Writer Peter David's "X-Factor" is unlike nearly any X-book on the shelves. Centering on X-Factor Investigations headed by Jamie Madrox and a crew of superheroic sleuths, the roster and book have gone through a few changes since its inception, and most recently delved into the origins of team members such as Polaris in the "Breaking Points" storyarc. With the conclusion of "Breaking Points" over and done with, David plans to send the X-Factor Investigations team through "Hell On Earth War," an event teased during his time as the writer on "Incredible Hulk" nearly 15 years ago.
This week, we welcome Peter David for another X-POSITION in which he answers your many questions about Polaris, the possible conflict between Cyclops and Havok following "Avengers Vs. X-Men," the far-reaching grip of "Hell On Earth War" and the newest developments for the beloved mutants of X-Factor Investigations.
To start things off, Derek has a few questions about Polaris, Havok and the status quo of X-Factor Investigations.
#246 cover by David Yardin
I think I can safely speak for a lot of Polaris' fans (from my bunker) when I say thanks for giving her an origin after 44 years! I think it's great we finally have her parentage cemented so the character can move away from the back and forth panto stories "Oh no she isn't Magneto's kid! Oh yes she is!" stuff. Couple of Questions about Lorna's origin story.
1) Will Magneto and Polaris discuss the revelations from her past in X-Factor in the future? Something I find frustrating with those two characters is that a pattern has emerged where we the readers get this massive revelation about their relationship from one of them and it's never discussed with the other because she's lost her mind, or he's on the run, she's in space, he's dead etc. If they don't actually discuss these revelations, for me at least that story feel's unfinished.
Peter David: I would indeed like to see the revelations to Polaris discussed at some point soon, Derek. Unfortunately considering his current status of being a fugitive (not to mention, y'know, Magneto) it's not something we're going to have the latitude to discuss anytime very soon. Which isn't to say it won't be brought up in the future, but not right away.
2) Will we be seeing any reaction to the death of Charles Xavier and the imprisonment of Cyclops in X-Factor? Rictor was a student of Cyclops and Polaris basically predicted Charles' death to him in Chuck Austen's run. Do you think any of the members will be sympathetic to Scott? I was quite suprised that Havok was sympathetic in "X-Factor" #245 (as he wasn't in "Uncanny Avengers") and Lorna wasn't sympathetic despite her decidedly pro-mutant attitude after Genosha and going to extraordinary lengths to restore her own powers. Was it just a case of them both feeling guilty for their families and as a result butting heads by trying to shift the blame of Charles death's on to each other's insane mass murdering older sibling (Cyclops, Scarlet Witch)?
I think that Havok was as sympathetic as he could be, considering the circumstances. On the other hand, remember that we weren't seeing him right in the middle of the situation, confronting his bro face to face. You can be sympathetic up to a point, but let's face it: when you're face to face with the guy who offed Professor X, there's gonna be some hostility. I don't see it as they were trying to shift the blame so much as making sure that neither of them were truly in the hot seat for the offense.
3) In David Lapham's excellent "Age of Apocalypse" we're seeing Monet take on role as a powerful figure in the mutant world. Given her intellect, powerset and her father's political connections she could easily do this in the main reality. Polaris' is quite literally mutant royalty as Magneto's named heir, an incredibly powerful mutant by her own right, politically savvy as evidenced by War of the Kings and she has a strong interest in what happens to her people having survived two mutant genocides. What's your take on why neither woman has sought out a leadership role themselves?
Honestly, Derek, I try not to worry about it. The fact is that there are so many things to keep track of and explain in our reality, that I simply don't have the time to worry about the things transpiring in alternate realities. The argument could easily be made that they should be behaving more here in the way they behaved in AoA, but it's just not a direction I'm interested in taking them... now.
4) You tend to make a lot of references to pop culture in your work. Why do you tend to use that device so often?
Just seems a natural thing to do, as long as it's not overdone.
5) I'm intrigued by "Hell on Earth War" but I'm worried I might not know what's going on. You said you were building it for the past 15 years. What other storylines or series would it be advantageous for readers to have read in advance of the storyline?
I swear, I've done my best to try and make it as contained as possible specifically so that people would not have to go back and read everything. I mean, yeah, there's the one-off with Mephisto back in "Hulk" #418, and there's "Hulk" #467. But neither of them are must-reads.
6) Is it fair to say that X-Factor is no longer a street level team, if they ever were? Despite the street costumes they only ever seem to deal with "extinction team" level threats. More Hela!
Oh, I dunno: I think numbers 246 and 247 are pretty low level when it comes to what they have to deal with. So it shouldn't really be an issue.
Art from #247 by Leonard Kirk
Justin wants to know more about "Hell On Earth War" and your choices for guest stars in the future.
1) Is "Hell on Earth War" really 15 years in the making?
Something like that; as I said elsewhere, Justin, I'm pretty sure I first mentioned it in "Hulk" #418.
2) Which characters would you like to guest star if possible and if the situation/right plot arises in 2013?
All of 'em. Seriously, man: Every single demonic character, every single hero -- I'd love to make use of all of them. Since I don't think it's likely, though, I'll settle for whom I can.
Chesapeake has a question about casting and creating villains for the X-Factor Investigations crew.
I like XXX Investigations or X-Factor Investigations a lot. I have been reading for a couple of years. I sometimes have trouble recognizing the villains in the book. Is there a preference in choosing these villains over mainstream villains or more familiar antihero characters? Do you like to create a new villain for each story?
Honestly, Chesapeake, I like to use whomever I feel is going to be right for the story I'm telling. If it's someone for who I think the story isn't going to get it done, I'll go for someone else. If it's someone who's an old standby but I think is perfect, then why the hell not?
Paddy needs more information about Polaris' role in the series moving forward and hopes for an appearance by some favorite characters
Hello Mr. David! I just want to start by saying I love your run on X-Factor! "Breaking Points" has been such a satisfyingly awesome arc, I can't wait for what's next!
1) I love Lorna's new costume! With everything happening her lately, will she be gaining a bigger role in future stories? Perhaps an encounter with her father? Her siblings?
Oh yeah, Paddy, you're gonna be seeing quite a bit more occurring with Lorna. So don't worry about that, although we are going to be stopping short -- at least for the time being -- of having her square off with her sibs.
2) With their connection to not only several incarnations of X-Factor itself, but to many of the characters featured now, is there any chance Mystique or Sabretooth may be gracing the pages of future arcs? Spiral as well?
No plans for Mystique or Sabretooth. Sorry. Definitely no Mystique or Sabretooth in the immediate future. As for Spiral, there's -- oh, look, it's a question from Starleafgirl...
Starleafgirl does indeed have a question -- and it's all about M.
A lot of us have been waiting and hoping for a St. Croix family reunion or a Monet and Penance reunion, perhaps even a combination of the two. With the recent cancellation of "Avengers Academy" presumably freeing up the last of those characters, are those storylines you would pursue with Monet?
Yes, I can.
What can you tease us with regarding upcoming developments for Monet?
She gets reaaaaaally pissed off in Issue #248.
Marcus has another question about M -- but not the character, the letter.
1) Given his previous disagreements with the man, will we be seeing how Madrox feels about Cyclops in the post-"Avengers Vs. X-Men" world?
Art from #247 by Leonard Kirk
It will be mentioned in passing, Marcus, but there's not going to be the Madrox/Cyclops smack-down we'd have liked to see. Sorry.
2. Why is it that the "M" tattoos on Layla and Madrox's faces still remain on them despite the fact that the future has now changed due to "AvX?"
Now that is an excellent question. It goes all the way back to...oh, look, Taimur Dar has a question!
How convenient. Taimur Dar wants to know more about Peter's animation work, including "Young Justice."
Despite the insane crowds at NYCC, it was worth it since I was still able to stop by your table and hear ya talk about comics, animation, etc. Speaking of which, with your last "Young Justice" ep having aired, do you have any new TV/cartoon projects on the horizon? Don't suppose you've been approached to work on any of the forthcoming Marvel cartoons?
Honestly, Taimur, I have not. I will mention that I have one more episode of "Young Justice" airing in 2013, but after that there's nothing in particular happening on the animated superhero front. I will have a new web series, a live-action entry called "Head Cases" that will be unspooling on the "Stan Lee's World of Heroes!" channel early next year looking for that!
Out of curiosity, naming Polaris' father Arnold Dane a small nod to Polaris co-creator Arnold Drake? What about naming her mother Susanna?
Actually, that was already her name, at least according to references I could find. Sorry.
Will Seattle's "superhero" team the X-ceptionals be appearing again, and if so how long before we see my favorite new Mojoverse creation Scattershot show up again looking for a rematch with Shatterstar?
No immediate plans for any of them to show up... which isn't to say that they won't.
And here's our Behind the X question -- Halloween themed for the pleasure of all those heading out to trick or treat tomorrow. Growing up, what was your favorite costume for Halloween?
My mom made me a Batman costume. It was so cool. Plus I took a flashlight and taped a Bat-emblem across it. So when I'd go to people's houses, I didn't knock on the door; I just shone the bat-shaped light on their living room window and watched them jump to their feet and yelp. Good times.
Thanks, as always, to the incomparable Peter David for answering this week's questions!