In war, the most difficult position to maintain is that of neutrality. Despite a person's best efforts, they will typically feel a "pull" towards one side of any given conflict. Writer Christos Gage navigates this challenge admirably, however, as he writes "Avengers Academy" and "X-Men Legacy" -- both which feature characters embroiled in the huge "Avengers vs. X-Men" event!
Between these two titles, the writer helps readers to see both sides of this conflict and how it affects members of each team. It's a fine line to walk, but Gage isn't one to shy away from a challenge -- as is evidenced by his involvement in "The First X-Men" with artist Neal Adams! Telling a story about the X-Men before they were X-Men is tricky enough, but getting it to line up with established continuity? Mr. Gage has his work cut out for him.
Yet, despite his busy schedule, the busy writer found the time to take a break and answer emails from you for today's X-POSITION. He stands before you ready and rearing to go! Let's not keep him waiting.
Marcus Martin sent in a trio of queries and starts us off by addressing that "fine line" we mentioned previously:
1) Given that you write both sides of the "Avengers vs. X-Men" conflict, which team do you think has a much harder job as AvX goes on?
Marcus, given the teaser we've seen with the ominous words "No More Avengers," I'd say the Avengers are in for some rough road ahead!
2) In the aftermath of your "Avenger Academy" AvX tie-in, it seems that the Academy doesn't exist anymore and that the kids are on their own (per solicitations). Should we take that as "spoilers" that the Academy is destroyed in midst of the current event?
Spoilers ahead for those who avoid solicitations: You can take it as evidence that Avengers Academy is no longer operating in its usual manner. As for exactly why -- destroyed headquarters, being shut down, the kids quitting, or some other after-effect of AvX -- you'll have to keep reading to find out!
3) In your upcoming "First X-Men" miniseries, will there be any cameos or mentions of non-mutant Marvel characters?
No, unless you count folks like Bolivar Trask (and his Sentinels) and FBI Agent Fred Duncan, who are not mutants but are part of the X-Men mythos. I do believe there is a brief mention of Captain America, now that I think about it. But we're sticking almost entirely to X-Men mythology here, so don't expect, say, the Winter Soldier to show up.
All right Christos, but if you can somehow find room for a Squirrel Girl cameo, I have a crisp five dollar bill waiting for you!
Emerald-616 sent in our next email and he appears to be reading everything on the stands with your name attached:
Hi Mr. Gage! I've loved your work on both "X-Men" Legacy" and "Avengers Academy" so far. I hope you have a lengthy tenure on both books! Here's my questions…
1) Did the idea for a "First X-Men" book come about as a response to the "Wolverine: Origins" and "X-Men: First Class" films?
Thanks Emerald-616! You'd have to ask Neal Adams that, since the story idea was his, but I don't believe so -- if I recall correctly, he mentioned that it came about from him re-reading the early Silver Age issues of "Uncanny X-Men" and feeling like there was back-story still to be filled in.
2) Even though Finesse has been shown to be like Taskmaster, her abilities and appearance are also very similar to that of the X-Man Sage. Is there any connection between the two?
Not that has been revealed, although there hasn't been a definitive DNA test proving that Taskmaster is Finesse's father, either…
Mimic616 is eager to send some words of appreciation your way:
Mr. Gage, I wanted to say, "Thank you!" Mimic has returned to the X-Men and is in the spotlight again! I just wanted to ask where Mimic's new beginning will take him? Will he be teaching students? Get entangled with romantic interests? Or will he just be buying the next round of beer with Wolverine and Toad? I can't wait to pick up the next issue!
Thank you, Mimic616! Mimic is an old favorite of mine as well. For now he's just trying to get the lay of the land, having found himself in the middle of AvX, but only time will tell where he goes from here. I think he's taking things as they come.
Dang is itching to hear more about "The First X-Men." Maybe you can throw him a tease or two by answering the following:
1) I'm very intrigued by your concept for "The First X-Men," but I am wondering what it means for Professor X's legacy with regards to the X-Men? Will your story shed more light on Charles Xavier's character?
It will shed light on aspects of his character we're not used to, Dang. We'll see him as a young man, studying at Oxford. Something Neal pointed out that I think was very perceptive is that Charles Xavier's mutation isn't external, so it allows him to pass as human. Might that have been his first instinct, rather than sticking his neck out to help other mutants? As a young kid, little more than eighteen, is it possible he wasn't yet the noble leader we are familiar with? We're going to see a more reluctant Charles Xavier -- one who still has ambitions for a normal, scholarly life with the woman he loves, Moira MacTaggart -- and get some insight as to what changed him, what helped start him down the road to being the leader he one day became.
2) Will "The First X-Men" have an impact that will affect present storylines too?
It has that potential, certainly. I can't say much without spoiling the miniseries. As with any story, it depends on future creators wanting to draw on it. "The First X-Men" can be a complete story in itself -- a significant one, but one that ends when it ends, even as it sheds new light on established aspects of X-Men history -- or its ripple effects can continue to be felt. A lot of that depends on whether you want more!
I do! Of course, I'm greedy that way...
Derek has a handful of questions about teens, tigers and character choices:
1) Since you've taken "X-Men Legacy" over from writer Mike Carey, I noticed that the book's tone seemed to change. It now feels like it's aimed at a slightly younger, newer audience. Is that something you'd agree with? Do you think it was necessary given that the book is now set at a school?
I think you raise a good point, Derek -- the location changing from the more militarized setting of Utopia to the academic setting of the Grey School made it inevitable that the tone would be somewhat lighter. That's what the Grey School is all about -- letting the students be kids, not soldiers. Part of that is also down to the difference in writing styles between Mike and myself, but there is definitely a change reflected in Legacy having come down on the "Team Wolverine" side.
2) Can you share any hints about this "reveal" regarding Frenzy that's coming up in "X-Men Legacy" #268? Are there any plans to use the brother she had in the Age of X world?
We'll learn her origin story, which hasn't been told before. Her brother will be mentioned, yes.
3) You've really put Tigra through the ringer and, by doing so, made her cool again. Was she always a character you were drawn to, or did you view her as a challenge?
Thanks! I'm a big cat lover, so I guess that may be why Tigra has always been a favorite of mine. Artists seem to like drawing her, too!
4) I was pretty excited about "The First X-Men." It made sense to me that there would be mutant groups operating before the X-Men....and then I saw Wolverine. He's a great character, no question about it. But his past is already so convoluted, with fake memories, real memories, ten kids, several wives, etc. Why include him in something like this? Isn't his past complicated enough?
Neal's the one who came up with the story, so you'd have to ask him, but I know he's wanted to do a Wolverine story for a while now. And I, for one, will certainly not complain about Neal Adams drawing Wolverine! From my perspective -- leaving aside the commercial consideration that Wolverine carries a book better than, say, Maverick -- I think, for character-based reasons, the story works better with Logan and Sabretooth than it would with other characters. See if you agree after reading it.
Next up, reader Dennys leaps into the deep end of the pool yelling "Cannonball!"
1) Cannonball is one of my favorite characters and -- although he has had a small bit of spotlight in your run so far -- I still want more. Can we expect to see Sam featured more as your run goes on?
Dennys, I love Cannonball too! I had hoped to give Sam more of a spotlight, but the cards haven't quite fallen that way yet. I think the moments he's had have been good ones -- especially against Exodus -- and I really like his friendship with Rogue. After AvX, I'd like to revisit it.
2) And on that note, do you think Cannonball and Rogue would make a great couple? Cannonball has great leadership skills, so he can help Rogue and share the stress she suffers as team leader. Is there any chance for this?
I actually do think they'd make a great couple. Alas, Rogue seems to have a thing for bad boys, and Sam is a nice, kind-hearted Southern gentleman. So never say never, but right now there's still the Gambit/Magneto thing to figure out, and that's complicated enough…
Siryn indicated that if I didn't ask the following, she'd cry. Well, I don't want that…
I was wondering if you have any plans to continue Rogue and Magneto's relationship? I realize that Magneto is not part of your cast, but it just seems like the lack of communication between them is signaling an inevitable breakup. Are things going to end between them without so much as a goodbye? Some of us "Rogneto" fans are anxiously waiting for one of them to learn how to use a phone!
Siryn, while it's true Rogue and Magneto hadn't spoken as of "X-Men Legacy" #261, I think it's safe to assume they've spoken since, and maybe have even seen each other. The real question is where their relationship is going. It seems to me that both of them are using distance and the inevitable crises that are part and parcel of being X-Men to avoid making definitive decisions about their relationship. But you can only do that for so long. Let me assure you, though, that Magneto will be showing up sooner rather than later.
And now, it's my turn for some fun with our quick get-to-know-you question that we call "Behind the X." If you wouldn't mind, could you share how and when you decided that you wanted to write as a career? And at what point in your life did you finally think, "Yeah, this is something I could do for a living?"
I started thinking I might be able to do it for a living the first time I got paid to do it! As for when I decided it's what I wanted to do, in all honesty, it probably happened later than it otherwise would have, because both my parents are writers. So while I always knew it was something one could do for a career, I also didn't want to go in that direction simply because that's what I grew up around. However, I soon realized I enjoyed writing -- and that I was pretty much terrible at everything else!
That concludes today's X-tête-à-tête, but we'll be back in seven days to discuss our favorite dysfunctional daredevil -- Deadpool! That's right, writer Daniel Way will be here to answer all your emails about the new status of the Merc with a Mouth in light of the "Dead" storyline. And if you're saying to yourself, "What new status?" -- it's time for some research!
So read up and then hop to your keyboard and type out some truly mind-bending missives. After that, shoot them my way just as soon as you can. And please, put an "X-Position" in the subject line, or I'll spoil the end of this season's "Game of Thrones" for you (and you don't want that). Hurry!