Peter David's "All-New X-Factor" has the unique distinction of housing the only corporate-sponsored mutant team in the Marvel Universe -- but it's been rough going for the six core members of Serval Industries' X-Factor squad. Whether it's Polaris struggling with her role as team leader, Cypher contemplating suicide or Quicksilver's cautious approach to his half-sister, there's a lot going on in the pages of the "All-New" incarnation of the series.
With the core team fully assembled, Peter David joined X-Position to discuss the current state of X-Factor's collective psyche, including Lorna's ongoing challenges as leader of the team, how Serval and X-Factor interact with one another and the interpersonal drama that shows up in the pages of the series.
Bamfibian starts off this week's X-Position with a question about the personal drama with the cast of "All-New X-Factor."
Hi Peter, glad to hear you're recovering well, and so happy you're back on "X-Factor." I'm a big fan of your take on the team, from the original, Havok-led government ops group through your new, corporate sponsored approach, but my favorite period has to be your initial relaunch following the "Madrox" series. Here are my questions:
1) To me, much of the success of the relaunch had to do with the reclamation of the heightened "mutant soap opera" element; Rictor dealing with the loss of his powers and his relationships, Siryn refusing to acknowledge the death of her father, the Dupe love triangle... do you have any of that very personal drama planned for the new cast of your book?
Oh, I have all manner of personal drama planned. We have Polaris fighting to prove she's a worthwhile leader, Quicksilver serving as a spy on behalf of Havok (how would Polaris react upon finding that out?), Gambit suddenly finding himself unsure of how to handle Danger. And that's not even counting a suicidal Doug and Warlock who seems to have allied with his father against them. Trust me, there's plenty going on.
2) Jamie absorbing his "baby" continues to be the most shocking and heartbreaking moment I've ever seen in a mainstream comic; do you have anything coming up that might top that?
I have some pretty impressive stuff coming up. Whether it matches "X-Factor" #39, I have to leave to the fans to decide.
3) What major X-players would you add to the book if you could? How about the young'uns: any chance of seeing any New/Young X-Men finding a home at Serval?
You know, with all respect, I don't understand fans. I really don't. During the latter half of the previous series, all fans did -- all they did -- was complain that there were too many characters in the book. I couldn't fathom it, because before that we had X-Men with a hundred characters on the floating Utopia, and then after that we had "Wolverine and the X-Men," which had more characters, but for some bizarre reason fans just loved ragging on the team number of "X-Factor." So now the team has six members and what is the question I keep getting? Who are you going to add?! No one. Right now the group is at six. It's staying that way.
Dabid is up next with a few questions about Cypher and Warlock
So far "All-New X-Factor" is a huge hit with me, and I can't wait to read more now that the team is finally almost assembled! A couple quick questions I had about my favorite member of the team, Cypher:
1) Doug Ramsey is a weird character in that he died a young adolescent boy and was resurrected as an adult man. This wasn't really addressed in the "New Mutants" series, and I was wondering if you were planning on tackling the fact that Doug may not be the most socially/emotionally well-developed guy around?
Well, Dabid, considering that when we first encounter him in "All-New X-Factor" #6 he's contemplating suicide, I think it's safe to say that he's not the most emotionally stable person in the crew. So yes, I will be exploring that further.
2) Can Warlock and Cypher still "merge" into one being (Douglock) as they did in the original New Mutants series, or is the danger of Doug contracting the techno-organic virus too great at this point?
No, they can still merge. I love Douglock and that merge will be back.
I'm loving your great work on All-New X-Factor! Thank you, PAD!
You're welcome, Dabid!
Next up is Joe with some questions about Gambit and the team's interaction with its sponsor, Serval.
I hate to admit it, but I have never followed a series of yours on a monthly basis before but wow am I glad I decided to for X-Factor, great read! Few questions for you:
In prior interviews you mentioned you'd reference Gambit's solo, specifically, Gambit's "power upgrade" that occurred at the end of his solo. Are there any plans to touch upon this in the near future? I have appreciated the inclusion of him as King of the Thieves Guild and the cats.
Believe me, Joe, everything about the limited series will be addressed, although it might take a little time.
While everyone loves action scenes, my favorite part of the book is the team's interaction with each other and the employees at Serval. Will the book continue to have a split between the two, as I think the human aspect of Serval and X-Factor is most enjoyable.
At the moment there's a split, but trust me, the affairs of the Serval employees is going to wind up intersecting with X-Factor in a very direct way as you're going to see over the next few issues.
I know you are not a huge fan of crossovers, I did enjoy the fact that X-Factor got a shout out in "X-Force" #1. Any plans for X-Factor to have more interactions with the greater MU? While not always the best way to tell a story, I do believe readers feel more inclined to get into a comic when it has some impact on the rest of the MU.
We are going to be involved in an upcoming crossover, which starts in November, I think. Can't go into much more detail than that.
Look forward to continuing X-Factor over the next few months and more!
Derek is hoping for some insight into Polaris' psyche and her relationship with Quicksilver.
1) There seems to be a huge distance between Polaris and Quicksilver since they found out they were actually siblings. Is it my imagination or is Lorna far more uncomfortable about it than Pietro? When I read "Dark Seduction" before I really knew who Polaris was, I thought Quicksilver behaved very brotherly towards her and Magneto fatherly -- that it was one of those unspoken secrets the audience picks up on but the character it relates to is oblivious. Do you think Pietro knew?
I think he had a feeling but was slow to push it, Derek. Let's face it, his relationship with Wanda has been patchy at best, and I think he just decided he wanted to be very careful with how he approached his relationship with Lorna. And he's continuing that attitude with her now, not being too pushy and trying to be as supportive as possible. If nothing else, he's aware of her power and doesn't want to find himself on the wrong side of it as he did back in "X-Factor" #260.
2) Towards the end of the last run of "X-Factor" Lorna opinions of humans seemed to be shift from her post-Genoshan genocide viewpoint to a more intergrationist view of mutants and humans. Where do you thinks she stands now?
The latter. She's been through a lot and I think it's helped to shape her point of view.
3) We never got to see what you were cooking up with Feral. Could she show up?
Always possible, but no immediate plans.
4) Do you think Tier's fate is playing on Lorna's mind and motivating her need to lead?
She remembers his fate, of course, but I don't think it relates to her leadership at all.
Up next is Phil, who wants more integration of Serval into the greater Marvel Universe.
Loving the book! Your last version of X-Factor basically existed on an isle all its own. Since Serval's logo had been popping up in other titles for a couple months before the launch, can we look forward to seeing this version have more of an effect on the greater MU, and vice versa?
The appearance of Serval elsewhere is entirely the doing of mighty Marvel's editors, Phil. They think it's great to try and tuck it in wherever they can, and I'm all for that. This is a shared universe, after all, and anything they want to do to help spread it elsewhere is fine by me.
Justinian wants to know more about Lorna's leadership skills, and hopes for some sparse details about the series' future. What do you think is at the core of Lorna's current difficulties with leadership?
Frankly, Justinian, I think her determination to prove her worth may well exceed her actual leadership skills. She's still fairly new at this and the fact is that Gambit might actually be better suited to the job. But he would never think of stepping over her to assume command, and instead he simply wants to serve as a means of her accomplishing her goal. Unfortunately he can't quite bury his snark while that's happening.
Are there any upcoming issues you have planned out that you are really excited about and you think fans will just as exited when they are released?
Honestly, I'm excited about stuff in all of them. I hope that doesn't sound too vague.
Wrapping up, Jeanne wants to know a bit more about the possible psychological diagnosis of the core team.
Hi! I've loved all your work since Madrox and I'm so excited that you are writing some of my favorite characters now. My question is this: I think at this point all your primary cast members in X-Factor, particularly Gambit, Polaris and Quicksilver, could be said to be dealing with some mental or emotional problems of their own. If you were a psychologist, what diagnosis would you pin on each of these three characters? Thank you!
Well, Jeanne, Gambit I would say has a narcissistic personality. He's so self-absorbed. Polaris is borderline bipolar, swinging from highs to lows without having a real center. And Quicksilver -- he's just an a-hole.
Special thanks to Peter David for taking on this week's questions.
Next week, Peter Milligan joins X-Position to discuss his return to the X-Men with "All-New Doop," debuting this week. Got a question about the Marvel Universe's strangest X-Man and his role in "Battle of the Atom?" What about one or two queries on Milligan's "X-Statix?" Whatever the X-Topic, send your questions over via e-mail with the subject line "X-Position or in a 140 character question via Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!