Spoiler Alert – The following interview contains major spoilers concerning the end of “X-Men” #207. You’ve been warned.
|Preview art from “X-Men: Legacy.”|
People often wonder how much impact one man’s dream can have upon a world. If the dreamer is a man like Charles Xavier, the answer is a tremendous amount. Xavier’s dream of a peaceful and cooperative co-existence between humans and mutants lead to the creation of one of the Marvel Universe’s most enduring and beloved superhero teams, The X-Men.
Now in the wake of “Messiah CompleX,” the epic multi-part X-books crossover which wrapped up yesterday, Charles Xavier will embark upon a quest to examine how his dream has affected both the past and the present. Xavier’s quest is detailed in the pages of “X-Men: Legacy,” a new series that takes the place of the adjective-less “X-Men” title, but keeps its old numbering. CBR News spoke with “Legacy” writer Mike Carey about the series, which kicks off on February 27th with issue #208.
Given the events of “X-Men” #207, the climatic chapter of “Messiah CompleX,” which saw Xavier shot in the head, some may be wondering how he can star in his own series, but Carey advises readers to pay careful attention to the last panel on page 29 of that issue. “No, you’re not crazy. Xavier’s body has gone missing,” he told CBR News. “And it looks like nobody has immediately noticed. Something very strange is going on there.”
Carey couldn’t reveal what exactly is going on in that mysterious panel and the following page, which fades to black, but “X-Men: Legacy” begins almost immediately after those events, spinning directly out of “Messiah CompleX.” “The crisis we find Xavier in at the beginning of the book is the result of those closing scenes,” said Carey.
“This is a story that looks in the rearview mirror while still traveling forward,” Carey continued. “I mean that in the broader sense. We’re putting the past into the context of recent events and things do change. We’re not taking a trip down memory lane; ‘Legacy’ launches from the past and into the present in some very unexpected ways.
“Most of the past events we’re looking at are canonical. There are revelations, but they’re about things we already know; things which are already out there on the table.”
In addition to looking at famous past events, “Legacy” will check in with stories from the X-Men’s history which may have been forgotten. “There are some things over the years that have been left open and unfinished,” Carey said. “We’re going to go back in and sort of finish them or at least move them forward.”
The events Xavier examines in “Legacy” aren’t just from the pasts of teams he’s lead or worked with. The series looks at the history of all the X-teams past and present, even those Xavier may have had a smaller role in.
While looking backward may be occasionally fun and informative, Xavier has an ultimate goal for his exploration into the X-Men’s past. “He’s searching for something,” Carey stated. “We define what he’s after in the opening arc and move forward from there in a number of different ways.
“Initially we’ll see him with the Acolytes and with Omega Sentinel,” Carey continued. “And then a major villain from the X-Men’s past appears at the end of the first issue to put the cat among the pigeons.”
The characters that Xavier crosses paths with in “Legacy,” be they hero or villain, will all appear for very specific reasons. “It’s not going to be people jumping out of the woodwork trying to attack Xavier because he’s weak,” Carey remarked. “Again there’s an over-riding purpose to these encounters, a goal he’s trying to achieve.”
That journey Xavier takes will eventually lead him to one of X-Men fans’ favorite couples. “We briefly glimpse Rogue in the first arc,” Carey said. “But it’s not until the second or third arc that Gambit and Rogue become essential to what’s happening.”
Charles Xavier is the only regular cast member of “X-Men: Legacy.” All the other characters will rotate in and out of the book, but as Xavier’s investigation into the past progresses, it will start to stir things up. “Once they realize what he’s doing and see how they fit into things whether for good or ill, we’ll start to see characters seeking Xavier out,” Carey explained. “So initially it’s Xavier’s agenda driving things but that will change as things move forward.”
“Legacy” will put Xavier into contact with many X-Men, but not all of them will be happy to see their former mentor. “The series begins with Xavier both physically separated from the X-Men and not reconciled with them,” Carey said. “I think the breech that’s opened between them is one you that you can’t imagine will be healed quickly or easily. But this is also a series that changes the status quo and ultimately we’ll look at the various teams of mutants he’s taught. And we’ll move those situations forwards in fairly significant ways.”
A rotating team of artists, which initially includes John Romita Jr. and Scott Eaton, will help Carey bring “Legacy” to life. “I think because we are telling a story that spins out of 40 odd years of real time and that sort of takes in the whole of X-Men continuity, to do the book throughout in one consistent style would seem to be chimerical,” Carey explained. “‘Legacy’ needs to be done in a way that reflects the range of interpretations that the X-Men have had over the decades. There needs to be a richness and diversity to it. You can look for explorations of different eras to have different styles, but we’re not talking straight homage.”
“X-Men: Legacy” is a book which will reward readers of “Messiah CompleX,” but it’s also a book that’s friendly both to new readers and long time X-Men fans who may not have picked up a book in awhile. “It stands on its own,” Carey stated. “You can come to it without knowing what was going on prior and still get the gist. I’ve spoken to a couple of people who have approached it from that angle and haven’t balked at it.”
“X-Men: Legacy” is an ongoing series which will continue for the foreseeable future. Carey already has the first year of Charles Xavier’s adventures nailed down and they’ll shake the X-Men’s corner of the Marvel Universe to the core. “There will definitely be positive and negative fallout from what Xavier is doing,” Carey said. “People will be pulled in and there will be a range of reactions and feelings. Expect to revisit a lot of iconic moments and iconic characters, but also expect some surprises and revelations.”