The X-corner of the Marvel Universe is perhaps the one most densely populated by superpowered characters, and of its denizens, the most important is arguably Charles Xavier, better known as Professor X. While Charles may not be the most popular mutant in existence, he was the founder of the X-Men, a team he formed and taught in order to prove to the world that man and mutant could co-exist peacefully. Fighting for his dream meant Xavier had to make many sacrifices over the years, as well as keeping a number of secrets. During his life and continuing after his death, a number of those secrets, many of them painful, have come to light, and each time, Xavier and/or his X-Men have dealt with them together.
This July, when the X-Men founder’s secret last will and testament are uncovered in “Uncanny X-Men” #23, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Chris Bachalo, the team members that make up Professor X’s legacy find themselves having to decide how to interpret and act upon the secret document. Editor Mike Marts spoke with CBR about the issue, which kicks off the series’s tie-in to Marvel’s “Original Sin” event.
CBR News: Many of the “Original Sin” tie-ins feature the characters dealing with the discovery of long buried secrets. In the “Uncanny X-Men,” the characters are dealing with the previously unknown about Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier. What can you tell us about what’s contained in the will? And when was it written?
Mike Marts: Timing is everything when it comes to the X-Men. With such a complex history and intricate, overlapping family trees, it’s sometimes difficult to see where the past ends and the future begins. Such is the case with Xavier’s Last Will and Testament. I can’t say too much now about when it was written — but the timing of the writing of Xavier’s will does play a large part in the secret discovery that is unearthed during “Original Sin.”
What does it mean for Cyclops to uncover the will of his deceased mentor? And is this something that his faction of the X-Men will share with the other teams?
Cyclops stands to be shaken most of all by the secrets of the will. As Xavier’s first student — and the man responsible for his death — Scott Summers is very much at the epicenter of all Xavier did and created as headmaster of the X-Men. Suffice it to say, when the details of the will are revealed, Cyclops and his team will be affected in a major way. It’s an event that will immediately impact the entire X-Men line–not just Cyclops’ team, but all of the squads. Expect friction and fireworks!
So the divisive lines between the two factions are going to get even stronger?
Yes, that’s a strong possibility. It could drive some of the squads further apart, and even cause dissent within certain squads.
Is this arc primarily about the reading of Xavier’s will and the secrets it holds? Or are there other things going on as well?
There’s a few other things going on. We’re still following the repercussions of the X-Men’s fierce battle against S.H.I.E.L.D. and everything that happened there with Maria Hill. We’ll also be following the storyline of Mystique and Sabretooth and what they’ve been up to. And expect Dazzler’s role in the X-books to take a dramatic change towards the unexpected.
So this is the point where a lot of the various storylines that have been simmering start to boil over.
Artist Chris Bachalo continues his run on the book with this story. What can people expect from his work on this arc?
Brian Bendis is asking huge things of Chris on this storyline, but fortunately he’s up to the task and is the perfect artist for the job! People who have enjoyed Chris’ expansive, panoramic shots and unique page layouts are in for a treat. Chris is handling art chores for one of the issues in this story and the other installment is being drawn by Chris Anka.
This story is something that Brian’s been building to for a long time and it’s the culmination of a lot of converging plot elements. At the same time, it’s also the beginning of a whole new era for the X-Men. This is going to be a turning point for the entire line.
Is this perhaps, then, the start of the build up to the next big X-Men event?
Quite possibly, yes.