X-Position: Week Nine

Thu, July 26th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
George A. Tramountanas, Staff Writer

There are many books in the X-Universe, and therefore, many writers. Each scribe has a team they oversee, a team whose destiny they determine. One writer, however, has fingers in many books, and boy, does he seem to enjoy making his characters suffer.

The X-writer I'm talking about, of course, is Chris Yost, who writes "New X-Men" (along with Craig Kyle), "Emperor Vulcan," and is co-writer on the "Endangered Species" back-up stories. If there was a consistent theme to these books, it's probably death.

In "New X-Men," the mutant youths have lost more than their fair share of fellow students in a number of horrible ways.

In the miniseries "Emperor Vulcan," Havok is on a mission of revenge after Vulcan killed his father, Corsair.

And in the seventeen-part "Endangered Species," Beast has to save the entire mutant race from extinction.

With all of this bouncing around in his head, I can't imagine Yost's thoughts are full of rainbows and unicorns, but let's find out, shall we? That's what we're here for at X-POSITION ...

Story continues below

Cover to "X-Factor" #26, CBR Exclusive!
To kick things off, Chris, let's start with a question that a number of people sent in, even though it doesn't exactly tie into the comics you write. But first, some context for our readers: Yost began his writing career working on scripts for the TV series "X-Men: Evolution." He is currently the show runner on the "Fantastic Four" animated series that airs on Cartoon Network and the new "Iron Man" animated series that will be coming in 2008.

With all this in mind, YiggityMarou emailed us to say, "Chris, I love 'New X-Men.' In lots of ways, it feels like an extension of 'X-Men: Evolution' – it's kids having fun and dealing with being outcasts. I was just wondering if we'll ever see more new 'Evolution' episodes? And can you tell us what the status is of the 'Fantastic Four" and 'Iron Man' cartoons?"

I had a blast working on "Evolution," but I wouldn't hold my breath for new episodes, sadly. But there is a new "X-Men" animated series on its way, and it's mind blowing in its scope. It's seriously huge, and I couldn't be more excited about it. I was lucky enough to work on a few episodes.

"Fantastic Four" is currently airing on Cartoon Network, and I think about half of the episodes have aired. "FF" is a fun show that focuses more on the comedy and family, but we still found time to have some big villains and classic FF adventuring. And I got to throw in an Elder of the Universe, so another one of my goals in life is complete.

"Iron Man" is just at the beginning of the script stage, so not much I can say there yet. But the look of the show they've got cooked up is going to be pretty amazing.

Hi-Fi sent in a list of questions ranging from your work habits to details about upcoming "New X-Men" issues. The whole list intrigued me, so I hope you'll have some intriguing answers:

1) How does the process of collaborating with Craig Kyle work? Do you guys divide the subplots between the two of you?

We place in the center of an empty room a knife and a gun. Then, when the clock strikes 12 ... It's very much a collaboration; we each bring different things to the table. We both throw ideas into the pot, and then both work with all the ideas until we're both happy with it. Craig and I have similar sensibilities (torture, death) and are usually on the same page, so it's relatively painless.

2) Who's your favorite character on the team? And which character has grown on you since you started writing the book with Craig?

When we started, I took a liking to Surge in particular, but now, honestly, I love each and every one of them. And each of the 10 kids has such a unique personality and voice; it's a joy to write. Even characters like Loa and Trance are a ton of fun. Sadly, even if we were to give one page to each character, we still wouldn't have enough pages. So, more have to die.

3) Are we going to see the New X-Men engaging the Marauders in battle during the crossover?

SECRETS! Expect the New X-Men to fight people way, way out of their league.

4) More romance in 'New X-Men' ... maybe? If so, when?

Issues #42 and 43 have some smoochin'!

5) Are we going to revisit the Wither/Selene subplot anytime soon?

It gets a mention in #42. Craig and I have a plan, much like the Cylons.

Damn those Cylons.

A couple of weeks ago, Ashley Keller had sent in a question to Brubaker about Rachel Summers. He claimed ignorance, as the events she asked about would possibly take place in "Emperor Vulcan." Well, since you're the one writing that mini, I'll let her ask again ...

"Will we be seeing any reaction from Rachel in regards to Cable's death (if he is dead) in 'Emperor Vulcan?' Since Rachel has a strong psi-bond with Nathan, she would instantly feel his death. Considering everything she's gone through to try to protect her 'baby brother,' she should be one of the characters most impacted by his death, shouldn't she?"

Rachel would absolutely be affected by Cable's death. He's her brother, and if she were aware of it, she'd be devastated. That being said ... we don't really know that Rachel would instantly feel his death. After all, how do you test that out? And given she's in a whole other galaxy, their link is strained as it is. But when she does learn of his death, I expect Rachel to react and act accordingly. Gambit and Sunfire better start running if she gets back is what I'm trying to say.

"If she gets back?" And as long as we're being a bit morose, Brian Moranor had a question about another death: "Are we going to be seeing some reaction from Havok and Rachel regarding the death of Corsair (his father/her grandfather) in 'Emperor Vulcan?' I know the mini takes place some time after the 'Uncanny' arc (or does it?), but I was wondering if we'd get any insight to their feelings."

Of course. Corsair's death affected Havok deeply and is influencing every decision he's making now, for better or worse. And Polaris has to deal with extra-angst Havok.

Rounding things off about the "Emperor Vulcan" miniseries, AZPolaris wanted to know more about – surprise! – Polaris: "I am a huge Polaris fan and would love any info about her that you can share. Are she and Havok officially a couple? Will Lorna discuss any of the turmoil that her life was in before she left Earth? I hope to see a bond form between Lorna and Rachel (Havok's 'niece') – will this occur in 'Emperor Vulcan,' or will it be nonstop action?"

I'm a huge Polaris fan as well, and yes – she and Havok are officially a couple. The insanity of Lorna's life will get brought up, and while what she's up against now is extreme, it's a little more straightforward. Except when Doop shows up to kill Vulcan and take over the Shi'ar empire. No one's going to see that coming.

Lorna and Rachel are definitely going to bond, and drink. After all, the two hottest women in the Shi'ar empire have to stick together. Plus, they've both got man troubles. I lean toward non-stop action, but I try to take breaks for angst.

Now that we're done discussing outer space adventures, let's take a gander at the earthbound team you write: the New X-Men. Andres Pacheco sent in a few questions that several readers were wondering about, so I'll allow him to be the voice of the people.

1) Will we find out more about Nezhno soon? I thought it was very interesting what we saw of his powers, but I'm hoping it will be explained exactly how they work in the near future.

Issue #42, Nehzno explains his 'condition,' to Dust and Pixie, of all people.

2) Are the uniforms from Skottie's amazing cover to #43 their new uniforms? Or were they just drawn for the cover?

The uniforms are part of the story. And they're awesome. That cover blew me away. Skottie Young should win awards.

3) Can you give us any hints about the kids in relation to 'Messiah CompleX?'

They're in big trouble. They're proactive. They're in big trouble. Then they're in really, really big trouble.

4) We need more Loa! I know it's a huge cast, and it must be hard to share the spotlight among so many interesting characters, but some cameos here and there can't hurt. Please?

Loa has an important role in issue #43. And she eats ice cream in #42.

5) Now that you're writing different characters for 'Endangered Species' and 'Emperor Vulcan,' are there any characters outside of the X-kids that you've enjoyed writing?

I love Havok and Cyclops. A ton. So writing Havok in "Emperor Vulcan" and Cyclops in "New X-Men" makes me smile every day. Beast is great too, but I have to fake intelligence to write him. A challenge, to be sure. I seriously love everyone in the Marvel Universe, and wish they would all hang out together.

We got Dr. Strange and Spider-Man in a panel or two of "New X-Men," Ms. Marvel, Iron Man and even the Owl showed up. Captain America, Daredevil, Kingpin, Wolverine, Nick Fury all showed up in "X-23" – I love them all. Except Phantazia.

Oh, um, Clint Theron apparently has a fantasy about Phantazia: "Will we see Phantazia during 'Endangered Species,' especially since Beast is searching for answers about 'House of M?'"

Oooh, awkward. Ha, ha... just kidding. I love Phantazia, too. But she does not show up in the issues I worked on. But another silver-haired lady does.

Grandma? Never mind...

Miriam Wynn has a character she's curious about as well. "Seeing that Elixir is coming to terms with his abilities, is he now 'Omega Class?' And will he have more interaction with the current line-up soon? It just seems that with 'Endangered Species' going on, his healing abilities could be pivotal for Dr. McCoy in finding a solution."

I'm not a fan of throwing about the 'Omega Class' label, but Josh is scary powerful. For a teenager, too powerful. Josh's descent starts in #42. Can he be pulled back into the light? Time will tell. And his abilities will definitely be used in "Messiah CompleX" and "World War Hulk."

Skottie Young must've done something great in a previous life, because he's getting tons of love and recognition in this one. We received lots of e-mails praising his art. Gavin J. was just one of many, but since he's also asking about two of my favorite characters, I'll cede the floor to him.

I've really been enjoying the 'Quest for Magik' storyline (and art!). It seems as though this particular story arc is elevating Anole and Pixie as characters, and I'm curious as to whether we can expect to see the two of them on the New-X-Men squad on a permanent basis? Also, could you tell us your 'take' on these two characters and what their particular role in the group dynamic is (or will be)? Finally, what can you tell us about the artist taking over following Skottie's impressive run?"

Skottie deserves all the praise and credit in the world for "Quest for Magik." It was an extremely challenging story, with something like forty characters and a billion demons, in a hellish landscape. And he knocked it out of the park. What he did was just amazing, and elevated our scripts to another level. I will be eternally grateful for what Skottie did on the book. Freaking awesome.

"Anole and Pixie are a breath of fresh air into what some would consider a pretty dark run. And while bad things may happen to them, these two characters will always be fun for us. Anole is just a good kid – smart, brave, capable, moral, and a budding leader. The entire team likes and respects him...even Rockslide. Not that there won't be friction of the 'punching in the face' kind.

Pixie is pure innocence and fun, and a great character to bounce off of people like Surge, Dust and X-23. Grim has no effect on her. Of course, she did lose part of her soul...see #42 for how she deals with that.

If you want a sneak preview of Humberto Ramos' take on the New X-Men, check out Mike Carey's "X-Men" #202. Carey is on fire.

Agreed. Carey is "El Fuego."

And so ends another X-POSITION, but we'll be back in seven short days. Joining us will be X-Editor Nick Lowe, who truly has his eyes on the big X-Picture. Be sure to e-mail me (with the subject line "X-Position") those questions ASAP. I'm looking forward to them!

Archives
X-POSITION: Week Eight
X-POSITION: Week Seven
X-POSITION: Week Six
X-POSITION: Week Five
X-POSITION: Week Four
X-POSITION: Week Three
X-POSITION: Week Two
X-POSITION: The Beginning ...

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