For years, the corporations of the Marvel Universe were content to simply change the world. They left saving it to groups like the X-Men and the Avengers, but that all changed in “All-New X-Factor” #1 by writer Peter David and artist Carmine Di Giandomenico. In the issue, which launched the team into , Harrison Snow, the head of Serval Industries, sent his newly formed team of mutant super heroes into action.
Snow charged the members of his new incarnation of X-Factor — Polaris, Gambit and Quicksilver — with saving the world, but what exactly does that mean when you’re a corporate super team? And how is being part of Serval impacting the individual mutant team members and their dynamic? For the answers to these questions and more CBR News spoke with David about his the difference between his “All-New” and “X-Factor” casts — including the robotic life form Danger, who joined the series in issue #4 — and two other fan-favorite mutant characters who are set to make their series debut in “All-New X-Factor” #6.
CBR News: Peter, let’s start with the end of “All-New X-Factor” #4 where Gambit invites Danger to join the team. What made you want to bring Danger into the series? What do you feel she adds to the book and the overall dynamic of X-Factor?
Peter David: I just find her an interesting character. She has a fascinating power set that enables the crew to approach situations in a totally different manner. She has the personality of an outsider which means that she can be an interesting commentator on whatever’s going on. She is both detached and yet feels the need to be part of a group. And her personality is really something of a blank slate; not a lot has been done with her.
Danger’s invitation to the team comes because of Gambit’s emotional connection to her and throughout these first four issue of “All-New X-Factor” we’ve learned a lot about Gambit’s emotional state since he’s served as the reader’s point of view character. Why did you want kick things off with Gambit’s perspective instead of Lorna’s or Pietro’s? Are you able to reveal if Gambit will continue to be our P.O.V. character moving forward?
He was the best known character, or at least one of the most popular. So it seemed natural to make him a focal character, especially because he was going to serve as the reader’s POV entrance into the world of X-Factor. Whenever you’re introducing readers to a new situation, you want their POV to be through someone who is just coming into it, not someone who has been there the whole time.
Gambit believes that Quicksilver is spying on the team for the Avengers and in “All-New X-Factor” #3 we find his suspicions were correct. Can you talk about why Pietro has agreed to work for Havok and the Uncanny Avengers? Is it because he’s genuinely concerned for Lorna? Is it because his sister Wanda is part of Havok’s team and he feels loyal to it because of her? Or is there another reason? And going into “All-New X-Factor” #5 how conflicted is Pietro about what he’s doing?
I think he’s genuinely interested in Lorna’s welfare. He has recently started thinking of her as his sister, and we all know how attached he was to Wanda. With everything that’s happened between Wanda and Pietro, their relationship is no longer like what it was and I think he sees in Polaris someone who may need him and not even realize it. When the irony is that he needs her far more; he needs to be someone’s big brother. It’s just a defining characteristic of him. But he is indeed conflicted because his first loyalties are supposed to be to the Avengers, and yet the more time he spends with X-Factor the more he becomes attached to them. And it’s going to reach a point where he’s going to have some hard decisions to make.
Let’s talk a little more about Polaris and what’s motivating her. What does being part of X-Factor mean to her? Why did she join up with Serval instead of joining up with Wolverine’s or Cyclops’ Uncanny X-Men? Will we see her initial encounter with Serval? Did they seek her out? Or did she seek them out?
As has been made clear in the book, she feels the need to lead. And that’s not going to happen in any of the other X-books. The question, of course, is whether she really is ready to lead or if she’s been overestimating herself. That’s going to be explored in future issues.
Serval is of course owned by another one of the book’s prominent and interesting characters, Harrison Snow. What inspired Snow’s creation?
Serval was inspired by Google. They started out as a computer search engine but now they’ve branched out into all manner of things, and one of them is super hero-ing. Snow is designed to be a typical genius of such an organization, living in his own world of morality. He will come more squarely into focus as the series progresses.
I’ve been interested in seeing fans trying to determine if he’s good or evil, and they don’t seem to realize that in the real world, people don’t generally divide into such simple categories.
Warlock and Cypher, formerly of the New Mutants, become part of “All-New X-Factor” with issue #6. What made you want to bring them into X-Factor? What do you find most interesting about these characters?
As with any of the other characters, it’s because I find them interesting. Cypher has all these problems stemming from visions of his future self, and they wind up having an impact on his modern day characterization. That’s something I’m going to be playing off. And Warlock has his own problems to worry about, especially his involvement with his father, the Magus, which is going to come into play.
Artist Carmine Di Giandomenico will bring to life those characters and all the action of the next few issues. Which of his artistic strengths do you think will be on display in upcoming issues? Are there any scenes or elements that you can talk about that he did extremely well?
I think Carmine is great. I’ve given him all sorts of situations that he had to depict and he’s done a great job with all of them.
Finally, a series about a corporate super team is bound to have some significant repercussions throughout the Marvel Universe and raise some interesting questions like how will S.H.I.E.L.D. react? Perhaps more importantly, how will Marvel’s other corporations including Roxxon and Cortex Inc. (from “Iron Man” and “Mighty Avengers,” respectively) react? Will we see some of these questions answered in the coming months or will the book’s focus be primarily on the heroic missions X-Factor undertakes for Serval?
At the moment they’re mostly off doing their own thing, but I am expecting that they will wind up interacting with other Marvel corporate entities.
Let’s conclude by moving away from “All-New X-Factor” and on to the other project your fans are eagerly awaiting — your new prose novel, “Artful,” which is out in July. What can you tell us about the book?
I was reading “Oliver Twist” one day and I suddenly started to notice stuff about Fagin. He always dresses in concealing clothing and sticks to the shadows. He never eats. He never drinks. One character actually buys him a drink and he doesn’t drink it. And at one point he’s described as having no teeth save for a pair of fangs. And I thought, “Oh my God! Fagin’s a vampire!” And that resulted in a book with the following title: “Artful: The Untold History of the Artful Dodger, Hunter of Vampyres (And OtherThings.)” I’m very excited about it. We have the Artful Dodger thrown into the middle of a vampiric tale, and his only company are a teen girl named Alexandrina who is, unbeknownst to him, a young future Queen Victoria, and an eight year old boy named Abraham Van Helsing. It’s fun!
“X-Factor” #5 is on sale now from Marvel Comics. Click here to check out a lettered preview of the issue.