X-POSITION: Craig Kyle and Chris Yost

The latest X-event, "Second Coming," holds great significance for many individuals - both imagined and real. For the mutants of the Marvel Universe, it signals the arrival of Hope, the first (and only) mutant born since the events of Decimation and the supposed savior of mutantkind. For the creative powers behind the X-books, it signifies the culmination of a three-year storyline. Essentially, there is a lot riding on Hope - let's keep our fingers crossed that she lives up to everyone's expectations.

Hope's birth was also notable in that it marked a change in the modus operandi for the X-Men. For possibly the first time ever, an X-team was sanctioned to kill with the formation of a new X-Force. Written by Craig Kyle and Chris Yost, this team was initially sent out to retrieve Hope when she was born. Since that time, however, their mission has been to ensure mutantkind's survival...by any means necessary.

Naturally, Hope's return will have implications for this team's manifesto. As Kyle and Yost are writing both "Second Coming" and "X-Force," how could it not? The two scribes were kind enough to take time from their extremely busy work schedules (Kyle is also a producer on the live-action "Thor" film, and Yost is hard at work on the animated "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes") and answer your emails for today's X-POSITION. Feeling lucky? Better buckle your seatbelts - let's see if you're ready for a little Hope!

CBR News: Andre4000 starts things off today with a smattering of queries on all things "X":

1) I have some "Second Coming" questions, but first I was hoping you could explain something: in "X-Force" #24, the team arrives on Genosha thanks to Vanisher teleporting them to the island. They arrive, see thousands of 'zombies,' and decide they need to slash their way through these dead folks to get to Selene's castle. Um, why didn't they have Vanisher just teleport them to the castle instead? While it's less fun than stabbing things, it sure is easier...

Chris Yost: Vanisher declined to go. He was going to leave. He was like, "Let's get the fuck out of here!" He wasn't quite interested in helping them.

Craig Kyle: Exactly. His job was to get them to the island, not to get them to the heart of the site. His plan was to get Elixir to heal him once they arrived and then bug out, which is his normal M.O.

Yost: X-Force really didn't have time to do their usual "torture and force [Vanisher] to help."

Kyle: And they also really didn't know where Warpath was. It was Wolfsbane that ultimately tracked him down with her new Asgardian-enhanced senses.

2) Regarding "Second Coming," how much of the story is yours? While you were writing in the X-verse at the beginning of "Messiah CompleX," were you involved in the planning of Hope's story to get to this point?

Yost: A lot of the threads that are going into "Second Coming" were seeded in "X-Force," and that was from day one. Bastion was the main antagonist for our first arc. A lot of those things you're going to see in "Second Coming" grew out of "X-Force." I think a lot of longtime readers of ours - even from around "New X-Men" - are going to see and hopefully appreciate that this is one big story.

Kyle: Hope is what everyone's fighting for, but the threats they face were all borne out of "X-Force." The reason all these guys have come back into the fold - Cameron Hodge, Stryker, Bastion - all that stuff started in our book. And it's pretty exciting to have a satellite title be a big part of what's driving the thread that this event is built upon. It's been an honor and a thrill.

You know, early on, I think it was the first year we were on the book, we told the gang that for us to really close the Bastion chapter of "X-Force," it was going to take more than our team. We could handle Selene and her forces, but if it was going to be Bastion's plan coming to fruition...if we said X-Force could handle it, we'd be lying. Fortunately, everyone in the room was ready to say, "Yeah, we'd love to do a big event; we'd love to be part of it." So all the talented writers and artists involved were on board with working to make it happen; it was great.

3) Nate Grey (X-Man) and Kitty Pryde have both made sudden reappearances in the X-Universe. In fact, it almost feels as if they were rushed into place prior to the beginning of "Second Coming" because they have parts to play in this story. Sooo...do they have major parts to play in this upcoming story?

Yost: Not necessarily. Nate Grey was more involved with "Siege." As to whether he'll be involved with "Second Coming"...you'll have to wait and see. But, yeah, at least one of those characters is going to be involved.

Kyle: Often in books, you just happen to have happy coincidences. I mean, we brought a lot of the New Mutants back into the fold too - Magik, Cypher, and what-have-you. But I don't think we had a reason in mind, we were just longtime "New Mutants" fans and wanted to see that team get back together. And Zeb is doing an amazing job with those characters. Sometimes it's just destiny - you have characters you want to see back in action, and then when they're there, you can use them for the events around you.

Speaking of "rushing" things, Big G (not me) had a concern he was hoping you might address.

1) Was "Necrosha" rushed in any way due to the coming of "Second Coming?" I know you two have been brewing "Necrosha" since Selene seduced Wither back in "New X-Men" #32 - and it's been slowly boiling throughout "X-Force" - but now that it's almost over, the story seems rushed. Maybe it's just me though...

Yost: It wasn't rushed, it was actually expanded an issue...it got bigger.

Kyle: The only unfortunate timing we're dealing with - which is still great timing - is that we go from event to event. "Necrosha," for us, is the moment where our team gets to shine and show that our underdogs aren't just "team stabby-stabby." They can actually do a great service and save mutantkind better than anyone thought they could. So that's kind of our team send-off. And then, to cap our run on our part in the X-Universe, we do a big Bastion arc. The only unfortunate part is that our team doesn't get that breath in between the two events, but if you look at our run, these guys have never had a chance to catch their breath. Every time they think they've settled one issue, a greater threat rears its head. Our guys have had a nasty run of things ever since we kicked the title back off.

Yost: But the next time we do a book, it's just going to be all "down" issues. It's going to be two years of "down" issues.

Kyle: [Chuckles] We're actually going to launch a new team, and kill them the first issue...

2) Wither has had it in for Elixir for a long time. Can we expect to see a big showdown between the two? And will it prove to be their final fight?

Yost: Yes, you can certainly expect to see a huge showdown between those two, and, um, you know what? Yeah, it will be their final fight.

Kyle: I think that's a very honest answer.

Ooh, ominous. Patrick Bateman also had a question about Elixir that's somewhat predicated on your previous response...

1) If Elixir survives "Necrosha," will his knowledge of who Hope is play a part in "Second Coming?"

Yost: If he had the opportunity to tell somebody what he knows...that would probably be really useful.

Kyle: That's true. And when you read the next "X-Force" issue, you'll kind of find out where Elixir lands - on which side of the grave. Look, "Second Coming" is about what Hope is and what it means to everybody in the entire X-Universe, so that's why we're doing this saga - that's why it's coming - so this is the big payoff.

2) Will the effects of the middle chapter "Messiah War" have any influence on what happens in "Second Coming?" And if so, should we be looking for appearances by Stryfe or Apocalypse?

Yost: I think it will have an effect, but I don't think it's going to be anything overt - you know, like Apocalypse coming down in a giant spaceship to go after Hope or anything. But I think there was a point to the "Messiah War" [in that it] showed the two sides of Hope - one as a savior and the other as a destroyer. And I think that's where "Messiah War" really played a large part, because you'd show the X-Men dealing with this girl who's not necessarily living the best life and she very easily might go the [wrong] way. I mean that girl - her entire life - has lived through hell, and Wolverine knows that. He knows and he's starting to question whether sending her off with Cable - which was Cyclops' choice - was the best choice. Wolverine is starting to question a lot of Cyclops' choices.

Kyle: And if you talk about our team specifically, the effects of what they went through and their experiences with Hope and Cable...yeah, that's a big part of it. As far as Stryfe and Apocalypse, those are ripples in the X-Men's lives that we'll see sort of down the path - not in this current story. But "Messiah War" had a big effect on our team and in their relationship with [Hope and Cable]...specifically Hope and X-23. They had a very similar life. They both grew up with lots of strife - not the character - pain, anguish, death. That's a connection they shared when they first met, and that's something that will keep them bonded as their story continues.

Zaki Zakaria is curious about another connection Hope shares with someone. It's a somewhat tenuous link, but it's an important one:

Considering that Scarlet Witch is the cause of the current mutant mayhem, will she figure into "Second Coming?" Will she and Hope get the chance to meet face to face in this event?

Yost: No. I think there's something coming up to deal with the Scarlet Witch firsthand, but "Second Coming" is all about Hope's homecoming right now and making sure she stays alive to do whatever it is [the X-Men] think she has to do. I think the bigger "No more mutants"/Wanda issue is going to raise its head a little later.

Kyle: To expand on that, ever since we joined the books, or at least started telling an ongoing series with X-Men, the mutants have had their backs up against the wall, their numbers have been the lowest they've ever been, and, you know, they've been fighting off death - and us - ever since we've been writing them. And this is it. Come hell or high water, this war is going to be settled. The forces that are up against them are the worst they've ever faced, and the numbers they have are the fewest they've ever had. This is the turning point. That's the fight, and that's the saga we're finishing up here. I think it's going to be a story people are going to be very excited to read. Everyone's brought their best to this.

Yost: Yeah, the Scarlet Witch thing - the "no more mutants"/fate of mutantkind - it weighs heavily on every page of this. I mean, Hope's existence is almost a reaction to what the Scarlet Witch did. It definitely is part of her story, but right now, this is the homecoming story.

Christopher Judd wrote in with questions about "X-Men: Hellbound" (a.k.a. "X-Men: Second Coming Revelations - Hellbound"). This lengthily-titled tale will be written by Mr. Yost...so hopefully, he can answer the following:

1) Judging from the solicitations for "X-Men: Hellbound," can we expect to see much of Illyana Rasputin in the miniseries? Or will the focus of the book revolve around the extraction/rescue team sent to Limbo after her?

Yost: I think it's a little bit from Column A and a little from Column B. Illyana is definitely in it, but she'll play the largest part in the third chapter.

Kyle: Okay, I have a follow-up question - would this story be better if we wrote it together?

Yost: Yes, because that would guarantee that Illyana dies then.

Kyle: [Laughs] How dare you!

2) Also - if you're at liberty to discuss this - how did you decide on the group you selected for this miniseries? Cannonball, Pixie, Gambit, Northstar and two of the New X-Men from your previous title? It seems like an unusual mix...

Yost: I asked the X-office who I could kill, and that was the list. [Laughter] No, there's a very particular reason each one of them is chosen, and in the first issue you'll see the thought process behind it. I mean, they're in the middle of a crisis situation and it's not like "who can they spare?" - because they can't spare anyone - but they're each chosen for a specific reason. And I don't think the full team has been revealed yet...

3) And what prompted you to include "Hellbound" within the "Second Coming" storyline? How tightly are their stories tied together?

Yost: The first issue of "Hellbound" and a very specific issue of "Second Coming" go hand-in-hand. Something happens in "Second Coming" that creates the impetus for this miniseries; the same thing with the other one-shot as well. There are story points in "Second Coming" that basically have to be dealt with, but at the same time, are a little bit of a tangent. So it's all part of the same story, but I think they were just better dealt with in a little side miniseries.

Joshua Hetherington sent in the final email of the day, and he's dying to know if your run on "X-Force" is going to go out with a bang...or a baby wolf-like whimper:

1) With upcoming events, I have to ask: will X-Force finally be revealed to all of Utopia? And if so, will the X-Men even bat an eye at the "Wetworks X-Men?" It doesn't seem these days like many X-Men would be against the idea...

Yost: You will find out this Wednesday [March 31]. The existence of X-Force is something that is going to be dealt with within "Second Coming."

Kyle: And I think it's safe to say that the X-Men aren't based on a wetworks-like team, so it will have a big effect on those as they find out.

Yost: Absolutely. I mean, there are definitely X-Men there that still see the X-Men as the shining light - they're the heroes. And what is happening under their noses...it's a betrayal. The X-Men haven't always been an army, they used to be like a tight-knit family. And things have changed - things have gotten more and more desperate - but I think, even with as bad as things have gotten, there are a certain number of the X-Men who are going to be like, "What the hell?!?"

Kyle: Cyclops' play for a long time has been, "If we're wiped out, there's nothing left saving because we've all been killed off." But the opposite point of view is, "If there's really no rules left to ensure survival, what do you have once you've survived?" Xavier's dream will definitely be lost in the process if it's just bloodshed that keeps you alive day to day. It's a tough situation and I think that's why Cyclops is trying to focus one group on doing those dark acts and keeping another group pure - so Xavier's dream can live in one section, hopefully the largest, while the other pays the highest price to ensure its survival.

2) Will we find out what's going to happen with Wolfsbane and her baby before the end of "Second Coming," or will this story be told elsewhere?

Yost: I'm going with elsewhere.

Kyle: Agreed. She is obviously part of our last "Necrosha" issue, but Rahne's ongoing saga is something that deserves more time than the fast-paced and intense storyline that "Second Coming" is going to be. That will be an outstanding issue that will need to be covered as their lives continue...if they survive.

3) Is "X-Force" getting a 'proper ending' that will give readers a sense of conclusion and provide closure of some kind for its characters? Or will your last issue feel open-ended?

Kyle: We've said this before - we've had the last two pages of our run planned since we wrote the first. So this is something that will have a proper ending for us and the story. It's something that should feel satisfying but leave threads for the X-Force team to continue. I think it will be a satisfying conclusion, don't you, Chris?

Yost: No, no I don't. I think people will feel gypped and ripped off, because I know I do.

Kyle: [Laughs] Yeah, that's what we planned for two years.

Yost: I think people will definitely want to read "X-Force" #25 as well, because that's a big story that wraps up there. There are definitely huge changes to the team that come out of "Necrosha."

Kyle: Yeah, absolutely. That's the first big change. The next one happens once "Second Coming" is over...

Ah, the promise of things to come! That's it for questions from the readers, so now it's my turn with a little "Behind the X" question. Allow me to be a bit inventive and ask: what do you think has been the greatest invention created in your lifetime?

Kyle: The personal computer.

Yost: Okay, the personal computer video game...um, I don't even know. Technology has just exploded in my lifetime; like, I used to play with my Commodore 64. It's gotta be computers. I mean, the phones that we're speaking on have more computing power than the space shuttle. The iPhone, hell, my old Motorola, has more power...

Kyle: So will you be flying iPhones in space? And does that make your answer video games or the iPhone?

Yost: Wait, I've got to go with the Segway.

Kyle: What about the Posturepedic mattress? Could we have a Top Ten?

Yost: What about the thing where you fall down and you can't get up and it contacts someone?

Kyle: The Life-Alert!

Yost: Yes! The Life-Alert! That's my final answer. We would all be dead without that.

Kyle: So that's our answers - the personal computer and Life-Alert. But I also think we should be using iPhones to fly into space...

BONUS ANNOUNCEMENT: Just as I was about to get off the phone with our gracious guests, they wanted to let fans know one more thing - "X-Force: Sex and Violence" is coming! They said art on the first two issues of this miniseries (written by Kyle and Yost with art by Gabrielle Del'Otto) is complete and that readers should be looking for this title in the solicitations coming three weeks from now.

Next week in X-POSITION, expect lots of newfound fun with "New Mutants" scribe Zeb Wells. Much has occurred with the team as of late, so you're bound to have questions; just type them up and send them my way as quickly as possible. Putting an "X-Position" in the subject line increases your odds of being visited by the Easter Beagle, so be sure to do that as well. Happy egg hunting!

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