After 262 issues, “X-Factor” shut its doors earlier this month, bringing the incredible run on the series by writer Peter David to a close. During his stint on the title, David brought a whole new take on the mutant team by founding X-Factor Investigations, with a roster of recognizable mutants that banded together to solve mysteries that regular law enforcement just couldn’t handle. David also took Layla Miller, the girl “who knows stuff” from “House of M,” and turned her into an invaluable part of the investigative team — who ended up married to Jamie Madrox after spending her adolescence in the far-flung future following “Messiah CompleX.” Moreover, readers finally got a chance to see the writer’s “Hell on Earth War” in action — an event that traced its origins back to the writer’s time on “Incredible Hulk” and ended with Guido Carosella (AKA Strong Guy) as the Supreme Hell Lord.
Following the final arc of the series, which checked in on all the team’s members in the aftermath of “Hell on Earth War,” David joined X-Position to answer reader questions about his significant tenure on the series, including his selection of roster, where the characters ended up and more. Plus, he teases his upcoming project hinted at during the final “X-Factor” arc and possible plans for his former cast.
Peter, thanks so much for taking on this week’s questions.
Happy to do it. First, I want to say how appreciative I am of all the good wishes, both for my work and also questions about my health. I’m feeling fine and am very excited by my next project.
Let’s jump right in. Taimur Dar is back with some questions about Jamie and Layla’s life post-X-Factor.
The last time we saw the birth of Jamie Madrox’s child, things took a turn for the worst. Do you plan/hope to revisit Jamie Madrox/Layla Miller with the birth of their child in a future project or are you happy leaving them where you left them?
At the moment I’m happy to leave them as they are. I mean, I could easily write a book about their adventures on the farm, but it would likely bore the hell out of everyone except me.
Two of my favorite villains introduced in X-Factor were the Isolationist and Damian Tryp. Can we expect both of them to have some sort of role in your next Marvel project that you’ve teased?
Tryp, no. The Isolationist, maybe.
Speaking of that upcoming project, any chance of continuing those awesome recap pages with the blurb at the end about something in your life?
Swashbuckler wants to know more about the fate of Feral and the Isolationist.
Swashbuckler here! Â I was just curious as to if you had any plans for Feral that were scrapped. Â I was really hoping she’d pop up in Hell on Earth War, but alas. Â Do you think she found her way back to the land of the living?
Also, whatever happened with the Isolationist? Â He was working with Jezebell and then… nothing.Â Just another lost plot? He’s such an interesting X-Villain, and with new mutants popping up, you’d think he’d be more irritated than ever.
I’m answering both your questions together. Both Feral and the Isolationist were originally going to factor into the Hell on Earth war, but as the story developed and also I wound up with a few less issues to play with than I originally thought, both of them had to be sidelined. I’m really frustrated by that.
Derek kicks off his questions with a query about Polaris’ behavior.
1) I found the psychology of Lorna’s behavior in 260 very interesting. It was easily one of my favorite of the entire run. Part of me felt at least subconsciously she was trying to put herself in a situation were she’d punished or even be killed due to guilt of surviving when so many others have perished in incidents like her parents’ crash, “Hell on Earth War” and the Genoshan Genocide. Survivors guilt often affects other people that save lives like firefighters and doctors etc. Is it fair to say in that issue you were exploring that survivors guilt from a superhero perspective? Was she trying to kill herself?
I would say that planning her own suicide by cop was definitely on her mind. She kept wavering about it, literally changing her mind from one page to the next depending on her alcohol content. If Quicksilver hadn’t shown up, she might actually have let the cops shoot her.
2) Obviously whatever project you’re going to start you won’t be able to take all the characters with you. Are there any places you’d like to see them go?
I’d like to see them wind up in “Uncanny Avengers.” That’s a high profile title and it’d be nice to see them get some play.
3) The treatment of gay relationships in comics is obviously something people feel very strongly about. You’ve been writing one of the longest standing ones, if not the longest standing gay relationship with Rictor and Shatterstar in Marvel Comics yet there has never any hint of even a proposal in a time where nearly every prominent gay character has been at least temporarily engaged. As one of the pioneers of writing gay relationships in comics what’s your take on the treatment of them in modern comics? As a gay man myself, sometimes I wonder if writers’ personal politics prompt them to prematurely progress characters to that next level before the characters are ready. I wonder does that really promote equality? Shouldn’t it always be about what’s organic for the character? Sorry, loaded question but I think it’s a worthwhile one.
I definitely think it should be organic to the characters. I didn’t have Rictor and Shatterstar get married for two reasons. First, I thought it simply wasn’t right for them. There was too much else going on with them to be able to commit. And second it was because, frankly, I was worried that it would seem that I had outed them purely for political reasons. That rather than it just seeming right and modern, I was doing it in order to provide a means of commenting on gay marriage. In terms of modern comics, I guess my only issue would be the seemingly high mortality rate among gay characters. That’s one reason I promised years ago that I’d never kill off Ric or Star.
Justinian is up next with a question about the mystery follow-up project.
PAD: I hope everything is going well with your recovery. It was nice to see Quicksilver again, you always write him so well and it was especially nice to see him interacting with Lorna.
For readers that read X-Factor in the past, but moved on, why do you believe they should give your new title a try?
Well, for two reasons: First, if they liked my writing, they should stick with it. Second, one hopes that my next endeavor will feature a character or characters in whom they have an interest.
Dabid K. has a few retrospective questions about “X-Factor” as a whole.
Congratulations on one of the best and longest runs in recent comic book history with X-Factor! It shall be greatly missed. I just had some quick questions on how things wrapped up in the series and things that did (or didn’t come to fruition):
1) Was the final arc always planned to play out in the manner/speed that it did? Some of the characters’ resolutions (particularly Trip) were wrapped up in a manner that seemed rather abrupt.
I actually wouldn’t have minded expanding it an issue or two more in some cases, but we eventually decided that six issues was going to be it for the final storyline, so that’s what I stuck with.
2) One thing we never saw ever during the entirety of X-Factor or the most recent New Mutants series was Wolfsbane reaching out to her childhood quasi-family of New Mutants Dani Moonstar, Cannonball and so forth — not even after her first love (Doug Ramsey), who died for Wolfsbane, was resurrected. Was it deliberate that Rahne never reached out to her first love (Doug Ramsey) or her other New Mutants comrades during your run on X-Factor?
Pretty much deliberate. The book’s called “X-Factor.” I felt it simply served the character and title more directly if her involvement was as largely focused on other “X-Factor” characters as possible.
3) Guido becoming the supreme king of Hell was a rather huge development for the entire Marvel Universe, but we haven’t seen it reflected yet in any other comic book. As Guido being a rung above Mephisto and Hela is a pretty huge deal, is Guido’s new status quo something Marvel editorial was on board with and that you’ve heard will be addressed/dealt with in future Marvel comics?
They were definitely on board with it, and I’m told that a writer is already working on a story or storyline involving Guido and his new position.
Thank you for all the years of X-Factor Investigations! It was a real dream come true for fans of your original X-Factor run!
.AÂ² is back with some questions about the approach to “X-Factor” and one of his favorite moments from the series.
First and foremost I’d like to congratulate you on your ongoing recovery, and thank you for all the fun I’ve had reading X-Factor over the years. It was always the title I most looked forward to, and already I miss it terribly.
It’s unprecedented for a run to last uninterrupted under a single writer for as long as X-Factor did. This luxury allowed you to experiment with a long-form storytelling approach. I really appreciated how various subplots would be teased out over time, and re-reading older issues with a Miller-esque knowledge of what’s to come, it’s astounding how well disparate elements all clicked into place. The downside of this approach however is that some threads are left dangling (like the nature of Madrox’s powers, the network of
X-Factor teams in Tryp’s future, and the role of the Isolationist in the Hell on Earth War). Are there any unresolved plot lines you’d liked to have done more with?
Yeah, there were. For instance, as I said above, I expected to do more stuff with the Isolationist and he kind of got squeezed out. I’d also like to check back in with the X-Cell. But I never really had the opportunity.
You mentioned your anguish at parting with these characters after having them inhabit your mind for so long. What do you feel have been your greatest and most successful contributions to Marvel’s mutant canon while in service of them?
I’m not trying to weasel out of the question, but I really feel as if that’s not my question to answer. It’s up to the readers to decide what my most successful contributions are. For instance, it never would have occurred to me from my first run on “X-Factor” that my best contribution was a three page scene in “X-Factor” #87 in which Quicksilver talks about what it’s like being him. But it’s twenty years later and everyone, including the guy who’s playing him in the upcoming X-film, remembers it. That’s really for the fans to decide.
There’s been much controversy over the contradiction between the assimilationist stance Havok is currently exhibiting in Uncanny Avengers, and his apprehension at the prospect of becoming an “Uncle A-Tomic” while leading the governmentally-sponsored X-Factor. Having played a major role in shaping the politics of his identity, what are your feelings on the recent developments in how Havok sees both himself and mutantkind as a people?
I think it’s in his nature to always feel conflicted about something. He has a code name to live up to.
Can you give us any clues about your upcoming project? (I’m desperate for more Val Cooper). Are you not tempted to create new mutants now that you can? (The Nasty Boys are still much beloved).
I can tell you that Val isn’t in it. Sorry. We’ll be announcing specifics of it at the New York Comic Con, so be there!
Mittleloss has a quick message and a few questions for Peter.
Dear Mr. David, I feel I have to say a big thank you and massive congratulations for X-Factor, a series that for almost eight years has interested, entertained and utterly surprised me, through good and bad times. It would be a lie if I said that I didn’t at many points feel I had been reading something very special relative to other books, seeing the very “human” moments these characters have had and the journeys they have taken over the years. I am now a solid fan of many of them, when it 2005, I was not. I also feel I have to stress, that as a fan of Polaris, that in the past couple of years you have done great work with the character, particularly during ‘Breaking Points’, and that you’ve bought past aspects of the character together to give her a strong personality. I look forward to the next series. I suppose I should ask some questions…
1) I adore Rictor and Shatterstar. Have you any remaining plans for Rictor and Shatterstar in mind? Or do you feel that for now your story line with them or either of them has wrapped up?
There are actually whole directions I could do with them. Probably something involving time travel would be fun. Hmm. Maybe I should suggest that.
2) Should we expect any reactions to the recent changes for X-Factor among the X-Men or other notable figures from the marvel universe?
As I noted earlier, someone is already making plans with Guido. And I read somewhere that someone’s already snapped up Monet. So I guess we can expect it, yes.
Special thanks to Peter David for taking on this week’s X-Position!
Next week, Jason Aaron returns to X-Position to answer all questions about his recently-concluded Hellfire Saga, as well as the current status of “Wolverine and the X-Men” in the “Battle of the Atom” crossover. Got a question for Jason? Send your questions over via e-mail with the subject line “X-Position or in a 140 character question via Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!