In the currently unfolding “Utopia” crossover between Marvel Comics’ “Uncanny X-Men” and “Dark Avengers,” the X-Men are fighting to hold onto their new home of San Francisco and to remain independent of the all powerful and sinister influence of Norman Osborn. How the crossover comes to an end has yet to be revealed, but the final chapter of the story, “Exodus,” suggests the X-Men are going on a journey somewhere and many readers are wondering where. At Marvel’s X-Men panel at Comic-Con International, a hint was given when they announced “Nation X.” CBR News spoke with “Uncanny X-Men” writer Matt Fraction about the storyline.
September is when “Nation X” begins, with two other September shipping specials, “Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Exodus” and “Dark Reign: The List – Uncanny X-Men” laying the groundwork for the story. “They all sort of flow into each other,” Fraction told CBR News. “‘The List’ really acts as a coda piece to ‘Exodus,’ and it clearly sets some stuff up as well. There’s a master road map, and all roads lead to ‘Nation X.'”
“Nation X” unfolds in the pages of “Uncanny X-Men,” but Fraction sees the project as more than just simple a story arc or an overarching plot line. “It’s more of a mandate or a mission statement,” the writer said. “It’s the psychological underpinnings beneath our way of putting the sugar in our coffee and the coffee in the cup.”
Since “Utopia” is still unfolding, Fraction couldn’t say too much as to what the plot of “Nation X” entails, but the writer did offer up some hints. “It’s Scott Summers’ master plan and master stroke,” the writer stated. “It takes us to places we’ve never been before and a couple of places we have been in a coy and clever way.”
With “Nation X,” Fraction and the editorial staff are interested in telling a different type of “Uncanny X-Men” story, both in terms of tone and theme. “There are some superficial similarities, but we’ve never seen this before. A big thing we keep we keep saying to ourselves when we talk about where we’re headed, what we’re doing, and our vision going forth is that we don’t want to keep doing the same X-stories,” Fraction explained. “Like, now the Sentinels are coming to kill the X-Men. Then the Marauders are coming to kill the X-Men. And look! Sublime is coming to kill the X-Men. We want to step away from people come to kill the X-Men stories. So this is the first step in taking the book somewhere it’s never been before.”
Fraction equates moving “Uncanny X-Men” in a completely new direction to walking a tightrope. “You’re fine until you look down, and I start to get nervous when I look down, but at the same time it’s an exciting place to be creatively. It’s like, here we go and let’s see what happens. We’ve never been here before, so you could say it’s a Brand New Day [Laughs].”
The emergence of “Nation X” will also see the return of the X-Men’s oldest enemy, Magneto. Now that the Master of Magnetism has his powers back, many X-Fans are wondering what his agenda, is since the depleted mutant population means a mutant conquered Earth is no longer possible. “Magneto realizes that, and as he says in one of the books, ‘I thought we were mankind’s future and as it turns out we’re their vestigial tail,'” Fraction explained. “So he comes back and he has all the answers. He returns with knowledge that no one else has.”
“Nation X” kicks off in the early fall, but it’s a storyline that will continue to unfold and evolve well into next year and possibly beyond. “This is very much my year two of ‘Uncanny X-Men,’ and possibly three, assuming I’m given a year three,” Fraction said. “Right now I’ve got things mapped out into the 520’s. You often hear the words, ‘all new and all different’ when it comes to the X-Men, and in this case those words have never been so true.”