This fall, "Uncanny X-Men" will receive a ferocious makeover courtesy of incoming writer Cullen Bunn and artist Greg Land. The title, which has roots that stretch back to the early days of the team, will now feature Magneto and his lineup of less than heroic -- but certainly iconic -- mutants as they band together for a mysterious purpose. The lineup on July's teaser image included Magneto, Mystique, Fantomex, Sabretooth and Psylocke -- possibly the most cutthroat assemblage of X-Men to date. But before Magneto teams up with those take-no-prisoners antiheroes, he has to survive the last days of Earth -- and the last issue of his ongoing series!
This week, "Magneto," "House of M" and "Uncanny X-Men" writer Cullen Bunn returns to X-POSITION and answers your questions about everything from Magneto's feelings towards his changing family tree to the mental states of Sabretooth, Mystique, Psylocke and more. And don't miss the exclusive first look at Greg Land's official cover for "Uncanny X-Men" #1, which reveals two new members of the Uncanny team.
CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, Cullen! Let's start with a few "Magneto" questions, beginning with two from Derek.
"Magneto" has been a run that I have thoroughly enjoyed and, at one point, it was the only title I was subscribing too. Love him or hate him, he's definitely one of the richest characters at Marvel to explore and I feel like we only got to the tip of the iceberg in your run. What have been personal highlights for you during this series?
Such a tough question! I loved exploring some of Marvel's mutant history through Magneto's eyes, both the scenes where I revisited scenes from older comics and flashback scenes that were new.
I think the introduction of Hitzig and the resolution of that story was one of the highlights for me. I explored some dark, dark stuff with that tale. Hitzig was just a new character, but I was re-reading some "Uncanny X-Force" and decided it might be a nice connection if he was the same man Magneto sent Wolverine to kill. That kind of connectivity to the X-Men universe really thrilled me.
On a more visceral level, I loved issue two when Magneto plays detective and becomes a one-man wrecking crew against those mercs. And Briar Raleigh is someone I really liked.
I think you'll like "Uncanny X-Men." The stories have vastly different tones, for the most part, and it is a team book, but there will be moments that will have a similar feel to "Magneto."
During the time you were writing "Magneto," Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were removed as his children. We haven't had a huge amount of reflection on Magneto's part about this story direction, which has been controversial among readers to put it mildly. What's your take on Magneto's opinion on the loss of his children?
While I haven't written about it explicitly, my take is that this has wounded Magneto deeply. He sees it as a betrayal, but he doesn't know who to be angry with. That kind of confusion and anger can drive a man to some dark places.
It's something that will be explored, but not right away. When the time is right. I know that kind of answer bothers some people. Hell, I've been called a coward for not immediately dealing with other character issues. But -- listen -- I want ["Uncanny X-Men"] to be accessible to as many people as possible. Loading the first arc or two up with a lot of continuity-heavy baggage would be a stupid move on my part. Stories have to be told when the time is right, y'know?
If only Magneto had another kid to help him figure out his complicated family issues...
And, no, that does not mean Lorna is joining the team.
Before you jump into "Uncanny" full time, you do have a new "Secret Wars" series -- "House of M" -- that you've crafted with Dennis Hopeless. justinian has a question about that new book.
What interesting character interactions can we look forward to in the "House of M" "Secret Wars" mini that you helped co-write?
I think there are some nice moments with Namor and Quicksilver in our future! Writing those two characters interacting was such a fun departure from writing Namor interacting with Magneto. There's also an interesting game of chess with Magneto and an (as yet) unidentified opponent.
And now we're in "Uncanny X-Men" territory. Steven has a question about the book's badass group, as seen in the teaser image.
When choosing these members for the ["Uncanny X-Men"] team, was there a theme or a quality to link them? Will there be other questionable members (like Bishop) or even villains?
When I started building this team, I wanted to make sure they were very different from Jeff [Lemire]'s "Extraordinary X-Men" and Dennis [Hopeless]'s "All-New X-Men." When readers look at these books, I want no question that this is a different team with a different mission statement. So, I started building a team of "morally questionable" villains and anti-heroes who maybe shouldn't carry the banner of the X-Men. I know that rubs some people the wrong way. Frankly, it's supposed to -- that's one of the themes of this book. That was the first quality that linked them. I also looked at which characters would give me the most dynamic and unexpected interactions. I don't think many people can guess how this team is actually going to function without tearing itself apart. Maybe it won't.
As for other characters... there are two team members who have not been revealed. Both of them will be head-scratching for different reasons. Both of them will add a new layer of "what the Hell is Cullen thinking?" And that's just among the X-Men! There are some other groups -- or clubs even -- showing up within a few issues that will feature some familiar and surprising faces.
Speaking of new members, xhx23x has a question about one estranged X-Man in particular.
With Mags and Mystique in ["Uncanny X-Men"], is there any chance Rogue will come up or appear in any form in this book?
There's a chance, I suppose, but I have no concrete plans for her right now. With Magneto and Mystique in the book, it seems like a natural fit for Rogue to show up. Not in the first couple of arcs for sure. She has her own thing going on right now.
Christopher has a question about some of the interesting character conflicts that could arise in "Uncanny."
Are you going to deal with Psylocke being on a team with Sabretooth and Fantomex, characters that she hates, right out of the gate or is that a simmering plotline?
I just decided they all buried the hatchet and become besties off-panel, so we won't even worry about that.
I will be dealing with these relationships in slightly different ways. With Psylocke and Sabretooth, it will be more of a simmering story, with bits and pieces showing up over time, leading to something down the road. With Fantomex... well... that will be a little more immediately explosive. And by explosive I mean very, very violent.
While we're talking about Fantomex, Fabio has a question about the character's...well say complicated backstory.
One character that I am looking forward to in your run is Fantomex. He has gone through so much development since his inception. I was hoping to hear what you had in store for him and how he will handle working beside Psylocke again after Simon Spurrier's "X-Force"?
Fantomex in this book is going to be stripped back down to the basics a bit, closer to how he was portrayed when he first appeared and in early issues of "Uncanny X-Force." That's not to say he won't have complexities, but he's definitely much more the mysterious super-spy that we originally met. The mysteries will be new, of course.
What do you think? Will he be happy about working with Psylocke? Probably not. My guess is he'll have to have some pretty serious reasons for doing so. Those reasons will form the backbone of the Fantomex story.
Also... Psylocke and Fantomex are not hooking up again, just in case you're wondering.
Psylocke and Fantomex might not be getting back together, but hopefully there's still room for romance in "Uncanny X-Men." Here's Ben with the question:
Your "Uncanny X-Men" cast is unusual -- and thankfully so as it consists of two bisexual women (Psylocke and Mystique) and (maybe?) a bisexual man (Fantomex). Have you given any thought to this LGBT representation, and considering the nature of your cast, will there be time for some romance?
Interesting that you say "considering the nature of the cast" there might not be room for romance. Don't ass-kickers need love, too?
For real, though. Even though this is a shockingly different version of the X-Men, I want their story to have a classic X-Men feel. That means a lot of inter-character interactions, subplots and drama, both within the team and within the supporting cast I'll be introducing as time goes on. That also means there will be room for romance.
Yes, they are ruthless and merciless in their mission, but they are trying to keep Xavier's dream alive in the best way they know how. These are villains and hard cases trying to make it in the shadow of a dream many say they have no business trying to uphold.
As for Psylocke, Mystique, and Fantomex -- I've definitely taken everything that makes them who they are into consideration.
That's great to hear! Even beyond potential romance, a character like Mystique tends to have a lot going on -- as Complexed points out.
In the past few series Mystique has been in she's been a completely, unfocused mess. Hellfire School Teacher? Madripoor leader? Mad at Dazzler and Cyclops? Married to Professor X? Please tell me you have a solid plan for her motivations for being with these people who she hates (Sabretooth) and who just tried to kill her (Magneto). I love the character, but she needs some focus and not just random panel time.
I couldn't agree with you more. Coming into this, Mystique made my head spin, but I had a notion that I wanted to explore with her. Pages and pages of notes later, I have a big storyline in mind for Mystique, something that I think will alleviate a lot of the concerns you have with her, give her some focus and make readers care about her.
Speaking of big stories, I sat down and wrote out a plan for each and every member of the cast. I have a long-term story in mind for each team member. For some of the characters, the seeds of these stories will be planted in the first issue. For others, it might be a couple of issues before you see it taking shape. But there will be ongoing drama for all the Uncanny X-Men, with the stories playing out across several issues or longer.
Next, macroblaster1999 has a similar question about Sabretooth.
When [Rick] Remender used Sabretooth [in "Uncanny Avengers"], he seemed to have a plan for his redemption. But now that he left Marvel, the character is all open to change. What can we expect Sabretooth to face in your book? Will he get a new costume?
It might seem strange, but Sabretooth is pretty close to this team's "moral compass." He's still very much on the path to redemption. He's not there yet, though. There's a long, long way to go and it will not be easy on him at all. My long-term plan for Sabretooth is one of my favorite elements of this series. It strikes a very personal chord for me, and I think it will resonate with readers. There's a lot of trouble, tragedy, and even romance -- not with Psylocke -- ahead for Creed.
And lastly, Jonathan asks quite possibly the most important question of all.
Loved your "Magneto" book and wish it continued. Now for the single most important question ever! Will Magneto have his hair back?
How can I reveal the greatest of secrets to you, Jonathan? How? This is definitely a "wait and see" scenario. It has been several months, though, so maybe it did grow back... with male pattern baldness painfully evident. Magneto would rock a silver "ring of fire," yes?
Thanks to Cullen Bunn for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, "Age of Apocalypse" and upcoming "Deadpool and Cable: Split Second" writer Fabian Nicieza returns to X-POSITION! Have a question for Fabian? 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!