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FRIDAY, JULY 21, 2006


SAN DIEGO -- Jeph Loeb is teaming with Simone Bianchi on Wolverine beginning with #50 and Brian Michael Bendis is teaming with Frank Cho on a new series, The Mighty Avengers, Marvel Comics announced at its Civil War panel on Thursday.

Loeb and Bianchi crashed the Civil War panel to talk about taking over Wolverine. Their debut was actually "announced" in a variant of Bianchi's variant cover to Wolverine: Origins #3, which contained both of their last names and the number 50 -- something that no one outside of Marvel noticed.

Loeb said he's going to get to write a story he always wanted to -- identify what exactly is the connection between Wolverine and Sabretooth.

"Is he his father? His Brother? His clone? His daugther?" Loeb said. "What is he?"

Loeb described the six-issue arc as balls to the wall. He also noted Logan's reaction to Sabretooth's being part of the X-Men in Mike Carey's current arc: "There's only 198 of us left. Why does he have to be one?"

Loeb said readers will understand the nature of the character's relationship by the end of the arc. "And then there's a surprise that could set up another arc."

Said the Italian Bianchi: "I am so much enjoying working with this guy."

The Bendis/Cho book will be the long-rumored second Avengers titles. Cho was fairly tight-lipped about who the members will be, although he did list "leisure suit Wonder Man" and "a lot of chicks." He also said there will be "crazy action."

In other notes from the panel:

* Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said there's a reason why the recently returned Thor chooses a side.

* Fantastic Four writer J. Michael Strazynski said that because Ben Grimm can't conform to the registration and that he remains a patriot, he will be moving out of the country.

* Iron Man co-writer Charlie Knauf: "We're looking forward to telling his side of the story."

* Ms. Marvel writer Brian Reed said she will be another character who begins to see the other side of the debate.

Reed said his Civil War arc will feature Julia Carpenter, the former Spider-Woman, and Arana, who brings a youthful perspective to the debate. "I swear to God, I will make her popular," he said.

* Current Wolverine writer Marc Guggenheim said that Wolverine's pursuit of Nitro won't be as straight-forward as it sounds, with a conspiracy behind the event in Stamford.

Damage Control will be featured in his story, and Wolverine will fight foes he's never fought before.

* Civil War Front Line writer Paul Jankins said, "We did not kill Speedball -- yet."

* David Hine said to look for Mircomax, Sabra and some new Sentinels in Civil War: X-Men. There will be a split in the X-Men ranks, with Bishop on one side and the remaining four original X-Men on the other.

* Quesada said he isn't sure anyone will figure out the Punisher's role in Civil War. He also noted that Frank Castle and Steve Rogers are in many aspects the same character, but products of different times.

* Civil War writer Mark Millar checked in via telephone and promised that his run of Ultimates will be over by year's end, or he'll come to Comic-Con next year and let people punch him in the stomach.

* Asked about Speedball's constitutional rights being violated, Jenkins skirted the issue. He did say, though, that the media has made Speedball a national scapegoat.

* Jim McCann said that, like House of M, every issue devoted to Civil War will be collected in a trade paperback. He said a Road to Civil War trade paperback could reach stores as early as February.

Quesada said Civil War will be having an impact on Moon Knight.

Massive crossovers will get a rest after Civil War, Quesada said. "What you will see is smaller events within family groups," he said.

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