Thanks to the alt-reality-palooza happening courtesy of Marvel's "Secret Wars," a number of beloved timelines and alternate takes have returned. The world of "Days of Future Past," the classic '80s storyline by Chris Claremont and John Byrne that kicked off the X-Men's love affair with dystopias, is no exception! Writer Marguerite Bennett and artist Mike Norton's "Years of Future Past" presents a spin on the original tale, with a familiar team of older and wiser X-Men (Kate Pryde, Wolverine, Colossus, Magneto, Storm and Rachel Summers) taking a stand against their Sentinel captors in the wake of a massive purge. But those elder mutants aren't alone; there are two new mutants (Chrissie and Cameron) ready to carry on the fight -- although they have a lot of obstacles to overcome.
This week, writer Marguerite Bennett returns to X-POSITION and answers your questions about everything from Lockheed's growth spurt to Nightcrawler's new religion and the book's art team.
CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, Marguerite! To get started, a0040pc has two questions. The first is about everyone's favorite alien/dragon and how he appeared in "Years of Future Past."
What caused Lockheed to grow so big? Did he naturally grow or was he introduced to something that caused his size to increase?
Hiya! Thanks so much for writing in. Yes, Lockheed got exposed to some toxic material during one of the phases of the anti-mutant wars and purges (and consequent the collapse of society), leading to his mutated size. Thanks!
Did you get your idea for Chrissie Pryde's powers from the T-1000 from the "Terminator" franchise?
I did not! I got it from her father's metal ability and her mother's intangible, nearly shape shifting phasing mutation. I tried to figure out how those two powers might merge and what the result would be -- in this case, shape-shifting metal.
Speaking of Chrissie Pryde, somacula has a question about the future of both her and her brother Cameron.
Ms. Bennett, you created two brand new mutants for your tale. Any chance we will see them post-"Secret Wars"? They'd make a nice replacement for Kitty since she's becoming Star-Lady or something like that.
I would love to see them! Perhaps another writer might be taken with them?
RLAAMJR. wants to know why Chrissie and Cameron have found their way to the center of "Years of Future Past."
Why are Chrissie and Cameron X-Men's last hope at freedom?
Chrissie and Cameron were the last mutants ever born before the purges began. They are the youngest and healthiest, and emblematic of a new hope for future generations. Chrissie is particularly noble and innocent, and Cameron is fiercely protective of her. They evoke the extinction their people have faced, and sympathy for the plight of their people.
The most recent issue of "YOFP" changed how Chrissie and Cameron relate to each other, and MiddlePegasus wants to know how that reveal came about.
When did you realize that you wanted to make Chrissie and Cameron siblings, and when did you decide to give them such a Luke and Leia dynamic?
Hiya! In the original "Days of Future Past" collection, Kate Pryde actually references having had children (not just a single child), and so they were always going to be siblings. Very dual perspectives, admittedly -- essentially the Xavier and Magneto of their own generation. It was the contribution of my lovely editor, Katie Kubert, who felt it would heighten their dynamic if the connection were kept secret from them. Hope you enjoy!
X-Treme Neramani has a question about one specific "Years of Future Past" page in particular.
"Years of Future Past" #2 had that amazing page with the speech from Colossus. How did that page come about, from the sparse but emotive art to the speech itself? That speech was unlike anything I've read in a comic, but it was so powerful.
Oh, gosh, thank you so much. That is an extremely kind thing to say. I knew it was going to be something very unusual and that I was risking us getting flagged or laughed at or becoming a joke, but I always want to try different things with the comic medium, or else what's the point?
A lot of the story is about coming of age in wartime -- in wanting to be a force for good, wanting to help, and being so overwhelmed by the legacy of your parents or the horrors of reality that you almost freeze up. Everyone is giving you contradictory advice; everyone tells you that if you just think as they do, you'll be fine, and you know in your heart that isn't true. You're willing and hopeful and scared and thwarted.
So I went back and pulled at moments like that from my own coming of age -- when adults I loved and trusted said things that unnerved me, but I was never sure why. That line -- "people should have to get licensed to have kids" -- was one I heard over and over, and it disgusted me, but I was so young and couldn't articulate how, and I was scared of speaking over the adults I trusted.
I wanted a moment for Colossus to speak to his daughter, to give her advice that seemed too big for her, trusting her with something upsetting, a responsibility. I wanted to serve many masters with that page, and it means the world that it resonated with you. Thank you.
I know folks can sort of justly say it's just a massive slippery slope fallacy, but in "Years of Future Past"...that slippery slope has already occurred? They are literally living in the ruins of Western civilization, and I don't think his perspective is unreasonable here given all that has occurred.
I also want to shout out to letterer Joe Caramagna, who I owe at least some kind of drink.
In addition to the main X-Men team, you've also included a few guest appearances in "YOFP" -- and McGuigan1994 wants to know more about them.
You have a couple of characters in this series, like Nightcrawler and Angel, that weren't in the original future portions of the "Days of Future Past" storyline. How did you determine how and where characters like that would fit into this landscape?
Hiya! I was looking to evoke the original storyline as much as possible, while letting us explore new angles. Nightcrawler's role in Battleworld (where Doom is literally God) seemed like a really fascinating dynamic, given the strength of his faith; sending Warren underground, forcing him into a place that denied the freedom of his mutation and also required him to assume permanent responsibility for his actions and the actions of others, also felt like a striking opportunity. I wanted to evoke the '80s "X-Men" while never repeating an '80s beat -- a very difficult trick, but Mike [Norton], FCO [Plascencia], and our editors Katie Kubert and Christina Harrington pulled it off. All credit to them.
On that note, Meridian Phoenix has a couple of questions about the art team you're collaborating with.
You and Mike Norton have a great collaboration going on in this book, I think you work really well together. Are there any specific things Mike has done with your story that has made you super happy, or surprised you?
Thank you so kindly! I adore Mike. He's a giant cuddly grizzly bear, and everything he's done sends me over the moon. He and FCO made this book a success. I have thrown the weirdest things that them both and Mike has delivered the most phenomenal work -- Tigers! Dragons fighting Sentinels! A dude cutting his way out of another dude! DOOMTHEDRAL! Mike is unstoppable. The level of detail he brings to each page -- the subtleties he adds in places I would never have thought to give attention -- distinguish him as one the absolute best. I adore Mike.
I also have to mention FCO Plascencia, the colorist. This book looks so rooted in the gritty '80s dystopia, but certain things just pop with this futuristic neon glow, like Lockheed's eye catching purple. Do you ever include notes to FCO about coloring? What's that process like?
FCO is magnificent. I had the pleasure of meeting him at dinner at San Diego a few years ago at a Batman dinner with Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Danny Mikki, James Tynion IV and Mike Marts, and he is so talented and such a dear. I include very few notes for FCO, honestly; I know whatever he comes up with will be miles beyond whatever I imagine. Getting surprises from him in the art makes my day. The way he dialed up Lockheed's colors to an almost burning saturation, as if Lockheed were filled with the inner radiation that caused his change. The texture he lends the city makes it so real to me, and the way he highlights the monstrosities of this world -- the tigers, the Sentinels, even some of the characters -- is invaluable.
And lastly this week, Chief Jon wants to know if we'll still be seeing you around these X-Po parts after "Years of Future Past" finishes.
Marguerite, your work with Marvel's merry mutants over the last two years makes it clear that you've got a strong love for these characters, and a knack for composing dynamic, character-driven tales that are are original while remaining true to their history. I'm sure I speak for a lot of fans when I share my disappointment that Marvel's initial post-Secret Wars announcements didn't include an X-series written by you. Do you have any interest in working with these characters in the future? And have you got any particular favorite characters in the X-mythos you'd like to work with again? Or for the first time?
You are much too kind; I can't thank you enough for the generous words. I adore the X-Men and would love to one day write a title of theirs (or two, or three, or ten). I love Mystique, Rogue and Nightcrawler, in particular, as well as Emma Frost and Scarlet Witch. I'm very happy, though, to be chilling among the Thor group post-"Secret Wars" with "Angela: Queen of Hel" with Stephanie Hans and Kim Jacinto -- witty wild dark fantasy awaits!
And thanks to Marguerite Bennett for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, "Deadpool" and "Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos" writer Gerry Duggan returns to X-POSITION! Have a question for Gerry? Go ahead and send 'em in via an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position" or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. But get 'em in quickly, because the deadline's Friday. Make it happen!