The ever changing nature of the Marvel Universe means old friends can suddenly find themselves at each other’s throats, while bitter enemies find common ground and are thrust into uneasy alliances. It’s something the modern day incarnation of the X-Men have gotten used to, but this spring the time-displaced original X-Men will deal with this for the first time as they find themselves reuniting and working with their oldest foe: Magneto.
Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Jorge Molina will begin documenting the relationship between these strange bedfellows in “X-Men Blue,” an ongoing series that launches in April as part of Marvel’s new RessurXion line of X-Men and Inhuman books. We spoke with Bunn about the dynamic between the titular team and their new ally, how the group will operate, and some of the classic X-Men foes they’ll run afoul of in their initial adventures.
CBR: “X-Men Blue” will be new reader friendly, but it will also be the third book you’re written featuring Magneto. How does it feel to get a chance to continue your look at the Master of Magnetism?
Cullen Bunn: For every book I’ve written featuring Magneto, I’ve had the chance to explore different facets of his very complicated personality. Every incarnation is a little different, but they are all leading somewhere.
As “X-Men Blue” kicks off, we’ll see that Magneto is in a very different place thanks to recent events. Mutants have a second (or is it third or fourth or fifth?) chance to really thrive in the world, but if they are going to survive they’ll have to co-exist with humans. Magneto’s old methods no longer work. He still believes there are threats to mutants that must be dealt with. He has some very specific targets in mind. But he does not believe that he can be the mutant to stand against them, at least not publicly. The world at large fears Magneto, so he is laying low. He needs someone to fight his battles, and it can’t be a squad of scary X-Men. The Original Five becomes his team.
Of course, he has ulterior motives, which will start to be revealed early on in the series.
Will Magneto accompany the Original Five into field on missions? Or is he acting in more of an advisory capacity?
Magneto is offering the X-Men guidance and resources, but he is definitely not joining them on field missions. One thing to keep in mind is that the other X-Men — the other heroes of the world — have no idea that the Original Five are working with Magneto. It’s a dirty little secret.
It seems like both Magneto and the Original Five might find their alliance more than a little awkward.
Awkward” is a great way of describing it. Make no mistake, the Original Five are not just blindly following Magneto. They have many, many reasons not to trust him. He was, after all, the first “evil” mutant they ever faced. They have a fairly clear idea of who Magneto is and what he is capable of doing. That lack of trust is one of the reasons the X-Men have agreed to work with Magneto. “Keep your frenemies close.” That said, the team is a little at odds with each other over the alliance with Magneto, and Magneto has plenty of secrets that he’s keeping from them.
When the original X-Men reunite in “X-Men Blue” Jean Grey will be the leader instead of Cyclops. How are Jean and Scott initially dealing with the change in leadership?
It’s Jean who brings the team together to work with Magneto, and the rest of the team pretty much agrees that she should be in charge. Cyclops himself would say that he’s got too much going on to worry about being team leader. Old habits die hard, though, and Cyclops sometimes tries to take a leadership role. Beast, Angel and Iceman are quick to put him in his place when that happens.
I really like the way the dynamic is shifting with Jean as the team leader. Being in charge is giving her some insight into who she is and into some of the mistakes she’s made. She’s relying on Scott to help her and offer advice on leadership. It changes their relationship in some really interesting ways.
Leadership shake ups aren’t the only changes the original X-Men have endured during their time in the present day. Characters like Iceman, Beast and Angel have all gone through a lot. What aspects of these characters are you especially interested in exploring?
I’m embracing these changes and running with them. These aren’t the same X-Men they were when they jumped into the modern timeline. I love that these characters are so different than they were before. I’m definitely not throwing any of that out the window. Beast’s interest in magic is going to be important; Iceman’s relationship with Romeo is key to where I’m taking him; Angel’s hotheadedness and impulsive nature will guide him toward being a different kind of man. These changes are important, and there are more on the way!
But what do these changes mean for this group of X-Men? Obviously, they are so different now than they were before they came to our time. How can they ever go home again without completely destroying the time line?
What can you tell us about how your cast will operate and the missions they’ll undertake? Will they be part of the larger X-Men organization run by Kitty Pryde over in “X-Men Gold?”
This group of X-Men is on their own. When “X-Men Prime” comes out, you’ll see in my section that the Blue team starts out with Kitty, but they quickly determine they have to strike out on their own. They have their own X-Mansion, their own Blackbird, and their own operating guidelines.
You’ll be seeing them jetting all over the world on missions to help mutants and strike at specific enemies.
You’re working with artist Jorge Molina on “X-Men Blue,” who’s got a knack for teams and big action. What do you enjoy most about Jorge’s style?
I love how Jorge takes these classic characters and breathes new excitement into them. Just look at his Juggernaut in issue #1! He’s terrifying! Jorge is making sure this is a fun, lively series. Sure, there are moments of darkness, but this is not meant to be an oppressively dark series. This is fun X-Men superhero adventure! Jorge’s style is perfect for that!
Your mention of Juggernaut is a great segue way into my final question — can you talk any more about some of the villains you have plans for?
Anyone who has read my “Uncanny X-Men” knows that I love classic X-Men villains, and I’ll be chasing that in this series. These are classic X-Men adventures, so of course you will be seeing some fan-favorite villains.
In their first adventure, they face Black Tom Cassidy, who is challenge enough on his own. But Black Tom has joined back up with his partner in crime — Juggernaut! And Juggernaut is definitely going to be a challenge for our heroes.
That’s not all, though! Wait, there’s more! How’s Mojo strike you? How about the most super of super-Sentinels? Do you think I’ll totally forget the Hellfire Club? How about a real “sinister” enemy?
There are some surprise returns coming in this book, as early as the first issue, and there are some totally unexpected foes showing up that will change the mutant landscape in more ways than one.
There are so, so many characters I’m excited about, both enemies and allies, both new and established. The coolest characters of the X-Universe are alive and well in this series.
Keep in mind, these X-Men are time lost and reality lost. I’m not letting that go, either, so expect this team to meet some X-characters of the past and of the future. Some of them might even stick around.
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