Storm’s team of X-Men has been through a lot since their formation back in 2013. They formed to protect Jubilee and her newly adopted son Shogo from the sibling rivalry of John Sublime and the powerful Arkea. They then stopped the resurrected Lady Deathstrike’s newly formed Sisterhood of Mutants’ reign of terror before taking their thirst for adventure off world and engaging in a dust-up with the Providian Order and the Shi’ar Empire. Now that things have settled down for Storm, Psylocke, Rachel Grey, Monet and Jubilee, the members of this X-Men team must next deal with what incoming writer G. Willow Wilson has to throw at them. Wilson made a big splash in Marvel’s pool last year with “Ms. Marvel” and the ongoing adventures of Kamala Khan. With this week’s “X-Men” #23, Wilson dives into the deep end of the gene pool with a story called “The Burning World.”
G. Willow Wilson joins us for the first time here at X-Position and answers your questions about everything ranging from Storm’s power set to Monet’s religion and Rachel Grey’s headspace.
CBR News: First off, as with any incoming writer, fans want to know if you have any plans to use any characters outside of the core X-Men team? Dani Moonstar, Firestar, Frenzy, Polaris, Danger, Emma Frost, Blink — there are a lot of X-Men that people want to see in “The Burning World.”
G. Willow Wilson: This arc is pretty tightly focused on the central five characters of the current roster, since there’s a lot of character drama involved — however! Beast does have a supporting role, and Gambit — one of my all time favorite X-people — has a brief cameo.
Considering the acclaimed work you’ve done incorporating Islam into “Ms. Marvel,” Starleafgirl wonders if you have any plans to do that with “X-Men.”
You’ve received much praise for your portrayal of Muslim character Kamala Khan in “Ms. Marvel,” so I was wondering if there were plans to explore Monet St. Croix’s Muslim heritage in the future, possibly shown in contrast to Dust’s?
It’ll come up a bit as part of her inner dialogue during her P.O.V. issue, but it’s not something I’m going to explore in detail, or something upon which the story hinges. She’s not a particularly devout character — certainly her heritage is part of what makes her who she is, but there are other things that are equally important.
Kevin Nilson has a couple of questions about Jubilee’s role in “The Burning World.”
I am looking forward to your take on X-Men — but more specifically your ‘B-story’ that you stated involves Jubilee and Beast doing detective work. Is there a specific reason you chose to keep Jubilee from the main story?
I wanted to have somebody “above ground” who approached the story in a different way, through a different lens. Jubilee has an important role, but she’s not down in the depths of the Earth with the others.
Will Jubilee finally have a reaction to the death of her best friend, Wolverine?
Yes, she will. Wolverine is definitely an invisible presence in this arc. I’m still not over his death, so this is sort of catharsis for me as a fan [Laughs].
xMatt has a question about your own history with the X-Men
The X-Men have such a massive and varied history, across nearly all forms of media. That being said, what are some of your fondest memories of the X-Men?
I got into the X Men at the end of the [Chris] Claremont era, so the defining storyline of my childhood was the “Dark Phoenix” stuff — and the Starjammers! That early ’90s team is still The Team in my mind. The Fox Kids show was a Saturday morning ritual for years of my childhood. I’ve got a deep voice, and the voice actress who portrayed Storm in the series had a deep voice, so it really propped up my self-esteem!
Darth Phoenix wants to talk a little bit about the X-Men’s deeper meaning.
What about X-comic themes do you like?
The X Men are probably the best “outsider” metaphor in comics. The way they each deal with being a mutant in a different way — by hiding it, by celebrating it, by trying to change, by accepting who they are — really speaks to anybody who’s had to grapple with difference in their own lives. This had a profound impact on me as a “tween” — though we didn’t call it that back then, thank God.
In addition to being the resident all-out action title, “X-Men” has been notable because of its all-female cast. Fokken has a question about your relationship to the team.
Welcome to the X-World. Which of our esteemed X-women do you gravitate toward most?
Beyond doubt, Storm. I know that’s the classic answer, but there it is. I’ve even unconsciously followed in her footsteps… I was a pickpocket in Cairo for many years… just kidding — but I did live in Cairo.
MythicalChicken wants to know your thoughts on the team’s resident red-headed telepath.
Rachel Summers has long been a topic on the boards as being underutilized of late. I’m always fascinated by writers’ opinions of her. In approaching her, what do you think of her potential as a character? Is her history as a legacy character a hindrance? Her taste in men? Her beginnings as a precursor to PTSD? Even if it’s not addressed in your story, what about her do you think hasn’t been fully explored?
Telepaths stress me out. The Scott Summers/Jean Grey storyline stresses me out even more, so Rachel Grey was, for me, the big challenge of this arc. Not only because her powers are kind of all over the place, continuity-wise — one minute she’s levitating cities, the next she’s just kind of limited to nanu-nanu mind reading stuff — but because she’s such a complex character. She’s heir to a lot of X-baggage — so naturally I made her issue the ultimate issue of the arc, to challenge myself.
With five big deal X-Men characters in one book, bango wants to know how you’ve handled their dynamic.
Congratulations on Ms. Marvel being voted the best comic of 2014 by CBR. It’s a gem of a book and I look forward to sharing it with my nephews and nieces. Which relationships between Storm, Rachel, Psylocke, M and Jubilee do you find the most compelling to write?
They’re all so OP [overpowered] that it’s actually quite difficult to find a balance between them. I say this with great affection. That’s why I’ve essentially buried them underground — put them in a place where their powers are of limited use. That way we get to focus on the relationships, the tensions — which arise when you have several natural leaders in one group — the affections, the physicality of a group of women who spend their time fighting side by side. I found the Rachel-Storm tension set up by [original “X-Men” writer] Brian Wood interesting, so I explore that a little. Also Monet’s temper, her forthrightness, against Psylocke’s natural tough aloofness. Lots of interesting stuff.
Finally, Applejuice asks the question that a lot of X-Position readers want the answer to.
How long do you plan on staying on the book? Please let it be for a while!
Aww! Only four issues. But then I move on to a brand new book that I can’t talk about except to say that if you like this particular X-Team, you will like the new book. And if you don’t like this particular X-Team, you will like the new book anyway.
Special thanks to G. Willow Wilson for taking on this week’s questions!
Next week, X-Position welcomes new “Wolverines ” writer Ray Fawkes into the fold. Have a question for Ray? Go ahead and send ’em in via an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. But get ’em in quickly, because the deadline’s Friday! Make it happen!
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