The X-Men have been put through the crushing experience of Marvel Comics' "Schism" only to be reborn as two all-new factions. With "Uncanny X-Men" letting Cyclops show the way for the mutants of "Utopia" and "Wolverine And The X-Men" letting the man called Logan open "Jean Grey's School For Gifted Youngsters," the entire X-Universe is falling into a new configuration. So with each series just hitting stands, what better time than to check in with the folks behind the scenes making it all happen?
Welcome once again to X-POSITION, where the creators behind the myriad mutant titles answer your questions about their corner of X-universe. This week we have Senior Editor Nick Lowe and his able Associate Editors Daniel Ketchum and Jordan D. White on hand to answer questions from the CBR readers about everything related to Marvel's uncanny heroes.
Below, the trio dig into how "Schism" led the X-Men to divide, why each series sided with Cyclops or Wolverine, why Logan stance on child soldiers remains unchanged and what "Point One" secrets will set the line on fire. Away we go!
CBR News: Thanks for stopping by, guys! Let's start this week with one from Marcus Martin:
1) Given that Wolverine is restarting the school for “gifted youngsters,”
is there any chance he’ll use his Avengers connections and try to establish a joint schooling effort between his school and the Avengers Academy? There would be lots of benefits for both groups…
2) Given Psylocke's divided ties between the Uncanny X-Force team and Scott's X-Men, will she experience many moments of questioning her loyalties?
Nick Lowe: Hello, Marcus! First, to answer your "Avengers Academy" question, didn’t you see the promise of a football game between the Jean Grey School and the Academy? And to answer your Psylocke question, it’s a bit early to say whether she’s going to question her loyalties. The real fun of that will happen if the two sides ever come to blows.
Daniel Ketchum: It’s no coincidence that Christos Gage, the oncoming writer of "X-Men: Legacy," is also the regular writer of "Avengers Academy." I’m just sayin’!
Jordan D. White: My money is on the JGS Bubs. We can make that their team name, right, Nick?
Lowe: Get back to work, Jordan.
Next up, we've got a round of questions from MarvelMaster616:
1) Now that Wolverine is running a school, how will he still manage X-Force? Wouldn't running a team like that hurt his credibility as a leader like it did with Cyclops?
2) This may have been discussed elsewhere, but what role is Charles Xavier going to play in this new era of X-Men? We saw him make an appearance in “Wolverine and the X-Men” #1. Where else can we expect to see him?
3) It was recently revealed that the first arc of James Asmus' run on “Generation Hope” would involve Sebastian Shaw. Emma Frost went to great lengths to conceal Shaw, lying to both Namor and Cyclops. Can you talk about how this will or won't play into future stories in this book?
4) The "It's Coming" teaser features (what we assume is) a Phoenix. Given all the Phoenix hints we've seen from Hope Summers, what can we expect from the "city in Arizona" as Cyclops called it?
Lowe: YO YO YO, MarvelMaster616! Lots of questions, but then again, you always are quite inquisitive!
1) You will have to read UNCANNY X-FORCE #19 and WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #4 to answer the question as to how Wolverine justifies his two lives.
White: I would also argue that I am not sure running X-Force DID hurt Cyclops’ credibility as a leader. It seems to have CEMENTED it. Exactly ONE X-Man left the team over the subject, and none of the others even so much as called for his resignation as team leader. If anything, I would say it made him seem like a more serious leader who makes the hard choices that others are too weak to handle. Whether or not that is a GOOD thing…well, your mileage may vary.
Lowe: 2) Professor X still has his hands full with his son Legion, so he’s not going to have a big role on either side of the Schism.
3) The Emma/Shaw/Namor thing is a HUGE part of his upcoming role in GENERATION HOPE.
4) That teaser is going to be VERY important to our publishing of next year, but that’s about all I can say. Other than CHECK OUT THE "POINT ONE" ANTHOLOGY THIS WEEK!
Looking at the split of the "Schism," we've got Hakael asking:
1) Now that the decisions have been made and people have chosen sides, will the various X-groups still work together on occasion? Cyclops feels responsibility for the entire race, and I don't imagine him asking Logan for permission to intervene should his new school be in danger…
2) The New X-Men seem to have split in “Regenesis.” With that group now divided, what books should we be looking to for future developments with the team (Surge, Hellion, etc.)? Also – since he was absent for the events of “Schism” – are there any future plans for Elixir to take a side?
Lowe: There won’t be a lot of inter-mingling between the two sides of the X-Men for a little while. It would take something HUGE to cause that. But there will be little inter-minglings because the two sides aren’t at war, they are just separate. As for your second question, you’ll see the kids who ended up on Wolverine’s side showing up in "Wolverine And The X-Men" and "X-Men Legacy" to varying degrees. Pixie can be seen as a cast member in "Generation Hope" and you will see some of the other kids show up there, as well. Including one of my favorite young mutants also taking a big role there.
Ketchum: In Gage’s first arc of "X-Men: Legacy," we’ll see mutants on one side of the fence rushing to the aid of mutants on the other, but not quite under the circumstances you might suspect…or that Rogue and Wolverine might suspect either.
Here comes Renaldo with a one-two punch on the planning for the big split:
1) With fallout from “Schism” now revealed, can you say who played the biggest part in choosing the mutants that went to each side? Was there any “interesting” conflict over any particular character?
2) How did you guys choose to have Wolverine take this “heroic” stance with Idie? I ask because he’s had Laura, Rahne, and Elixir killing in the past; and he’s used Dark Angel, Deadpool, and Porter for dirty missions while still running around as an Avenger. What made him go down this new path, as it seems a bit hypocritical in light of these other occurrences…
Lowe: Hello Renaldo! The choices of who-went-where were mostly up to the creators with guidance from us in editorial and were based around what we all thought the characters would choose along with looking to what would make the most interesting lineups. The only "conflict" I could think of is that both Kieron and Jason wanted Magik, but she made more sense staying with her brother in "Uncanny."
To answer your other question, first a warning. I am very passionate about this topic and tend to get a little long-winded. You’ve been warned. I think you are remembering the early issues of "X-Force" wrong, Renaldo. It was Cyclops who put X-23 and Wolfsbane on X-Force and Wolverine argued against it vehemently. With Elixir, he was never intended to kill just to heal. And I would say that the experience of that incarnation of X-Force helped form this idea with Logan. I vehemently disagree with anyone who says that Wolverine’s stance on the school and the kids is hypocritical. Did he teach kids how to fight? Yes. We saw him training Kitty and Jubilee and many others to fight and fight dirty and he’s going to continue to do that. Heck, Wolverine’s problem here isn’t against killing per se. It is against letting children fight in wars and be forced to make decisions that he deems them too young to make. He doesn’t want kids to go through what he has been through. If, when they are grown up, they want to be soldiers and kill? That’s their decision. But he’ll be DAMN sure that they are making that decision as adults and not as children. Furthermore, he is probably going to kill bad guys if he thinks that’s what needs to be done even while he’s running the school. To him it is all about safeguarding the school and the children. On this matter, read "Wolverine And The X-Men" #4 and "Uncanny X-Force" #19.
White: Yeah – Nick has the meat of it. Logan wants the children to be grown before they have to make those choices—that’s why the fact that all the kids WANTED to fight in "Schism" did not deter him. He feels that even though Cyclops told Idie to decide for herself, she was too young to be made to make the choice. It’s just like how we have laws saying that young people cannot choose to smoke, or drink, or drive, or vote in elections until they reach a certain age. We know that young people are not always able to make the best decisions on those things, so we withhold it from them until such a time as we feel they should be ready. Wolverine wants to give them the tools they need to decide for themselves what they want to be.
Across the span of the X-Men line, Chad chimed in with some queries:
1) “Uncanny X-Men” follows Scott's side, while “Wolverine & the X-Men” is following Wolverine's side. What about ‘Astonishing’ and adjectiveless X-Men books? Will we see characters from both groups mixing it up in these titles, or will they be on different sides of the divide?
2) Apart from the “Schism” factor, what other differences will there be between the X-titles in terms of the types of stories they’ll tell?
Lowe: All of Regenesis is split down the line of Cyclops’ side and Wolverine’s side, Chad. Each book illuminates aspects of each side. There may be some small intermingling, but the sides are separate and will remain so for some time. And, to answer your second question, our goal is for each book to have its own feel and mission statement. Some are key to the characters (like "Uncanny X-Force") and some are structural in nature (like "X-Men"), but each is intended to resonate something different.
White: "X-Men" and "Astonishing" are on Scott’s side, while "Legacy" sides with Logan, to be specific. The other teams had to choose, as well, with "Generation Hope" and the "New Mutants" remaining on Utopia, and "X-Force" sticking with its beclawed leader. "X-Factor," too, sides with Wolverine…not surprising, given Madrox and Cyclops’ more recent run-ins.
Time_to_Zap shot in a pair about the philosophical side of the teams and a specific one on a character soon to be a major force in the books:
1) How much do you think the X-Men's relationships played into their “Schism” decisions, compared to any deep-seated beliefs? Does anyone actually disagree with the side they’re on, but remain because of who else is on the team?
2) What exactly is Quentin Quire's power-set?
Lowe: Hey Time_to_Zap! Most of your questions are answered in the "X-Men Regenesis" one-shot. Relationships definitely played into different characters’ choices. Some definitely felt closer to the side they did not choose to stay with (Storm, for example). But the goal was, like it has always been with the X-Men, to treat the characters like the 3-dimensional people they are.
And Quentin Quire is a self-proclaimed (and confirmed, but don’t tell him!) Omega Level psionic. There may be more powers he doesn’t know about but that’s mainly it.
White: You forgot to mention Quentin’s mutant power to RULE!!! Because he rules.
Last on the list of questions from the fans was this one from Grey: In a world with Hammer, Skrulls, the God of Fear, Norman Osborn and superhero civil wars, why do you think people still hate and fear mutants?
Lowe: Good question, Grey. Mutants are different and difference often leads to hatred and fear in human beings. In a world with terrorism, genocide and war why is there still racism? Why are there hate-crimes? If your day-to-day is void of these things, count yourself lucky, because (very very sadly) these things do still exist. That’s why mutants are still hated and feared in the X-Men books. Because our job, as the folks who make the books, isn’t done.
White: It is sort of interesting, though, because the hatred of mutants has gotten to be a bit more irrational. Sure, they are still dangerous (in that they have possibly deadly super powers) but before the Decimation, they were going to replace mankind. The idea that they were a new species that was slowly but surely taking humanity’s place in the world was a fear that one could almost understand, if not agree with. Now that they have been reduced to .000003% of the world’s population, it is a bit more strange. Though mutants are probably feared because of the notion that they could come back from their losses. And who knows? Maybe they still can.
And finally, per a suggestion from one of our readers (Madroxdupe), I’m going to ask the following of all our upcoming guests including y'all: assume you were a mutant and needed to choose a side in "Schism." Whose side do you pick and why?
Lowe: I wish I could be on Wolverine’s side. I really do wish I could. It is the hopeful side. But when the stakes are as high as they are, I would side with Cyclops. I think I’ve said this in interviews before, but childhood as we know it is a recent invention. Not that long ago, if you were a child you were working as early as you could hold the tools to work. And the main reason you weren’t in armies (although some were) was because you weren’t strong enough. But when you have powers and can use them to fight for a species on the edge of extinction. If my family were getting attacked and my children (who don’t exist at this point) were the only ones that could help me fight I would give them a gun and teach them to shoot. Wow, that got dark.
Ketchum: Wolverine’s side. For sure. I was actually a teacher before I became an editor, and if I were an X-Man, I would want to give the younger generation of mutants every chance I could…be it by educating them or defending them. And if I were a Young X-Man, I’d want to go to school to learn how to better use my mutation for the good of mutantkind. (Also: I’m a huge nerd and I LOVE school!)
White: I would be completely on Wolverine’s side…mostly because I am so vehemently against everything Cyclops stands for. Can you tell? I don’t think that the ends ever really justify the means, and as a result, I can’t get behind Cyclops’ choices at all. The Jean Grey School is a wonderful place full of great people actually trying to make the world better through positive means, so…I am on board for that…at least until I found out about X-Force, at which point I might have to Schism even further onto my own side. Anyone know how Muir Island looks this time of year?
Stay tuned next week for more X-Position featuring "X-Factor" scribe Peter David. If you've got thoughts for the man known as PAD, send them my way ASAP. With an "X-Position" in the subject line, you'll go right to the front of the class. So don't delay -- I'm waiting...