Fall is here, September is well underway, and school is in session - even for the mutants of the Marvel Universe, it seems. While Xavier's "New Mutants" graduated from his Academy for the Gifted some time ago, they are now unknowingly being tested by Cyclops as he searches for the next leader of the X-Men. Man, there's nothing worse than a pop quiz - especially the kind where the fate of your friends is at stake!
The writer of this unique X-team, Zeb Wells, generously stopped by to answer questions on topics that range from rivalries to romance. He has lots to tell us, including one piece of news that will surprise many. This bit of information has weighed heavy on his heart, and the scribe has chosen to unburden himself here with you, his fans.
Zeb, the floor is yours - take it away!
Before I assume the X-POSITION, I'd like to give everyone the heads up that my last issue writing the "New Mutants" will be issue #21. I've got a lot of stuff coming down the pike in the coming months and after much discussion with X-Editor Nick Lowe and the rest of the Marvel gang we realized that issue #21 would be a great end-point to the journey we started in "New Mutants" #1.
We have a lot of story momentum coming out of "Fall of the New Mutants" that leads perfectly into the two-issue climax of our 20+ issue mega-arc. Things are going to get absolutely insane, and I can't wait for people to read how this thing wraps up.
Before the door hits my ass, I'd like to thank Nick Lowe for being a great collaborator on this run and bringing on great artists like Diogenes Neves, Zachary Baldus, Ibraim Roberson, Paul Davidson and the ever-inspiring Leonard Kirk, who all deserve my gratitude for their visions of these characters. I also want to give props to letterer Joe Caramagna, who continues to be one of my favorite collaborators in comics. And I'd be a cad not to mention the wizards at Guru Efx, who are killing it on the current arc.
"Yeah, yeah...great story. What we want to know is what's going to happen to the New Mutants!"
I hear you. Rest assured, Nick has lined up an A-list talent to take over for me. I trust all of you to refrain from calling it the massive step up it obviously is. And on that note, I'd like to thank all of you that took the time to send in your questions over the last couple of years. You've always kept me honest, or tried to at least, and feeding off your collective enthusiasm for these characters has been a truly inspiring experience.
Thanks for the kind sentiments, Zeb. I'm going to let Lee ask his questions now while I run and get a handkerchief. There's something in my eye...
1) Zeb, I'm concerned for Moonstar. She seems so brash and immature these days compared to the sophisticated, badass leader that came back from Asgard, worked as an undercover SHIELD agent infiltrating the MLF, and then joined X-Force and taught at the Xavier Institute. And now we have her talking about drinking all the time and kissing - it seems out of character. With all her experience, I'm surprised she's not running her own X-Men team by now or keeping busy as a SHIELD agent. Tell me things get better for Dani, please!
I'm probably misreading your question, but you seem to be concerned that Dani Moonstar is getting too awesome. I'm of the opinion she's not running her own team because she doesn't have any powers, but I've tried to make it clear that Dani would pulp my face for even thinking that. Rest assured though, Dani steps up when the going gets tough leading up to issue #21, which I believe means things get "better" by your definition.
2) I think Amara and Roberto need to stand out more as individuals, based on the richness in their personalities. They've seemed like background characters for awhile now. It would be awesome to explore Magma's powers and look into Roberto's story with Reignfire and how powerful he is. Are there any spotlight plans for these characters soon?
They both have some cool scenes coming up, but Magma's powers won't be explored and Reignfire won't be mentioned - mainly because [X-Editor] Nick Lowe doesn't want you to feel joy, Lee. I wish you two would work out your issues.
Speaking of issues, Renaldo has a few. Maybe you can help whittle away his worries?
1) Will you be utilizing Cannonball in more of a leadership role soon? I've gotten the vibe that Cyclops is watching Sam for a possible leader stint, so is there any chance that he is going to get a "push" again?
Cyclops is watching Sam lead the New Mutants at the moment. How he fares in this last arc will determine how hard of a "push" he gets.
2) Are we going to see Dani crossing swords with Hela and dealing with her Valkyrie issue anytime soon? And seeing as Brunnhilde is a Secret Avenger, is there any chance of a meeting between the two taking place?
No plans at the moment, Renaldo.
3) I loved your insight into Elektra, but I would also love further works from you regarding her actions. The "Dark Reign" and "Shadowland" issues featuring her were great - and I found your grasp on her quite convincing - so are there any plans to deal with her again? Also, I'd love you to take a crack at Punisher or Moon Knight someday - you seem well-suited for these titles...
Renaldo, if you want to be my agent, all you have to do is ask. It's not like there's a line of applicants or anything. Seriously, there are no Elektra plans at the moment, but I want to write for her again as soon as I can. Working on Elektra is an almost spiritual experience for me. She's awesome.
Robbie sent in a list of inquiries regarding characters he'd like to see. Can you tell us if any show up before your final issue hits the stands? Aw, dangit. I'm getting another tissue - Robbie, go ahead.
1) As a fan of the first Alpha Flight team, I was wondering if Witchfire is really dead. It seemed that the demons were going to kill her, but I'm curious...
That's up in the air. I wouldn't be surprised if she got out of her predicament in "New Mutants" #17.
2) I loved "Necrosha" and wondered if maybe the Hellions were some of the reborn mutants that Selene did not "absorb?" I would love to have them back as enemies or, better yet, friends of the New Mutants.
In my mind they're still out there - we'll have to see if anyone picks up that thread after I'm gone.
3) Sam is my favorite New Mutant and I was wondering if we will get to see more of his family - especially Paige (Husk)!
Not in my two final arcs, I'm afraid.
NICK'S NOTE: If you like Husk, you'll get to see more of her this January in an X-book of note! In the meantime, did you see the awesome Husk story in "X-MEN vs. Vampires" #1?
4) Speaking of Sam, I noticed him and Danielle is getting closer. Is this a new romance blossoming? Will Sam's old "ex," Lila, be making an appearance? Or will he find another love (Rogue!) in the near future?
We'll have to see if Sam and Dani's kiss was just a friendly hook-up, or if there was something more under the surface. In my mind, they have an intense friendship, but we'll have to see if there's something more. No plans for Lila to show her face, and I think Rogue would give Sam a street education in love. He couldn't handle it!
Is that what they call "dishing?" I think we just "dished," Robbie.
5) Is there any chance of Wolfsbane rejoining the team? Somehow, the New Mutants do not seem complete without her.
Not in my last two arcs.
Uncle S. sent in an intriguing email. It's a special request from a special kind of fan. Let's see what you say to this.
Here is a picture of Warlock. Is there any way you could make the events of this picture happen in a future issue?
Unfortunately, I've already outlined my last two issues, but you've given me a serious Oskar Schindler moment - "I could have done more. I could have done more..."
At the very least, I'll keep my eye out for a girl with a red coat in the final issues.
Frizz wraps things up today with a compliment and some thought-provoking queries. Let's see what you think of these apples...
Hi Zeb! I've really liked what you've done with these characters - it reminds me a lot of what I liked about them when they initially debuted. I've got a bunch of crazy questions for you, and I hope you'll indulge me a bit:
1) A lot of writers hear actors' voices when writing characters. Are there any actors in particular that you hear for different New Mutants?
That's an interesting question, Frizz. It's weird, but I actually don't hear actors' voices for this set of characters. Sam sounds like Sam, and Dani sounds like Dani to me. Maybe this means I'm a terrible writer...
2) If the New Mutants had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
"On My Mind" and "Chug-a-lug" by the Def Bass Krew.
3) What do the New Mutants call their team? They don't actually call themselves the "New Mutants," do they? Are they the "X-Men Farm League?" How about "Mutant Fodder?"
You're right, they don't refer to themselves as the "New Mutants." I like just thinking about them as X-Men, so I've been trying to skirt the issue by having the other X-Men refer to Sam's team as "Sam's team" (this stuff is harder than it looks, I promise).
4) With his powers and understanding of body language, Doug seems like he'd make the best leader of the group. It's a role I've never seen him have though. What do you think his prospects are to head up the team?
I think Doug is a little too detached to lead a combat operation. Though his powers make him formidable, he could also get distracted by the symphony of meaning in a villain's voice. He's better as a bullet in the chamber than the guy holding the gun.
Ooh, that's deep. And to ride that metaphysical train a bit further, here's today's "Behind the X" question for you: what was your favorite toy when you were a child and why?
As I writer, I've always felt my favorite "toy" was my mind. While other kids played with Transformers, I was immersed in vistas of my own design, a cherub aloft in clouds made of pure imagination.
Just kidding. It was the G. I. Joe Aircraft carrier...or maybe Serpentor because me and my brother shot his helmet off with a BB gun and his face really made us laugh. If you have this figure in your attic, you owe it to yourself. Seriously, I'm giggling just thinking about it.
Now we know, and knowing is half the battle (the other half involves guns and lasers). Thanks Zeb!
Thus, X-POSITION is brought to a close, but more fun is less than a week away. The X-Editors (led by Nick Lowe) will be answering your emails for our next X-citing session. Between recent announcements and the news coming out of the 2010 New York Comic Con, there should be lots to talk about!
Time is of the essence, however, so I need all of your emails ASAP. Just think up those questions about an X-book that you've been dying to ask, type them up, and send those missives to me immediately. Putting an "X-Position" in the subject line helps me out and makes you my favorite person for the five minutes that follow. So hurry and get to it - I'm waiting...