Recently, the X-Men have been extremely busy with the event known as “Necrosha.” The premier mutant team has had their hands full battling formerly deceased colleagues and nemeses (whilst trying to avoid joining the land of the dead themselves), and now, Marvel’s merry mutants need a rest…but they’re not getting one.
Following their reunion with the dearly departed, the X-Men are preparing for a return – a “Second Coming,” as the pending event is so titled. The mutant baby Hope is returning from her three year trip in the timestream; however, she’s no longer a baby and her arrival signals something big in the X-verse. How big? We don’t have a clue, but writer Mike Carey (“X-Men: Legacy”) probably has a good idea. Let’s throw a few questions his way and see what we can discover…
A good way to begin is with these kind words from WhitePhoenix. Let’s see if these help us to ply the secrets Mr. Carey holds within his head…
You’re brilliant! That is quite simply the best way to put it. I’ve collected comics for years, have numerous encyclopedias on Marvel’s history of the X-Men, and I would fancy myself a connoisseur of all things X-Men. And honestly, your handling of the history of the X-Men is astounding. You not only are able to recall seemingly random bits of historical context from years long since gone, but your ability to fit them into current storylines continues to amaze me.
Thanks again for keeping “X-Men: Legacy” full of tight storylines, neat endings for loose threads, and being an overall great guy. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. Now that I’ve said that, I’d like to ask you some questions:
1) I’m a huge fan of Matt Fraction and his ability to commandeer and control so many X-Men characters in “Uncanny X-Men,” but I find his writing quite different from yours. Although both you and he are very enjoyable to read for different reasons, I was wondering why you’ve chosen to use a smaller number of X-characters in your stories and how you decide which characters to use?
Thanks for the vote of confidence, WhitePhoenix. I’m really glad you’re enjoying the books. Plus, I’m forwarding your email to Nick with a request that he double my page rate!
In terms of casting, one of the big changes in the X-Men books over the last few years is a huge increase in diversity. All the front-line books now – and all the satellite books too, for that matter – have a unique take on the X-verse and a unique flavor. Coming out of “Messiah CompleX,” when Rogue’s X-Men team imploded, we saw the opportunity for a new approach which would rotate different solo characters into the spotlight, while at the same time drawing on the full range of X-Men continuity and X-Men rosters. As you know, we started with Professor X and have now come back around to Rogue. It seems to be a formula that works, and it’s immensely enjoyable to write.
As with X-Men back when it was both adjectiveless and suffixless, I tend to choose characters on the basis of two things: best fit for the story and personal interest. I try to use characters who I think I can voice effectively, but I also try to keep in mind how personalities (and powers) will interact. Picking a team to go up against Proteus was crazy fun.
2) With “Second Coming” coming up (no pun intended), I know you have to be pretty tight-lipped about the comings and goings of the different characters in all the X-titles. But I’m wondering, in the post-“Second Coming” era, will you still be writing “X-Men: Legacy” (if it’s still called that), and if you are, will you continue to keep to a smaller roster or might you be taking on characters from some of the other X-books?
The short answer would be both. The core cast will continue to be small and select, but you can expect appearances (and not just cameos) from many major mutants.
Prodigial is all about the process. Maybe you can assist him by shining some light on yours, Professor Carey.
1) I am wondering if you can give some insight as to the process of writing action with all the different artists you work with. Do you know who the artist is going to be beforehand? Do you keep in mind what these artists can do? Or do you just write what’s needed and hope for the best?
I always know who the artist will be, Prodigial, and I usually try to reflect that in the scripting. Obviously you get the best results after two or three arcs, when the creative team has bedded in together (gardening metaphor, not a revelation about our love lives). But to some extent, you can play to an artist’s strengths from square one if you know their stuff.
The Empath arc was always going to hinge on creepy atmospherics as much as on character and action, and having Daniel AcuÅˆa on art allowed me to play that to the hilt – weird settings, quirky and slightly sinister period detail, chiaroscuro, the works. With Clay Mann on the “Necrosha” arc, I opened up and put in some spectacular battle scenes, because he choreographs action so beautifully. The story has its own momentum and its own logic, but you can still consciously use what the artist brings to the table.
2) Rogue was hinted to have a close friendship with Cannonball during her early days at the school. Any interest in expanding on this?
Returning to it, yes; expanding…it depends what you mean, really. I think Rogue counts Sam as one of her closest friends and confidants among the X-Men. I’m not convinced that could ever turn into a different kind of affection. Way back in “X-Men” #188, she described Sam and Bobby as “solid gold.” That’s how you’d describe a really good friend who you know will always be there for you. It doesn’t suggest that her feelings for him run in a romantic direction. Of course, having said that, as some French guy said, “the heart has its reasons.”
Joshua Hetherington has a suggestion about another pairing with Rogue. What do you say?
1) With Ms. Marvel’s series cancelled, could we possibly see Rogue have a reunion with her former opponent?
That would be a cool beat to write, Joshua, but I’d probably want to steer clear of it for awhile. We had Rogue fight “Dark Ms. Marvel” in “X-Men: Legacy,” and we also revisited some of her earlier encounters with Ms. Marvel pretty extensively in the “Salvage” arc. I’d want the dust to settle on those scenes first.
2) I’ve been meaning to ask – just how many of the Marauders lived after “Messiah CompleX?” And will any of the Marauders be making appearances during “Second Coming?”
I’d say most of them are still out there, in varying degrees of battle-fitness and varying mental states, but we’re not going to be revisiting them in “Second Coming.” The narrative focus is somewhere else entirely.
3) Why did you choose to kill off Destiny again? Why would Cypher be able to stay in the land of the living, but Destiny couldn’t?
Cypher was a special case, of course, in that both Warlock and Magik were involved in breaking him free from Selene’s influence and allowing him to become an autonomous entity again. But that’s only part of the answer, obviously, because it would have been possible to arrange some similar confluence of events and influences for Destiny. So the other half of the answer is that we thought the story – and the character interactions – felt better served by this ending.
The point, for us, was never to bring Destiny back into continuity. It was to kick-start this plot and then to play out its human and emotional implications in the codas. Having Destiny just say “And now I’m home” would have felt wrong in the context of the story we’d just told.
Chrissstopher also wants to know about Destiny. Maybe you could tell us what the future holds in store…
You also wrote a great scene between Rogue and Destiny, which was awesome to see (but too bad Destiny had to go). Also, you gave us a great reveal about Destiny’s connection to Blindfold, but can you give us any clue about Blindfold’s brother? Do we know him already?
Hi Chrissstopher! No, he’s not a character we’ve already met. He’s a character I’d like us to meet in the future. His nature is very different from his sister’s; his powers are not a million miles away from hers, but…nasty.
Taimur Dar wants to see more of Blindfold (ironically, Blindfold thought the same thing when she stood in front of a mirror this morning)…
1) Will Blindfold continue to have a role in “X-Men: Legacy?”
Intermittently, Taimur. As with all the younger mutants, the aim is to have a rotating cast with Rogue as the lynchpin.
2) If you were given a chance to bring a character back during “Necrosha” and keep them around, who would you have wanted to bring back?
I always have mixed feelings about resurrections. I’d say Moira. It would be hard to do it so it felt right and satisfying, but it would be so cool to have her around again.
Speaking of things you’d like to do, UncannyScott had a query for you:
1) Is there anything that you have wanted to do in “Legacy” thus far that hasn’t worked out because of things happening in other X-titles? What do you do with those kinds of unused ideas?
Not in “Legacy,” Scott. Back when we were just “X-Men,” I had a story idea involving Cassandra Nova, but it would have been right up against Joss’s story in “Astonishing,” so there was no way it could happen and make sense. I think that’s the only time we’ve been stymied in that way. Normally what I do is to find a different way into the story, and that’s what happened in that case: it became the “Condition Critical/Red Data” arc, rewritten to take Cassandra out of the equation.
2) Using past continuity to build upon characters is something you are well-known for during your time on this title. Is there any area from the X-past you haven’t touched yet that you really want to delve into at some point?
Hmmm. Good question. Okay, this is a small point, but I’ve tried a few times to bring Professor X’s relationship with Sage into the mix, but those scenes have always ended up on the cutting room floor because of space or story logic. I’d like to have got that reference in, but I’m not sure I’ll ever find the right confluence of circumstances.
Irma Cuckoo is interested in the technical aspects of mutant abilities (and wants to test your knowledge of video games, apparently).
Could Bling’s powers theoretically work the same way Marrow’s does? Would she be able to accomplish the feats Marrow did in Marvel vs. Capcom 2 game?
You mean, making specialized bone weapons? I’m not sure, Irma. I wouldn’t rule it out, but it would be a long way down the line. Bling’s power manifests itself in a much more explosive and uncontrollable way.
Our last email of the day comes from Rajiv Mote, who’s hoping you might have some dark desires that you’re willing to share with us.
You have a knack for writing creepy villains like Sinister and Emplate. What other villains would you like to get your hands on? I’d love to see your take on the Dark Beast, this world’s Sugar Man or – with “Legacy” now focusing on the young mutants – a revamped Nanny and Orphan-Maker with a credible back-story…
I loved writing Dark Beast for “Endangered Species,” Rajiv – two Hanks together made for some great moments. Beyond that…I’ve never written Mojo and Spiral (well, I put Spiral in a couple of panels once) and that would have a lot of appeal for me. It would also be great to bring the X-Men up against Doctor Doom again.
And now, it’s time to go “Behind the X” and have you reveal a little fun fact about yourself that X-fans might not otherwise know. Today’s captivating question is…what were your favorite cartoon shows to watch while you were growing up?
Oh, man, that would be a long list. I was always a cartoon addict. Probably the earliest I can remember watching regularly was Marine Boy, who chewed Oxy-gum so he could breathe underwater, and had a dolphin called…I don’t remember. Flipper, or Nipper, or something. By modern standards, it was crude fare with lots of static shots that used camera zoom and pan to give the illusion of movement, but it was sci-fi and it was on TV so I loved it, in the same way I loved “Lost in Space” and “The Outer Limits.”
After that…well, the Hanna-Barbera stable, which in those days would have been the Flintstones, Top Cat, Scooby-Doo and so on. For some reason, I never saw the Jetsons. Then there were a bunch of 70s shows that I watched but felt I was already getting too old for – Hong Kong Phooey, the Hair Bear Bunch, Funky Phantom and so on. Tom and Jerry was always a favorite.
Also, in the UK at that time, there was a show called Disney Time; they’d broadcast it on all the major public holidays. It was a collection of clips from Disney movies, and since the cinema wasn’t a big part of my childhood, that was the only form in which I saw them. Oh, and the cartoon bits of the Banana Splits – the Arabian Knights and the Three Musketeers. And Ali Bongo’s Cartoon Carnival. I was a cartoon junkie…
Ah, childhood memories. Unfortunately, little Hope from the pages of “Cable” was never able to experience such animated bliss. How has this impacted her journey to adulthood? Well, why don’t you ask “Cable” writer Duane Swierczynski, as he joins us for next week’s X-POSITION.
Just think up several interesting and mind-bending questions, type them up, and send them my way just as soon as possible. Putting an “X-Position” in the subject line will make you my most favorite X-POSITION-ite ever – I’ll even try to get you a pack of that Oxy-gum Mike Carey mentioned! (Hm, I wonder what kind of flavor it has.) See you in seven!