X-POSITION: C.B. Cebulski & Cammo

Illyana Rasputin has had a hell of a life - literally. To begin with, she is the sister of Colossus of the X-Men, which has made her a target (incidental and intentional) of his enemies since she was a young child. As a matter of fact, this led Illyana to being kidnapped by the sorcerer Belasco and taken to Limbo, where parts of her soul were stripped and used to make a powerful Bloodstone pendant. After eventually defeating Belasco, Illyana returned to Earth several years later. While she had aged into a teenager, Illyana discovered that no time at all had passed since her kidnapping. She then joined the New Mutants, fought valiantly, was later de-aged back to a child, and finally died as a result of the Legacy virus, a deadly disease that only affects mutants.

But like all good superheroes who die, Illyana came back in the pages of the "New X-Men"...sort of. Belasco had returned to Limbo and used a spell to pull forth the remaining essence and memories of Illyana still held within the dimension. This "essence" took shape and became the Darkchylde, which looks like Illyana (complete with goat legs), but at the same time, isn't quite her.

Did you get all that? Well, if you have questions...good! That's why X-POSITION is here, to give fans a place where they can query of the writers, artists and editors of Marvel's X-Men family of books. This week's guests include writer C.B. Cebulski and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli (a.k.a. Cammo), who have teamed together to bring you the four-issue "X-Infernus" miniseries, issue #1 can be found in stores now.

This is the book that will enlighten readers on what has occurred to poor little Illyana, and begins the next new chapter in her interesting life. We had lots of people write in last week, so without further ado, let's jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.

[All answers by C.B. Cebulski, unless otherwise indicated.]

Excalibur88 gets to start things off today, because he obviously did his homework.

1) You did a story about Peter and Illyana back in "X-Men Unlimited" #14. I was wondering how long you've been thinking about doing this particular story or others with these characters?

Thanks for bringing up that "X-Men Unlimited" story, Excalibur! It's one of the earliest things I wrote for Marvel and still one of my favorites. It was actually [artist] David Aja's first work for Marvel, I believe. The New Mutants have been my favorite Marvel characters since I was a child, with Illyana at the top of the list. (Dani's still number one though!) I've always had various ideas for her, but the thought of writing her return came to me a little over a year ago. I'm so happy Marvel saw fit to let me tell it!

2) Will you be writing or be editing any more X-Men books in the near future?

I hope so. I love the X-Men and have a few new ideas I'll be pitching to Marvel soon!

Solicitations for "X-Infernus" have indicated that Colossus will be travelling to Limbo with a few of his teammates, in addition to several New X-Men. Naturally, this raises a question about the cast. We'll allow Philip Denver to pose the question:

I can understand why Colossus is taking his friends and some of the New X-Men to Limbo due to their powers and history, but why aren't any of the New Mutants going? Since they were Illyana's close friends, I am wondering why they aren't playing a larger role in this series...

Good question, Philip. The reason not a lot of Illyana's friends are going after her is that they're all a little busy elsewhere at the moment. Kitty was obviously closest to Illyana, but she's no longer with us, unfortunately. Dani's also one of her best friends, but she's depowered right now. Rahne is going through her own troubles in "X-Force," as I'm sure you've read.

You'll see Karma in issue #2, but she's not going on the mission for her own reasons. And each of the other New Mutants are unavailable for various story reasons. Bums me out too as I would have loved to have written them, but maybe they'll get a chance to interact with Illyana in the near future...?

Christopher Judd apparently believes C.B. is Santa and has sent in an item from his wish list:

#1 Magik Fan here! Is there any chance Dani Moonstar will be repowered through magic before this story is through?

As much as I would love to see that, no mutants will be repowered for the foreseeable future, Christopher.

Up next is Aether, who was wondering about a few of the story's details...

1) Will we be seeing Amanda Sefton or Margali in the story you are telling?

No, Amanda has her own demons to deal with at the moment. Limbo is not a place she wants to go back to anytime soon.

2) Is that Mr. Fantastic's arm that can be seen on the cover of the next issue?

Wha...huh? I gotta check that. Hold on...ah, I see what you're referring to, Aether. No, that's Mercury's arm, actually.

Magik has her fans, but C.B. has a few of his own; most notably, our next contributor - Venomous!

Hey C.B., I'm a big fan, and I'd just like to say that I absolutely love your grasp of continuity. And on that note...

1) In "X-Infernus," you seem to be making a great many references to Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's pending "Unholy War" storyline - a book he's been laying hints for in essentially everything he's written for Marvel Knights: from "4" to "Nightcrawler" and on to "Sensational Spider-Man" (and even in his one-off issue of "Young Avengers Presents"). Were your references intentional, or am I reading too much into it?

They were indeed intentional and hopefully we will see that story told in full someday soon.

2) I noticed you had a great many of the Hell Lords assembled in the first issue, but I was wondering why the Olympian Pluto/Hades and Ghost Rider's Lucifer weren't present?

Mephisto snubbed them both. Heh...

Prodigial sent in a prodigious amount of questions for this week's guests. He begins:

Cebulski, there's so many components to watch out for in this story: Limbo, the amulet, Magik's Soulsword, Pixie's SoulDagger, spells, teleportation discs, etc. You've got my hopes up and I want to wish you good luck writing all this into one epic event!

Yeah, it's been a lot of get a handle on, to be honest, but I think I got it all nailed down and I hope it shows

1) What the hell was Illyana's Soulsword doing within Nightcrawler?!

Amanda Sefton placed it there to hide it. You can read old issues of Nightcrawler's solo series written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa for more info on that, Prodigial.

2) Is Amanda Sefton really their only way of getting into Limbo?!

Not anymore, she's not!

3) Colossus got really frustrated and was pretty harsh to Scott. Is the loss of Kitty and his sister going to bring more of a mean arse out of him?

Read "Uncanny X-Men" for the answer to that one. It's something Fraction will be addressing in that series.

4) What kind of agenda does Witchfire have beyond being Belasco's daughter? I got a feeling she is going to be a big problem. She's not going to do the 'baby sacrifice' stunt, is she?

You'll just have to keep reading to find out.

5) Are Sym, N'Astirh, and other demons going to terrify San Francisco like they did when they partied in New York City?

Not this time around. They're knee-deep in it down in Limbo to do much more this time around.

6) And will we have to watch out for any new Limbo-characters?

Wait and see...

7) Assuming we get an authentic Magik at the end of this saga, can Magik return everything the Scarlet Witch did back to normal?

No, she's not that powerful just yet - unless she gets all five Bloodstones and calls upon the power of the Elder Gods. Another wait and see, I guess...

8) I like the artwork Cammo has done so far. Whose aesthetic choice was it to do the new Darkchylde with goat-legs - Cammo's? And what's the biggest challenge you have found in drawing demons?

The goat legs were part of the last look Darkchylde had after the "Quest for Magik" arc in "New X-Men." And doesn't Cammo just draw the most kick-ass demons?

Giuseppe Camuncoli a.k.a. Cammo: Thank you, C.B. And glad you like what I did so far, Prodigial; hope you'll feel the same with what you haven't seen yet. I just love letting my creativity loose with demons. It's fun, challenging and entertaining at the same time.

Really, there's no specific challenge on the "drawing demons" side; the only difficult thing to me is coming up with new designs every time. I know I don't necessarily have to invent new demons at each turn, but I just can't resist. And as much as I always prefer a nice pair of human legs (possibly with boots) in a lady, I "had" to stick with Darkchylde original design. It's a demon - she doesn't necessarily have to look hot!

And what if we do think the goat legs look hot? Um, never mind. Let's go straight to this email from AnonyMouse:

C.B, first, please tell Cammo he's awesome!

Cammo, you're awesome!

Cammo: Thanks again C.B., and thanks AnonyMouse too! How can I reply to both of you in a fashionable yet not banal way? Well, let's just say that you're...uncanny!

Secondly, can you give any info or updates on your upcoming projects with:

A) David Finch - Wolverine, right? That's the word on the street...

David will be going back to our Wolverine story after he finishes lending his outstanding pencils to "Ultimatum" with Jeph Loeb.

B) Kenneth Rocafort - anything post Wolverine/Punisher? He's awesome.

Kenny is indeed incredible, and I'll hopefully have the chance to work with him on something else in the future.

C) Travis Charest - comic art fans everywhere need to know what you and he have planned.

You should be hearing more about Travis's plans at Marvel very shortly!

Our last question of the day comes from Elias Metaxas, who obviously has the afterlife on their mind:

I have a question about Illyana getting her soul back. We saw her younger self dying from the Legacy Virus. When a person dies, their soul supposedly moves on. So, if her soul moved on, even if she picks pieces of it from her friends, how is she going to be complete? Is she going to storm heaven?

This is definitely something we'll be addressing in upcoming issues of "X-Infernus," Elias, so keep reading! Thanks for all your support, everyone!

Cammo: I'm with C.B. on this one too. I can only add that there's more coming...and that it's gonna be really hot! Every new script I get from C.B. is possibly cooler than the previous one. Cheers everyone!

Next week, we have a treat for you - the X-Editors! Ain't X-POSITION grand? How often do you readers get the chance to grill your favorite X-overlord on the books you know and love? Take advantage and send your emails as soon as you can. Put "X-Position" in the subject line to make sure we don't miss your missive underneath the mistletoe!

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