The X-Men have not one but two major events threatening to tear them apart this spring. First, the three X-teams will face three different apocalyptic menaces in "Apocalypse Wars"; the "Extraordinary" team has already run afoul of their adversaries, an all-new lineup of Horsemen. Secondly, Cullen Bunn and Andrea Broccardo will throw the mutants into the mix of "Civil War II" with the team's accompanying tie-in series -- and relations between the X-Men and Inhumans will only get more heated. There's never a dull moment with the X-Men, and it takes a team of editors to make these epic events happen.
This week in X-POSITION, X-Men editors Daniel Ketchum, Christina Harrington and Chris Robinson join us -- along with a few special guests -- and answer your questions about mutant/Inhuman tension, the state of the X-Men line and the role the students will play moving forward.
CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, X-Editors! Let's begin this week with a question from timdogg98 about one of the line's most prominent conflicts.
Really enjoying the "Apocalypse Wars" so far. It really feels like an old school X-Men story, especially with the time travel elements. By the end of 2016, will there be a resolution between the mutants and Inhumans regarding the Terrigen Mists? If so, I can only imagine that there will be resolution that sets up the next stage of their conflict/working partnership perhaps?
Chris Robinson: I'll take "Things TimDogg Would Say" for $20? You're on the right track, Tim, but I think you're getting ahead of yourself... The Inhuman/Mutant relationship is rocky these days, but you'll need to see "Civil War II: X-Men" before we start talking definitive conflicts or partnerships, yeah? Kinda tough to have either of those if only one party is left standing...
That doesn't sound ominous at all! Next up, DB has a question about the healers featured in "Uncanny X-Men."
I was really surprised to see longtime fan-favorite New Mutants/X-Force member Elixir show up in "Uncanny X-Men," only to be killed a few pages after reappearing. With his power-set being differentiated from most healers in that Josh could both heal and kill, Elixir seemed like he had a lot of potential still as a character. Is there any reason he was chosen specifically to die instead of a more straightforward healer like Triage?
Christina L Harrington: We want the stakes set against Mutantkind to feel very real, and we want readers to know that no mutant is safe in this new world. Not even fan-favorites or long established characters that might have enormous potential... anyone can die, guys! Times are desperate for our X-Gene friends, and they're going to all have to stay on their toes to see through this section of their history. (On a personal note, I will say that I kept breathing a sigh of relief every time Triage came out the other side alive and unhurt. I'd ask Cullen [Bunn] what his plans were for Mr. Muse and he'd just cackle and tell me to wait and see. Hey, editors have favorites, too!)
Niels wants to know if we'll be seeing an x-pansion of the C-line.
With the post-"Secret Wars" relaunch, the X-line shrunk by half. Now that the new books are pretty established, is there any chance we'll see some new ones added?
Harrington: The great part about the X-family are the sheer number of characters there are in it. We've been very lucky to be able to focus on a section of those characters, but a lot are still out in the world, ready for their stories to be told. I think we'd be crazy not to tell those stories.
Daniel Ketchum: Coming out of "Secret Wars," the idea was to keep the X-Men line lean and mean, with each book having a distinct identity and a different reaction to our new status quo -- a world engulfed in Terrigen Mists that are poisonous to mutants. But as Christina says, we've slowly discovered that there are still many stories yet to be told, many avenues left to explore in this particular status quo, and we are considering expanding the line to do that. (TL;DR: Keep your eyes peeled...)
Niels also has a question about the X-Line's roster of artists.
I very much appreciate that we have a lot of artists right now who need few fill-ins (or none, if they're Mark Bagley). But I've also enjoyed the different style Victor Ibañez has brought to "Extraordinary" -- will we be seeing more of him?
Ketchum: Victor, is that you asking this question? :-P
I consider myself so lucky to have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the talent staffing the X-Men titles right now... and I'm so happy to count Victor as one of the regular contributing artists. After "Extraordinary X-Men" #6 and 7, you can next find Victor's work in "Extraordinary X-Men" #8 -- he drew a fun back-up story featuring Magik, Sapna and Dr. Strange. And I'm due to have him starting on his next story any day now...
Next up, Nisus has the question that is still on everyone's mind.
Has it been established when the mystery surrounding Cyclops actions will be revealed, or is it a long-term storyline, like the Thor unworthiness?
Ketchum: There's a concrete plan in place.
Speaking of upcoming X-Men books, there is a new "Deadpool V Gambit" series coming in the next few months -- and Purplevit has a question about it.
I am really excited about "Deadpool vs. Gambit." Can we expect to see this mini to be connected with "Uncanny Avengers" in some way?
Ketchum: I'm going to Phone a Friend, Purplevit, and call "Deadpool V Gambit" editor Jordan D. White to weigh in!
Jordan D. White: Nope! No connection other than both being excellent books featuring Wade Wilson. In "Deadpool V Gambit" we're delving into the heretofore unrevealed history between the Regeneratin' Degenerate and the Ragin' Cajun. Turns out they've pulled confidence games together on the side over the years. The last one didn't end well between them, but now they're getting back together for one more score. That sort of thing never goes wrong!
Speaking of things that never go wrong, Kamose1234 has a question about the impending nuptials between Kitty Pryde and Star-Lord.
It's been about a year since the "Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men: The Black Vortex" event concluded and even though Kitty Pryde is currently away from her teammates are there still plans to move forward with her marriage to Star-Lord? I ask not just as a fan of the couple's relationship but also as someone who has mint issues of the previous X-Men weddings of Storm and Northstar and I'm dying to add Shadowcat's marriage to my collection.
Harrington: Let me poke my head into the office next door and see if editors extraordinaire Jake Thomas and Kathleen Wisneski -- the duo in charge of all things Star-Lord related -- want to field this question. Guys?
Jake Thomas: Err, uh... Kamose1234, you might want to sit down for this. Sadly, things haven't worked out so well for StarKat. In the most recent arc of Guardians of the Galaxy we saw that Peter and Kitty had split up in the time jump after "Secret Wars." Both the current "Guardians" and "Star-Lord" books are dealing with the whens, whys, and fallout of the Kitty/Peter split, so if you're curious, you can find the rest of the story there. But if you need a moment to collect yourself, we understand. We miss StarKat, too.
Many X-PO readers are longtime fans of the "New X-Men" characters, and Ambaryerno has something to ask about that generation.
The New X-Men have fought the Purifiers, Reavers, Nimrod, Bastion, and Belasco. They've endured more death and hardship than almost any other generation of mutants as a result of Decimation and its fallout. These kids have done their time and paid their dues, and proven themselves over and over again. So why are they still being forced to wear training wheels? Hellion and Rockslide got dumped in Spidey's remedial class. Anole is back in a training squad once again. Surge, Mercury, and Dust have barely had more than sporadic background appearances. Elixir has died twice (and I'm sure will soon be waking up in the morgue once again before long because of his powers) for shock value. The New Mutants and Generation X have been allowed to grow up and move on to other roles, so when will the New X-Men finally get their turn?
Ketchum: Here's my (very thorough) take on it: For some time now, there's always been a team of "X-Kids." Oftentimes, you can tell when someone started reading the X-Men titles by who they consider that team of X-Kids to be. For me, it was "Generation X" -- and I feel aged whenever one of the younger editors talks about it being the Five Lights from Guardians of the Galaxy But I think, for whatever reason, the "New X-Men" have really stuck...
And I'm pretty okay with that. Because once the New Mutants and Generation X aged up, I feel like those characters were split up and thrown to the winds, only having the occasional stint "on camera" in a book. Maybe it's because we already have so many adult X-Men? What we really need are those kids who lend a different viewpoint and provide different avenues for stories. And what's a school without students? I'm happy to have that be some familiar favorites (Anole! Indra! Trance! Am I the only Trance fan?) rather than just jettisoning them to create new kids to fill that role, even if that means we need to "stunt their growth" a little bit to make that happen.
That said, check out the "Apocalypse Wars" story in "Extraordinary X-Men." The kids are front and center and will definitely be undergoing some changes that will move their stories forward in meaningful ways...
Now that we've heard a bit about the students, MarvelMaster616 wants to know about the villains.
So many of the threats the X-Men face have come from other mutants like Sinister or other super powered beings like the Inhumans. But they haven't really faced any human enemies. Will any of the X-books deal with more human characters in the near future?
Robinson: Human enemies? Like the people that stop in the doorway of subway cars in spite of the passengers that want to get on behind them? The most vile human enemies of all.
Harrington: No, Chris, human enemies -- like humans that walk really slowly on the sidewalk, and then you get stuck behind them and you're late to work and there's no room to go around them and you're desperately trying not to kick their heel because oh my gosh why can't they just move and eventually you're just like "WHY DOES THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRE TO MAKE MY LIFE TERRIBLE." Those are the real human enemies out there. I want Cyclops to fight them.
Ketchum: Or, like, people who describe stories by their endings. They are the worst.
But also, Cullen Bunn has some other human antagonists in his book, ranging from the Someday Corporation thugs we saw in "Uncanny X-Men" #1 to the pundits in the back-up story in "Uncanny X-Men" #6.
Bafflement wants to know if there's any chance we'll see a certain time-traveling mutant again.
Axel Alonso has spoken a lot recently about his desire for more diversity in Marvel books, but one character who certainly hasn't been given a fair go in recent years is the first black male X-Man, Bishop. Any chance we'll see him back in the main X-books soon?
Robinson: Last time we saw Bishop, he was in pretty bad shape. Is a couple years really enough time to recover?
Ketchum: No immediate plans for Bishop, but he is on my wishlist of characters I'd like to have show up soon. Other characters at the top of my list: Banshee, Frenzy and Blink! But not Maggott. Never Maggott.
And lastly this week, ou·tré has a question that looks ahead to "Civil War II."
Now that 'Civil War II' seems to be heating up the larger picture for mutantkind, will any of their former members who have active roles in the Marvel Universe -- like Rogue, Sunspot, Beast, and Kitty Pryde -- find their way into the mutant/Inhuman conflict?
Ketchum: The scope of the "Civil War II: X-Men" story probably won't allow for those particular characters to have active roles in the mutant/Inhuman aspect of it. But they will definitely have parts to play as things escalate later on, considering Beast is the most notable X-pat (yeah, I did it) and Rogue comes face-to-face with the conflict everyday as a member of the Uncanny Avengers Unity Squad.
Thanks to the X-Editors for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, "Extraordinary X-Men" writer Jeff Lemire returns to X-POSITION to answer your questions! Have a question for Jeff? Go ahead and send 'em in via e-mail with the subject line "X-Position". But get 'em in quickly, because the deadline's Friday. Make it happen!