Things are heating up for Magneto's team of X-Men. Following the "Apocalypse Wars" arc, which redefined Archangel, the "Uncanny X-Men" team is about to run afoul of an all-new Hellfire Club -- and surprise, Monet's a member! And in the pages of "Civil War II: X-Men," the band of heroes has experienced a roster shakeup as well as the return of Rachel Grey to the fold. Both of those series are being driven by writer Cullen Bunn, the mastermind that's also behind the recently-relaunched "Deadpool and the Mercs for Money." Between those three titles, there's plenty to talk about this week.
This week in X-POSITION, "Uncanny X-Men," "Civil War II: X-Men" and "Deadpool and the Mercs for Money" writers Cullen Bunn answers your questions about everything from Elixir's future to Archangel's past and everything in between.
CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, Cullen! Lot of Qs this week -- let's kick things off with one from nx01a.
Merging M and Emplate [some call her Emulate] reminded me of the... interesting '90s M/Emplate/Penance fusion called M-Plate. Was that an influence in deciding to merge the siblings? Will we learn the fate of Penance and the M Twins?
Hey, nx01a! You know, I had forgotten about M-Plate until after I started down this path. Once I was reminded (by you good folks at the CBR boards) I considered revisiting that story. All my copies of "Generation X" have been sent away to be bound up. I don’t know that the M-Plate story influenced me subconsciously or not, but I always loved the sort of body-switching/changing forms of M, even though I found it confounding. I have something specific in mind for Monet’s journey in the immediate future. It will position the character for greater exploration. That could include exploration of her family.
Jeanpaul123 has a question about another former X-student, Elixir.
I am so excited for the annual just to see Elixir again. The solicitation says he is going "to take revenge on both parties." Does that mean he will become kinda relevant in future stories or do you have specific plans for him?
Hey, Jeanpaul123. Nah. I’m just gonna kill him again.
Not really! Put down the pitchforks! I think there are big things ahead for Elixir. I believe he’ll be elevated quite a bit after the annual.
And Jeanpaul123 wants to know more about one of your new Hellfire Club members.
After seeing the line up for the ANAD Hellfire Club, why did you choose Black Tom Cassidy as a member? He has not been relevant since Austen's run on the "X-Men."
Originally, Black Tom and Juggernaut were going to be members of my Hellfire Club. For various reasons, I had to remove Juggernaut, but I’ve always liked Black Tom, so I left him in the mix. He’s a lot of fun to write, I’ve found. It was time to pull him out of mothballs.
And now here's a question from Emmanuel about the previous "Apocalypse Wars" arc.
Maybe I missed something while reading, but how did the drone Archangel come to be in the first place? When Archangel died in "Uncanny X-Force," a blank slate Warren Worthington remained. How did we end up with Warren and the drone as two separate entities during the 8-month gap?
Now that you mention it, Emmanuel, I do think Dennis Hopeless is a big jerk!
Oh, wait. That wasn’t your question.
At some point during the 8-month gap, Warren came to the conclusion that his wings were things of evil. After he hooked up with Akkaba, those wings were harvested to grow the Death Flight of Archangel clones. One of those “clones” escaped. This was the Archangel from the beginning of the series.
Askani's Flame has a question about the suddenly popular Sebastian Shaw.
With Sebastian Shaw now heading off with Cable and Rogue in "Uncanny Avengers" to seek a cure for the T-Mist, will we see this intersecting or having any results in "Uncanny X-Men" as he is part of the Inner Circle once again? Was this something that you were made aware of when penning your arcs?
What I’ve learned, Askani’s Flame, is that everyone wants to write about Sebastian Shaw! I think Sebastian Shaw’s appearance in "Uncanny Avengers" could potentially lead to some intersection with "Uncanny X-Men" in the future, but there are no plans for that right now.
Here's another question about the Hellfire Club, this one from ou·tré.
While there is still a lot left to be said about Monet's surprise alignment with the Hellfire Club, is her association with the group limited to herself alone or does her affluent upbringing have links to the exclusive establishment? If so, was Monet's mentor Emma, who also served a long stint as the White Queen, aware that these ties could end up pulling her insubordinate pupil towards their dark corner of the universe?
Hey, ou-tre! As I see it, Monet’s family had connections to the Hellfire Club, but not necessarily to the Inner Circle. Emma would almost certainly know about the connection. Maybe at some point in the past, Emma guided Monet to her current position, knowingly or unknowingly. If nothing else, it sounds like a story that needs to be told!
Switching gears, ou·tré also has a Q about "Deadpool and the Mercs For Money."
Aside from the buzzcut, are you taking any other notes from the wildly popular film version of Ellie Phimister (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), such as the offensive abilities she displayed in the film?
The haircut is probably the only similarity between the Ellie of the movie and the Ellie of "Deadpool and the Mercs For Money." But as you’ve seen in the new series, Negasonic can hold her own in a fight. And there are many more secrets about her powers to be revealed. I don’t think anyone yet suspects how powerful and important Negasonic will become.
Kamose1234 wants to know if the upcoming "Uncanny X-Men Annual" will have an effect on Deadpool's Mercs.
Given the solicitation for November's "Uncanny X-Men Annual," can we expect Domino to not just be a member of the Mercs for Money but also Magneto’s team?
Hey, Kamose1234! I wouldn’t read too much into Domino’s appearance in the annual. That’s more of a “once an X-Man, always an X-Man” kind of thing.
"Civil War II: X-Men" saw the return of one of your favorite characters, Rachel Grey, and OmegaPower wants to know more about her.
I have read before you were a huge Rachel Grey fan, a trait rarely found in X-writers these days. In just one issue you already shown you care and know a lot about the character. So my question is: What are your plans for Rachel Grey? Is she just a guest or is she going to stay in your book? And why did you choose to bring her now?
Well, OmegaPower, it’s true that Rachel Grey is my favorite X-character. My original plan for the "Civil War II" book was to showcase a lot of mutant characters we haven’t seen much of, but that changed along the way. In the end, I had to cut back on the number of guest stars, but I kept Rachel in the role I had planned. You’ll have to see how "Civil War II: X-Men" ends to see if Rachel is sticking around or not. Whether she does or not, I consider her appearance in that book as a way of easing her back into continuity in a bigger way.
Speaking of cameos, Purplevit has some words about another one we saw.
Huge thanks for the Gambit surprise in "Civil War II: X-Men"! It was a big present for Gambit fans. Can we expect to see you writing Remy in future again? Maybe in some new project?
Hey, Purplevit! I’d love to spend some more time writing Gambit. I don’t think it’s a secret that I’ve pitched a Gambit ongoing on more than one occasion. There are no immediate plans for such a thing, though.
Here's a question from Gene about your writing process.
I really enjoy how a lot of your solo offerings get into the heads of characters while still leaving plenty of room for suspense. Between Birdie in the recently released "Death Follows" to Magneto's solo run, I believe you are the master at narrations. Will we get any solo issue/arcs that really get knee deep in the psyches of Monet, Psylocke, Xorn, Mystique, and company or does an ensemble make that an unsuitable task?
Gene! First of all, thank you for mentioning "Death Follows"! Glad to hear X-fans are finding some of my creator-owned work, too! Writing those narrations are really difficult… like pulling teeth… but we’ll certainly seeing more of them. Ensemble books don’t make them unsuitable. I just can’t focus on one character issue after issue without it becoming “their” book.
And we close out this week with an ask from Rivka.
Can you tell us if you and Mr. Land will be staying on "Uncanny X-Men" for the foreseeable future? (Through 2017?)
Rivka, it sounds like you’re trying to lure me into revealing something I shouldn’t! I know folks hate this kind of answer, but you’ll have to stay tuned!
Special thanks to Cullen Bunn for taking part in this week's X-POSITION!
Next week, "X-Men '92" writers Chad Bowers and Chris Sims will join us here at X-POSITION! Have a question for Chad and Chris? Go ahead and send 'em in via an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position". But get 'em in quickly, because the deadline's Friday! Make it happen!