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Marvel Comics on Wednesday staged a telephone press conference with writer Brian Michael Bendis.

Following are highlights:

* Bendis said he had no break with artist Mark Bagley, going right from Ultimate Spider-Man to a Spider-Man 3 comic to a Mighty Avengers arc, which Bagley has completed. He said he is working with Bagley on another Ultimae Spider-Man project for next year.

* Bendis said the Initiative will be "tested to its very core" by Secret Invasion. He said the Skrulls has may have already and won and that the Initiative will need to "succeed at every level" for humans to keep the Earth.

He said some members will not survive and some may be Skrulls who have already infiltrated.

* Bendis said Luke Cage is the "de facto" leader of the New Avengers. Issue #38 is "a very big issue" where his marriage might fall apart.

* Bendis said the Initiative has given Ms. Marvel opportunities as leader of the Mighty Avengers, but she is the most doubtful with the split of the team.

* Bendis said his exclusive contract with Marvel has allowed him long-term planning and character development. Some seeds of the upcoming story were planted as far back as House of M, Bendis noted.

* Bendis said that Tony Stark is a "fascinating character," winding up on both best hero and best villain lists for 2007. "He's so polarizing. You don't know what he's going to do, but you know why he's going to do it," Bendis said.

Bendis compared Tony Stark to Magneto in that readers might not agree with the character but they understand his motives.

* Bendis said Marvel's retreats have become "quite the events." Ideas are presented and "If you can survive that room, it's a very good story worth publishing," he said.

* "If the Civil War was the divider of the Mavvel Universe, the Skrull Invasion certainly has the potential to be the uniter," Bendis said.

* Bendis said reveals will happen in both New Avengers and Mighty Avengers, and "all the cards are turned over" in Secret Invasion #1. "It hits very hard," he said.

Bendis promised "everything" that has happened with the Skrull Invasion will be shown, comparing it as the opposite of the X-Files. "I think people will enjoy that," he said.

* Bendis said tie-ins for the event will be "very carefully picked."

* Bendis said more is expected from him than anyone in comics.

* Bendis said that the approval process has been the reason for the delays on the Halo series.

* Asked about the Sub-Mariner, Bendis said he will be involved.

* "The large Carnage may or may not be Janet Van Dyne," Bendis said about Mighty Avengers, also promising a "Doctor Doom nobody has seen before."

* Bendis said the potential of unification of the Marvel Universe is something "worth examining" and something that hasn't been seen for years.

* In Secret Invasion #1 all the Skrull who have been put in place are revealed and "do what they have to do," Bendis said.

* Secret Invasion #2 will contain an event that will allow readers to see the result of some long-term planning.

* Bendis said there is no "ret-con stuff" or "Civil War fixing" going on with the event. "I love characters dug in a hole," he said.

* The event will be judged by the weakest Skrull reveal, Bendis said.

* Is Captain America a Skrull? Bendis noted that Elektra turned into Skrull form when she died, whereas Captain America remained human.

* Bendis said Mighty Avengers #6 will be a big Skrull issue.

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