X-Position: Best Question Ever

Mutants play a special role in the Marvel Universe, particularly the members of the various X-Men teams. They are victims and heroes, outsiders and family. It takes a special kind of person to keep these aspects in perspective when relaying the exploits of the various X-cast members. A person who knows when a long-lost character needs to reappear, or when a certain individual needs a "dirt nap."

To the characters within the X-Universe, this person is god. To us, the X-fans, this person is known as an editor. These editors need to make a lot of decisions about your favorite characters in the hopes of pleasing you, riling you up, and generally entertaining you. Today, they've gone above and beyond the call of duty and are joining CBR for one of our biggest X-POSITIONS ever!

We have a veritable super-team here to answer your questions in the form of Executive Editor & X-Men Group Editor Axel Alonso and X-Editors Nick Lowe, John Barber and Will Panzo.

We'll start things off with some questions of our own.

Gentlemen, with "Uncanny" #500 fast approaching, we are going to see lots of mutants gathered in one place. As Magneto loves a good party, will he be making an appearance in the city by the bay? What about Sentinels? And while we're on the subject of classic X-villains, who else might be stopping by to cause the X-Men trouble?

Nick Lowe: I think you have ESP, George. Magneto is a huge part of "Uncanny" #500 and Matt and Ed's plan for what is coming in that book and the X-Line as a whole. And if that weren't enough for one issue, you can see some Sentinels. And if that weren't enough, are you familiar with the name Trask?

Indeed. Moving on, Cable has an important job in his book as he has to (supposedly) keep the future of mutantkind safe. How does his story and actions impact the X-books in the present? Will we be seeing events from that book tie in to the present soon in any way?

Axel Alonso: You'll soon begin to see exactly how Cable's mission impacts on the X-Men in future issues of "Uncanny X-Men" and "X-Force," but first check out the August issue of "Cable" ("Homecoming," issue #6), which shows the burden that Scott's been carrying since he made the decision to let Cable escape with the child at the end of "Messiah Complex." Suffice it to say, Scott has been a very busy boy. He's been laying down plans.

Speaking of plans, we saw the beginning of a sisterhood that looks to cause the X-Men trouble in "Uncanny" #499. Can you tell us anything about who will be involved in this and when the trouble might start?

NL: Not without spoiling everything that Matt and Ed are building. I'll tell you this, someone is putting a group together. A group very dense with X chromosomes and thin on the Y chromosomes. They will certainly cause a lot of trouble for Cyclops and the rest of the crew. The leader of this group of ladies will also cause Scott and Emma some problems.

Sounds like menage-a-trouble.

"Wolverine: Origins" and "X-Men: Legacy" are going to be crossing over soon. Can you share any details on this for our readers? Why are they crossing over, and what implications will this have on Professor X's current mission of trying to restore his memories?

NL: A few months ago, editor John Barber and I realized that our "Origins" and "Legacy" shared a strange symmetry. "Origins" is about a man without many of his memories suddenly getting them all back and having to deal with everything he lost. "Legacy" is about a man who has always had his memories suddenly getting them fractured and having to regain what he lost and deal with those consequences. So it interested us to bring the books together [in "X-Men: Original Sin," formerly known as "Dark Deception].

John Barber: Yeah, it really naturally fell together, and Daniel Way and Mike Carey were excited to work together. "Original Sin" goes back to Wolverine's earliest days with the X-Men and the secrets that have been buried since the day Logan and Xavier first met...

X-Factor has been promising lots of changes �" from a pregnancy to new members. Will the birth of this baby be a "big deal" in the X-Universe, as it could potentially be a mutant? And what about Longshot and Darwin? Aren't they supposed to be appearing soon?

Will Panzo: There are big shakeups ahead for X-Factor. Siryn's baby will be an important event in their lives, but maybe not in the way everyone expects. And Darwin and Longshot make their first appearances in issue #33 (the first issue of the "Secret Invasion" tie-in).

Well, that's all the questions from us. Lil Joshy is up next with a couple of head-scratchers, and begins by picking up where my X-Factor question left off.

1) Where does X-Factor fit into things continuity-wise? Since they leapt forward five months and are set to have their fight with the Skrull Invasion (as will the X-Men), I'm confused.

WP: As Einstein surmised, Lil Joshy, time isn't constant. Read the "Theory of Relativity Special" in its entirety and I promise you will be confused no more.

2) Angel and Husk �" will we see any development with them and their relationship? You'd think Paige would have something to say about Warren becoming blue with metal wings again...

NL: Well, Lil Joshy, you'll see Warren and Paige spending a little time together in "Secret Invasion: X-Men," but don't expect the former couple to remove the "former" part.

Aw, sorry Lil Joshy. Maybe the answer to Big Josh Thacker's question about Cyclops' ex- will make you feel better...or maybe not.

Due to various teases and rumors, there seems to be a building excitement and eagerness for the return of Jean Grey. I was wondering if we could get some back-stories about Jean Grey's adventures as White Phoenix in the White Hot Room? I would love to see that explored.

NL: Just because we're releasing a book about her origins and starting to draw attention to trade paperbacks doesn't mean that Jean is coming back. It's just a coincidence. I swear. Double-pinky swear.

Now let's check in with Num48champ who is curious about a certain X-hothead.

Do you guys think we will have a Firestar appearance soon? Will she be joining the X-Men is San Francisco? I mean, she retired from superheroing because of the registration act. Don't you think it's about time she joined her brother and sister mutants on the X-Men?

NL: We talk about Firestar a lot. Probably too much. She's got something in the works, but I'm not saying just what yet. I will say this, it will have something to do with some ladies that she has things in common with.

Hm, that means they are either all mutants, all redheads, or all friends of Spider-Man. Okay, before I get fired for bad jokes, let's move on to this query from Mr. Hellfire:

Lately, everything has been very Cyclops-centric and he appears to be calling all the shots. Does this mean Emma is no longer co-headmistress? And what are the plans for her in the future?

AA: Correct. Cyclops is calling the shots, and that's something that Emma accepts, as does Logan. Partially it comes down to Cyclops' growing confidence about who he is and what he's capable of, but we'd be lying if part of it wasn't because she nearly killed the whole team in "Astonishing."

Make no mistake, Emma's never been the stand-by-her-man-at-any-cost type. She's smart enough to know that Cyclops is more than up to the task. That said, look for Emma to make some major moves in 2009, both within the X-Men universe and beyond. She's about to become a major player.

James Figueiredo wrote in with a lengthy but thought-provoking question about the X-Men's new home, along with a request for a few character appearances. James, take it away...

I have a question for the X-Editors regarding the new phase the X-Men are about to enter beginning with issue #500. I'd like to know if we're going to see more of the gay X-characters in the book, like Northstar and/or Karma (Anole would be awesome too).

All the press we've read so far on the new status of the book indicates how "at home" the X-Men will be in San Francisco given the city's accepting nature, and I think it would be just obvious to finally have this correlation (mutants and homosexuals) acknowledged in the book.

AA: I'll confirm at least two characters, James. Karma is going to play a large role in "Uncanny X-Men." Anole is another person who plays a large role in more than one upcoming book.

Also, I think it would be kind of odd to have no mention or depiction of gay relationships in a book where the core concept is all about tolerance and acceptance �" and set in San Francisco �" to boot. So I'd like to know what the X-Editors can tell me about how gay characters/relationships will feature in the book, given the change it's about to embrace.

AA: We can't go into details, James. That would be giving away story, but we understand and agree with your point. The basic fact is that when a character comes to the forefront of a book, you tend to see more of their personal lives. You see them on a human level. That isn't going to change in the X-Books.

As Axel mentioned Karma playing a "large role," we'll jump into Lockerogue's query about Karma's...largeness.

First off, I have to say that I was so excited when I heard and read about Karma joining the X-Men in San Francisco. What will her status be with the team? Will she be fat or skinny? I'm really hoping for fat. Also, will she play an important role with the X-Men after the first few issues following #500?

NL: I hate to disappoint you, Lockerogue, but Karma's worked to get back into super-heroing shape. I hope we at least make up for it by telling you that she plays a big role in #501 and #502 and that will keep happening moving forward.

As long as you editors are responding to requests, Kristen Lapensee was hoping to see some of her favorite characters return. Can you help her out?

With the new X-Force team making its way through the X-Verse, have all possible comebacks of the old X-Force team ended completely? They were a great team with a hilarious dynamic, and since their end some of the members haven't made many appearances. Are there any plans in the future for these characters to appear in an X-Book �" specifically Domino, Shatterstar, and/or Tabitha Smith?

JB: There are lots of big plans for Domino, but this new X-Force is quite a different team than the original. That said, I really love the original X-Force characters. We haven't seen Shatterstar for a little while now, have we? And I believe Tabitha might be popping up sooner than you expect, somewhere in the X-verse.

It appears you're getting your birthday present early, Kristen!

Gavin Vincent sent in an email regarding the big revelation in the latest "Young X-Men." Although we're keeping things spoiler-free, Gavin needs you to give him the 4-1-1 on what it all means.

I've just finished reading issue #4 of "Young X-Men" and I'm beginning to see the light regarding the title. Given that the young students in the story have, in essence, been duped into becoming a hit squad, is this recklessness and gullibility (especially on Wolf Cub's part) going to have long term repercussions for the group? Can you give us any insight on the direction of the second arc?

NL: There are certainly going to be repercussions for the current arc of "Young X-Men." From #6 on, you're going to see a lot more about what "Young X-Men" is. You'll see what the book means to the rest of the X-Books. You'll see what role it's going to play (though I'll spoil that it's a big important one). That's a big part of the second arc.

Blair Campbell is here and he needs some clarification on a previous X-POSITION. Blair, we're happy to oblige...

In a recent X-Position there was a question about Annuals, but nothing was mentioned about "Uncanny X-Men" or "X-Men: Legacy." I am wondering when/if we can expect another Annual for either of these titles?

NL: We haven't planned Annuals for either yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if one popped up in the near future. I'm pushing Annuals starring Maggot (where's the petition to bring him back from the dead, X-Fans?) and Alchemy.

The last question of the day is perhaps the longest we've ever had. That said, we had to pass it along to our guests due to the level of details it included...and the fact that it made us laugh loudly. And, truth be told, this is a damn good question.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present WorstBlogEver giving the BestQuestionEver:

We've been discussing this in the X-Forums of CBR. There have been two references that Santa Claus is a mutant. The first, which was dismissed, was in the "Generation X: Holiday Special" #1 where Jubilee sees St. Nick and just wonders if he is, in fact, a mutant. We dismissed that as, "Well, Jubilee is a moron."

However, in the "Marvel Holiday Special" of 1991, there is a story apparently written in continuity as right after "Uncanny X-Men" #97 and before the Christmas issue of "Uncanny X-Men" #98, where Cerebro detects a new highly powered mutant and Xavier sends out Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, Banshee, and Colossus to try and recruit the person. Simultaneously, the Brotherhood (Toad, Mastermind, Blob and Unus the Untouchable) sense the mutant as well, and both groups go and do battle with the prize being this new mutant as a member of their team.

Said powerful mutant is revealed to be a reality-warping mutant...who also happens to be Santa Claus. At the end of the battle, Santa explains that Christmas isn't a time to be worried about recruiting mutants, and uses his reality-warping powers to turn the naughty Brotherhood into action figures and teleports the X-Men to a location where they were supposed to meet Cyclops and Phoenix to go shopping.

Now, I ask you about this in hope that it will be rendered "not canon," because if it is...

Santa Claus is not listed as one of the 198. Therefore, he lost his powers on M-Day due to the Scarlet Witch's magic. And if he lost his powers, well...Wanda Maximoff killed Christmas in Marvel-616. And I don't think that's an act she'll ever be redeemed of.

Hopefully, you can give us a straight answer to end this hilarious debate...we're running out of jokes to tell about it in the thread.

NL: We've been dreading the asking of this question. Now, please pledge that you'll keep the answer of this confined to the CBR Boards. You make very good points, WorstBlogEver. But there's a book that takes a lot of initiative when avenging things that has been dropping hints of another mutant that is "off the books." I can't rule out that Mutant Zero and Santa Claus aren't two different people.

That's enough fun and hilarity for this week though. Thanks to all of the X-Editors for playing along. Next week, Mike Carey will be joining us to talk about "X-Men: Legacy," "Secret Invasion: X-Men," "X-Men Origins: Beast," "Manifest Destiny," and the fate of Iceman.

Wow, that Mike Carey is one busy fellow. Send your emails quickly, and we'll see if we can get him to sit still for a second and answer them. And don't forget to put "X-Position" in the subject line!

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

Justin Ponsor
Justin Ponsor, Marvel Comics Colorist, Passes Away

More in Comics