For several months now, writer Mike Carey has used his ongoing Marvel Comics series "X-Men Legacy" as a vehicle to reexamine the past of Charles Xavier and the titular team of mutants he founded. Xavier's probe of his past comes to an end in this month's "X-Men: Legacy" #225, so it's time to start looking at the present and the future. In September's "X-Men Legacy Annual" #1, Carey and artist Daniel AcuÃ±a kick off a new present-day direction for the book. CBR News spoke with Carey about what readers can expect from the special issue and the series.
When the long-running "X-Men" title morphed into "X-Men: Legacy" with last year's issue #208, the book followed Charles Xavier's solo quest to come to terms with and recover his past after an assassination attempt left him with amnesia. Xavier's journey has come to an end, but that doesn't mean "Legacy" will go back to being a team book. The series will now follow the adventures of one of Carey's favorite X-characters, Rogue.
"We have one solo protagonist, but that doesn't preclude us from bringing in a very big, varied, and rich supporting cast," Carey told CBR. "The idea here is that Rogue is taking on a new role within the X-Men. There's a scene quite early on, which kind of parallels the scene in 'X-Men' #188 when Cyclops made Rogue a team leader. But what he's asking her to do this time is very different."
Rogue's new role will be the second big change Carey has implemented in recent months. "X-Men Legacy" #224 saw Professor Xavier use his telepathic powers to allow Rogue to finally enjoy physical contact with other people, something her mutant powers previously made impossible. Rogue's newfound ability doesn't mean she'll no longer be herself - just a more extreme version. "She's been set free by the procedure Xavier has carried out on her, so it's not that she's going to change," Carey explained. "I think we might see a more emphatic restatement of the Rogue we used to see back in the'80s and '90s."
"X-Men Legacy Annual" #1 is the beginning of a new story arc for the series and finds Rogue being offered her new position within the X-Men. "It has Rogue coming back to the X-Men and talking with Cyclops about her future with the team as she sees and he sees it," Carey explained. "He offers her this new definition of her role and duties and initially she's not 100 percent keen on taking it on. There are very good reasons why Cyclops is offering her this position at this time. Some of them relate to this Summer's 'Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia' crossover and what Rogue does within that story."
Rogue's new role isn't a leadership one, but more of a liaison-type position. "That's one of the reasons she's not totally happy, because it seems that in some ways she's being taken off the front line, where she feels she belongs, and being given a consolation prize," Carey said. "It's a very marked change of arena for her, she's not sure how she feels about it."
Mike Carey plans on using "X-Men Legacy Annual" #1 to not only set up Rogue's new status quo but also to reintroduce the old X-villain Emplate, who originally menaced the "Generation X" team of mutants. "I was a big fan of 'Generation X,'" Carey said. "I think what's interesting about Emplate at this particular junction in X-Men history is that he's a mutant who feeds on other mutants, and now there aren't really any other mutants left. There are fewer than 200 mutants in the world and we have to assume that since 'Decimation' [the storyline which saw the ranks of Marvel's mutants drastically reduced] he's been starving.
"We have him seeking out the X-Men, but he's very wily and plays the long game, which is why he held onto the character of Penance for so long in 'Generation X.' He's not out for the quick feed. He's out to solve this problem, which is that his food source has become extremely limited and likely to disappear at any moment."
The new direction of "X-Men Legacy" will also bring Rogue into contact with a large cast of supporting characters. "We'll continue to see characters like Gambit and Danger. They'll appear from time to time and initially Danger will appear in the book a lot because like Rogue, she's someone who's finding her way in the X-Men after not having been around them for some time. She needs to find out what her place is in this new status quo," Carey explained. "Overwhelmingly though, you'll be seeing Rogue in relation to the younger generation of students. That's the role Cyclops offers her and within that we have a lot of choice and flexibility. Some students will be at the forefront to begin with and others will be gradually introduced into the book."
The younger mutants that Rogue interacts with include a who's who of characters from New X-Men and Young X-Men. "I think it's fair to say that Bling is a very important character and Trance, who is important in issues #226-227 of the series, continues to play a key role," Carey revealed. "We'll also be seeing a lot of characters like Indra, Loa, and Hellion."
Unlike Xavier's finite quest, Rogue's goal with the younger generation of mutants is something that will be explored for the book's foreseeable future. "It will continue as long as there are young mutants who need what she's offering - who can benefit from her help," Carey said. "So it's not a role that's likely to disappear anytime soon. It has to do with the younger generation stepping into their adult roles and how difficult and traumatic that's likely to be for them."
Carey is very happy that the new direction for Rogue and "X-Men Legacy" will first be depicted by artist Daniel AcuÃ±a. "He's doing a lovely job on this [Annual] issue," the writer remarked. "So far the art has been very exciting."
When "X-Men Legacy" was about Professor X's investigation into his past, the title reexamined many of the X-Men's classic adventures, but going forward with Rogue the series is going to be all about present-day events. However, the book will not drop the "Legacy" subtitle. "The focus on past continuity really arose directly out of the situation Xavier was in, and that quest has now ended. So this is a very different kind of book," Carey stated. "The 'Legacy' title continues to be relevant, though, and that's why we haven't changed it. It's still about the legacy of the X-Men but not through the exploration of past storylines. It's about that legacy being carried forward into the future."