Have you ever been on the edge of a tornado? Probably not, I’d assume. But if you’ve ever even seen a twister, you’d know it has the power to suck in everything around it, making it even crazier and more dangerous than when it started out.
That’s exactly what “Avengers vs. X-Men” is set to do to the Marvel Universe, and “Uncanny X-Men” is one of several books to set up shop in the eye of the storm. What’s going to happen and how will it affect that which has already taken place “Uncanny?” Well, we’ve grabbed writer Kieron Gillen to see if he can answer questions such as these in today’s X-POSITION! Let’s see which way the wind is blowing!
We’re starting with an X-PO first — a set of twins have written in! Kris and Dennys have lots to say, and I believe their kind words will help double the fun of today’s experience:
Hey Mr.Gillen! Before our questions, we just wanted to say how we have truly enjoyed your take on Cyclops and his team. We love the sense of urgency in every book as well as your intelligent writing which forces us (Dennys more than Kris) to read each book at least twice (with a Webster Dictionary App at the ready). Perhaps most of all, you make us feel intrigued not only with the X-Men, but with their co-stars such as Sinister, Phalanx, the Apex and especially UNIT! I never thought I would say that, but he was so bad-ass! (Vivisections are brutally horrifying!)
Crikey. Thank you! I fear more dictionary-delving awaits us in the future. That’s the problem if you start writing hyper-smart characters like the Apex or UNIT — they just show off.
Here are our questions (we know there are a lot, but it’s coming from twins who worship your “Uncanny X-Men” run):
1) Although we love Magneto and his classic look, do any of his teammates think he needs a new costume so he can blend in more with the X-Men and perhaps move away from his “unsavory” past? Your first issue (the 0.1 issue), you did have PR mastermind Kate Kildare address the issue, but to no avail (apparently). Might this change?
I think the Extinction Team are all powerful enough to realize that critiquing each other’s fashion could lead to destruction on an epic scale. Even Emma keeps her tongue under lock and key. If she said what she thought of Colossus’ juggernaut outfit, Utopia would be sunk beneath the seas.
Actually, for Magneto, my arcs before the relaunch were kind of showing why they ended up not wanting Magneto to change uniform. We start with him discussing a new look with Kate — and we end the last issue of “Fear Itself” with Scott using his presence in that iconic, demonic uniform to underline the threat. His uniform is actually the clearest statement of part of the Extinction Team’s mandate — yes, we’re saving the world…but you should be afraid of us, too.
2) On Marvel’s official homepage, Professor Xavier and Legion are official members of Cyclops’ team. Will we be seeing either of them soon? Legion would be a massive boost to the Extinction team! (So would Xavier, but I’m not sure if he’d want to play a role on this team.)
No current plans for “Uncanny” especially. Xavier and Legion are off doing their thing, but do expect to see them in “AvX.”
3) How close-knit is the Extinction team when they are not saving the world? In your opinion, do they have a bright future as more than just Extinction teammates? Could they become a family of sorts?
Hmm. Maybe, but it’s unlikely. There’s varying levels of friendship between the group, and certainly camaraderie, but it’s of people drawn together to work in an extreme environment more than family. Its fraternal brotherhood in arms of police, soldiers…or even actors, y’know? They’re here for the job. The job is the important thing. And by doing this job, it forges bonds, but it’s possible that it’ll dissolve when the task is completed.
The thing with family books is that they tend to be about the threats coming to them. ‘Uncanny’ is a book about a team that goes to the threats, which tweaks that dynamic a bit.
Well — they go to the threat at least until “AvX,” anyway.
4) Magneto was former headmaster of Xavier’s school and some of his former pupils are on the New Mutants. Do he and the New Mutants have an existing relationship with each other (even off-panel)?
I’d think it likely, at least a little. That said, there’s a lot of water under that particular bridge. I think that after his fall back into villainhood they’d be wary around reforging anything particularly close.
5) Will you address Namor’s feelings about Sebastian Shaw joining Hope’s “Lights” and if he will betrayed by Emma Frost deceiving him of Shaw’s demise? In fact, he joined the X-Men because of this…
Namor explains the current status quo for this in the letters page for “Uncanny” #10 actually.
Speaking of Emma, Renaldo had some questions regarding this lady-diamond in the rough:
1) It appears Sinister and Emma have been given new directions as Emma has not been the same confident mistress since Hope manifested and Sinister seems to be planning something bigger. So will Emma’s insecurity and Sinister’s big-picture agenda unspool in AvX?
Emma’s confidence varies depending on various aspects. What she mainly feels is that she perhaps isn’t getting as much attention as she’d like. Scott is, metaphorically speaking, spending too much time in the office. And Emma is right at the heart of “AvX.”
And Sinister is absolutely key to my “AvX” tie-in issues. Issue #14 is where he starts to show his cards — if only to the readers, rather than the X-Men. You have to remember, he’s the first guy who ever told Hope anything explicitly about the Phoenix. How could that not be important?
2) Colossus has been a mountain of power and it seems his sister feels he may be slipping away. Is his attitude due to his loss of Kitty and/or because it’s difficult to contain the power he has and still remain emotionally stable?
Both are mashed together, but it’s mainly the latter. We’ve seen what happens when he really lets go now. He was frightened before, but now it’s even worse. We get a first person look at what that’s actually like in “Uncanny X-Men” #11. It’s been hell being Piotr, frankly.
3) Any chance of you doing more SWORD-related work? I’d love to see more than just Brand popping up here and there…
You never know, but nothing currently planned. It is good to get UNIT out and wandering about though.
4) Lastly, Loki is beyond compare in your ‘Journey’ title. I have to ask — any chance of Loki and Sinister pairing up in the near future, as they both seem so bloody brilliant?
Heh. That amuses me, but I think it’s pretty unlikely. They’re from very different poles of the Marvel Universe. That said, the arc after “Exiled” in “Journey into Mystery” is currently called “The Manchester Gods,” and is a completely separate kind of riff on the 19th century British Empire-ism that I’ve been doing with Sinister. Maybe that’ll sort of scratch the itch? Or satisfy a desire you’ve never had? I hope so.
In short — buy “Journey into Mystery.”
Marcus Martin has also been enjoying lil’ Loki and wants to know if he’ll be causing any mischief on a grand scale soon.
1) Given his unique way of fixing problems, I wonder if Kid Loki will play a role in “AvX” given his strong ties to the team in his former life (and the fact that he’s in the Avengers movie)?
“Journey into Mystery” is staying away from “AvX” actually, in favor of doing its own enormous things. We’re doing the five issue-mini event “Exiled” in May, crossing over with “New Mutants;” then is what I’ll probably end up calling “The Manchester Gods,” leading to — oh, it’s enormous. I can’t say. But it totally justifies Loki being away from “AvX.” You’ll love it. No, really.
2) While it appears you are focusing on the X-Men villains in the midst of “Avengers vs. X-Men, do you know if someone will be focusing on the villains of the Avengers as this conflict goes on?
I’m afraid I don’t, actually. Sorry!
Darn. We assumed you knew everything! Let’s see how you fare with Time_to_Zap’s inquiries.
1) I loved that you chose Tabula Rasa as the setting for your most recent ‘Uncanny’ arc. It was a cool follow-up from “X-Force.” What drew you to that location as a basis for a story?
In an X-Summit early last year, we were talking about our plans, and during Rick [Remender]’s he mentioned — as an aside — this newly evolved Savage-Land-esque place he was introducing. I just sort of leaped onto it excitedly, throwing a half dozen quirks that the evolution-in-a-day thing could lead to. There was a spirited discussion in the room whether the quirks introduced by doing it basically instantly (so the sky was still forever, and the fast food restaurant just on the horizon was viewed as a heaven, etc.) or in a single day (the people of the day vs. the people of the night!) would be more interesting. By the end of the ramble, I’d pretty much decided that I wanted my second arc to go there.
Basically, it felt like the right thing to do. It folded X-Force back into the Marvel Universe, making it clear that the wiping out of a town isn’t something you just do in a panel and never refer to again. And after Rick introduced this place, I felt it worthwhile to try and populate it and make it a fun location people could use as settings for stories in the future.
Rick and I made sure we were introducing the bits and pieces in the script the other wanted. If you nose in X-Force’s pages, you can see things like the tapeworm people foreshadowed, and generally, we wanted to make a new toy for the MU. A separately-evolved pocket! “Jurassic Park” meets Spore meets Area-51! That kind of thing. Rick and I just like making new stuff up, basically. It was a good opportunity to do so.
2) Will we see any follow-up to Colossus’ alarming physical transformation in the tunnels of Tabula Rasa? Also, why are these things happening to Peter as they didn’t occur when Cain Marko was Cytorrak’s avatar?
Yes, there will be follow up. Things amp up quickly for Colossus now. And while I don’t want to explicitly explain it — its magic and a straight X leads to Y thing undercuts the otherworldly nature — there’s certainly enough down the line for people to put 2 + 2 together. The key scene for that would be “Uncanny 15,” I believe.
3) Now that Emma’s on the mend, will Psylocke stick around in ‘Uncanny,’ or was she more of a temporary substitute?
She’s the substitute. Nine is a big field team, so more permanent staff is unwieldy. However, “substitute” is still an important supporting position. She’s got some important roles to play in my “AvX” “Uncanny” issues.
That’s too bad — nine is the perfect number for a baseball team!
Our final email today is from Chris, who wants to know if someone’s been messing with people’s minds:
Have any of Cyclops recent decisions regarding Utopia or the Schism been influenced by that sliver of the Void that Emma supposedly imprisoned within his psyche? Will that event be explored at all in upcoming issues?
That’s for people to speculate on, I think. The question I’d ask would be…do you need to have a supernatural explanation to justify his actions? It’s not as if there’s been a sudden personality change — it’s been a gradual response to the situation he’s found himself in. And that he’s going out with a telepath does mean that he’s under pretty close supervision. Personally speaking, Occam’s razor would suggest it’s not, but you never know.
And now, it’s my turn for our get-to-know-you question that we like to call “Behind the X.” Let’s see if I can tempt you with the following: the Mega-Millions Lottery here in the states was at its highest ever last week – $540 million. If you won that amount of money, what would you do with it?
$540 million? That’s about thirty five quid in British pounds, isn’t it? In which case, I’d get around to buying the “Game of Thrones” box set and have a fiver left over for a couple of Scotch Eggs and a bottle of Irn-Bru.
That sounds…tasty? Thanks Kieron!
That wraps up today’s X-games, but in one week we’ll be back with “X-Factor” writer Peter David. I know you’re dying to hear more about the mysteries these mutants are investigating, so send me some thought-provoking missives as quickly as you can. Put an “X-Position” in the subject line, and I’ll tell you what Irn-Bru and Scotch eggs are (don’t you just love those Scotts?). See you in seven!