When the New Mutants were formed in 1982, they were told that they were the next generation of X-Men. Over the years, this has proven true as members of the team have joined the Marvel’s premiere mutant team on more than one mission. Recently, however, Cyclops has revealed an even more surprising plan for this group of young adults: he intends for the X-Men’s future leader to come from this team.
Looking at the New Mutants’ current membership, there are several good candidates, including former team leaders and instructors, an ex-Lord Imperial of the Hellfire Club and an ex-Valkyrie. Whoever this future leader will be, they will certainly have their worth tested in the upcoming event, “Second Coming.” The return of the “Messiah child” to the X-Universe will have far-reaching implications, including this newly-reformed group of friends and teammates. Joining us today to discuss these pressing issues and more is the book’s writer, Zeb Wells. Ready for some fun? Let’s get to it!
Trae Middlebrooks starts us off today with some very character-centric questions. Can you help Trae out by giving us some idea of what makes the New Mutants tick?
1) Magma’s motivation for remaining with the New Mutants is a mystery to me. She’s never been much of a team player, and even though these are her oldest friends, she doesn’t seem very close to anyone (except maybe Sunspot). It seems that it’s not so much that she buys into Xavier’s dream, but rather, she has no place else to go.
You’re on to something there, I think. There really aren’t a lot of places for mutants in the world the X-Men live in. You’ve got to “get in where you fit in” (a phrase I made up, so don’t use it). When you’ve got nowhere to go, sticking around and watching your oldest friends’ backs seems natural to me.â€¨
2) Your take on Doug’s power is unexpected and truly inspired. He has become quite formidable, and I like it. How did you come up with the idea to take him in that direction?
I think it came from the idea that we’re all bombarded with meaning in our modern lives. Almost everything we see has some sort of human thought behind it – it is made with intention. I thought if Doug’s power worked by discerning the intention or meaning behind the symbols of language, an advanced version of his power might allow him to “translate” these less obvious symbols around us.
I thought this could give him a cool, other-worldly point of view; because once his power is unleashed, he would start seeing the meaning in everything, not just things that are man-made. The trees of a forest have meaning and some sort of intention behind them, but whatever that may be is alien to the human mind. Pondering what nature means is so captivating because we’ll never fully grasp it. A fence around a car park tells us what it means (keep out!), while a tree looks at us and asks us what it means. Doug knows the answer.
3) Issue #10 was my favorite so far in the series. I love the concept that Cyclops is breeding the next leaders of the X-Men. I did not see that coming, but it makes a lot of sense. How much will this concept factor into the rest of the series, and will Cyclops treat this group differently from the other X-Men because of it?
Cyclops has been using them as soldiers in an army for a while, but after “Second Coming” he’ll be giving them more autonomy. He trusts them and will give them the freedom to make their own way, so that whichever one of them is most qualified to lead will become obvious.â€¨
4) Sunspot is one of my favorite characters, but I can’t help feeling like Roberto is being short-changed in the character development department. Out of all the other characters, he still feels like a one-dimensional hothead/male chauvinist. Will we get to see more sides of his personality in the future and will he be a more integral part of your upcoming stories?
I think if Roberto is getting shortchanged it’s because I feel like I have a handle on him, and I’m trying to explore characters that might be less defined for me. Roberto is so much fun to write, I almost feel guilty if I focus on him too much. I will do better in the future.â€¨
Dabid Kuhrt wants to know more about the fashion stylings of his favorite computer – yeah, you heard me right…
When we last saw Warlock in his solo series in 1999 (and prior to that in the last fifty issues of “Excalibur” as Douglock), he had taken on Doug’s human shape in honor of his friend and his language pattern had evolved to near-perfect English. When he next showed up during “Annihilation” a decade later, he had reverted back to both his original techno-organic shape and “self/query/etc.” dialect.
It seems strange that the character was developed as Douglock for half a decade and then totally reverted back to his older character. Will readers ever see any kind of backstory or exposition explaining why Warlock changed so drastically between appearances?
For me, it makes sense that the Douglock persona would serve Warlock well while he was on earth, but would be less useful on his home planet. I think of it as Warlock “going native” on earth, then reverting back to his previous culture when he returned home. Now that he is back on earth, he has no more reason to honor Doug’s memory, for obvious reasons.â€¨
As long as the continuity police have been put on alert, SDG had a query:
1) I’m really impressed by your use of continuity – you’ve really shown that you know the characters (well, I think so anyway). However, there is one continuity issue that has raised a bit of a red flag for me and I was hoping that perhaps you could clarify it. When Doug died he was only about 15 years old as I understand it. So how come he appears to be an adult now? He should have come back as a 15 year old, logically speaking, right? Is it to do with the T/O virus? Has it somehow developed his body as well as his powers?
I’ll try to explain this without being patronizing, but scientists have proven that the human body continues to grow for five years after death, so if you do the math it all makes sense.
That’s not true, you say? I just made that up? Your opinion, SDG.
Seriously though, the T/O virus did physically change Doug, and with Doug’s power over its code, it may have responded to his subconscious desires to be slightly larger and “manly.”
Or it could just be a matter of artistic interpretation of the character…U-DECIDE!â€¨
2) A slightly unrelated question, but still Doug-centric (you can probably tell he’s my favorite New Mutant): will you be revealing what it was that Doug said to Amara in order to win her trust in issue #9 at any point?
No. Doug was speaking in a language he had constructed just for Amara. None of us would be able to understand it. â€¨
Really? I thought he whispered, “The ending of ‘Lost in Translation’ drove me nuts!”
Moving on, Iceman06 is curious about guests and costumes. What do you say?
1) With Wolfsbane and Warpath leaving X-Force, will you (please) incorporate them into your regular or supporting New Mutants cast? What about other characters with ties to the team like Boom-Boom, Skids, or Husk?
I wanted to answer this question, Iceman, but then I thought about adding another character to the eight I’m juggling now and I started weeping spontaneously. You know how when you cry so much you actually get a headache? That’s totally me right now.
I would still like Wolfsbane to stop by at some point, though. â€¨
2) When will the New Mutants get individual costumes like the (other) veteran X-Men? Will you establish signature colors and costumes, or reuse those from the characters’ pasts (e.g. Cannonball in purple and blue, Sunspot in red)?
I can’t give you an issue number, but I’ve always planned for their costumes to get updated at some point. The artist will have much more say than I will in the new designs. If you saw how I dressed, you would not want me designing anything you had to see – ever.â€¨
Hm, I don’t know. I liked your fashion sense in this video.
Our good friend Joshua Hetherington wraps up the day for us with a barrage of queries – Josh, fire away!
1) Will Moonstar ever get some form of her powers back again (and keep them)? I was so happy when she got repowered by Hela, but less than an issue later, it went away…
I like her depowered. I didn’t think I would, but I like what it does to her dynamic with the rest of the team. If it’s up to me, she won’t be getting them back any time soon.
Was that answer your greatest fear come to life? Her powers don’t seem so fun anymore, do they?
2) When will we see the Limbo Army make their move? It’s been a year since Illyana came back, so shouldn’t it occur soon?
That’s a good point, I guess. Fine, we’ll do it in “New Mutants” #15. â€¨
3) Can we please have Pixie and Magik duke it out? I’m really sick of seeing them appear on the same panel, talk, and act like they’re friends.
Chris Yost is going to deal with their relationship in a little tale he’s calling “X:-Men: Hellbound,” shipping concurrently with the “Second Coming” event. You should check it out.â€¨
4) How big will the New Mutants role in “Second Coming” be? It’s been stated in solicitations that Cannonball and Magik will be featured in the “Hellbound” miniseries, and that Cypher will be a key figure in the plan to take down Bastion. Will anybody else play an important role?
Nice try, Hetherington. I’m the one who told you about “Hellbound,” so don’t be all talking like you know more about it than I do.
The New Mutants will be throwing themselves against the unending wall of bad that is coming the X-Men’s way in “Second Coming.” Warlock will have a moment in Chapter 4 that will shock you.â€¨
Awesome! And now it’s my turn with a “Behind the X” question. As long as we’re talking about “shock,” let’s see how you fare with this: what is the most exotic/obscure thing you’ve ever eaten and what were the circumstances?
I had piranha right out of the Amazon River once. And if you’re wondering, piranha doesn’t taste very good.
That concludes today’s exciting escapade, but we’ll be back next week to talk about mysterious mutants (with a side serving of noir) with “X-Factor” writer Peter David. Read up, write up, and send me those questions just as soon as you can. And if you throw an “X-Position” in the subject line, I’ll try to post our next gathering in 3D! Hurry and send those emails now!