When a person wages war their focus tends to narrow. They often see things only in terms of their side and their enemy. All other factors and points of view are not as important as your allies or your enemies, which could be a fatal mistake, especially if one of those perspectives belongs to the ruler of an intergalactic empire, or the most powerful telepath in the world.
This is what’s happening right now in the Marvel Universe as two of its premier super teams prepare to go to war over how to handle the impending threat of the destructive cosmic entity known as the Phoenix. The conflict will be chronicled in “Avengers Vs X-Men” a 12-issue miniseries by an all-star team of Marvel Comics creators, the first issue of which is on sale right now. In our final installment of WHEN TWO TRIBES GO TO WAR, CBR’s in-depth look at “AvX,” Senior Editor Nick Lowe, whose office oversees the X-Men titles, and Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort, who handles the Avengers family of titles, join us for a chat about the roles some powerful and currently non-aligned characters will play during “AvX.”
If you’re just joining us feel free to catch up on our past installments where we look at team loyalties, the four generals of the conflict, the heavy artillery style characters, and how the power of telepathy may affect things. We’ll wait, but hurry back! We can’t promise this week’s unpredictable wild card characters will behave!
CBR News: From reading the “AvX” preview and the “Marvel Point One” anthology, it’s clear that a member of the Nova Corps plays a role in this story line. What can you tell us about this Corpsman? Is this Richard Rider returned from being trapped in the Cancerverse? Or is this a new Nova that we’re meeting for the first time?
Tom Brevoort: Sorry, can’t tell you a thing — apart from the fact that he’s the featured character in the “Avengers Vs. X-Men Infinite Comic” #1, which might give you some insight into the answers you’re seeking.
A Nova Centurion’s primary duty is to protect life, correct? So how would they initially view the conflict between the Avengers and the X-Men? Would they get involved? Or might they try to solve the problem of the Phoenix on their own?
Brevoort: As the “Point One” story and the “Infinite Comic” #1 both indicate clearly, this Nova is a native of Earth, so he’s got a personal stake in the Phoenix being on this trajectory, apart from what the Nova Corps might mandate in these circumstances. And regardless of any of that, the Nova Corps really hasn’t been much of a going concern since “Annihilation,” as more or less all of the other Corpsmen that Rich Rider empowered were either depowered or lost in the Cancerverse battle in “Thanos Imperative.”
Gladiator is a ruler so he often has to view things with a big picture perspective, but he’s also a fairly heroic man and has a son on Earth. What can you tell us about his initial feelings once he learns the Phoenix is headed towards Earth? Is he conflicted or does he instinctively know what to do?
Nick Lowe: First, Gladiator has his fair share of Phoenix experience and most of it bad. You’ll see a lot of this in “Wolverine & The X-Men” #10, and then more in #11 and #13. Basically, there’s a lot of Mr. Mohawk coming. Anyway, the Shi’Ar Empire has some specific plans in place should the Phoenix return and you’ll see these in motion pretty quick.
Gladiator has fought against and alongside both Steve Rogers and Cyclops. Does he respect one more than the other?
Lowe: After what Cyclops went through with Jean and her Phoenix experience he has a heck of a lot of empathy for Scott. He respects them both quite a bit, though. I’d give the edge to Cyclops, but not by much.
THE IMMORTAL WEAPONS
We know Danny Rand AKA the Immortal Iron Fist has a role to play in this story, but what about the other Immortal Weapons?
Brevoort: K’un Lun and the mythology that it’s a part of definitely has a key role to play in “Avengers Vs. X-Men,” so it’s not impossible that one or more of the Immortal Weapons might be making an appearance at some point in the story.
In the past, the Immortal Weapons have stood together, but they each represent a different city and have very different perspectives. Can you comment on their initial reactions to the Phoenix? Is the group going to act as a whole? And will they necessarily side with Danny Rand?
Brevoort: Well, none of the Seven Immortal Cities are on Earth proper — they’re just connected to Earth through a mystic portal. So it all kind of comes down to just how concerned the Immortal Weapons might be that the Phoenix consuming the Earth would have an adverse effect on their own turf: they may be quite content to sit things out and to let nature take its course.
At the end of the recent “X-Sanction” miniseries Cable was incapacitated, but still very much alive. Can you hint at his role in upcoming story lines? Is it possible Cable will be a player in “AvX” or have we seen the last of him for awhile?
Brevoort: Cable came back in time with the intention of preventing the scorched-out future he saw with his own eyes that would result if the Avengers prevented Hope from fulfilling her destiny. And he delivered a revelation to Cyclops about what he saw and what he experienced that will definitely have an effect on Scott’s mindset during “AvX.” That said, that was a war he didn’t expect to survive, so it’s as unthinkable to him as anyone that he’s still around to witness what’s to come. And if his daughter or the future were in jeopardy again, despite the fact that his body hasn’t completely finished healing itself yet, he might very well have the strength of will to get up out of his convalescent bed and fight on one last time.
If Cable had to choose between the cause of mutants as a species and his daughter, the mutant messiah Hope, would that be a tough call for him? Or do you think he’d know which side to choose right away?
Lowe: Cable is going to do what he thinks is best for the world and life as we know it. It’s less about mutant/human to him as it is for safeguarding the whole world. His vision of Hope as salvation is key to that.
Brevoort: Fortunately, the evidence that he’s seen indicates that protecting his daughter and protecting the future of mutantkind amounts to one-and-the-same. But if he had to choose, I expect that’d be heartbreaking for him — and I expect he’d do the right thing despite the personal cost to himself. It’s what he’s always done in the past.
One of the reasons Hope bought into her role as the mutant messiah was to give Cable’s death some meaning. So I’m wondering if the knowledge that her father is alive has affected her commitment at all to that belief?
Lowe: Cable is a huge figure in Hope’s life, for sure. I would say that knowing he’s alive is a factor, but not the biggest. Not only have there been a lot of things pointing her in the messiah direction, but there are specific things that she is feeling pointing her at her destiny with the Phoenix. So it might be something that gives her a bit of pause, but not a ton.
Brevoort: I think that there’s been enough other evidence of the specialness of Hope’s destiny — not just the Five Lights but everything up to and including Hope purging her dying father of the Techno-Organic Virus that had been eating him alive almost since birth — for her to have a genuine belief that something big is in the cards for her regardless of the fact that Cable has turned up alive once again. On the other hand, now that Cable is alive again, maybe Hope doesn’t want the responsibility.
We know that Professor X plays a role in this series, but it’s been awhile since we’ve seen him in a major way. Will readers find out what he’s been doing in the interim when he appears in “AvX?”
Brevoort: Yes, in the briefest of ways. We don’t spend a lot of time with Professor X before he enters the narrative directly.
I don’t recall seeing much interaction between Hope and Xavier, but I do recall one scene between them where they had a discussion and Xavier walked away with a seemingly bad impression of her. How does Xavier feel about Hope going into “AvX?”
Lowe: I would say that Hope walked away from her interaction with Xavier with a more negative impression than he did of her. I don’t think he really knew what to make of her other than a rather unusual child.
Brevoort: If I had to take a guess, I suspect he sees her as a cheap parlor trick, a placebo for mutants to hang some hope for the future on rather than face the grim reality of their situation. And individually as a person who’s been pushed into representing something that she had no responsibility for, and who may not be up to the challenges and temptations of that role. But really, I think Charles is thinking more about the students (and rivals) he more directly worked with.
Lowe: Like most things, I disagree with Tom here. I don’t think Xavier sees Hope as an sort of placebo or parlor trick, but as quite a strange child that he doesn’t quite understand. Much like when Cable entered the scene and didn’t fall right into Xavier’s way of doing things. She makes him uncomfortable and he wishes that he had more time to speak with and study her a bit, I’d presume.
Post-“Schism,” we’ve seen Xavier interact with Wolverine, but we haven’t seen him with Cyclops, at least not to my knowledge. Can we assume Xavier supports Wolverine and not Cyclops, or are his feelings a little more complex than that?
Brevoort: I think you’ll have a full and rounded understanding of his feelings by the time we reach the midpoint of “Avengers Vs. X-Men.”
Lowe: Cyclops has made his feelings on Xavier very clear pre-“Schism,” so Charles has mostly been honoring Scott’s wishes of separation. I think it’s fair to say that he wouldn’t look on Scott’s current M.O. with much favorability.
Mar-Vell is a man of many perspectives. During his original heroic career he had to look at things with regards to his adopted home world of Earth, his Kree home world, and the cosmic big picture. Will that be an easy thing to do for him when he makes his return in the middle of “AvX?”
Brevoort: I think that Mar-Vell will be as conflicted as he ever was between his duty to his people — both natural and adopted — and his understanding through the Cosmic Awareness of what the right thing to do at any moment might be. He was trained as a soldier and on some level would like nothing more than to go back to being a guy who carried out orders to the best of his abilities, but his circumstances have changed that. Even before his death and rebirth, he came to stand for something greater, and something that demanded greater things of him.
Can you comment on the circumstances behind Mar-Vell’s return? Will they affect and/or inform the role he plays in this story line?
Brevoort: Again, not too much I can say here at this point, apart from the fact that Mar-Vell’s return is brought about directly by the situation with the Phoenix.
CBR News would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Nick Lowe and Tom Brevoort for all their help in putting this feature together.