In order to realize X-Men founder Charles Xavier’s dream of peaceful co-existence between man and the Marvel Universe’s mutant population it’s vital that the next generation of X-Men learn to control their powers. Even more important is the instruction given to the adolescent mutant population that aren’t quite cut out to be members of the X-Men.
In the current Generation X series writer Christina Strain and artist Amilcar Pinna chronicle the tumultuous misadventures of these young, misfit mutants and the instructors tasked with teaching them — Jubilee and Chamber, two grown-up members of the original Generation X lineup.
Things are about to become even more interesting and complex at the Xavier Institute, because in current and upcoming issues two more members of the original Generation X will return: one as an instructor and friend, and one as a very hungry foe. CBR spoke with Strain about these two returning characters, the romance blossoming between her cast members; and the horror movie feel of the upcoming Legacy arc, “Survival of the Fittest,” where original member M (who has merged with her vampiric brother Emplate) will stalk the students of the Xavier Institute.
CBR: So Christina, one of the most interesting relationships in this series has been the one between Benjamin Deeds and Nathanial Carver. It seems like they’d be great for each other if Benjamin could get over his paralyzing self-doubt.
Christina Strain: I know, right?! If one of them would just make a move already, they’d be adorable.
Ben’s 95 percent positive that Nathaniel feels the same way about him, it’s just that 5% of doubt that’s crippling– which is something I think most people can identify with.
What made you want to bring these two closer together?
I knew from day one what I was going to do with Ben and Nathaniel. Because Ben’s awkward and unsure about everything but his sexuality and Nathaniel’s powers automatically complicate any sort of romantic life he could want, I had an opportunity to write a gay relationship that was complicated by character rather than sexuality, so I knew had to do it. So then it was just a matter of growing them organically by creating situations for them to help each other overcome their weaknesses by highlighting their strengths. And I’m glad to know it’s working!
Quentin Quire tried to help bring Ben and Nathanial together in his own Quentin sort of way.
He did! And up until now, it was probably the nicest, most selfless thing he’s done.
What’s your sense of Quentin? It seems like a certain part of him wants to be heroic and possibly kind, but he also has this self-absorbed manner he uses to keep people at arm’s length and sabotage himself.
My sense of him is basically that. Quentin’s obviously changed a lot over the last several years, but as a person who’s recently adopted a child, rereading Morrison’s New X-Men was surprisingly painful. Learning you’re adopted as a teenager over the phone… I mean, that’s super messed up. So I get why he’s a kid who’s full of unresolved hurt, anger and total fear of intimacy. If he never actually needs anyone, he can never be disappointed/hurt by anyone. So for me, it was really important to take Quentin back to the thing I thought he needed the most, and that was family. Which is really what the X-Men are, ultimately: The family you choose.
Nathanial and Ben don’t seem to be the only blossoming romantic relationship in Generation X. Is it just me reading into things or is there some chemistry and feelings going on with Chamber and Jubilee — and Eye Boy and Nature Girl as well?
Oh, you’re not wrong. There’s definitely something going on between Chamber and Jubilee. As for Trevor and Lin… maybe? Maybe not. Not saying yet.
Will romance continue to be a subplot moving forward in Generation X?
Oh, for sure. Because romance is my favorite thing to write. And I’ll be overly honest, if I could cut down on the superhero antics, and mostly just write all the drama that happens before and after the fights, I’d be so happy. Like, I wish I had the page real estate for scenes like Benjamin cutting Quentin’s hair as he listens to Quentin’s Idie problems, or Roxy and Mercury dragging Nathaniel out to a drag show, or Trevor and Nature Girl debating freeing the pets from a pet store, or Chamber having to babysit Shogo because Jubilee’s off doing something with the class– I mean, can you imagine? Because I can. And it sounds like heaven.
In issues #8-#9, M returns to the book. What can you tell us about these issues? Will we get a chance to see things from her perspective when she returns?
You will! And it’ll lead up into Legacy. And that’s all I’ll say for now.
You further pave the way for Legacy in issue #8 by welcoming another original Generation X member, Husk, back to the series. What’s it like writing Paige Guthrie? What do you feel she adds to the book?
She’s great. Paige was actually a big influence for me in my approach on how to write Roxy, because I see a lot of similarities between them. And then, because of her previous experience as a counselor and the trauma her secondary mutation put her through, it just made sense to me to put her in a position where she could sort of act as a sort of ghost of Christmas future for Roxy.
The other thing I love about Paige is the friendship she provides to Jubilee. They’ve had each other’s backs for years, and that’s not about to change.
What can you tell us about the tone and action of the upcoming “Survival of the Fittest” arc that kicks off in issue #85? The solicits suggest that this will be a fun, almost sort of horror story. Is that a fair way to describe the feel of the arc?
Yes. That actually is a really fair way to describe the tone of the arc. I don’t want to say too much about the plot, but there’s definitely a “trapped in a horror movie” feel to it. There’s a fair amount of duck and cover + fighting to protect each other going on. But then again, since it’s me writing it, you can bet your bottom dollar there’s a bit of humor and “feels” mixed in through out.
It looks like Amilcar Pinna is returning to the book for these next few issues, correct?
Yes! Amilcar is providing the pencils and inks for issues 8-9 and 85-87. And then Felipe Sobreiro is once again providing the colors for everything.
Amilcar works his tuchus off on this book. He’s game for anything and excited about everything. He’s just a dream to work with. And the same goes for Felipe — especially over Amilcar’s line art. The other thing is that all art teams take a few issues to really click together, and I think issue #8 is where we all clicked. It’s seriously been a really long and stressful year for me and the pages that these two have been turning in have seriously given me the energy I’ve needed to keep going. So basically, they make this book possible, because without them, I’d be in bed sleeping rather than writing.
Finally, how big of an arc will “Survival of the Fittest” be for the kids of Generation X?
Preeeeetty big. Let’s just say that there will be some pretty significant changes for several members of our crew. Husk, Chamber, and Monet will definitely have a significant role in “Survival of the Fittest,” as well.
I want to thank everyone who’s read Generation X. This book has basically been my love letter to the X-Men, for everything it meant to me as an awkward outsider growing up, and I hope that’s coming through. I know it was a really weird idea to populate a book with lesser-known characters, but I really wanted to illustrate that even the weirdos matter, so if we made even one person fall in love with with one of them, then I feel like we’ve done our job.
Generation X #85 is scheduled for release on Dec. 20. Generation X #9 (the last issue before the Marvel Legacy renumbering) is on sale now.
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