Cullen Bunn is definitely knowledgeable about lesser-known X-Men characters, as has been proven time and time again during his run on "Uncanny X-Men." From the Dark Riders to Emplate, Exodus, Sauron and the Nasty Boys, plenty of seldom seen bad guys have gone up against Magneto and his deadly team of mutant heroes over the past year. Now, with a new series ("X-Men Blue") on the way, Bunn has no plans to stop digging deep into the toy box for new characters to spotlight.
This week in X-POSITION, "Uncanny X-Men" and "Deadpool and the Mercs for Money" writer Cullen Bunn joins us and answers all of your questions about everything from the upcoming "X-Men Blue" series and the next issues of "Uncanny X-Men."
CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, Cullen! Let's kick things off with a few "Mercs for Money" questions, the first coming from cc008.
It's a shame you're not writing the "Mercs for Money" tie-ins to "Til Death Do Us." Can you speak to the future of "Deadpool and the Mercs for Money" after that event? Domino will be appearing in "Weapon X" come the spring, and she's really the leader of the Mercs right now. Will the rest of the team go their separate ways as well?
Unfortunately, I can’t speak about any "Deadpool" or "Mercs for Money" plans at this time. Obviously, there are a lot of story threads just waiting to be wrapped up, but I can’t say (without getting in a lot of trouble) how everything will play out. I’m not done with Deadpool, though, not by any stretch of the imagination.
And here's a "Mercs" Q from Kamose1234.
I loved the return of Agent Haines in "Deadpool and the Mercs for Money" and her outburst at the reminder of what she went through with Magneto in his solo series. Can we expect them to be reunited anytime soon or see Agent Rodriguez also come back?
You’ll be seeing Haines and Rodriguez again, although not necessarily in an X-book.
Next we'll move on to "Uncanny X-Men," beginning with a question focusing on the book's central conflict.
Your "UXM" run has been building toward the inevitable confrontation between Psylocke and Magneto. Will the results of that showdown explain why Magneto seems to be back in the X-Men's sphere of influence [in "X-Men Blue"] while Betsy appears to be missing?
There is a big showdown coming up, that’s for sure. The results of that fight will at least help to set up Magneto’s role in "X-Men Blue. As for Psylocke, if she’s throwing down with Magneto, that could very well explain why you haven’t seen much of her in previews of future storylines.
Gary also wants to know more about your work with Psylocke.
Most Psylocke fans view you as being in the top three Betsy writers, alongside [Chris] Claremont and [Rick] Remender. Did you do everything he wanted to do with her, or would he like another shot at her sometime? ResurrXion Phase 2, perhaps?
No, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted with the character. I had a big Otherworld story in mind and I had dreams of seeing Psylocke take on the mantle of Captain Britain. Who knows? Maybe one day! No matter how many issues I wrote, I would have always wanted to do more. I love the character, and would happily return to her world sometime.
Master of Sound wants to know if you'll continue to spotlight lesser-known mutants in future issues.
In "Uncanny" you brought back the Dark Riders, Exodus and the Nasty Boys. I really loved how you handled the Dark Riders. Can we expect more old time villains from you soon and if so, who?
You will definitely be seeing some more classic and/or forgotten villains in the days to come. I’m not sure how much I want to spoil, but in the first issue of "X-Men Blue" we’re going to see a supervillain duo that I think of as X-Men villain royalty. Then, in issue #2, I’ll be reintroducing another major villain. And as the series progresses, you’ll be seeing some enemies (as well as some allies who haven’t been seen in decades) that are really going to shock you!
That's something to look forward to! Next, Beaubier wants to know more about an X-character you brought back in the "Uncanny X-Men Annual."
I appreciate very much that you've brought back Elixir and have so far written an interesting story for him with apparently more to come. I'd like to ask some clarification on how his powers evolved. Could you explain a little more about the "psychic backlash" that forces him to shift between his healing powers and his "dark side"? How does that work exactly?
The basic idea is that when he heals a lot of people or heals very serious wounds or illness (say, bringing someone back from the dead or wiping out a plague), he must strike a balance, doing harm and taking life in equal measure. So, if we were to bring back 16 million mutants, it is possible that 16 million other people would have to die. Elixir isn’t sure what that balance is, but he has to be careful.
Moving ahead, nx01a has noticed a friendly (?) rivalry between you and another prominent X-Men writer...
You and Dennis Hopeless seen to have a hilarious love/hate relationship in interviews and in gags slipped into the books. How are you two working together to share teen Jean Grey? Are you aware of each other's plans for her development?
Dennis Hopeless is to evil as the Phoenix is to life. He’s like Cyclops if, instead of uncontrollable optic blasts, he unleashed uncontrollable awfulness. Every character you’ve ever loved, Dennis Hopeless will destroy, not because he wants to kill the character, but because he loathes joy and wants to hurt us all.
Actually, I’m just kidding. Dennis is a good friend and a terrific writer. We talk several times every week. We keep each other apprised of what we’re doing and look for ways in which our books can complement one another.
You're taking on a new cast in "X-Men Blue," and Patrick wants to know if that's been a challenge.
Shifting from the "Uncanny" crew to the "All-New" kids in "X-Men Blue" seems like a drastic shift in tone. Can you talk about what made you want to pick up this bunch of characters?
When I was offered the book, this was the team that came with it. It was always meant to be an Original 5 X-Men book, so choosing the team was something I didn’t do. It is a different tone, but I enjoy writing a wide range of books. In this one, you’re definitely getting a more upbeat team of heroes. There will be moments of darkness here and there. The dangers they face can be horrifying and strange. But this is a book about heroes being heroes, and I’m excited to be writing it.
Some of those characters have new powers to be explored, as Soulsword323 points out.
Jean, Beast, and Angel have all had their powers expanded in ways their adult counterparts haven’t. Do you plan on exploring this during "X-Men Blue"?
I will be exploring this to some degree, although I’m going to be careful about digging into too much complicated backstory that might isolate new readers. How much the characters have changed since coming to our time (and what that might mean about returning to their own time) is definitely part of the ongoing story I’m writing.
Also, their powers might be changing even more.
Ambaryerno is curious about one original X-Man in particular.
Is anyone going to FINALLY confront Warren over the fact that embracing the Black Vortex to escape his adult self's future was essentially doing the exact same thing adult Warren did when he turned to Apocalypse after losing his wings?
I don’t necessarily have plans for the other members of the team to confront Warren. He’s gone through a great deal, and he’s not unaware of his changes. He has more personal changes ahead, and his worldview is shifting a bit. But I want to do deep dives with each of the characters, and you know I love Archangel. Seems like a good time for the two to come face to face for a little reflection.
With Magneto taking the lead in "X-Men Blue," Bill wants to know more of your thoughts about this character.
Hi Mr. Bunn! I loved your work on "Uncanny X-Men" and everything you’ve done with Magneto is among the best character work he’s had since the Claremont era! With him joining the "X-Men Blue" lineup, will we see him as a main character who fights alongside the original five or a supporting character who just mentors them? Or a bit of both?
I think Magneto is best described as an arch-frenemy for the team. He will not be taking the field with them, at least not any time soon. He’s certainly more of a mentor and guide, almost an Xavier figure for their group, but that’s not quite right either. His motivations must remain a mystery for now… and so must the motivations for the O5 ever working with him.
And lastly this week, Maestroneto has a question about one of Magneto's allies.
Will billionaire badass Briar Raleigh make the move to "X-Men Blue" as well?
Well, the X-Men Blue team has their own Blackbird (with a really cool twist to be introduced a little later on), their own Mansion (in a place you might not expect an X-team to be hanging out), and their own Danger Room (with all the lethal trimmings). Somebody must be paying for it!
Special thanks to Cullen Bunn for taking on this week's questions!
Stay tuned to CBR for information about the next installment of X-POSITION.