The SDCC at home panel for Marvel’s Next Big, which they called “Hall M,” had a lot of excitement, even if it was a bit light on announcements. Comic publishers, the big 2 especially, are still bouncing back from the COVID shutdowns, so it’s understandable that they don’t want to make any big promises right now. But seeing how excited the creators are brings out another part of comic con we sometimes forget out with all the big news and whatnot: this is an event to just celebrate how awesome comics are. So…what did we learn?
SDCC Marvel’s Next Big Thing: Empyre Puts the FF Center Stage in the MCU
(Fantastic Four: Fallout, Marvel Comics)
The first part of the Marvel’s Next Big Thing would have made any SDCC crowd excited: announcements for the big event Empyre. So, a lot of it was recapped, but writers Al Ewing and Dan Slott did tease a few important notes.
- The new Elder of the Universe, the Propheteer, will play a big role in future stories coming out of Empyre, especially since her “biggest meal ticket,” supplying arms for the Kree and the Skrull Empires before the unification, is gone.
- Catch up on Immortal Hulk (also—it’s a brilliant series), because a lot will happen to Jennifer Walters in Immortal She-Hulk, a one-shot coming directly after Empyre. This event is going to have major effects on some characters, and it looks like She-Hulk is going to be one of them.
- Finally, the most important post-Empyre book will be Dan Slott’s Fantastic Four: Fallout. According to Slott, the events in Fallout will have repercussions on the entire MCU—but especially the cosmos.
Empyre started strong—so if Slott says to pay attention to the Fantastic Four, we should listen. It’s been a long time since Marvel’s First Family was the center of the action. Looks like they’re finally getting their moment again.
X (10) of Swords: Marvel’s Next Big Epic
I’m not great at math, but that looks like a lot more than ten swords. (Marvel Comics)
While Empyre is the big thing right now, we still have an even bigger event coming up: X of Swords (Roman Numeral 10). We know very little about this event…and we still know very little. During Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel at SDCC, editor Jordan White, and writers Tini Howard and Gerry Duggan talked about the massive scale of the upcoming event. Because of the shuffling of books during the coronavirus lockdown, X of Swords got bigger and more “weird.”
The event developed between Jonathan Hickman and Tini Howard. Where Hickman was going in X-Men, Howard was similarly heading towards in Excalibur. They combined their stories for the first big Dawn of X crossover (even though, with the way the Dawn of X titles work, it’s kind of always a crossover). They planned 15 chapters. That already big event is now 22 chapters. One aspect that Howard notes is that she’s been exploring how “magic is cultural” in Excalibur—and the team has already faced different magical groups who hate the idea of mutants using magic.
What does “X of Swords” mean?
The title of the crossover comes from the tarot card, “ten of swords.” According to a quick internet search (aka Wikipedia):
“In the upright or positive light, the ten of swords represents destruction, being pinned down by a multitude of things or situations. The person lying on the ground, defeated and bleeding, may also represent a feeling of hopelessness and being trapped by emotions or mental anguish, since swords represent strife and the mind.”
Oh great. Destruction—that’s not ominous for a newly formed nation at all. It goes on to say:
“Dark clouds hovering above the person signify despair and a bleak situation. However…any death or destruction, like all things, may not be permanent. There is hope in spite of the situation; the golden sky in the distance suggests that the current situation is bad, and things will improve.”
Okay, so maybe the mutants will come out ok at the end of this, but…
“In the reversed state, the card indicates a troubling situation that will continue for a significant amount of time. The card suggests that the subject should not despair in difficult times, to avoid ruining future prospects for success.”
A significant amount of time? At 22 chapters, it is more than significant, especially on the wallet.
Finally, Jordan, Tini, and Gerry gave us three characters who will have “big” moments: Storm, Captain Britain (Elizabeth Braddock), and…DOUG RAMSEY! Tini described how “the room lights up every time they talk about Doug’s story.”
Spider-Man had the biggest reveals at SDCC Marvel’s Next Big Thing Panel
(mazing Spider-Man: Sins Rising Prelude, Marvel Comics)
With issue #850 coming up, editor Nick Lowe and writer Nick Spencer are planning a major Spider-Man crisis. It starts in the recently released Sins Rising Prelude, which brought back one of Spider-Man’s classic villains. But his new villain, Kindred, has amped up Sin Eater with more powers than he previously had. But that’s not exactly news. Joining Spencer for Sins Rising is an artist who hasn’t worked on Amazing Spider-Man in over 30 years: Mark Bagley. Bagley said that he wanted to work on ASM to see if he were “still relevant.”
You are, Mark—you always will be!
But then came a major reveal. During Sins Rising, Spider-Man’s biggest enemy is coming back: Green Goblin. Not just Norman Osbourne in a different costume or behind a desk—but as the Green Goblin. How he ties into Sins Rising? Who knows, but the green demon’s coming back. Nick Lowe revealed one last thing in the SDCC Marvel’s Next Big Thing panel. Following Sins Rising, ASM starts a new storyline: Last Remains.
The Next Big Celebrity to Embrace Marvel Comics is…Taboo of the Black-eyed Peas!
(Werewolf by Night, Marvel Comics)
The final segment was short and sweet and very harry. Taboo is coming to Marvel to reinvent Werewolf by Night, with artist Scott Eaton and co-writer Ben Jackendoff. Not only will there be a new Werewolf by Night, but we’re also going to see Red Wolf again. There aren’t many Native American superheroes and even fewer people writing them. Aside from Dani Moonstar of the New Mutants and Warpath of X-Force, Red Wolf represents a very unrepresented culture. Taboo, a Native American himself, loves the character so much that he “became” Red Wolf.
(Featured Image: Empyre 2, Marvel Comics)
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.