A cult, a sisterhood and a trip to the Savage Land. Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker gave fans a glimpse of what they have in store for Marvel's flagship group of mutants during the final day of Charlotte's HeroesCon. Fraction showed up in person, while Brubaker joined the panel through the wonders of technology.
The question with the X-Men, they both said, was how do you create something that hasn't already been done in the title? "When you've got a book with such a rich history," Fraction said, "there's a trap where you get stuck with 'Days of Future Past' again, the Sentinels again." Both writers tried to figure out a way to honor that history, he said, while at the same time giving people something different.
That new flavor comes in the form of both new villains and remixes on old themes. The X-Men will meet the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants in upcoming issues, along with the Hellfire Cult. In addition, Fraction teased that with a big anniversary coming up, the X-Men might find themselves taking a trip to the Savage Land, running into some old faces, along with all those dinosaurs.
A fan asked if the two writers planned to continue with the tradition of seasonal issues, with the team playing baseball and celebrating Christmas.
Fraction said that the team would be aware of the seasons, adding that if all else failed, Storm could always make it snow in San Francisco. "She doesn't need to make it snow in San Fancisco," Brubaker joked, "(President) Bush will do that."
Speaking of Storm, Brubaker said she would be in the book and will also make appearances in Warren Ellis' run in "Astonishing X-Men," as the Englishman has a huge crush on her.
As for the rest of the X-Men, it's a time of change. First and foremost, that starts with the move out west. "Why is everything centered around New York?" Brubaker asked. "If I was a mutant, I'd move to San Francisco." That way, he said, you could walk down the street with your wings in full view, rather than having to cover them up, in fear of being seen.
Just don't expect any new mutants to make appearances anytime soon. Brubaker said that the 198 number was originally set as just a benchmark, but recently it's been looked at as a hard number and so it would be hard to bring in new mutants, without making it a fairly big event.
For a team that's always been rooted in science, Fraction said, here was the ultimate test of faith. You have to have faith that there will be more mutant births. You have to have faith that the race won't die out. He thought that was interesting to focus on, taking this group that had always been at the vanguard of evolution and now they have to rely on something other than science.
One of the audience members asked Fraction if there was any chance Fantomex could make an appearance, but came away disappointed with the answer.
"You, me and Grant Morrison are the only ones who like him," Fraction said, adding that he wanted to bring the character in, pitching ways he could be incorporated only to be shot down by Brubaker. There were just some continuity problems with the whole Weapon Plus timeline, Brubaker said, and he just didn't want to tackle that.
Fraction also touched on the relationship between Wolverine and Cyclops. "Wolverine is like the catcher in the rye," Fraction said. "He doesn't want other people to end up like him." That being said, Fraction added, Logan understands that this current direction is what's needed, but he hates that (the change) has to happen to Scott.
Other news and notes from the panel....
- Don't expect to see Banshee anytime soon. He's dead, according to Fraction.
- Brubaker said he knows who Mutant Zero is, but wouldn't drop any hints.
- Fraction teased that Emma Frost has a couple big years ahead of her.
- X-Factor is not moving to San Francisco.
- There's some stuff coming with the characters from "Emperor Vulcan," they haven't been forgotten. That might not come in the main book, but something's on the way.
- And finally, Jean Grey is still dead.
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