Since "X-Men: Messiah CompleX" took place in 2007, Marvel's X-books have been like passengers on a riverboat ride, steadily moving towards an inevitable conclusion. There have been roaring rapids to deal with at times, but they've also managed to enjoy the occasional peaceful lull. This boat, however, will soon reach the end of the line with "X-Men: Second Coming." Is the end of the river a safe harbor where they can dock for a time? Or are the X-Men heading toward a waterfall? This spring, all will be revealed.
Steering this giant X-boat, naturally, are the editors of all the X-books. They have the map, and they know where everything is heading. Fortunately, they're willing to give us a few minutes of their time to share a peek at the compass. Joining us for today's X-POSITION are X-Editors Nick Lowe and Jeanine Schaefer, and they're anxious to see what fans are thinking. O captains, my captains...let's get a move on!
Mauro Di Cosmo is sad to say "goodbye," yet excited about what comes next. What can you reveal to this landlubber?
1) "Cable" sells fairly well, so why cancel it after twenty-five issues? Does the X-office think he can't carry a solo title? Also, why is he playing second fiddle to Deadpool in his last issue?
2) Did the changes made to the X-line of books after "Messiah CompleX" meet your expectations? Will there be new changes to the line-up of X-books after "Second Coming?"
Nick Lowe: Mauro! First of all, Cable's not playing second fiddle to Deadpool in "Cable" #25. It's more of a "Dueling Fiddles" kind of book. Deadpool is just way more outgoing (he's the fiddle playing Daryl Hall to Cable's John Oates in this issue), so he makes Cable seem like he doesn't say as much. It's like that friend of yours with a significant other that just won't shut up (or that friend who is Nick Lowe).
As for the "Cable" series and why it had to end, we loved it too, but as of "Second Coming," the book served its purpose. We didn't want to keep it going for the sake of keeping it going. And when you see how "Second Coming" ends, you'll see that Cable has his hands full elsewhere.
The reshaping of the X-Books after "Messiah CompleX" did meet our expectations, for the most part. We thought that each book had more of a definable mission statement than they had previously, and most of the books found their feet. Some worked better than others: for example, "X-Force" was a runaway success, but "Young X-Men" didn't find its audience (even though Marc and Yanick and the rest of the awesome creators tried their damnedest). That's how things go. Some work awesomely, some don't click.
And to answer your question about the X-Books post-"Second Coming," there will definitely be some huge shakeups, but they will come more with what the books are about than creators coming or going.
Wow! That is a lot of talking. Sorry, everybody.
Jeanine Schaefer: No, you're not.
Don't worry, talking is good – especially when you're paid by the word!
Blackcyclops is next, and he wants to know about leaders and followers in the X-verse...
1) How do you guys see Cyclops, Xavier, and Magneto right now? Many people feel like Xavier and Magneto have regressed from "X-Men: Legacy" to their appearances in "Uncanny X-Men" and that they're acting "out of character."
2) Why do you believe that so many of the X-Men are following Cyclops? You would think more than just Beast would speak out against what he has done...
Lowe: Hi Blackcyclops. The way we see it, Cyclops is the general. He makes the calls. Magneto? We're still finding out what role he's going to play, but it's going to be a big one. With Professor X, he's having trouble finding his place with the X-Men. It's hard to go back to someplace that was "yours" and not be in charge. Sometimes you revert and, frankly, don't know why. It's not always a conscious choice.
And to answer your second question, as to why the X-Men are following Cyclops, I think it's because he's doing a good job. Has he been a perfect leader? No, but who is? But he's weathered some amazingly difficult situations and gotten most of the mutants out alive. He's made tough decisions and lived with them. And I think most of the X-Men realize this and think that it's better than they could have done.
And thanks for asking that question, Blackcyclops. Those are the questions we love to think about and talk about, more than the questions that just lobby for favorite characters that are currently off the books or ask questions that the answer can only result in spoilers...and thus, will never be answered.
Lance J. M. must have been listening to lots of David Bowie recently, because all he can think about is ch-ch-ch-changes...
Is "Necrosha" one of those storylines that actually ends up changing a lot of things? Also, is the fact that "Necrosha" ends when "Second Coming" begins just a coincidence? Or does one lead into the other?
Lowe: Wouldn't you like to know, Lance?!? What's that? You would like to know? That's why you asked? Well, in that case, "Necrosha" is definitely one of those storylines that ends up changing things. It has huge ramifications, especially for X-Force, but also for the X-Men at large. We won't feel all of these immediately, but you will certainly feel them.
As for whether "Necrosha" leads to "Second Coming" – not in an explicit way. Elements of "Necrosha" certainly impact "Second Coming," but you don't have to have read "Necrosha" to understand "Second Coming."
Schaefer: But you should, because it's awesome.
...and reading awesome books is half the battle! Joshua Hetherington sent in his usual laundry list of excellent questions...which I then butchered and narrowed to the following:
1) So far, the anticipated death total for "Second Coming" seems to be around three. Please tell me not many more X-Men are going the way of the dinosaur?
2) Any word on who's taking over "X-Force" writing duties following Craig Kyle and Chris Yost's departure? And can you give us any hints if we'll see Kyle and Yost around the X-Universe post-"Second Coming?"
3) Is Bishop going to appear in "Second Coming?"
4) I felt as if Marvel lied to me in a recent solicitation. On the cover of "Nation X" #2, Jubilee was seen in a sort of new-styled retro costume with glowing hand, and the solicitation for the book stated that she was returning to the X-Men. In the story though, she didn't return to the X-Men. All she did was talk to a bunch of students. She never even got to see the X-Men on panel. Can you tell me anything that will make me feel better about this cheat?
Lowe: Holy cow, that's a lot of questions, Joshua. We'll do these one at a time:
1) How many X-Men die in "Second Coming?" You aren't going to like this answer – at least one. See? You don't like that answer.
2) Who's writing "X-Force" after "Second Coming?" I'll tell you that it's not Joyce Carol Oates or Alfred Lord Tennyson. We love Craig and Chris up here at Marvel. Craig's super-busy producing the "Thor" movie and Chris isn't going anywhere, though his schedule gets tough working around his animation work. But you'll definitely be seeing him around.
3) Bishop? In "Second Coming?" No comment!
4) Josh, I'm sorry you were disappointed. Would you rather we spell everything out completely for you in solicits? So that no story can surprise you? We were really proud of that story and the emotional journey Jubilee is going on. Don't worry, we aren't done torturing Jubilee or you yet.
Well if you're done torturing Josh, how about keelhauling Robbie Herring? There are a few characters that his heart is aching for...
1) Will Aurora be popping up in any of the X-Men books in the near future?
2) When will the "Space X-Men" be coming home? It would be interesting to see what Havok thinks of how Scott has handled things. Also, it would be nice to have Lorna and Magneto to interact. I am sure they have loads to talk about.
Lowe: Hi Robbie! Aurora isn't going to be playing any major role in the X-books in the next few months. And the characters out in space? We just talked about them with a creator last week. They haven't been forgotten, we just want to make sure that they have a great story to come back with.
Madroxdupe420 has been thinking about a great story, and is wondering if he might see an end to it soon:
1) Back when "Phoenix: Endsong" came out, there as a rumor that it was a trilogy. Is it safe to say that "Second Coming" is both a trilogy to the "Messiah" storyline as well as the "Phoenix End/WarSong?"
2) Any plans for Emma's surviving siblings (Cordelia and the brother)?
Lowe: Madroxdupe420, don't believe every rumor you hear. Why would you think "Second Coming" has anything to do with the Phoenix? As for Emma's surviving siblings, they make a brief appearance in the upcoming "X-Men Origins: Emma Frost" one-shot, but not beyond there for the time being.
Two fans – Iceman06 & Ragna "D" BloodEdge – sent in similar questions, so I'm doubling up here. Double the pleasure, double the fun!
1) How will the new Heroic Age impact what happens in the X-titles?
2) Does the fact that Beast is wearing his X-Men uniform in the promotional art for the "Heroic Age" indicate he's set to return to the X-Men soon?
Lowe: The Heroic Age will definitely impact the X-titles, starting with "Uncanny X-Men" #526 and then expanding out from there. And you haven't seen the last of Hank McCoy and the X-Men!
Zachary Simon is a fan who knows the X-Men's journey is concluding soon, but he's a bit curious about the latitude and longitude of their final destination?
1) I know that the status quo will change after "Second Coming" and the X-books will be thrown in an entirely new direction. Is there a chance that a few of the X-teams will branch out and head back to San Francisco? Might some even move back to New York?
2) Now that the SWORD series is ending, are there plans for any of those characters to pop their heads into the X-Universe on earth?
3) Is "Wolverine: Origins" truly ending? Or will it morph into something else?
Lowe: If any X-Men make it out of "Second Coming" alive, they might get back to San Fran or New York...if just to go to the fine hospitals in both cities.
Let's all take a moment to mourn "S.W.O.R.D." and its ending. No one loved that book more than me. (For real – don't say you love it more because you're wrong and I will fight you in as manly a way as I can muster!)
If you think I'm going to let Brand and Lockheed out of my sight, you're out of your mind.
Schaefer: I'll step in to answer #3, while Nick takes a moment more to mourn. Yes, "Wolverine: Origins" is gearing up to its conclusion, which Dan Way has meticulously plotted out. Dan and Doug Braithwaite are setting up the final pieces right now, and we'll see them all knocked down one by one until there's only one man left standing.
Faded graces us with her presence and shares a few final ponderings to help close out today's X-POSITION:
1) Other than Cypher, can we expect any of the "Necrosha" resurrections to stick following the conclusion of this "X-Force" crossover?
2) What X-characters do you think the internet will go crazy over in 2010?
Lowe: Faded! My old friend! Doug Ramsey is not the only resurrected character who's sticking around after "Necrosha!"
And the X-characters to watch in 2010 are: Aurora! Havok! Polaris! Marvel Girl! Jubilee! Wait!
Those were the ones I was telling you weren't going to be big. Crap! Here's the real list! Hope Summers! Magneto! Dani Moonstar! Shatterstar! Fantomex! Jubilee! (Wait, which is true!?!?) and Detective Love (from "Daredevil" #43-44)!
That Nick – such a tease! I bet he gets all the good Valentines this Sunday!
Now, it's my turn for this week's "Behind the X" fun, where we ask a question of our guests that isn't X-related. So, Nick and Jeanine, if you couldn't work in comics, what kind of job do you imagine you'd have?
Lowe: I would be a subway busker, just to make all my NYC friends happy and everyone else on the train miserable!
Schaefer: I'd want to work at the Food Network. I have no idea if I have any applicable skills besides liking food, but I figure that's a pretty good start.
That wraps up today's three-hour tour, but we'll be back with a special kind of craziness in seven days as writer Victor Gischler joins us to answer your emails about "Deadpool: Merc With a Mouth" and the "Deadpool Corps." That's a whole lotta schizophrenia going on!
So type up those questions and send them my way just as soon as you can. Try to include one query for every voice in Deadpool's head – it'll be fun! Be sure to include an "X-Position" in the subject line, and if you choose to include a Valentine poem for your favorite X-character, well, I may print that too. Get them to me quickly though – love waits for no X-Man...