Every month in Marvel Comics’ ongoing “X-Men Legacy,” writer Mike Carey chronicles the adventures of the power absorbing mutant known as Rogue and the work she does with the next generation of X-Men. Currently, the X-Men are embroiled in a crossover adventure where the forces of the techno-organic organism known as Bastion are threatening to make this current generation of mutants the last one by executing the possible mutant messiah known as Hope. This crossover adventure is titled “Second Coming” and is the third chapter in a trilogy that began with a 2007 storyline titled “Messiah CompleX,” and continued in 2009 with “Messiah War.” “Legacy” #235, in stores now, is the fourth chapter of “Second Coming” and the first time the book has crossed into the epic storyline which will see Carey pen two more installments before the saga is complete. CBR News spoke with Carey about his work on “Second Coming” as well as his plans for “X-Men Legacy” once the crossover wraps.
“Second Coming” has been in the works for a while, and Carey is excited that fans are finally getting the chance to read it. “It feels like the culmination of everything that we’ve planned since I came on board the book, which is like four years ago now. We were talking about ‘Messiah CompleX’ then,” Carey told CBR News. “That was in the immediate aftermath of ‘House of M.’ We always thought ‘Messiah CompleX’ was the start of a story that would culminate in ‘Second Coming.’ So this is a payoff that we’ve been building towards since forever and it’s fantastic that it’s finally out there. And I’m happy that’s it’s been getting such a positive response. Everybody seems to be on board for it.”
Normally, “X-Men Legacy” features Rogue and her interactions with several younger and/or veteran X-Men, but because of the way “Second Coming” is unfolding, Carey has been given the opportunity to pen several X-characters that he doesn’t normally write on a regular basis. In “Legacy” #235, for example, he wrote a number of scenes with the New Mutants. “That was great. In some ways it was a huge blast from the past, because the “New Mutants” book started when I was a regular reader and addict of the X-books. I followed it right from the start, and now here are all those characters back again, all beautifully voiced by Zeb Wells. It’s a wonderful team dynamic. I’m particularly fond of Cannonball, but I love them all. So that was wild.”
By the time “Second Coming” reaches its conclusion, Carey will have written several more characters that he doesn’t normally tackle. “I got my hands on X-Force, which was very cool. I got some Psylocke moments, and I always love writing her. I’m also going to write some more stuff with Cypher later on in the storyline,” Carey stated. “Basically, the cast gets so shaken up in the third act, particularly; everybody is on stage at the same time. It’s insane.”
Despite his expanded cast, Carey has continued to focus on his main protagonist in the “Legacy” chapters of “Second Coming.” In fact, the events of “Second Coming” are of direct importance to Rogue, because during”Messiah CompleX,” Rogue’s powers were transformed to something that was slowly killing her and driving her insane. Hope, who was just a baby at the time, somehow healed Rogue and restored her sanity. At the end of “Messiah CompleX,” the infant was taken to the future to be raised by Cable. Much time passed for her there, as she’s now a teenager, but for Rogue and the rest of the X-Men, it seems like it’s only been a few months since Hope was taken to the future.
“I think Rogue is very much aware of what Hope did for her,” Carey explained. “Even though Hope was just a baby at the time and didn’t particularly will it or mean it. Nonetheless, it was Hope’s intervention that saved Rogue’s life and sanity and there’s no way that Rogue is going to forget that. So, obviously, there is a deep connection between them, which isn’t quite psychic – Emma can’t sense or define it – but it’s real.”
Rogue’s sense of obligation means that she will do all she can to protect Hope from Bastion and his anti-mutant forces, and her newfound control of her mutant power puts her in the perfect position to do that. In “Legacy” #235, she turned herself into a veritable one mutant army by absorbing the powers of several of her teammates. “It may seem like there’s no downside to Rogue’s powers, but there is one – we just haven’t seen it yet,” Carey revealed. “But yeah, Rogue is formidable. She’s able to choose how much power she can take. She’s able to take it without incapacitating the people she’s borrowing from, so she’s a huge asset to the X-Men right now.”
Carey’s next chapter of “Second Coming” arrives in stores on May 19 with “Legacy” #236, a story that will take place primarily on the X-Men’s home base of Utopia and is chapter eight of “Second Coming.” After that, the writer returns with “Legacy” #237, which is chapter 12 of “Second Coming.” It’s a story that will take place both in the present and the future. “Those are kind of the main beats of those two issues, but there’s a lot of cutting back and forth across all of the issues because we’re dealing with a huge cast spread out across time and many different locations,” Carey remarked. “The action is also heating up. That sounds like a weird thing to say after the breakneck pace of the first act, but it’s true; so with so much going on in all these different places, it’s absolutely relentless.”
Finally, on July 8, Carey and his fellow X-writers and artists bring the “Second Coming” storyline to a close with “X-Men: Second Coming” #2, a special bookend issue. “My story in the issue is a chapter in the larger whole – it’s like one thread in a tapestry. The way we planned things, this is the coda to ‘Second Coming.’ The climax will come in chapter 13, and then after that in the second book, we have not an epilogue, but a playing out of emotional and relationship beats: the fallout from these events for all the characters involved. There’s some very important stuff and one killer reveal,” Carey said. “My chapter is about Rogue and Hope. It’s about Cable. It’s about Cyclops and to some extent it’s about the younger mutants. The story has implications for what’s coming next in ‘Legacy,’ but it’s very much paying off of some of the key beats from ‘Second Coming.’ Most of the story looks backwards and then at the end we look forward to some cool stuff.”
Later in July, in “X-Men Legacy” #238, Carey kicks off a new four part storyline titled “Collision,” which takes place in India. “It’s a story that has Rogue, Magneto and several of the younger mutants going back with India, to Mumbai, where [Indra has] been called home by his family, because he has some important family business that needs to be taken care of,” Carey revealed. “While they’re there they have to investigate some very weird stuff that’s going on in the city.”
The dynamic between Rogue and Magneto will be one of the important elements Carey explores in “Collision.” “I think both of them are incredibly strong personalities, and you have them in a situation where there is an emotional imbalance. Magneto has what appears to be a romantic interest in Rogue, but it’s still unclear. Perhaps there is more to it than that,” Carey remarked. “And on Rogue’s side, there’s an intense feeling of caution and wariness because she’s been here before. She was attracted to Magneto at one time, but that was a long time ago and she was a different person. But he’s still a powerful and charismatic individual, and to have that kind of will and persona focused on you can be a little bit disconcerting.”
The young mutant Indra’s powers, faith and family situation will also be explored in “Collision.” “He’s a Jainite, and yet he’s named himself after the god of war. Plus, he’s got this power that we now realize allows him to generate not just armor, but weapons as well. He can generate weapons out of the air, but he can’t use them because the Jainite faith is the most pacifistic faith in the world. Followers aren’t even allowed to kill insects. Stepping on a bug is considered to be a sin. So that’s definitely a strand in this story,” Carey said. ” This is also a story about family relationships. We get to meet Indra’s mother and father, and we get to see his brother, although we don’t see very much of him because he’s in a coma. One of the themes in this story is about family obligations and how far you can go in terms of subordinating your own desires and instincts for those around you. It’s a story about both rebellion and conformity.”
The supporting cast of “Collision” will be rounded out by familiar faces, both villainous and heroic. “It brings together the surviving members of Alpha Squadron. So Indra goes to India with Loa and Anole, which is kind of cool,” Carey remarked. “Also, it reintroduces some X-villains from recent times that I’m very, very fond of. So when the big bad is finally revealed, there will be some cool moments that I’m looking forward to writing.”
Rogue will be spending most of her summer and some of her fall in India before Carey kicks off a new “X-Men Legacy” storyline in November. “Immediately after ‘Collision,’ we have a story which centers on Hellion and plays out some of the consequences of the things that happen to him in ‘Second Coming.’ He won’t be the only focus, though,” Carey revealed. “There will be some other characters as well. I’m hoping to bring Omega Sentinel back in, who we haven’t seen since ‘Legacy’ #226. I think will be cool to revisit her.”
Where Carey takes “X-Men Legacy” after the Hellion story is still being worked out, but one thing is certain: the writer is having the time of his life with the title and hopes to have a good long run on the series. “At the moment this is a dream ticket because I love Rogue as a character and I love writing team dynamics,” Carey said. “And the way I’m writing Legacy right now, it kind of gives me carte blanche to invent a new team with each arc.”