonishing X-Men) may play in the future of the X-Men.

“Xavier is never going to be too far from the X-Men,” said White. “He will definitely pop up again, but we can’t say where or when.”

Finally, in response to what may be a perennial question at X-Men panels, White said that there are no plans to bring Chris Claremont back to an ongoing X-title, though Claremont did write the main story in the recently released X-Men Black: Magneto, wrote the back-up story in the forthcoming one-shot, The Exterminated, and will contribute a story to the upcoming X-Men Holiday Special, which features 25 stories, a sort of advent calendar, if you will.