When the X-Men first appeared in the Marvel Universe in 1963, their stated goal (per Charles Xavier) was to use their powers for the benefit of humanity and, by doing so, integrate themselves into everyday society. In the forty-eight years that have followed, that mission statement has become much more complicated.
Mutants went from being a small concern for Homo Sapiens, to being regarded as the next stage in human evolution, to being an endangered species. In light of all this, various mutant characters (and X-book readers) have questioned if Xavier's dream still makes sense and wonder if the X-Men are presently pursuing this goal.
In today's X-POSITION, "X-Factor" scribe Peter David posits that the team he currently writes still adheres to the Professor's vision and does so better than any of the other X-teams in the Marvel U. How can he make such a claim? And what other secrets does he have to reveal for fans? Well, let's get to all your emails and find out!
DB is up first, and he's been digging into X-Factor's past to bring you a question about the present:
Peter, I've been re-reading your early "X-Factor" hardcovers and loving them -- they absolutely hold up half a decade later. However, I was wondering: does Siryn (now Banshee) still have the seduction/mind control abilities you introduced for her in "X-Factor" #1? They seemed like a big deal when she first started using them, but they're rarely mentioned in recent years. With X-Factor being a detective agency, I would think Theresa would have a use for those abilities virtually all the time…
She does indeed still have them, DB; it's just that the circumstances have to be correct for her to use them. It's not the sort of thing that's particularly useful, say, during a battle. But we'll see them on display during the story arc we're about to embark on.
AEH was looking for details about another story that X-Factor was supposedly going to embark on -- can you help him out?
I thought "X-Factor" #214 was originally solicited as a one-shot concerning high school suicides. This sounded like an intriguing story for the team with a lot of dramatic and character potential. What happened to that story, and will we be seeing it at some other point in the future?
I think, AEH, that the commonly used phrase is "creative differences."
Moving on, Mr. Anderson is hoping that the story of a certain character doesn't get lost amidst all the team's upcoming activities.
Issue #214 was a surprise, but I really enjoyed it. That said, is Darwin's story on the back-burner for now, or will you check on him from time to time? I'm digging the whole "Was it a hallucination or a vision of the future?" and need to know more!
Darwin will indeed be back sometime after issue #220, Mr. Anderson, when the entire storyline with Rahne's offspring begins to heat up. He still has to make it back to New York from the Midwest, and that takes a little time when you (a) can't fly, (b) can't teleport, and (c) don't really have any money on you. If he were able to turn into a car, that would be handy, but he's an evolving mutant, not a Transformer.
There isn't a mutant Transformer…but wouldn't it be cool if there was? Anyhow, Andre4000 wrote in with questions about crossovers, secrets and romantic entanglements:
1) Is X-Factor going to be affected by "Age of X" or "Fear Itself?" And if so, to what extent?
It's interesting, Andre, that one of the things fans claim to like about "X-Factor" is that mostly we're off doing our own thing, but they're also always asking if we're going to tie in to this crossover or that crossover. Talk about your mixed messages. I think at this point we're just going to do the best stories we can and hope that the rest of the Marvel Universe ties into us.
2) Rahne is still carrying around the knowledge/guilt of all that she did as a member of X-Force. Do you think she suspects that Wolverine is still carrying on an X-Force team? And how do you think X-Factor would react if they ever found out a new X-Force team was running around?
Actually, we're making it a bit of a story point that Rahne isn't carrying around all the knowledge/built of what she did as a member of X-Force. In real life, when people are involved in things that are traumatic, they block it out as a means of self-preservation. And that's for stuff way less traumatic than, say, eating your own father. That's what Rahne's done; there's stuff that she literally doesn't recall.
On the other hand, secrets -- even secrets that you yourself don't know -- have a way of coming out, especially when there's someone who knows stuff hanging around. As for how X-Factor would react to the knowledge of a new X-Force, I think their main reaction would be, "Hey, whatever; just stay out of our way."
3) I find the whole Shatterstar-Rictor-Rahne triangle extremely interesting, especially with Shatterstar's attitude toward relationships. Is there any particular inspiration or model you're looking at when delving into this? Or are you just playing out a bunch of relationship "what if's" in the book?
I initially modeled some of Shatterstar's attitudes on Captain Jack Harkness of "Torchwood," right down to Shatterstar reflexively hitting on anything that breathes and Rictor saying, "Stop it," just as the Doctor does. But we've been moving beyond that to some extent, and will be exploring Shatterstar's feelings toward Rahne and even starting to get a bit possessive about Rictor. In other words, the shoe's going to start to be on the other foot, giving Shatterstar a greater understanding of why Rictor was reacting the way that he was. It's a constant learning process for him.
Rory also wrote in with a couple queries concerning romance. Mutant love is in the air!
1) I am looking forward to "X-Factor" #218 and #219 because of the obvious emotional connection that Monet has with Strong Guy. Can we already expect that the romantic tension between Monet and Guido will be resolved soon? (I sincerely hope so!)
Well, what do you mean by "resolved," Rory? To me, that means ended. Or are you asking if Guido is going to tell her how he feels and the relationship will actually move forward? I mean, the only real way to resolve it once and for all and that would entail knocking off one of them. And I'd never do that, right?
2) Speaking of connections, can you give us a hint about your plans for Rictor and Shatterstar? They are my favorite characters in "X-Factor," and I have been praying for a story that would focus exclusively on them. Will Rictor get the chance to deal with Shatterstar's fixation on "free love" (not to mention address the issue of Star's brazenly hitting on a certain Thunder God)? Please?
I've gotta put you together with the other fan who was asking if Monet and Guido are going to have their relationship resolved. Relationships are organic beasts and are constantly changing and shifting, so it's hard just to do something that "deals with" an aspect of it and serves as the final word.
In a real relationship, things that you thought were resolved tend to rear their heads once again. Just ask any guy who finds himself in an argument with his girlfriend and learns that, for instance, the reason she just blew up at him over something fairly trivial is because she's still pissed that he forgot their anniversary eight months earlier. The fact is that Rictor has addressed it; it just hasn't quite sunk in for Shatterstar. So the question is, is that ever going to happen, and what will occur when it does…or if it does?
3) I would also like to ask about Terry's baby that Jamie absorbed. Just out of curiosity, since the baby is inside Jamie, does this mean that it is actually growing inside him? And if the baby does eventually pop out, would it be a little older or fully grown like the other dupes? And what are the odds of any of these scenarios happening?
Honestly: Zero. I've no interest currently in bringing back the infant Sean for the following reason: I haven't come up with any story that would involve him that would be superior to the emotional shock of the absorption. Anything I do would be anticlimactic. Which isn't to say that maybe tomorrow I won't suddenly have something occur to me, but for the time being, no.
The Seventh Light is looking at the "big picture" with regard to mutants and their future. Can you possibly shed some light on this for the Seventh Light?
1) What is the team's motivation to not be involved more directly in mutant affairs, particularly Monet who has shown mutant political interest in the past?
Because, SL, at the moment there's a vast philosophical divide between what Scott's doing and what Jamie's doing. X-Factor genuinely believes that they are the true embodiment of Xavier's dream of mutants being able to live side-by-side with normal humans. X-Factor has managed to integrate itself into society and be just another business that makes its services available to all. After all, what do Americans understand better than commerce and accessibility?
They're putting out a message of, "Hi, we're mutants, but not only do we pose no threat, but we're happy to put our abilities to service on your behalf to solve your problems." And people have accepted that since X-Factor is so matter-of-fact about it. As opposed to secluding themselves on a floating fortress and having former world-destroyers in their ranks. Scott is in permanent state of wartime footing.
If nothing else, X-Factor feels that the best thing they can do is set an example of how to exist in the modern world and hope that Scott comes to realize that their way of doing things is the right way.
2) What are Layla's thoughts on Hope and the regrowth of the mutant race? Was her agenda only to have X-Factor not discover the truth about M-Day? Or is there more to her motivations than meets the eye?
Oh, there's always more to Layla than meets the eye.
Our last email of the day comes from Ramelito, and he sent in inquiries on topics that range from personal perceptions to dinner dates:
1) In my opinion, the X-Men view themselves as outsiders to the human race. How do the members of X-Factor view themselves? Do they see themselves as outsiders to the X-Men (or "outsiders to the outsiders")? Do they view themselves as a different "wing" of the X-Men? Or do they not think about their mutant status much?
I've answered a lot of that, Ramelito, in response to Seventh Light's question. The fact is that there are philosophical divisions in mutant kind, just as there are within the ranks of Democrats and Republicans and, for that matter, fandom. ("We hate when X-Factor gets involved with tie-ins; why aren't you involved in the next tie-in?")
They don't view themselves as a different wing of the X-Men because they feel no need to define themselves by the actions of the X-Men. They are their own group doing their own thing; a thing that they believe is actually more in keeping with Xavier's dream than anything Scott and company are doing.
2) Depending on how you answer the previous question, do you think X-Factor would ever bring a non-mutant into their fold? And if so, who do you think would make a good teammate outside of the mutant world?
Well, I wouldn't exactly call genetically engineered beings "mutants" as commonly defined in the Marvel Universe, and we've got two of those on the team already. As for anyone else, I dunno; I think Odin would make a great addition. And maybe Fin Fang Foom. But that's probably just me.
3) I've got a weird question, but my friends and I were talking about this and it sounded like fun -- if you got to have dinner with one (and only one) member of X-Factor, who would it be and why?
Theresa. Since she doesn't drink, that would keep the restaurant tab down.
Awesome! And now it's time for another hypothetical question as we get to know more about you with some "Behind the X" fun! What is your "desert island CD" (i.e. the CD you'd bring with you if you were stuck on a desert island) and why that one?
The audio book of "Tigerheart." It's one of my favorite novels I've ever written, and the guy reading it did a terrific job. (Hey, just because I'm stuck on a desert island doesn't mean I can't plug my own work.)
That wraps up this week's X-soiree. Tune in next week for some trials and tribulations with writer Victor Gischler ("X-Men," "Deadpool Corps") as he answers those wonderfully-worded emails you're sending my way over the next few days. Be sure to put an "X-Position" in the subject line too, otherwise you won't get an invite to my Oscar party this Sunday. See you on the red carpet!