X-POSITION: Bunn Readies "Uncanny X-Men" for "Apocalypse Wars," Hellfire Club & "Civil War II"

The Dark Riders are back and this time they're a deadly threat. In "Uncanny X-Men's" first arc, the '90s villain team have returned to prominence and singled out all mutant healers for execution. It's up to Magneto and his team of extreme X-Men to prevent the deaths of those that might be able to combat the deadly M-Pox that's spreading all over the globe. But there are even more threats looming on the horizon -- namely the Hellfire Club and the "Apocalypse Wars" and "Civil War II" events.

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This week in X-POSITION, "Uncanny X-Men" writer Cullen Bunn joins us and answers your questions about the Mystique's motivation, Xorn's return and even Deadpool's team of money-hungry mercs.

CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, Cullen! Let's start things up with a question from Gary H about your cast.

Amazing Betsy work. Any Rachel Grey love or plans? Also, how about Magma?

Hey, Gary H! As I've said elsewhere, Rachel Grey is one of my favorite characters, and I definitely have plans for her. I have a fairly long game plan in place, but there's a pretty good chance you'll be seeing her sooner rather than later. I don't have any immediate plans for Magma, but that's something that could happen at some point in the future.

Next up, Gene has a question about your decision to tackle one of the most confusing X-Characters ever.

Shen Xorn's Wikipedia biography is maybe one of the most confusing and confused stories in all of the X-Men's vast and sometimes overly complicated history, especially for a character that has appeared in such a small number of issues. What inspired you to revive this character from the history books and do you plan on entangling one of the most convoluted webs in all of comics?

You're absolutely right, Gene. Shen Xorn's history is headache-inducing. I'll admit, I originally thought of adding him to the team because I think he has one of the coolest designs in X-history. But I also think he has a lot of potential... if we can get that wild history under control. It's something I'd like to do, but I'm going to take my time with it. First of all, Xorn will not be appearing in every issue. Second of all, if I dove in with the intention of untangling his backstory all at once, I'd have to write a few very in-depth issues that might lose some readers. So, I'll be seeding in information and story beats as we go along, but I'm not in a hurry to do it all at once.

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xhx23x wonders if your team will ever get a chance to catch their breath.

This team pretty much seems like they're constantly doing something or other, will there be any issues that show their downtime? Like training or whatever solo agenda they have that goes beyond the team?

Xhx23x, you're asking about something that's important to me. With a book like this, there's always going to be "the next mission" but I really hope to work in more "downtime scenes" into the series. I doubt we'll ever see an entire issue dedicated to training or relaxing at home, but I'll try to work as much of that in as I can in the future. In the meantime, I will be sprinkling hints at personal agendas and glimpses of character interactions and developments throughout the adventures the "Uncanny X-Men" have been having.

"Uncanny" shares a lead character with your previous X-Book, "Magneto." AcesX1X wants to know more about how those books are connected.

Are there any remnants of your "Magneto" solo that you wanted to bring over to "Uncanny X-Men," but were unable to for whatever reason?

Hey, AcesX1X. I don't think there were any elements of "Magneto" that I was unable to bring over. There are definitely some characters -- such as Briar Raleigh and Polaris and the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who were chasing Magneto -- that I have plans for in the series in the near future, but I have to make sure a few pieces fall into place before I introduce them.

MrMcMuffin has a question about a few of your cast members in particular.

Any chance we'll see Betsy or Raven (or even maybe Fantomex? He kissed a guy like once) have their bisexuality explored? Both have only really been shown with one woman in the past, and as a gay reader myself I think it would be great to see it brought up -- and also to clarify that they are LGBT characters.

Always a chance, MrMcMuffin. I have a plan for every character in the book, and I'll be exploring different aspects of all the characters going forward. It's not something I plan on rushing into, though. If and when it happens (almost sounds like I already have something in mind, huh?) it's something that will develop over time.

Kenny's spotted a connection between "Uncanny's" current villains and the title of an upcoming X-Men event.

The Dark Riders used to serve Apocalypse and the "Apocalypse Wars" are coming this summer. Is their presence and mission to execute mutant healers going to be the springboard for this summer's story?

Hey, Kenny. Maybe to some degree. There is a little connective tissue between the Dark Riders arc and the "Apocalypse Wars" story, but I don't think of them as stories that rely heavily on one another.

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We know that the Hellfire Club will play a role in the book, and scouse mouse is looking for more details on their upcoming appearance.

Can you give us any hints as to when we will see the bosses of the Hellfire Club show up, and if they will be previous leaders like Sebastian Shaw and Madelyne Pryor (she did have something to do with them didn't she?), or if there will be new bosses? Please don't say the Hellfire brats are back though!

Scouse mouse, I'll do you one better than hinting at when the leaders will be revealed. I'll be revealing one of the leaders in issue #6, maybe another in issue #7. And you'll see the whole line up in the third arc. This is a Hellfire Club that will have a mix of old and new.

shockbolt101 wonders if there's a connection between Mystique and Fantomex and the Hellfire Club.

The teaser at the end of #3 seems to indicate that Mystique and Fantomex are aligned with the Hellfire Club. Can you spoil any info on why they seem to be a party to the Club's activities and how this will affect their relationship with the "Uncanny" team?

I'll give you this, shockbolt101: when you ask for spoilers, you don't beat around the bush. I don't really want to give away too much about the Hellfire Club/Fantomex/Mystique/Uncanny X-Men dynamic just yet. When we get to issues #11 and #12, it will be made pretty clear, I think. Maybe even by issue #7 if you pay close attention.

Speaking of Mystique, MarvelMaster616 wants to know more about your take on her.

How do you intend to approach Mystique's character? Ever since "Messiah CompleX" (with the exception of the time she was inverted during "AXIS"), Mystique has been an unapologetic sociopath of sorts. Her only purpose has been to torment the X-men however she can. This is quite a contrast compared to how she was during the early 2000s under Brian K. Vaughan. What direction do you intend to take her character within the context of this story?

Hey, MarvelMaster616. I have big, heartbreaking plans for Mystique. As with many of my character arcs, I'll be hinting at where her story is going in the next couple of issues, but I think the bulk of the revelations will come in the third arc of the series. That arc will go a long way to defining (and redefining) Mystique in the Marvel Universe.

Similarly, Sam Robards, Comic Fan wants to know more about Sabretooth's role.

How would you describe Sabretooth's role on the team? I know he's "the claw guy," but how does he relate to the other members of the team?

Sam Robards, Comic Fan... Is that how your business cards read? If so, I approve.

Sabretooth's relationship with the rest of the team is on thin ice at best. That's no surprise, given his history. For a couple of issues, I've focused pretty heavily on his connection to Monet, something that has gotten a few people talking. I'll continue to build that relationship a little more, too, especially in the second arc. In the near future, though, I'll be leaning into how he gets along with Psylocke, too. Even this week's issue (#4) touches on that a bit.

For me, Sabretooth represents a lot of questions about redemption, which is important for this team. Can someone like Creed (or Magneto... or Mystique) ever be redeemed? And -- what if that redemption is not through one's own journey, but because of some sort of mystic whammy? Does that even count?

Kamose1234 has a question about your other series, "Deadpool and the Mercs for Money."

In the first issue of "Deadpool and the Mercs for Money," the "junked up robot" Wade and his team briefly prophesized some interesting events -- such as a "Kree attack" and when the "Cardinals win the World Series" -- but it seems Deadpool, despite being faced with this important find, is not taking the situation seriously. He's opting instead to sell it to supervillains online. Will we see going forward any of the occurrences the robots foretold happening and how important the automaton is? And will Wade's dismissal come back to haunt him?

Hey, Kamose1234! Deadpool is definitely not taking the predictions of the robot seriously. As far as he's concerned (and maybe he's right), the robot just has some sort of weird glitch and is muttering nonsense. If Wade's wrong, you can be sure that it will come around to bite him in the backside. You'll be hearing many more predictions from the robot going forward. If they are true, there could be some very interesting events on the horizon. But make no mistake, that robot has a cool role to play.

And lastly this week, Knives has a question about this summer's big Marvel event.

Recently we had confirmation of the participation the X-Men and X-23 (Laura Kinney), the new Wolverine, in "Civil War II." Can you tell us if "Uncanny X-Men" will have some participation in "Civil War II"?

With a name like Knives, I expected more of a Wolverine-focused question. Well, you did mention Wolverine, so I guess that works out. All I can tell you at this point is that the "Uncanny X-Men" will be involved in "Civil War II." I'd expect more information on that to be revealed in the next week or so.

Thanks to Cullen Bunn for taking on this week's questions!

Next week, "All-New X-Men" writer Dennis Hopeless returns to X-POSITION to answer your questions! Have a question for Dennis? Go ahead and send 'em in via e-mail with the subject line "X-Position". But get 'em in quickly, because the deadline's Friday. Make it happen!

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