Thanks to the world-altering nature of Marvel’s massive “Secret Wars” event, readers have been able to revisit modified versions of dozens of previous storylines and realities all summer long. Unlike quite a few of those “Secret Wars” series, however, the new “Age of Apocalypse” series has a writer that also served as one of the architects of the book’s namesake event — Fabian Nicieza. And in addition to a return stint on “AoA,” Nicieza will be returning to the gun-totin’ and riff-filled world of Deadpool and Cable in a new digital-first Marvel Infinite Comic titled “Deadpool & Cable: Split Second.”
This week, “Age of Apocalypse” and “Deadpool & Cable: Split Second” writer Fabian Nicieza returns to X-POSITION and answers your questions about everything from Battleworld’s altered AoA to Cable’s future in the Marvel Universe and his original plans for Adam-X, the X-Treme!
CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, Fabian! Let’s kick things off with a few “Age of Apocalypse” questions, beginning with two from Derek.
“Age of Apocalypse” is really one of the most iconic comic book stories and it really finished with a sense of finality in that closing shot. Despite this, it has been revisited to varying degrees of success since it was originally penned. Given how you originally ended it, what made you want to revisit it yourself this time round?
Fabian Nicieza: I wouldn’t have accepted the assignment if I’d been told it was a continuation of the original story, because I consider that a story that was intended to be complete unto itself. But when [former X-Men] editor Mike Marts told me it’s a parallel timeline that is co-opted onto Battlworld, that opened up opportunities to do different things within the context of the foundations of the original.
There are some notable changes from the Battleworld version of the “Age of Apocalypse” to the original version. One is the change in the role of Emma Frost as an X-Man as opposed to the lobotomized member of the Human High Council. What made you want to re-tool Emma’s role?
I think she has had such a prominent role in the book over the last 20 years since “Generation X” that it made more sense to have her as part of the X-Men’s foundation in this new AoA. Plus, because of Jean Grey’s condition in this current storyline, I needed another powerful telepath to make aspects of my story work.
Emma’s not the only character with a changed status quo in “AoA,” as Jiraiya points out with their question.
With the SW “AoA,” I kind of liked the Gambit retcon — though I was sad he was dead, I found Rogue missing him quite touching. What was the thought behind this change in the world’s lore? Was it to create a fresh tone in this world? Also, what changes did it allow you to make to the characters that interacted with him?
I knew there was absolutely no way I’d be able to fit all the characters from the gajillion issues that was the original “AoA” into a 5-part story, so I had to either ignore or cull (or both). I chose to kill Gambit because the entire side story of “Gambit & the X-Ternals” from the original story was made moot by the Battleworld status quo. So… having him be dead at the time of this story makes for a lonelier, more isolated Rogue, which played better for the “cornered rats” approach to the surviving X-Men.
I also did not want Rogue to be married to Magneto in this new story, since I always hated that with a capital HATED THAT in the original. I disliked the entire Magneto/Rogue “relationship” as an original reader, much less a writer, so in the new “AoA,” I got to create more logical pairings for each of them.
Next up, MiddlePegasus has a question about a character that may or may not have a part in the series.
Love the reintroduction of Adam-X — or Adam Neramani — as Burner. I was a big fan of his back in “X-Force” and I love seeing him again. What made you reinvent the character in this way and bring him back?
I don’t know what you are talking about and neither will you until issue #5.
And the answer is: the original “AoA” did an excellent job of re-visualizing many characters, including Sunfire and Cable (as X-Man). I thought it would be fun to drastically re-imagine another “minor” character from back in the day.
You’re also returning to two characters you either helped create or define — Deadpool and Cable. GrumpSnow has a question about your mindset going into “Deadpool & Cable: Split Second.”
Considering how continuity heavy Deadpool and Cable are, especially how much has happened to them since the end of “Cable & Deadpool,” how did you go about streamlining both of them down to fit into a self-contained limited series?
Not worrying about trying to cover every single aspect of seven years worth of publishing in one six-part digital exclusive comic. There’s honestly no real need to do that. The status quo of the characters can be pretty easily summarized to the point you need to be for the story to begin, and away we go!
Was it hard to cut down to their cores after such a long time away?
Getting back into their flow took me less time than it took to right this sentence. Both characters very much come from specific parts of my brain and personality far more so than I would expect they do from any other writer out there, so accessing those parts of my brain are not very difficult at all.
Marcus has a question about Deadpool and Cable’s changed dynamic.
Given where Deadpool is at in his comic book career — father, husband, “friend” to Wolverine and Captain America and now an Avenger — will or could that make Cable feel a bit jealous given that everything is coming up Deadpool’s way and his own life just plain sucks?
Although I don’t know if “jealous” is the right word, because Cable’s not that kind of guy. Brooding, sad and melancholy might suit him better.
Kamose1234 wants to know if you plan on expanding Deadpool’s supporting cast with the “Split Second” chapters you have.
In the last “Cable & Deadpool” series you introduced one of Deadpool’s most popular supporting characters: Bob, Agent of Hydra. Even though this is a limited series, will you be introducing new characters that you intend to become an integral part of Wade’s life beyond “Split Second”?
No. Bob and I are still too upset over how that all turned out to even contemplate exposing ourselves to that kind of hurt. I mean, seriously, “Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra”? Bob would sue if he could afford an attorney.
And on a similar note, Drakeon wants to know if one of Cable’s supporting characters will appear in the series.
Any chance we can also see what’s up with Irene Merryweather? Always enjoyed the staff of Providence.
The scope of the series and the story we were telling doesn’t leave a lot of room for too much “side stuff.” You might get a quick sneak peak at Irene, but it will be within the context of a lot of aspects of Cable’s past and future lives.
Before the announcement of “Split Second,” Cable was missing from the Marvel landscape. Jackraow21 wants to know if “Deadpool & Cable” will change that.
So…with regards to Cable, I’ve gotta ask — can you drop any hints about what’s next for him after the “Split Second” mini-series? It’s tragic to me that he’s not currently on any teams. Thanks.
I cannot drop any hints whatsoever, because I haven’t been told very much (or asked too much for that matter). I know where he will appear but not how or why. I was asked to bridge the status quo between “X-Force” and his next appearances and stabilize aspects of his power, so that’s what I’m doing.
I’m sure wherever he winds up, he’ll be the same, chipper, happy-go-lucky guy he’s always been!
Next, Matt D has a question about the themes you’ll be addressing in “Split Second.”
Your “Cable & Deadpool” run was fun, but it also tackled some big themes. “Burnt Offering” stands out in that regard. I know the upcoming mini has been promoted for its zaniness mainly, but will there be any of [serious themes] as well?
I’m sure we’ll figure out a way to sprinkle some serious stuff in there. The irony is that in this story, Deadpool is the more stable one while his partner and the villain of the piece are the ones who are coming unhinged!
And lastly, BlitheringToot has a hypothetical to throw your way.
Fabian, you’ve had a long and prolific history with the X-franchise. Are there any characters you haven’t had a chance to work with yet, or are there any others — like Cable and Deadpool — you’d especially like to revisit?
If you are asking only in regards to the X-Universe, other than knowing I could write Cable and Deadpool together for 100 years without running out of steam, there are plenty of other characters or character combos I have wanted to toy with.
X-Treme/Adam-X will always be a character that “got away” and not being able to convince the powers that be to do a miniseries was one of the top five most disappointing missed chances in my career. His appearances in print up to that point hadn’t done justice to what I wanted to do, but that was my own fault as much as anyone else’s. I had, what I felt, was an excellent story to tell about a very interesting character that expanded the Shi’ar/X-Universe in a compelling way, plus I had a great artist, Jeff Johnson, ready to tell the story with me.
Thanks to Fabian Nicieza for taking on this week’s questions!
Next week, “Deadpool vs. Thanos” writer Tim Seeley makes his X-POSITION debut! Have a question for Tim? Go ahead and send ’em in via an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. But get ’em in quickly, because the deadline’s Friday. Make it happen!
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