The eight months following "Secret Wars" have been a dark time for the mutants that inhabit the Marvel Universe. The same Terrigen cloud that has transformed countless people into new "Nuhumans" is also poisoning and sterilizing the mutant population. While humanity's rancor toward mutants is at an all-time high, all hope is not lost.
The end of the end of inaugural arc of "Extraordinary X-Men" by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Humberto Ramos saw the team and new leader Storm inform the world that Charles Xavier's dream of peaceful existence between man and mutant was very much alive, and they would be its defenders.
Making the goal clear doesn't mean bringing Xavier's goal to fruition will be easy. Future issues will find Storm and her X-Men visit strange and dangerous locales like Weirdworld, attempting to uncover the mystery of what shattered Nightcrawler's psyche, and confront a new incarnation of long-time foe Apocalypse. CBR News spoke with Lemire about future events, if and when Storm's X-Men will cross paths with the Uncanny Avengers, and the role the younger X-Men will play in the series.
CBR News: The first arc reestablished the X-Men's link to the new Marvel Universe as we saw them take mutants in and vow to protect a world that fears and hates them. Will you be focused on search and rescue missions in upcoming stories or can readers expect to see young mutants like Sapna go through training with more experienced X-Men?
Jeff Lemire: I'd like to balance both, actually. In terms of the "field team" it will be search and rescue. But, this being The X-Men, those missions will go in all kinds of directions. The search and rescue thing is really just the catalyst for all sorts of stories that we have planned.
And, I will also be spending time exploring a number of the younger Mutants; Glob, Ernst, No-Girl, Anole and our new mutant Sapna. The training aspect will really come into play here, with Magik and Colossus both taking a special interest in these kids.
In this first arc we saw Storm rise to the challenge of leading the X-Men during one of mutantkind's darkest times. What do you find most interesting about putting Storm in this role? Which aspects of her personality are you especially interested in exploring?
To me, Storm is one of the greatest characters in Marvel Comics. On a purely physical level she is extremely powerful, of course, but there are a lot of powerful mutants. What makes Ororo so special is her inner strength and her ability to hold onto hope no matter how dark things get. She is an amazing woman and she inspires those around her.
Storm saw and heard the voice of Xavier during a number of difficult moments in this initial arc. On one level a reader could perhaps write this off as her imagination or subconscious, but in "Uncanny Avengers" it was recently revealed that the Red Skull is still out there and in possession of Xavier's brain. Is Xavier's appearance simply the product of Storm's imagination? Or is this a mystery that will be further developed?
There is no greater mystery. I can put that theory to rest. It was just a way of illustrating the legacy of Xavier and how he still "lives" for his students. Or, maybe I am totally lying to throw you off.
Speaking of the Uncanny Avengers, now that Storm has announced the X-Men's return to the world, will that team reach out to her squad? Are you interested in having Storm come into contact with Steve Rogers and Rogue who are trying to continue Xavier's dream in their own way?
We will indeed see the Extraordinary X-Men and Uncanny Avengers interact, but not for a little while. They will be busy in Weirdworld and with Apocalypse first.
A side-note and spoiler: keep an eye out for Steve Rogers in the "Old Man Logan" series.
Your X-Men have now travelled all over the globe to rescue and protect mutants, and in "Extraordinary X-Men" #6 you're hitting one of Earth Prime's newest and most interesting locales, Weirdworld. What's it like sending the X-Men to a place where you can let your imagination run wild? Can you offer up any hints or teases about what they'll find there?
Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo made me fall in love with Weirdworld. I couldn't resist. And from an X-Men point of view, Weirdworld is almost like an All-New, All- Different Marvel spin on the old X-Men/Savage Land stories, so that was fun too.
Drawing the X-Men's adventure in Weirdworld is artist Victor Ibanez who X-Men fans probably know best as the artist of Storm's recent solo series. What's it like working with Victor on this story? And then Humberto returns with issue #7, correct?
Victor did an amazing job on the "Storm" series and he has been a joy to work with. He does some amazing character work in these issues. I'm really excited about them!
Victor is drawing the two-issue Weirdworld arc. Due to the aggressive shipping schedule of "Extraordinary X-Men" #1-5, Humberto had to jump ahead to our Apocalypse story, which starts in issue #8. I have seen the first batch of pages from Humberto for this story and they are fantastic.
In issue #7 you explore more of the mystery of what happened to Nightcrawler and his psyche. Can you talk yet about why you wanted to do this story with Kurt, or is it still too early? Is this a mystery that will be resolved soon or something that will play out across your run?
I don't want to say too much and spoil the story, but I can say that the mystery will be resolved in issue #7. We have enough longer mysteries in place with Cyclops that I didn't want the Nightcrawler thing to drag on too long. I wanted to deal with it and establish what this will mean for Kurt moving forward.
As you mentioned, in March you kick off the "Apocalypse Wars" arc of "Extraordinary X-Men with issue #8. I understand the titular villain will make his return in this story, and while you may not be at liberty to reveal the details of his return, can you tell us what he means to you as an X-Men writer? What are his core traits and what aspects of his personality interest you the most?
Aside from Magneto, Apocalypse is probably the most iconic X-Men villain. The character was always special to me, having grown up reading the original "X-Factor" stories. So it was really fun and challenging to put my own spin on the character. There have been a lot of Apocalypse stories, so I was very aware of trying to do something really new and different with him, something that evolved the character to the next logical place.
That sounds fitting, considering his obsession with evolution. I understand part of your "Apocalypse Wars" tale will unfold in the future, correct? Can you provide any details on that glimpse into the future? You're also playing with time and possible futures in "All-New Hawkeye," but is there a big difference telling this type of story with the X-Men where dark futures are a frequent occurrence?
I can say that it will be nothing like what I did in "Hawkeye." Other than that, I'm not saying anything. Lots of surprises in store and I don't want t give any away.
The only other note is that this is not some kind of alternate future or "Elseworlds" type story that won't matter. It will have huge repercussions for the team, the series and for mutantkind.
It's been a blast writing the book. I think we're really finding our footing now and I'm exited about where we're heading next!
"Extraordinary X-Men" #6 goes on sale January 27 from Marvel Comics.