Marvel’s X-Men are famous for protecting a world that fears and hates them, and sometimes that world isn’t even their own. Over the years, the mutant team has embarked upon a number of space opera-style adventures across the cosmos, and even in other realities. In fact, one X-team in particular, the British group known as Excalibur, is perhaps best known for a late-’80s adventure called “The Cross-Time Caper,” where they visited a number of different dimensions.
This fall, both of those elements will be a part of X-Men Gold. In November’s Issue #16, writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Lan Medina kick off a new arc titled “The Negative Zone War,” where their cast embarks on a classic sci-fi style adventure in the Negative Zone. Then, in January’s X-Men Gold Annual #1, Guggenheim, co-writer Leah Williams and artist Alitha Martinez reunite Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers and Nightcrawler with their old Excalibur teammates, Captain Britain and Meggan.
CBR spoke with Guggenheim about both stories, the new mutant at the center of the Negative Zone arc, and the current “Mojo Worldwide” crossover between X-Men Gold and X-Men Blue.
CBR: Marc, as someone who currently works in television, what’s it like writing Mojo, the interdimensional, unhinged, all-powerful television producer who’s currently menacing the X-Men in the “Mojo Worldwide” crossover arc with Cullen Bunn’s X-Men Blue?
Marc Guggenheim: He’s a blast to write! I’ve never written him before, and he scratches all my itches. It’s fun to write someone that unhinged. It’s fun to write someone so unrepentantly over the top, and I get a chance to do some meta commentary on things related to television, which I also make my living in. So it’s wonderful. It checks a lot of boxes.
What’s it like collaborating with Cullen on this crossover? Can you offer up some hints and teases about what we’ll see in the remaining chapters?
Cullen is incredible. There’s a reason why he’s been working as long and as consistently as he has. He really is an expert at comic book writing and he can really give me a run for my money in terms of knowing X-Men history, which is really saying something. I’ve really been following his lead because he’s the expert. He knows what he’s doing, and we’ve got a lot of fun stuff still yet to come.
We’re about to start the second half off the crossover, so there’s a lot more fun things to happen; some really cool twists, some more revisiting and remixing of the X-Men’s greatest hits, and some really remarkable art coming down the pipe. It’s exciting — we’ve got some cool things that we haven’t even got to yet.
In X-Men Gold #12, you hinted at one of the cool things you have coming up by showing the origin of Kologoth, a new character you introduced in your first arc. What inspired the creation of the character?
Very early on when I was asked to develop ideas for X-Men Gold, I was craving a classic “X-Men in space”-style story. There have been a lot of X-Men in space stories over the decades, though, so I wanted to come up with something a little different and unique. Instead of the setting being space I chose the Negative Zone because I’ve never seen the X-Men in the Negative Zone. So I thought that would be kind of interesting.
In terms of Kologoth? That character has slowly evolved over time, but I had this notion of, wouldn’t it be interesting to have an X-Men villain who is from another planet, but is himself a mutant? Then we could use that character to further explore the prejudices that mutants of any planet face.
Issue #12 was this outlier kind of issue, where we knew “Mojo Worldwide” was starting in issue #13, and the arc that Ken Lashley was drawing was ending in issue #11. So I got the notion that it might be fun to do an issue purely from a villain’s perspective and Kologoth was out there as the obvious choice for me. I think Issue #12 will make a lot more sense once you get a chance to read “The Negative Zone War” arc of issues #16-20. And if all goes according to plan Issue #12 will actually be published in the same trade as #16-20. Those stories really belong together.
When I read #12, I saw elements of both Thanos and Magneto in Kologoth.
He definitely has some megalomaniacal elements to him. With Kologoth, I’m trying to write a character that’s classically evil in that Magneto or Thanos vein, but underneath all that malevolence is this tragic backstory. He’s really driven by this original sin of his parents casting him out when he was a baby. He’s been a real fun character to deal with, and you haven’t seen the last of Kologoth. We will dig deeper into his psyche, such as it is, in subsequent issues.
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