WW Philly: The X-Men's "Manifest Destiny"

I've been terribly alone and forgotten in Manhattan,

I'm going home to my city by the bay.

--From the song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"

New York City has long been the center of the Marvel Universe. For those average citizens who live in Marvel's Big Apple, it's superhero central. The city plays host to the Mighty Avengers, the Young Avengers, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and the X-Men...or, at least, it was home to the X-Men.

Within the next few months, fans will notice a change in setting for Marvel's Merry Mutants as they close up the X-Mansion in Westchester County and head to the city by the bay -- San Francisco. Why the change and what does it mean? Well, according to today's announcement at Wizard World Philadelphia, it seems the X-Men are experiencing "Manifest Destiny" -- also the name of an upcoming miniseries and banner that will be running across the X-books come this fall.

X-Men readers know the characters have been in a state of limbo since Cyclops disbanded the team following the events of "Messiah CompleX." With "Manifest Destiny," it seems as though the band is back together, and possibly better than ever. CBR News caught up with Executive Editor and X-Men Group Editor Axel Alonso along with editor Nick Lowe to get the details on the team's latest X-pedition.

Manifest Destiny is the banner the X-books will run under post-Divided We Stand. It seems the X-books have been running under one kind of banner or another since Decimation. Why the need for one more?

AXEL ALONSO: In July, the X-Men will, for the first time in their 40-years-plus history, uproot themselves from Westchester and move to a new home -- 3,000 miles away in San Francisco. This is a little piece of history that deserves a banner.

What is the significance of the name? How does it represent the latest stage in the X-Men's mythos? And can you give us any idea of how long this stage will last?

AA: This move is not just a change of scenery, but a change in strategy -- Cyclops' vision for their future. Scott is sick and tired of the X-Men being sitting ducks in an ever-hostile world. I mean, how many times have their enemies come to their front doorstep? No more.

Their new home is a fortress that offers the type of seclusion and security that mutants need at this juncture. And this move offers the X-Men a fresh start as they march forward with the faith -- but not the knowledge -- that there is a future. They are now an army. Cyclops' army.

Considering that "Messiah CompleX" dealt with prophecies and the Books of Destiny, do either of these factor into "Manifest Destiny?" Or is it something else completely?

AA: Something else completely.

Is there an inciting event that will kick off "Manifest Destiny?" Or does it begin somewhat organically from events that have already occurred?

AA: It occurs organically out of events that are in place, but it opens with a bang.

Will "Manifest Destiny" delve further into issues already plaguing the X-Men -- the extinction of their race, the Messiah baby, Legacy-- or will the X-Men have to deal with all-new issues now?

AA: Yes, at the end of "Messiah Complex," Scott made a leap of faith, and allowed Cable to jump into the timestream with the first mutant baby, and possibly the fate of mutantkind -- strapped to his chest. This was a gut-level call that Scott made, based on his trust in Cable and a connection that he felt with the child. He's been living with that decision ever since, and doubts are bound to creep in.

I mean, what is "faith?" It's a belief in something when you have no facts of science to support it. If God parts the clouds and lets you get a good look at Him, your "faith" is now "knowledge," isn't it? You know he exists. Until that moment, you have to wrestle with the doubts that He -- or she -- might not exist. That's what Scott is wrestling with. He's the unquestioned leader of the X-Men -- as even Logan concedes. If Scott doesn't believe there's a future -- if he doesn't believe that Cable will deliver this child to them at some point and she will stem the tide of mutant extinction -- who will?

From some of the interviews given, it sounds as though "Secret Invasion" will definitely have an impact on the X-Men. For those continuity buffs that are bound to ask, will "Manifest Destiny" take place post-"Secret Invasion," or will the two meet up somewhere in the middle?

AA: We have a limited series, "X-Men: Secret Invasion" that will adequately tie-in with the event. The Skrulls will arrive in San Francisco expecting a cake walk. I mean, all the superheroes are supposed to be on the East Coast, right? Wrong.

There will be a four-issue miniseries that kicks off "Manifest Destiny." Can you tell us anything about the creative team and when fans might expect to see book in stores?

NICK LOWE: The first issue is going to be on sale in September. The covers are by Humberto Ramos. It's similar to the "X-Men: Divided We Stand" two-issue series, with one key difference -- there will be one story that is continued in every issue. That will be an Iceman tale written by Mike Carey. The rest of the stories in the books will be by some of the current X-scribes, like Chris Yost, and some by others like CB Cebulski and Skottie Young.

Can you say anything about which characters are featured in the miniseries? Good guys and/or bad? Magneto was always a big believer in destiny....

NL: Like I said in the previous question, Iceman will be a major focal point in this mini, but some other characters we're planning on looking at are Mercury, Karma, Colossus, and some other fan favorites.

As "Manifest Destiny" covers the X-Men's move to San Francisco -- what can you tell us about this move? Are all the characters excited about it? Will they be re-opening the school there, publicly or privately? If publicly, how does San Francisco feel about this move?

AA: This is no small thing, this move. Thee X-Men are leaving the only home they've known, and each will react differently. Some will be homesick, while others might have history there that will come back to bite them in the ass.

Does Tony Stark and/or the Initiative have any concerns with the X-Men moving? And what about Sentinel Squad O*N*E - have they given up trying to watch over the X-Men? Is this all covered under "Manifest Destiny?"

AA: Wait and see.

Should fans be bracing themselves for any other changes to the X-books in light of "Manifest Destiny?" For example, changes to the membership on teams, changes to the creative teams on books, or any other jolts to the X-world?

AA: We've already announced the roster for "Astonishing X-Men," and it's the team that Warren [Ellis] feels best serves that story -- the team Cyclops needs for that mission. As far as who the X-Men are, it's all of them. They're an army, and their General is Cyclops. So look for all of them to turn up at some time or another in the pages of "Uncanny X-Men."

Now discuss this story in CBR's X-Men forum.

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Tags: x-men, axel alonso, manifest destiny, nick lowe, wwp2008

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