X-POSITION: Week Six

Thu, July 5th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
George A. Tramountanas, Staff Writer

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"X-Men" #200, on sale now

With the "Endangered Species" one-shot, "X-Men" #200, and Part One of the 17-part "Endangered Species" back-up story all available now, fans are starting to see the big picture of where the Marvel Comics' X-Universe is headed. If their e-mails to X-POSITION are any indication, they're excited!

These fans also have lots of questions, covering everything from Beast's search for a solution to the mutants' impending extinction, the implications of events in the recent "X-Men" issue, and this fall's "Messiah CompleX" crossover. Thankfully, Mike Carey – "X-Men" writer and "Endangered Species" orchestrator – is on hand to provide answers and hints of what's to come.

Needless to say… SPOILERS ABOUT "X-MEN" #200 BELOW!

Story continues below

We'll start off with an easy one, Mike. Ahab Johanssen just wanted to know about a few of his favorite characters. "Now that Aurora and Northstar have been restored, will they be showing up in the X-Universe again soon? How about other Alpha-related characters such as Madison Jeffries and Diamond Lil?"

Ahab, stay tuned. There'll be some really cool Beaubier-related news breaking soon – maybe at the San Diego Comic-Con. I don't know of anything planned with Jeffries or Lil. Basically, with Northstar and Aurora, we always planned after the annual to bring them back into the fold and add them to a team roster. Then...well, I think you'll be excited when you hear what's coming up for the twins.

"Endangered Species" chapter 4, page 1
The last time you answered questions for us – in X-POSITION: Week Four – you hinted that X-Man may be playing a role of sorts in "Endangered Species." Blank picked up on this and wrote in. "I'm very happy about the possibility of a comeback for X-Man. So, any chance we'll see Threnody & Madelyne soon?"

Blank, I was very careful with my wording there. We do get to see X-Man in "Endangered Species," but it's not in narrative present time. It's more that he's referred to in relation to Beast's quest, and someone makes a statement about him that's perhaps interesting and suggestive in terms of future developments. But it doesn't go any further than that.

Threnody still has her powers, so we could see her again. I have no idea what the situation is with Madelyne.

On the topic of X-Man, Jamie was searching for a few more details. "X-Man (Nate Grey) sacrificed himself so his essence would protect the earth. Was this affected by 'No More Mutants'? Does his essence still protect the earth? And if not, what is his fate? Will we see Beast consider this?"

I'd say that the status quo remains unchanged there. It was Nate's other-dimensional origin rather than his mutant abilities that made what he did with regard to the Harvesters work. I don't think Wanda's "No More Mutants" edict alters that in any way. I could be wrong, though. Wouldn't it be cool if the fabric of reality somehow spat Nate out again because Wanda changed the world, so that the attunement created by the Anti-Man's powers didn't work any more? Did that sentence even make sense?

Beast does discuss the possibility of Nate still being alive, or being brought back. He dismisses it as a possibility, but there's somebody else who doesn't.

Nice tease! And your sentence did make sense…I think.

In terms of Beast considering things, Bathawk brought up an intriguing conundrum our furry friend had to deal with in the past few years. "At the start of Joss Whedon's first arc in 'Astonishing,' they introduced a 'cure' for mutants. Is this an issue at all with only about 200 mutants left? I'm surprised someone isn't considering this an opportunity to 'fix' the remaining mutant population." Or is someone considering this?

A lot of people reacted to the Decimation by attacking the mutants when they were down. We saw it immediately with the Sapien League. As far as I know, nobody has yet considered forced administration of the cure. The cure itself isn't in general circulation, of course: there's only one sample left, and it's in the Beast's possession...

"Endangered Species" chapter 4, page 2
Hm, is that a hint or just a reminder?

Well, Zac is fully of sympathy for a particular character and wanted to send his condolences. "Thank you for my favorite take on the X-Men in the last fifteen years, and thanks for bringing back Gambit as well. With what I'm assuming was Cable's death, will we see Cyclops' reaction to losing both his father and his son in this story? This is definitely not his year…"

Thanks, Zac. It was great to be the guy who got to write that scene.

Will we see Cyclops's reaction to Cable's death? Yes, we will, in "X-Men" #204. You're right, he's been through some really bleak times recently.

As long as we're addressing the subject of mourning, Luis wrote in with the following: "Hey Mike! It's great to see you come out with hit after hit in your X-Men issues. No one has done a better time with the guys in a super-long while. My question is, are there any plans to visit some of the mutants' parents soon to see how they feel about everything's that's going on regarding their kids?"

Glad you're enjoying the ride, Luis – and thanks for the kind words.

There's a scene between Beast and Lucinda Guthrie in "Endangered Species" that I'm really happy with – one that you have to read in conjunction with what she said in "New X-Men" after Jay's death....

Thanks for the heads up. We'll make sure to have a tissue handy.

Hi-Fi sounds like he really enjoyed your latest issue. "'X-Men' #200 really makes Mystique more intriguing than ever. I can see her planning this all along because she hates the X-Men, but how could she do that to Rogue? Does that mean that all she said to her daughter about how much she cares for her was a big lie? I mean, she even saved her life in the Annual when there was no one looking. I'd also like to know if we're going to see a Rogue/Mystique confrontation before the crossover ends."

Hi-Fi, that's the most crucial question to come out of #200, I think – and I don't want to say anything either way in terms of answering it. I agree, it's a conundrum. Even within #200 itself, Mystique is tearing strips off Emma for not moving quickly enough or decisively enough to deal with Rogue's condition.

You can count on that confrontation.

"Endangered Species" chapter 4, page 4
Mystique has been acting a bit funny lately, but then again, she never has been the most "normal" blue-skinned individual. PrinceRy, therefore, had some questions about her actions. "Mystique's seduction of Bobby seemed misplaced, which leads me to believe that she's either: A) trying to hold emotional sway over Bobby, or B) she just wanted to get some before she betrayed the team. Which is it? And did she have something to do with Bobby's powers not working correctly during the battle?"

Well, I think if Mystique were motivated by good, honest lust, it would be the most straightforward motivation for any of her actions in a long time. The answers to those questions come up very early in #201, PrinceRy.

DocReyes had one more Mystique-related query. "Will the fact that both Mystique and Lady M had mummadrai play a role in explaining their betrayal?"

No, it's not a factor – honest. There's no mind control or manipulation going on here – well, except for Omega Sentinel. Lady M and Mystique both knew exactly what they were doing, and Urizen's possession of them didn't skew or poison their mind in any way.

They knew exactly what they were doing? It's going to be an interesting summer for the X-Men….

We all know Beast is looking for a solution to the mutants' problem in "Endangered Species," so Ben Dennis wrote in with a suggestion for him. "Mr. Sinister has DNA samples from a lot of mutants (for example, the Marauders, the Summers' brothers). Did those samples get wiped of the mutant gene when the Scarlett Witch did her "No More Mutants" spell? Is the Beast going to look into that as a possibility?"

I must be tired. I read that as "My sister has DNA samples..."

Ben, you're right about Sinister's database and how significant it is. Even if the samples themselves were denatured, you could assume that there's a transcription of them in existence, because Sinister isn't the kind of guy to miss a trick like that.

Is the Beast aware of how important Sinister's data could be? Yes. And he's got a couple of ideas for how to get his hands on it.

"Endangered Species" chapter 5, page 1
Rob Dykstra followed up Ben's idea with a question: "For the Acolytes that return, will they also be clones? It's been hinted that Sinister may have had a hand in resurrecting deceased Acolytes in the past…"

Oh boy, I'm going to fall into a trap here, aren't I? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Acolytes we see in this arc are the real deal. Then Eric Kleinstock will show up in the background to a panel, and you'll all go AH-HA!

I think there are many Marvel fans who wish the Scarlet Witch had instead said, "No more clones."

Two questions came in about "X-Men" #200 – one from Rob and another from LuckyMayhem. They wanted to know who the woman in white was on the Ramos cover to the issue, and how much longer Humberto would be drawing the "X-Men"? (P.S. They hope he's around for a long time to come…)

Oops. I don't have the Ramos cover in front of me. Wasn't the woman in white Lady Mastermind?

Don't worry, Mike. It's X-Editor Nick Lowe to the rescue!

Nick Lowe: That's Malice, ladies and gents. In the story, she's possessing Omega Sentinel; but we didn't want her to feel left out, so she's on the cover anyway.

Mike Carey: As for the artist question, Humberto and Chris are going to alternate on X-Men for the whole of my run.

Nick Lowe: In fact, we didn't want to choose between Humberto and Chris for the crossover, so Humberto is going to be drawing the "New X-Men" issues of the crossover.

Thanks for the great news, Nick! Maybe you can help with the next question, too.

Messiah extracted an intriguing notion from a previous "X-Position" that I thought I'd pass along. "Editor Axel Alonso mentioned he wants to simplify the X-Men and give them unity of purpose. Does that mean that, post-crossover, we will have one big X-Men team, unifying mutants under the same group? Or will we still see splinter groups like X-Factor, Excalibur, etc.?"

"Endangered Species" chapter 5, page 2
Mike Carey: No, there'll still be splinter groups. The main differences will be in the rationale for the groups and the degree to which they're all operating under the same aegis and control.

Nick Lowe: Axel has some big plans for February that we'll be closer to answering around the start of the crossover, but we can't give too much away. I'll tease you a little bit. While we're moving forward in terms of story, the structure of the line will be more reminiscent of X-Men past!

So I guess the question is – how far into the X-Men's past? Let's stick with the present for now though and let Mike get through this X-Position.

SGuthrie had loads of questions about "X-Men" #200 – many of which were brought up by other fans – but I'm going to allow him to speak for everyone. Let's see if we can knock these out in rapid succession:

1) Quiet Bill – who died in the elevator – has appeared in the Gambit ongoing series where he confronted the New Son. His Power was open portals to view alternate realities and timelines, and then cross over into them. My first question is for clarification – was that Scalphunter who killed him?

No, that was Riptide – Janos Quested.

2) Then the second target of the Marauders – the white-haired clock-tinkerer – is he "The Witness," who we've seen in Bishop's future and various Gambit-related storylines?

He is indeed – well spotted.

3) Finally, with Cable down for the count, are we seeing a pattern of time-anomaly mutants being exterminated here? It sure would cut down on confusing plotlines...er, I mean, R.I.P. Cable.

"X-Men" #200
I could not possibly comment. Quiet Bill's powers weren't time-related exactly, but I know what you mean.

4) I don't exactly expect you to answer this, but what does that ominous phrase "One minute before dawn" mean? Does it refer to Nathan/Cable's other name (Dayspring), or some future event? And what on earth was Sunfire saying about "You die, because that door needs to be closed?" Will this be resolved by the end of the "Endangered Species" storyline, the "Messiah CompleX," or much later?

All of these things will be resolved within this arc or "Messiah CompleX."

5) Has Mystique been in on the Marauders' game the whole time, or is she a triple-agent of sorts? I know, Rogue fans looking at the last page are probably screaming at me, but who's to say Raven wasn't trying to take out the bajillion number of alien minds inside her, and knew it could either jump start her own invulnerability powers, or Wolverine would use his healing factor on her? Um, was that question confusing enough?

No, it's cool. I went and lay down in a dark room for a while, and now I'm good. Has Mystique been in on this the whole time? We don't know, but certainly Emma speculates in #201 that this was the reason – the only reason – that Mystique came back to the mansion after she left it during Peter Milligan's run. Her motives are opaque, and even the X-Men are left not knowing what they are or how far her ultimate goals align with Sinister's.

Great questions, SGuthrie!

And Faded is back again this week, because it seems we can't have an X-Position without her. She brought up some interesting points that I thought would be good to wrap up our week with…

1) Were Quiet Bill and The Witness mutants at the time of their death?

We may never know for sure. But I think they were.

"X-Men" #201, page 5
2) Mike, as you confirmed on your blog, Unuscione will be appearing in "X-Men" #202. Can you give us D-List worshippers any other names to chew on that could cameo during "Blinded by the Light"?

Unuscione is the only new Acolyte who appears, Faded – and the Marauders are as you see them in #200. There are some fleeting glimpses (not in narrative present) of a lot of classic characters – including some from Cable's solo series and "X-Treme X-Men." I'd rather not name names, though. Sorry.

3) Can we count out Emma Frost as a Marauder yet? Was her inclusion in Humberto Ramos' cover of the "X-Men" #200 cover a red herring, or is this a story that has yet to fully unfold?

See above. I don't think that was Emma on that cover – I think it was Lady M. In case I'm totally wrong on that, though, I'll come right out and say that we're not teasing any defection by Emma.

[Editor Nick Lowe jumps back in at this point to scream, "That's Malice!"]

4) With the Marauders and the Acolytes, arguably two of the X-Men's most notable villain teams, re-emerging in this milestone arc, will Mystique's former team – The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants – take part in the festivities?

Not in the space of "Blinded By the Light" or "Messiah CompleX," no.

5) The New X-Men will serve as cameos in "X-Men" #204, according to recent solicitations. Will any of the New X-Men graduate to one of the core X-Men teams in the near future? If not, what current student would you most want on your team?

"X-Men" #201, page 13
Man, you wait and see the role the New X-Men play in "Messiah CompleX." Your frontal lobe is going to catch fire.

Will any of the New X-Men graduate? Certainly one of them is going to find himself or herself in some very prestigious company very soon – on a team roster that you wouldn't believe on a bet.

Which student would I most want to co-opt? I have to confess to a real fondness for Armor – loads of potential there.

It seems as though Joss Whedon agrees with you, Mike!

And that wraps up this week's fun and informative Q&A. Next week's guest for "X-Position" is none other than Ed Brubaker, writer of "Uncanny X-Men" and this fall's "Messiah CompleX." Issue #488 of "Uncanny" is reaching stores today , so buy it, read it, and then e-mail me (with the subject line "X-Position") your questions ASAP. I'm standing by....

Archives
X-POSITION: Week Five
X-POSITION: Week Four
X-POSITION: Week Three
X-POSITION: Week Two
X-POSITION: The Beginning ...

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