After Avengers vs. X-Men, who's left on the Avengers? Jonathan Hickman spills the beans

Avengers vs. X-Men wrapped up this week, and both Earth's Mightiest Heroes and (most of) Marvel's merry mutants dodged a fiery demise at the hands of a resurrected Dark Phoenix.

But after a slobber-knocker throw-down with an angry avian primeval force, who's still willing to pay their Avengers membership dues?

After Avengers vs. X-Men, who's left on the Avengers? Jonathan Hickman spills the beansS

In a conference call today, io9 joined writer Jonathan Hickman (Nightly News, Fantastic Four) and Marvel editor Tom Brevoort to discuss Hickman's upcoming scripts for both Avengers and New Avengers, which hit stores December and January, respectively.

The former "utopian" title includes a cast that will balloon up to 24 superheroes several issues in. The latter "apocalyptic" comic consists of the Marvel Universe's Illuminati, or behind-the-scenes power brokers like Captain America, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, Namor, Mr. Fantastic, the Beast, and Black Panther. Some of the Illuminati aren't pals right now — see: Namor, who flooded Black Panther's kingdom of Wakanda while stoned out of his gourd on the Phoenix Force — but Hickman promises that an impending emergency will result in strange bedfellows:

After Avengers vs. X-Men, who's left on the Avengers? Jonathan Hickman spills the beansS

The catalyst is an event in Wakanda with Black Panther, the only man who told the original Illuminati it was a mistake. Something occurs so earth-shattering, he sees no other course of action than to call on them [...] This event is so huge than even the people in the Illuminati who do not currently like each other are forced to put differences aside.

As for the public and idealistic Avengers, they're drawing from familiar faces like Hawkeye, Hulk, Spider-Woman, Thor, and Iron Man, as well as two lesser-known mutants — Sunspot and Cannonball, former members of X-Force and the New Mutants. Brevoort explained why readers will see these two new recruits:

After Avengers vs. X-Men, who's left on the Avengers? Jonathan Hickman spills the beansS

Cannonball and Sunspot are at least chronologically younger characters. It's always good to have those types of figures in Avengers to bring a fresh viewpoint. That said, they're also established Marvel characters [...]

When Brian Bendis brought Luke Cage and Spider-Woman into the Avengers, they weren't the most popular characters, but they had legitimacy. I think it will be the same thing with Cannonball and Sunspot.

Hickman wouldn't elaborate on the cataclysm that would unite this unlikely gang of heroes, but the ersatz Superman Hyperion (of Squadron Supreme/Squadron Sinister fame) will be involved in some capacity. Knowing Hickman's proclivity for all-encompassing galactic massiveness, here's hoping even The Black Monolith from Jack Kirby's 2001: A Space Odyssey comic book adaptation gets sworn in to save the day.*


*The Black Monolith's superpower would be to evolve things extra-fast. Like, if Wolverine was drinking a beer and needed to fly to Latveria at the drop of the hat, "Old Blocky" would transform his lager into a sentient F-15 made of hops. "You're the best at what you do," Logan would grunt demurely, "Transforming Labatt Blue into fighter jets!" (Man, I should really write this down. Like, not in a public forum. Really shot myself in the foot here.)