X-POSITION: Kieron Gillen's "Uncanny" Journey

Tue, June 26th, 2012 at 1:58pm PDT | Updated: June 26th, 2012 at 3:55pm

Comic Books
George A. Tramountanas, Staff Writer
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Writer Kieron Gillen is flying high. We're not referring to the fact that fans love his "Uncanny X-Men" (in addition to his "Journey into Mystery") deeply and passionately -- we mean he is literally soaring thousands of feet in the air on his way to another Marvel Comics Summit where we assume the assembled creators will be talking about the direction the Marvel Universe will be taking after "Avengers Vs. X-Men."

If you've been reading this huge event (as every good X-fan should), you know that an MU game-changer has taken place -- the Phoenix Force has fragmented and bonded with Cyclops, Emma Frost, Namor, Colossus and Magik. This raises the stakes -- and raises about a billion questions! Kieron is going to attempt to answer these mid-flight, because he's just that committed to you. Brace yourselves for turbulence!

Story continues below

Rey starts us off with a few interesting ideas about implications of recent events.

Uncanny X-MenGillen spoke with X-POSITION about his "Uncanny X-Men" plans while on a plane to the latest Marvel Summit

1) Since the Phoenix now has five hosts, is Hope temporarily safe from the Avengers?

Even if Hope was safe from the Avengers, Hope is never safe from herself.

2) Will Nate Grey have a bigger role in AvX soon? Hope and Nate seem to have a close relationship, and having a tag team of people with Jean Grey's DNA (Cable, Rachel and Nate) plus a few former hosts of the Phoenix Force trying to contain the cosmic entity would be the logical thing to attempt if ever the Phoenix went out of control again...

I've no personal plans for Nate. Frankly, my side of the battle seems pretty sure they've got the Phoenix thing completely under control. What could possibly go wrong? I'm sure it'll all be fine…

3) According to "Uncanny X-Men" #13, an alien world was saved when a messiah and five acolytes "went to commune with the Phoenix." Does this mean that the Phoenix Five are earth's version of the acolytes and that another messiah is needed to save the world?

You can read a lot into UNIT's story. Of course, UNIT, being a machine solely made for lying, is also the absolute definition of an unreliable narrator. If you take it as the literal truth, the idea would be that the Messiah was meant to call for the Phoenix and when ready, went with her acolytes to commune. So if this is the same thing -- and that's a big if -- that's kind of how it should have gone down. There's two problems: Hope didn't appear to be ready, and her acolytes weren't there. And one of them is dead.

What I'd personally take from the story is, "We're off the map now." If there's a solution, it's going to have to be a new one. The old one can't work, not at least because UNIT isn't telling anyone about it.

Oh, that UNIT -- his mischievous ways.


FSaker wanted to warm you up with some sweet sentiments before getting down to business.

Hi, Mr. Gillen! Before starting with the questions, I would like to thank you for the excellent work that you've been doing in "Uncanny X-Men." I love how you write the interactions between characters, how the plots are developed from arc to arc, and also the way the story progression feels natural and organic.

Thank you. You are made of excellent.

Here are my inquiries:

1) In "Uncanny X-Men" #13, Unit says that a messiah on another planet needed its five acolytes to be able to bond with the Phoenix and control it. Comparing this story to Hope's life, it would seem that the Five Lights would be her five acolytes. But they weren't the only new mutants that appeared since then; do the mutant baby and the young man who committed suicide (both shown in the "Generation Hope" book) also count as acolytes? If they don't, why did they appear as new mutants in the world besides the Five Lights? Will this be addressed in future "Uncanny X-Men" issues?

I won't be addressing it, but you can read into the story as is. Basically, were those other newly emerging mutants actually acolytes? I'd say there's no evidence to say they were. That five emerged in one go may imply they were somehow connected. The later mutants came by themselves. UNIT believes that what's happening is the Phoenix reacting against being constrained. You could argue the later mutants -- which the acolytes and the Messiah have to save -- are actually drips leaking through the chaos magic dam. It's unlikely we'll know for sure, because the child won't become a mutant for more than a decade and Zeeshan died before they could find out what he truly was.


2) Concerning the previous question, if Hope needs the Five Lights to control the Phoenix, how does Kenji's (presumed) death affect her chances to do it properly?

Presumably negatively. As I say above, the point I'd take from it is "we're off the map."

3) Can we expect Mr. Sinister and Unit to meet each other soon?

I suspect their fields of influence will cross paths soon enough.

4) Will the next issues show any repercussions of the email that Cyclops asked Kate Kildare to send to all humanity?

Sinister and UNIT are on a collision course in the pages of "Uncanny"
Art from "Uncanny X-Men" 16 by Daniel Acuna

I believe everything that's happening under PAX UTOPIA is a repercussion of Cyclops' feelings to the invasion of Utopia.

Me being me, the letters do keep the dual purpose -- they're both artifacts in the Marvel Universe and direct statements of intent to the reader. That letter at the end of "Uncanny" #11 was addressed to all the readers of the book almost as much as it was to the people of the actual Marvel Universe.


Ooh, food for thought. Yum!

Marcus Martin is looking forward to a big throw-down you're writing, but has a question about where it's located:

1) According to solicitations, it seems that you are writing the final fight between the Scarlet Witch and Hope in "Avengers vs. X-Men: Vs." #6. I'm wondering why this fight has been placed in a (supposedly non-essential) miniseries instead of being shown in the main series, considering that is the one fight that many fans wanted to see happen in the first place (and, ideally, within the first issue of AvX)?

It's an expansion on the fight in the main series. As you say, it's a big fight we want to explore. In which case, you don't get to have ten pages in the middle of a big crossover like AvX to just concentrate on two characters really going for each other. And let's be honest -- if a writer did take ten pages out in the middle of a big crossover issue to just concentrate on two characters bashing the living hell out of each other, all the readers would be (I'd say rightly) furious about it.

In terms of Hope vs. the Scarlet Witch, anything related to the plot of AvX will be shown in the main book. Versus is about fun and crazy elaboration. And the elaboration is pretty crazy. There's a double-page splash in there I can't wait to see what Jim Cheung does with it.


2) Will we be seeing Odin again sometime soon in "Journey into Mystery," especially given the return of Surtur in the near future?

C'mon! It's "Journey into Mystery." Mystery! I don't show my cards this early, either way.


For those who like spoilers, would you ever consider writing "Journey into Obvious?" I bet Dudebro McTypo would pick up a copy, considering his first query. Please be kind, Mr. Gillen…

1) I really enjoyed the "Journey into Mystery" and "New Mutants" crossover "Exiled" that you did with DnA. I was curious if we are ever going to see Sigurd and the Disir again in ‘Journey?'

Since the Disir are now part of Hela's court, I daresay you'll be seeing them soon, in their fancy new togs.

2) It's been said that each member of the Phoenix Five has their own personal agenda. Now, we know that Cyclops, Emma, and Colossus are truly dedicated to "evolution" of mutants and of the earth, but what about Namor and Magik? Those two have always put themselves and their own personal goals above everything else (including Cyclops's plans). How does giving them a fraction of the Phoenix Force factor into your story?

Good questions all. While I won't be able to give any direction answers, I will say the nature of power, responsibility and the possibility of corruption have always been right at the heart of my run. In the first issue of the relaunch, I was pretty explicit in terms of Scott directly stating the truism that Power Corrupts, and that they must self-police to ensure that isn't true. Can they prove that truism untrue? That's the core of the story. As I've said several times, when I was starting on "Uncanny X-Men," I was building my themes towards the drama of AvX. What people do when they have ultimate power has always factored right to the heart of the book.


Along that line of thinking, Emerald_616 was wondering about someone who has proven to be quite formidable:

1) Since Mr. Sinister has continued improving himself, what happened to Miss Sinister and the little cloned girl housing Sinister in "X-23?"

Gillen remained glib when asked about the black box inside Scott Summers' mind
Art from "Uncanny X-Men" 16 by Daniel Acuna

Good question. There's several readings, none which I want to rule out. But really? It's possible Miss Sinister is still out there. In the first of my Sinister arcs, he talks about basically being a clone that was created when the "original" Sinister died. So he's not the original Sinister, but more like Frankenstein's monster (if Frankenstein himself was egotistical enough to make the monster basically an idealized and perfected version of himself). If that's true -- well, Miss Sinister is still out there, which means there's multiple and contradictory versions of Sinister's Immortality schemes out in the wild.

So, yes, if they ever crossed paths -- well, that has all sorts of possibilities. Would they get on? I suspect not.

2) What kind of narrative threads do you want to explore in "Uncanny X-Men" once AvX is over?

I think it's too early to talk about "Uncanny" post AvX. Any answers to this question would give away the nature of AvX's conclusion. If I said, "It'll be about Cyclops trying to survive in a world where 95% of the landmass has been transformed into blancmange," it's kind of giving the game away.


See Kieron? Further proof that "Journey into Obvious" would be a big seller. Pitch it to your editors now!

In the meantime, Madroxdupe024 does his best impression of Brad Pitt in "Se7en" and asks -- "What's in the box?"

Will Emma ever find out what's inside Scott's black box in his mind? And how about his "quickie" affair with Madelyne posing as Emma?

Possibly, but I'm more likely to be exploring areas of conflict that I've set up in my run than going back to previously existing stuff.

Neal gives us our last email of the day, and he wants to know about Piotr's hairy situation:

What is the deal with Colossus' disappearing hair? When he got the powers of the Juggernaut, he was suddenly bald (even though Cain Marko always had hair when he was the Juggernaut). Now he gets empowered by the Phoenix, and his hair is magically back! How does that work exactly?

When Colossus became the Juggernaut, his hair was seared off in the magical fire. Cueball look is go! As revealed in "Uncanny" #11, since becoming the Juggernaut, he's stayed in his steel form constantly. His hair doesn't grow when he's metallic, so he remained bald. When he takes the Phoenix power again, being the spirit of rebirth and all that, everyone is physically restored. For example, Cyclops can see! And, relevantly, Colossus' hair regrows magnificently.

That's my explanation, anyway. But it kind of amuses me that the most asked question about my run is about the mystery of Colossus' hair. 


Well, let me offer you another inquiry that will hopefully amuse you -- our get-to-know-you question that we like to call "Behind the X." If you wouldn't mind, tell us about the first car you owned.

I've never owned a car. I got my license at seventeen and only drove a handful of times after it. I'm told by Warren Ellis that this is actually a fairly common state of affairs for a bunch of British comic writers, in terms of us being awful parasites who talk people into driving us everywhere.

I'd be happy to give you a lift anytime, Kieron! Just give me a call at 867-5309. Thanks for joining us and have a safe flight!

Next week, expect a wild and crazy X-POSITION. I mean, if we're talking about a book called "X-Treme X-Men," you have to expect things will get intense! That's right X-fans, writer Greg Pak is joining us to answer those questions you have about X-Men from another reality, so prepare some real head-scratchers for him.

However, instead of sending your emails to me, please send them to my CBR associate Steve Sunu. I have some big goings-on for the month of July, so Steve is stepping in to fill my X-shoes while I take a little break. And put an "X-Position" in the subject line, so he'll remember why he's getting emails from people with names like "HotforGambit." Mail him those missives soon, and I'll be back around later this summer. Have fun!

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TAGS:  x-position, marvel comics, uncanny x-men, avx, kieron gillen, daniel acuna, exiled, journey into mystery, new mutants, mister sinister

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