X-POSITION: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning

Most of the mutant issues that need to be dealt with in the Marvel Universe occur on planet Earth. In outer space, the mutants seem to have other problems - like hostile alien invaders. In March's "War of Kings" limited series, however, both of these challenges collide as planets defend themselves from the Shi'ar Empire, led by the mutant known as Vulcan -- the brother of X-Men's Cyclops and Havok.

Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning and featuring artwork by Paul Pelletier, "War of Kings" spills out from the "X-Men: Kingbreaker" title by Christopher Yost and Dustin Weaver - issue #2 of which is on sale January 21 -- as well as the "Secret Invasion: War of Kings" one-shot that appeared in stores last week. Affectionately known by their fans as DnA, Abnett and Lanning join us today for their initial voyage on the U.S.S. X-POSITION, so let's make them feel welcome and warm as we try to grill them for details.

Our first set of questions comes from X-POSITION's First Mate Caleb Warren.

1) In your opinions, why do you think it's important to do this story? And why now?

Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning: "War of Kings" has grown organically out of several connected storylines that Marvel has played out over the past few years. It's the culmination of events from "Annihilation" and "Conquest" to "X-Men: Emperor Vulcan" and leads directly out of the climax of the "Secret Invasion" series. This story is important as it shows how these events tie together and end up affecting the future of the Marvel cosmic characters.

2) This is an odd request, but it's a cosmic story so I just thought I'd ask: is there any chance we'll see some survivors of the late Majesdanian empire in this story?

Nope. Sorry, we just don't have the room. We'd love to put cosmic elements like them in, but we're straining under the weight of our cast list as it is!

3) Besides the books you write, what are your favorite comics that you read regularly?

The Avengers books, "Invincible Iron Man," "Captain America," "Amazing Spider-Man," "Powers," "Thunderbolts," "Green Lantern," "JSA," "Action Comics," "Astonishing X-Men," "Walking Dead," "Invincible," "Stormwatch," etc.

Amoorephilip continues the fun with some wishes and a few questions about the writing process.

1) After "War of Kings," will we see any ongoing series starring either the Starjammers or the Inhumans?

Now there's a good idea! We'll be sure to mention that to editor Bill Rosemann! We'd love to see something spin out of "WoK," just as "Nova" and "Guardians of the Galaxy" did from the "Annihilation" events, but it's not up to us! If you fans like something and make enough noise, Marvel will listen! If you buy it, they'll print it!

2) Will you be doing any more X-Men related books in the future?

We'd love to as we're both huge X-Men fans and would gladly snap up anything that came our way.

3) How far in advance do you plan your writings?

We're currently writing an issue a week and running at least six months ahead of publishing dates. Our plans, particularly on our ongoing titles like "Nova" and "Guardians of the Galaxy," are even further ahead than that.

4) How do the two of you work together? Do you both plot and then hand the script back and forth? Or do you trade scripting duties?

We get together once a week for major plotting and brainstorming. These sessions produce outlines and beat-sheets that Dan takes away for turning into full scripts. He's the full-time writer, whilst Andy gets on with his other role as world famous inker! The finished scripts come back to Andy for a read-over and polish before going off to Marvel where our editors, Bill Rosemann and Tom Brevoort, tear them to pieces and make us rewrite them!

5) What do you feel is the secret to being a great comic book writing team?

There has to be more than one of you!

A catchy acronym doesn't hurt either!

Michael Marvel next asks about some characters that he feels are marvelous...

During "War of Kings," will we see the characters Black Light and White Noise? How about the members of the Imperial Guard who are supposedly the children of Warbird? Since their mother is the Empress, I was hoping they would make an appearance and maybe finally find out who their father is...

Though we won't have enough time to explore the complex histories of every member of the Imperial Guard, we think you'll be pleased with some of the appearances and the characters we showcase from the Imperial Guard in the series.

And speaking of the Imperial Guard, Damian D. was curious about one of its members.

1) I'm a big fan of Gladiator, but I hate the way he follows Vulcan. Will Gladiator finally stand up to Vulcan and switch to Lillandra's side, or is he going to continue to be Vulcan's lackey?

Gladiator's one of the key characters in the series and we don't want to ruin the story by revealing too much, but we can safely say much of your question will be answered as the story unfolds.

2) Will Adam Neramani make an appearance in "War of Kings?" I'd love to see him take on Vulcan.

If Adam X turned up in this story it would be a major shock...and we do not give our big shocks away!

Hm. Then how about letting Robert Eddleman know if he can hope for the following little shock?

Are there plans for Wraith to show up in "War of Kings?" After his mini and an important role in "Annihilation: Conquest," it seems he's just dropped off the radar.

Thanks Robert. Our cast of characters is vast enough as it is, so we do not, at present, have any plans to feature Wraith in "War of Kings." We are sure a character as compelling as him will soon reappear in the cosmic arena though.

Hakael is hoping for some "compelling" situations. What do you two think of the following queries?

1) Will the Starjammers interact with any of the cosmic crew? Getting Ch'od and Rocket in the same room just sounds golden.

The Starjammers and Guardians of the Galaxy will be undertaking a mission together so the chances of some fur flying are high!

2) Any possibility of Rachel Summers staying in space and joining the Guardians? The Phoenix Force has always felt like it belongs more in the cosmic books than the X-books, and it would certainly lend them some valuable power. And let's face it, the team could use more women.

We're going to talk to editor Nick Lowe about that right now!

3) Will we see the Shi'ar Imperial Guard or the Shi'ar Death Commandos in the event? I'd love to see Gladiator vs. Nova or Adam Warlock.

This series will have more Shi'ar than you can shake Ronan's hammer at! And as for the match-ups you mention - you're going to love this series!

Mitteloss wraps things up for us today with a couple of jammin' questions:

1) As a huge fan of the Starjammers (particularly Polaris), I, like many other fans of these characters, are excited and grateful to know that after nearly three years, the Shi'ar storyline is finally heading towards its big ending with "X-Men: Kingbreaker" and "War of Kings." However, it's unclear to us what kind of role the Starjammers will play in the event. Will they have more of a main role, or will they be supporting characters?

They are definitely front and center and play a significant role in the course of the story.

2) Also, some characters in the event happen to be loosely related to each other (for example, Polaris is Luna's biological aunt and Crystal's former sister-in-law). Will we see the Starjammers and Inhumans interact often during the event?

The series opens with a wedding, and families do tend to get together for weddings. The Starjammers are at this particular wedding precisely because of Polaris's family ties. However, weddings often end in a fight, in tears, or in someone's uncle getting drunk and making an idiot of himself with one of the bridesmaids. Guess which one of those things happens at this wedding?

In seven short days, X-POSITION returns with some fun that creeps a bit outside the standard mutant world. Writer Christos Gage will join us to answer your questions about "X-Men/Spider-Man." Issue #3 of this miniseries is in stores this week, so be sure to pick up a copy and do your homework!

As always, send those marvelous mutant missives our way as soon as possible. Put "X-Position" in the subject line, seal the email with a clever quip, and you're halfway there to seeing your questions answered. Remember, X-POSITION is the only place to get direct access to your favorite X-creators - isn't that reason enough to be X-static?

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