Post-'Civil War II,' a Surprising Character Becomes the Smartest in the Marvel Universe

New details were revealed for Hulk, Squirrel Girl and the return for one of the original Runaways at New York Comic Con.
Erica Henderson/Marvel Entertainment
New details were revealed for Hulk, Squirrel Girl and the return for one of the original Runaways at New York Comic Con.

Who is the smartest person in Marvel's comic book universe? The Marvel NOW: Divided They Stand panel at New York Comic Con suggested that, in the wake of the Civil War II storyline, that title is going to be up for grabs.

With Bruce Banner dead and Tony Stark mysteriously absent in the wake of the current series, Lunella Lafayette — lead of breakout series Moon Girl and Devil's Dinosaur — will discover that she is now, as the title of an upcoming storyline puts it, "The Smartest There Is." The character's new position will raise her profile considerably amongst the Marvel superheroes, bringing her problems that she'd never expected. "She's a character who always wanted recognition, and it's a case of be careful what you ask for," series co-writer Brandon Montclare told the audience.

However, it turns out that not everyone is prepared to let Lunella take the throne unchallenged; Power Man and Iron Fist writer David Walker declared that the new big bad of his series — Alex Warner, the former leader of Runaways now gone bad, described by Walker as "a cross between Doctor Doom the way Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created him and Childish Gambino" — is actually the smartest person in the universe, he's just not the type to take tests to prove it.

Other highlights of the panel included Totally Awesome Hulk writer Greg Pak excitedly talking about the upcoming guest appearance of Jeremy Lin in the 13th and 14th issues of the series ("If you've ever followed me on Twitter, you know that I care about very few things, and number one and number two are Jeremy Lin," Pak joked, promising that basketball will save the world as a result of the team-up), and U.S.Avengers writer Al Ewing promising that the upcoming series will ask questions about patriotism and national identity. "There'll be thrills and adventure, but also thinking," he said.

Also announced were anniversary issues for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Thunderbolts, celebrating the 25th and 20th anniversaries, respectively, of each concept's first appearance. In both cases, original creators will return for the parties; Unbeatable Squirrel Girl No. 16 will include a story written by Will Murray, while Thunderbolts No. 10 features a second story by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, creators of the very first Thunderbolts issue two decades earlier.

Further Marvel announcements are expected throughout New York Comic Con, which runs until Oct. 9 at the Javits Center and throughout New York.

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