A long time ago, five Mutant friends decided to use their unique gifts in the service of one man’s dream; to eventually co-exist and prosper with humanity. Those five friends became one of Marvel Comics’ most popular super teams, The X-Men, and had many adventures protecting a world that fears and hates them. The original X-Men had so many adventures that readers are just learning of some of them now in the pages of the “X-Men: First Class” mini-series by writer Jeff Parker and artist Roger Cruz. Readers will be treated to more untold tales of the original “X-Men” when “X-Men: First Class” becomes an ongoing series later this year. CBR News spoke with Parker about the book.
Parker and Cruz are returning for the “First Class” ongoing, but a new artist will supply the covers. “Our covers this time around are by the insanely talented Eric Nguyen,” Parker told CBR News. “Marko Djurdevic is a tough act to follow- so Mark Paniccia booked another tough act!”
New readers don’t need to have caught the first act of “X-Men: First Class” or the May Special to understand and enjoy the ongoing series. “One of the big features of ‘XFC’ is that it’s a jumping on point for people new to the X-Men as well as a book for longtime fans,” Parker stated. “We try to make it as accessible as possible. That’s why it sells outside of the Direct Market.”
When “First Class” the ongoing series begins, not much story time has passed since the Special. “None has passed. And maybe less than that,” Parker explained. “The stories are mostly self-contained, so we can jump around in time. You’ll notice that a story beginning in issue #2 clearly takes place before a story we’ll see in the Special. Everything is already in the past, so that frees us up some in that area.”
First Class’s graduation to an ongoing series will give Parker further freedom as a story teller. “There are still plenty of done-in-ones, but now we’ll start having two-parters as well,” he said. “It’s nice for me to have some breathing room. If I could have done it before, the Thor story would have been two issues and the Skrull one as well. With a regular series I just have a lot more leeway to go deeper than the miniseries did.”
When the ongoing series begins, the original X-Men are still wide eyed kids taking their first steps into an ever expanding world of mystery, adventure and danger. “They’re still students, but the Professor is stepping back some now on involvement with their missions,” Parker said. “In the early books they skipped right to graduation oddly soon, so if we fudge with any of the things established then, it’s that. Along the way we try to give glimpses into what their education was actually like- learning what it means to be Homo Superior.”
“First Class” will continue to focus mainly on the original five X-Men but readers can expect appearances by new characters and established X-Men related characters in both supporting and reoccurring roles. “We already worked in Zelda, and you have to imagine that they saw other people during that time that we just never got to see,” Parker said. “Just like next week you’ll see Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, they could pop up again, since they essentially were supporting cast in the original books.”
|“X-Men: First Class” #2 & #3, from the previous series.|
In addition to encountering some familiar mutants, the cast of “First Class” will also meet up with other super powered denizens of the Marvel U; just like in the mini-series, Parker will take his cast across the globe and have them meet some of the MU’s best, brightest and strongest. “I like playing up their Silver Age roots,” Parker stated. “Two more you’ll see early on are the Invisible Girl (when she was Girl!) and a large angry green fellow.”
The Invisible Girl will play a role in the first story of the “First Class” ongoing. “It has not gone unnoticed that Jean Grey is the only young woman around the X-Mansion, and doesn’t have any peers or role models she can closely identify with,” Parker explained. “So, Professor Xavier contacts the Fantastic Four to ask a favor – can Sue do a little mentoring?”
With “First Class,” Parker plans on telling a variety of stories. In addition to traditional superhero action stories, readers can expect to see the original X-Men involved in tales of mystery, drama and action-thrillers.
Parker wants fans of the “First Class” mini-series to know that “X-Men: First Class” the ongoing series will put the spotlight on all of the original Fab Five X-Men. “I promise to give the rest of the team quality screen time and not make it so much about Bobby, that’s my vow!” Parker said. “Well, except for the All- Bobby issue.”
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