The X-Men need a lot of support to keep their super-teams running. They need people to maintain their aircrafts, staff to teach at the Jean Grey School, maintenance crew to tend to the grounds of Utopia, and janitors at Westchester to do... whatever it is that Toad does.
The writers of the X-books also require a lot of support and guidance, and that comes from those mutant-minded folks known as Marvel Comics' X-Editors. They act as both a GPS, providing direction for scribes, and a safety net, catching writers and artists on those rare occasions when they slip up in a story ("What happened to Colossus' hair?").
We checked with this group to see if they would be willing to answer e-mails from you lovely folks, and a brave trio stepped forward: Senior Editor and X-Men Group Editor Nick Lowe, along with Editors Jordan D. White and Daniel Ketchum. They are ready to rock n' roll, so I'll lay down a beat and allow them to crank out some power chords as we begin...
Rheged starts us off with some words of praise and a couple of water-logged queries:
First off, I want to say "thank you" to all of you for helping to revitalize the X-verse since the reboot of "Uncanny X-Men." I'm enjoying the X-books so much! Secondly, never let Kieron Gillen leave UXM. He's fantastic! Here are my Namor-centric questions:
1) Namor has been in the X-books for three years now, but he still doesn't feel very integrated with the X-verse and I feel opportunities to integrate him further have been missed. His "Age of X" relationship with Storm was unfortunately mind-wiped, and we don't hear much about his magical nature and how it could tie to magic users like Illyana. Nor has any of his many connections to the Marvel Universe been used even when the opportunity arose. Will this change in the future?
Nick Lowe: First of all, Namor is awesome. And Kieron [Gillen] writes him better than anyone I've ever read. We don't have plans to do what you mention here, but we do plan to do amazing things with the Sea King.
Jordan D. White: I think Namor proved with the ["Uncanny X-Men"] issue #10 letters page that he has a bright future answering reader letters -- that, or in some form of customer service work.
2) Dr. Nemesis tried to kill Namor and his fellow Invaders in WWII. When are we going to see Namor beat the crap out of him for that? Or even confront him?
Lowe: Namor isn't one to bear a grudge. Wait a second...
3) Are we ever going to see a resolution on panel between Namor and Emma over Shaw? At this point, I'm beginning to believe Namor knew all along Shaw was alive and is just letting Emma dangle. But, at the very least, can we see Namor kick the snot out of Shaw?
Lowe: We haven't forgotten the whole Emma/Namor/Shaw thing -- if just for a great joke that Kieron wants to make.
White: Using Namor for a joke? You'd better hope he doesn't hold a grudge.
Time_to_Zap loves watching the X-Men drive the mutant world, but hopes to see a few Homo superiors get their learning permits:
I have tons of questions to zap your way, but first I'd like to let the X-Editors know that they've been doing a fantastic job lately -- I'm loving the X-corner of the Marvel Universe! Now, down to business...
1) I remember Axel saying in an interview (a few months back) that teen mutant books unfortunately didn't tend to do well in the market. With that said, where can readers like me -- who love reading about teens struggling with being a mutant -- go to get our fix? Will there be a new teen book post-AvX? Will some young X-Men be joining the main teams?
Lowe: Hi, Time_to_Zap. First, both "Wolverine & the X-Men" and "X-Men: Legacy" deal with the Jean Grey School and some teen mutants. Second, I can't say if there will be a specific teen book. Sorry. Trust me, I love teen books, but there aren't enough Nick Lowes out there to buy it.
White: Yeah, I was going to say... "Wolverine & the X-Men!" Quentin Quire, mutantdom's number one teen rebel, is in, like every issue! Add to that Idie, Broo, Kid Gladiator, Genesis -- it's got some great mutant teens in it. Also, if you were a fan of "Generation Hope," make sure you pick up "Uncanny X-Men" #13!
Daniel Ketchum: Also! Most of our teenaged mutants can be found on Twitter. So if you need a quick fix, check out the official Jean Grey School list at https://twitter.com/#!/Marvel/jean-grey-school.
2) Warbird has really become quite the breakout character -- I love her so much! Was she purely a Jason Aaron concept, or was there more to her debut than that? What brought about the idea for her inclusion in the "Wolverine and the X-Men?"
No argument there! Nategrey411 has been pondering an ethical dilemma that he wanted to toss your way:
1) Magik is being punished because she put the world in jeopardy for revenge. How is that different than Cyclops putting the world in danger for his faith in Hope? How does he justify that to himself and others?
Lowe: It's a bit different. Magik let loose entities who were known to be uncontrollable and able to destroy reality. I know the Phoenix is intense and amazingly powerful, but it has been controlled for periods of time at the very least.
White: Not to mention that endangering everything for revenge is a far worse thing than trying to make the world a better place for mutantkind. You can agree or disagree with Cyclops on this decision, you can say you think he made the wrong call, but he's certainly not making it for petty reasons.
Ketchum: I agree with Nick and Jordan. In addition, I also think that Cyclops, being the guy who often makes the rules, believes that he can bend them for himself every now and then. (I love details like that in a fictional character -- it makes them living, breathing human beings.)
2) Where the heck has Xavier been?
Lowe: Off with his son Legion, hoping to help him heal.
3) The last time we saw the Phoenix Force it was in the white hot room with Jean, and now it's rampaging its way across the cosmos sans Jean. Will the fate of Jean be discussed or revealed anytime soon?
Lowe: I can't answer this. I don't want to create or dash hopes of Jean Grey fans like me, but I can't answer it.
On the same topic, Kell was curious…
1) Are "Phoenix: Endsong" and "Phoenix: Warsong" in canon? If so, will Emma still be looking for revenge?
Lowe: Both stories really happened. And Emma doesn't hold a grudge. Wait a second...
White: I think Emma and Namor might be holding a grudge about last time Nick spoke badly about them.
2) During "Messiah Complex," it was hinted at that Hope may well be Jean reincarnated. The Phoenix Force coming to Earth for her seems to reinforce this too. Can we expect this specific issue to be addressed in AvX?
Lowe: I'll address it here. Hope isn't Jean Grey. She has similarities, sure, but she's her own person, as you'll see in "AvX."
White: I don't know... they both have red hair! Nick is probably wrong.
Lowe: Remember, Jordan, I write your performance reviews at the end of the year.
3) I loved the last page of "Uncanny X-Men." Will Utopia's letter to the world gather support for them? Or will it just vilify them even more?
Lowe: A little bit of both. Glad you liked it. I thought Kieron was brilliant when I read that. Don't get jealous, Jason, Rick [Remender], and all our other writers -- I think you're brilliant, too.
White: Yeah. To some extent, the letter worked in the Marvel Universe just like it did among readers: some join in with chants of "Yeah, the Avengers are fascists!" while others yell back "The X-Men are a dangerous rebel militia!" Probably more people are against them in the Marvel Universe, though, since they're actually quite a frightening bunch, recently...
Polan had a non-X question, but one that seemed appropriate for your group. As X-POSITION strives to give fans a peek behind comic curtain, I thought I'd pass this along:
Who comes up for the marketing for your titles? What I mean by this is, who decides what teasers/ads to show, and where and when they will be placed? I am a marketing major who has been trying to get into the marketing field, and I was just wondering about the process behind this at Marvel as well as the X-Editors' role in this?
Lowe: It's a combination of things. Lots of our marketing comes from our friends in the marketing department. Sometimes it comes from us in editorial. Sometimes it's our writers or artists. Sometimes it comes from other folks down the hall, like Joe Quesada or Dan Buckley. Sometimes it's planted in our heads by Emma Frost. The fine folks in marketing execute all of it.
White: I also feel the need to point out how well-dressed Emma Frost always is.
Maybe Jordan should move to marketing? Nah...
Mitteloss gets us back on track by asking about his favorite couple:
Polaris and Havok were sort of quickly transitioned onto "X-Factor" as soon as they returned to Earth and didn't really have a chance to interact with many of their former X-Men teammates and family. Can we hope to see them make appearances outside of "X-Factor" soon?
Lowe: They show up in "AvX," actually. They don't play a huge role, but Olivier Coipel just drew them awesomely.
Derek also has Lorna on his mind, and who can blame him? It must be the green hair…
1) In "Five Miles South of the Universe," Magneto promised Polaris he'd finally give her some answers to her origins. Are there plans now for this story to finally be told? I'm very happy that she's back in a regular title (especially Peter David's hands), but her origin story has been left dangling for sooo long now...
Lowe: We don't have any immediate plans to delve into Lorna's origin in the near future. Sorry.
White: Wrong again, Nick. Oh, I don't get to say that enough! I've been listening in to secret conversations between Peter David and "X-Factor" editor Daniel Ketchum, and Polaris just might get a few of those answers in "X-Factor," though maybe not from the mouth of Magnet-Meister himself...
Lowe: You know what? I'm going to start writing your performance review today, Jordan. Why wait, right?
2) A major criticism I've seen leveled at AvX by X-fans (and one I tend to agree with) is that Rachel Grey is only getting a minor role in the story. What's the reasoning behind this? In my eyes, omitting Rachel actually weakens Scott's position and biases readers towards the Avengers. Unlike her mother, Rachel was able to control the Phoenix and her stint as the Phoenix involved the kind of healing that Scott's anticipating, whereas Jean's time with the force was wilder and more destructive.
Lowe: Rachel has a major role in the "Wolverine & the X-Men" issues of "AvX" and several of the points you make above get discussed, actually.
White: Will he also address why she used to have a mullet? And/or why she got rid of it?
Lowe: Anything is possible.
And on that note, it's time for our quick get-to-know-you question that we call "Behind the X." This one was actually inspired by an e-mail from one of our readers (thanks Renaldo!): if Marvel's Avengers Editing Group battled the X-Office in paintball, poker, and Ultimate Fighting, which team would win each event?
Lowe: The X-Office would triumph in almost any such event. Not only are we far better looking and more clever than the Avengers office (especially that Brevoort simpleton), but we cheat and malign others in the press, too.
White: I would wonder how being better looking would help us in Ultimate Fighting, but I am too busy being clever.
Ketchum: In all seriousness, this is actually a conversation we have on a daily basis. Except it's usually a different scenario every day. Editorial Office Hunger Games. Editorial Office Amazing Race. Editorial Office RuPaul Drag Race. (Watch out for Jordan White on that one, because you know his alter ego "Sugar Snap" turns out a mean lip sync!) I'm pretty sure the X-Office would sweep all of the above, and -- as evidenced by these responses -- probably also Editorial Office Gauntlet-Throwing.
Remember, never wager against the X! Thanks fellas!
Next week, one of the most fearless scribes in the X-office's arsenal joins us to answer your questions -- Marjorie Liu! Want to know the dirt on X-23 or "Astonishing X-Men?" Here's where it'll happen. Send me those questions as soon as you can, and I'll pass them along with a wink and a smile. Put an "X-Position" in the subject line, and I'll tell you what the Phoenix's appearance really means (HINT: Dumbledore is returning!). See you in seven…