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Charles Soule Talks the Astonishing Return of Charles Xavier

What's it like bouncing Xavier off the rest of your cast? Which character dynamics have you especially enjoyed writing in "A Man Called X?"

X isn’t the only return in Act II of Astonishing X-Men. We also see the resurrection of a villain we haven’t seen in X-comics in almost a decade, someone who was known as Mutant X back in his day. So, the question here is whose story is this, really? X, Mutant X -- or someone else?

We also can’t forget that X returned by taking Fantomex’s body, and converting its substance into his own. Fantomex’s consciousness currently resides on the astral plane – he’s attempting to be something like a “kinder, gentler Shadow King.” So, lots of changes, lots of tension, and writing the rest of the cast react to that has been a blast, especially people like Mystique, who never trust anyone.

Approximately how much story time passed between the end of Act I and the beginning of "A Man Called X?" What can you tell us about the inciting incident of the story and some of the action?

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It’s all picking up right away. The story is falling dominoes, one after the other. My plan from the start was to write a series that felt breathless, paced so you could barely process one revelation before the next hit you. The inciting incidents for “A Man Called X” are the return of Xavier in his new form, and then the return of this new villain. Those two things and how they connect form the spine of Act II.

Astonishing X-Men 7 Proteus returns
Proteus returns in Astonishing X-Men #7

Let's talk a little bit about the returning villain you've hinted at. He makes his appearance at the end of Astonishing X-Men #7. Mystique identifies him as Proteus AKA Kevin MacTaggert.

Now that the issue’s been out for almost a week, I think I feel comfortable just saying it, despite my teases above –Yes, the new, returning villain is Proteus. He’s the super-powerful mutant son of Moira MacTaggert, with the ability to warp reality and possess bodies. He has put the mutants through their paces many, many times in the past, and I want to take him to a new place. I think X-fans new and old will really enjoy it.

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