X-POSITION: Abnett & Lanning on "New Mutants" in the Wake of "AvX"

For many long-time comic book readers, the name "New Mutants" brings to mind a team of young, fresh-faced mutants who aren't fully in control of their powers. The current team, however, consists of mutants confident in abilities which, if not used correctly, could bring an end to the world as we know it.

The group has an Omega-level powered Shaman (albeit de-powered) in X-Man; they have an immensely powered technological being in Warlock; there's Legion, who remade the entire world with his abilities; and let's not forget Magik, who most recently possessed the power of the Phoenix (not to mention the fact that she controls a portal to Limbo). The remaining New Mutants' powers ain't nothing to sneeze at neither...

The team took a time-travel trip in recent issues and have now returned to a post-"AvX" world. What will it mean for them to have a teammate that was one of the Phoenix Five? And what will the team do when a couple of their members join the Avengers? X-POSITION contacted writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning ("DnA" to their fans) for answers. Let's see if we can squeeze a secret or two out of them...

We start things off with Ramelito, who has AvX anxieties. Can you offer some responses that will soothe his soul?

1) How will team react to Magik being part of the Phoenix Five?

The team's reaction to the situation with Magik and the aftermath of AvX will be explored in upcoming issues. Needless to say, these events will have a profound effect on the team as well as the Marvel Universe as a whole.

2) Why do you think the Phoenix force wasn't drawn to Nate Grey, especially considering ties to Jean?

Probably because he was displaced in time and space when the events concerning the Phoenix Force unfolded.

3) In light of what has occurred with Cyclops and the Phoenix Five, how badly do you believe the team feels for siding with Cyclops instead of Wolverine?

Their decisions were made at the time of the events of Schism and were prompted by their loyalties to Cyclops and the ideals he believed in. What happened to him as AvX developed couldn't be foreseen by anyone, even Cyclops himself. This is something covered in the upcoming issue #50 of "New Mutants" in a conversation between Dani and Wolverine.

4) Will we get to see the team's reaction to Xavier's death?

Not directly because of the time scale involved in writing the various issues and when they need to be completed by, but we see their reaction to the aftermath of AvX in issue #50.

Nissus is next and he's wondering if he could get some status updates:

1) What is the actual situation with Nate Grey as a Shaman? I reckon it's a role that's not suited for him anymore, and he should slowly rewind to his older original self. Do you have plans for him in the near future?

Nate's character and powers are slowly evolving as he comes to terms with his new 'de-powered' state. It's a situation that will unfold and develop in the future.

2) Is the Hel-cub still in the group? Will it be revealed what is going to happen to him?

He's still in their care, but what the future holds is still unwritten.

Andre4000 has been reading the Marvel NOW! news and hopes you can tell him how upcoming events will affect his favorite team...

1) Now that Sunspot and Cannonball are going to be Avengers (as part of Marvel NOW!), what's going to happen to the rest of the team?

We can't reveal anything as of yet, but things will be revealed as Marvel NOW! rolls out.

2) With Legion moving to "X-Men: Legacy," will any of the team be joining him in that book?

Answer is same as above.

3) Will the team stay in San Francisco or will they be heading to the east coast as part of Marvel NOW?

As above, sorry.

And that's strike three! Well, we had to ask...

Captain Cavalier is our final customer, and I believe his queries cover topics that won't spoil upcoming surprises:

1) In 'Fear the Future,' you told a time-travel story. As writers, what kinds of concerns do you have when telling these kinds of stories? What time-travel rules do you believe are most important and which are flexible?

New Mutants

"New Mutants" #49, on sale tomorrow, deals with the fallout from "AvX" and the "Fight the Future" arc

Time-travel is always fun and a real staple of X-Men stories. Some of our favorite X-Men tales involve time-travel and future versions of the team. We always wanted to do our own take on this sort of story. For the most part when it comes to time-travel, anything goes. The most important rule is to set out your own rules and stick to them. As long as you obey the rules you establish, the easier things become. It can be very difficult to keep track of who's where doing what and how events impact each other in the future as well as in the past.

For "Fear the Future," we wanted to play with the notion of the future coming back to affect the past, which meant playing with paradoxes. That is why we had the future characters remove their past selves before they could come back, as this reduced the chances of paradox and time-ripples. It's the sort of story problem that time-travel throws up and the sort of thing we really enjoy playing with as they are really fun to explore and develop.

2) Who do you think is the most powerful member of the New Mutants?

Always tricky -- they all have great potential. Nate would have been before he was de-powered by Sugar Man. Warlock could be awesomely powerful if he ever cut loose, and Magik has a whole supernatural dimension at her beck and call.

3) Who do you think is the most dangerous member? Between Magik, Legion, and Warlock, they are some frightening possibilities...

It has to be Legion as he's the most unstable and there's so many of him! Though, as we said, Warlock could be terrifying as a full blown Technarchy, and Magik is never more than a whisker away from becoming a cloven hooved, goat-horned demon!

4) I know this isn't necessarily up to you, but do you ever think we'll get to a next generation of New Mutants? I kind of thought the Five Lights might be that, but they turned out to be something else...

One thing the X-books have always done is evolve and add to its roster of characters. It's almost part of the mutant titles' DNA (if you'll excuse the pun), especially as they run a school and actively seek out new mutants to train and develop. So the chances of a New Mutants Next Gen is always there, just maybe not under that name is all.

5) Who would win in a fight between the Guardians of the Galaxy and the New Mutants?

Oh, that's unfair. It's like asking who'd win in a fight between two of your children! Howzabout saying -- we'd love to be in the position to write a story where we get to answer that question!

And I'm betting there's a lot of folks out there who'd like to read that story...including me!

It's now time for our quick get-to-know-you question that we call "Behind the X." I need a good chuckle, so if you could both tell me... what is a movie that makes you laugh no matter how many times you've seen it?

Andy Lanning: "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy." Love that film! "The bad man punted Baxter -- I'm in a glass case of emotion!" Gets me every time.

Dan Abnett: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Anyone? Anyone?

That's all for this week, but in seven days we return with a writer who bears the weight of two X's on his shoulder, Brian Wood. As the writer of both "X-Men" and "Ultimate Comics X-Men," he gets to play around with the mutants of two very different worlds. I'm expecting lots of questions from you, so type them up and send them to CBR staffer Steve Sunu as quickly as possible.

Why Steve instead of me? I'm afraid the time has come to hang up my X-POSITION hat. It's been five fun-filled years, but life demands are forcing me to move on -- well, that and the fact that I'm all out of X-puns. Thanks to all of you for you involvement in keeping this column alive and interesting. And in the immortal words of Bill and Ted: "Be excellent to each other."

Editor's Note: Special thanks to George Tramountanas who's been running X-Position since it's first edition published May 31st, 2007! He shepherded this feature from the beginning and helped fans of Marvel's X-Books interact with their favorite creators. Thanks, George! -- Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer, CBR

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