X-POSITION: Gage Schools "X-Men Legacy"

In case you somehow missed it, there is a little event coming up called "Avengers vs. X-Men," and it's going to affect nearly every hero in the Marvel Universe. But, as is often asked during wartime, what about the kids? Well, it's somehow decided that young mutants should be housed with the heroes-in-training at Avengers Academy for their own safety. In essence, they're taking a tense situation and throwing hormones and super-powers into the mix -- what could go wrong?

The writer to answer this fun question is none other than Christos Gage, the scribe behind both "X-Men Legacy" and "Avengers Academy." Gentleman that he is, Mr. Gage agreed to come aboard today's X-POSITION and answer the myriad of queries you possess about upcoming events. As he is one busy bee, we don't want to keep him waiting, so let's see who's first in today's email bag of inquisitiveness...

Ah, it's none other than the Big G (not me), and he's curious about the potential for teen trauma...

X-Men Legacy

Christos Gage tackles your "X-Men Legacy" and "Avengers Academy" questions in this week's X-POSITION

I've been really digging your run on "X-Men Legacy" so far, so keep up the awesome work! I've got a few questions toss your way:

1) As we've see in 'Legacy' and Wolverine & the X-Men," when the alarm sounds the kids head to their interdimensional bunker. What do you think they do while they wait for the X-Men to deal with whatever fiasco is going on this week? Do they have an air-hockey table in there or what?

I think it's probably well-stocked with games and other various diversions. I would imagine Hellion tries to get the girls to believe they're all going to die and "it would be a shame to die alone..." you get the idea.

2) We saw in the previews of AvX of the "Avengers Academy" issues that the Utopia kids get "interned" at the Academy. How awkward will it be for X-23 to see her old NXM chums arrive against their will? And what are the odds of the kids from Westchester coming in to break them out?

There are indeed scenes between X-23, Surge and Dust, and they were fun -- for me, not for the characters involved! This storyline definitely looks at X-23 and how she has developed as a person since her days with the New X-Men, as well as how she is continuing to develop. As for the Westchester kids coming to break them out, they're going to have their own problems...

More problems? Sounds like more great reading! At least, I know X-fan Marcus Martin is enjoying himself:

First off, let me say that I'm loving your run in "X-Men Legacy," as you bring a fresh take on the new staff of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, but I have a few questions concerning the title as we head into the "Avengers vs. X-Men" event...

1) In solicitations for "Avengers Academy" and "X-Men Legacy" during the AvX event, it seems that both schools are housing X-Men members and Avengers members for "safety reasons" and under Steve Rogers orders. Could this be seen as a sign of hypocrisy coming from Steve Rogers, given that this would be similar to the Japanese World War 2 internment camps? How would you explain his justification for doing this to the readers?

The situations are different. I can only say so much to avoid spoilers, but in "Avengers Academy," what has happened is that various X-kids from Utopia end up in the custody of the Avengers, and it's decided the best thing to do with them to keep them out of the conflict is to house them at Avengers Academy. It's not an internment camp per se (the cover of "Avengers Academy" #29 is more symbolic of how the X-kids feel), it's more like Child Protective Services, where kids who have nowhere else to go are placed -- presumably for their own good.

I'm not saying it's right -- there's a lot of debate about that in the book itself -- but it's with good intentions. As for the situation in "X-Men Legacy," events there are more reaction to the larger conflict -- the Avengers send a team to keep an eye on the X-Men and make sure they don't escalate matters by joining the Utopia crew, but they are more watching from outside, like cops at a Mafia wedding. Oh, and don't assume it was Cap who made the decision in all these cases!

2) Although Wolverine doesn't want the kids fighting during this event, will any of the X-kids get a chance to throw down with the Avengers?

I think a few of them might, but probably more likely with the kids of Avengers Academy.

3) Even if both schools survive the events of "Avengers vs. X-Men," there is still the upcoming "Ultron War." Will "Avengers Academy" play a role in that event?

I'm afraid I can say almost nothing about the "Ultron War" at this time. Largely because that's how much I know!

4) Can we expect roster changes in your titles coming out of AvX and the Ultron War?

Roster changes will come about when it feels right for the characters and the story. But change has always been a part of "Avengers Academy" -- just like high school itself!

I'm not quite sure Jimmy is satisfied with that answer. I'll allow him a follow-up inquiry:

1) Is there any X-kid that you are planning (or would like) to bring on as a regular member of the team? I understand the whole point is to get the kids away from the fighting, but typically, there is an X-kid that always ends up on a team for some odd reason (Jubilee, Armor, etc.).

I love Glob Herman, but our roster is pretty full already!

2) Is 'Legacy' going to have anything to do with Avengers Academy in AvX? Can we expect to see Rogue kick some She-Hulk butt?

No, the two will be separate. But I encourage you to read both!

There will be a fight. Butt will be kicked. Whose? Wait and see!

All this talk about butts is making Renaldo uncomfortable, so he's quickly switching topics:

1) Weapon Omega and Exodus have been key players in past X-Men stories but really haven't popped up prominently for a while. What made you decide to use these guys in your issues of 'Legacy?'

I thought there were good stories to be told with them. It's as simple as that, really.

2) What was the process of writing that inevitable showdown where Cyclops' members go head-to-head with the members of Logan's team? Did you collaborate with guys like Jason Aaron or Kieron Gillen?

I checked in with "Generation Hope" writer James Asmus and relied on guidance from X-editor Daniel Ketchum. I'm afraid saying more than that might venture into spoiler territory.

3) With [Mike] Carey's run ending, did you know that you were going to inherit Logan's side of the argument (with Rogue as the focal point)? Or was this the side you chose?

I did know I'd be in Logan's camp. Honestly, I can see the validity of both sides, so it wouldn't have been an issue for me either way.

Oskar is next, and he sent in his email from the home country of one of my favorite Muppets (gee, I wonder if he's heard that one before)...

Hey Christos! I'm sending you greetings and questions from the snow-covered northern part of Sweden. I have been an X-Men fan since I was eight or nine -- particularly a Gambit-fan. Carey's run left me a bit confused on the Cajun, so it's with great interest I'm following your writing to see what happens next...

1) In "X-Men Legacy," we never got to see how Gambit reacted to the Magneto and Rogue relationship. He should be very bitter towards Magneto. Will we see Gambit's feelings on the matter touched upon? Or has that ship sailed now that Magneto has left 'Legacy?'

I think Gambit made his feelings clear in issue #248 when he told Rogue that he didn't want to be in a relationship with her until she was ready to commit for the long haul. Obviously Rogue still has some things to figure out about what direction she wants her life to take, which is a big part of what we're doing going forward. But, yes, I'd imagine Gambit is none too happy to see her with Magneto. However, he's a grown man and he did encourage Rogue to walk her own path, so he's keeping any anger to himself -- except when it comes out in ways like, oh, kissing Frenzy. By the way, Gambit fans, stay tuned for some cool developments for your favorite Cajun!

Avengers Academy

EXCLUSIVE: Pages from May's "Avengers Academy" #29

2) I was curious about Rachel. It appears challenging to be a telepath these days -- at least for a group like the X-Men -- when they seem to have one everywhere they turn. What do you think makes Rachel's powers interesting?

Rachel is also a telekinetic and one of the more powerful telepaths on Earth. We saw that in the battle with Exodus where she single-handedly engaged him on the astral plane, giving her teammates a chance to survive the fight. I definitely want to play up the fact that she is more than "just another telepath."

Chad also has a question about Rachel, but first, some words of appreciation:

This isn't X-Men related, but I wanted to say your response to the letter about gay characters in "Avengers Assembled" was perfect! The letter writer was polite as was your reply. You're a class act, Mr. Gage! I wish everyone in comics & fandom was the same.

Thank you! I'm always happy to respond to people who bring up issues in a polite, constructive way. That's what the letters page is for!

Now, my question -- a lot of writers are scared of Rachel Grey's backstory (it's a bit messy). How would you characterize her relationship to Hope (if any at all)? And will Rachel play a role in AvX; she used to be the Phoenix, after all...

Well, Rachel barely knows Hope. But she will definitely play a role in "AvX" -- exactly what role remains to be seen. I'm not going to delve too deeply into Rachel's past, except to note that she is a former host of the Phoenix; if it becomes relevant to a story, sure, but otherwise I try to be new reader-friendly as much as possible.

And now, it's time for some non-relevance with our get-to-know-you question that we call "Behind the X." If you don't mind, I'd like to ask you about a blast from your past: a few weeks ago, I was looking up some Larry Clark films ("Bully," "Kids") and came across "Teenage Caveman," which you wrote. It seemed like an interesting combination of ideas and Clark's involvement was kind of surprising. Can you tell us anything about how the production came together?

Ah, "Teenage Caveman," that staple of late night Cinemax! That came about because my wife Ruth and I had just written a vampire movie called "The Breed," and our agent, who was at the same agency that represented Larry Clark, felt I would be a good match for Larry, who was looking for a writer on a new project called "Teenage Caveman." (Ruth decided to sit that one out, it wasn't really her kind of thing.) The idea was to take old B-movies from American International Pictures and have them reimagined by independent film directors. I collaborated with Larry, and the idea was to make a postmodern exploitation film.

I had a great experience working on that movie. Larry was very collaborative and had me on the set every day of shooting. It was a great learning experience, seeing a movie shot so fast on such a tight budget -- I get the feeling it was a lot like making the old Roger Corman films, where so many legendary directors got their starts. I learned a ton, got to work with Larry Clark and the late, great Stan Winston, and I got paid. What's not to love?

Oh, just a word of caution - this film is not for younger viewers! In fact, if you decide to check it out, maybe read some reviews first. I don't want anyone getting traumatized. If "Teenage Caveman" isn't your thing, Ruth and I have also written some classy episodes of "Law & Order: SVU" that you may enjoy.

Speaking of traumatized souls, we'll be talking about Deadpool next week with writer Daniel Way! The scribe has been putting an emphasis on the dead in "Deadpool" lately, which means loads of questions on your behalf, right? So just tap them out on your keyboards and send them my way ASAP. Be sure to put an "X-Position" in the subject line, and I promise not to make any Lin-teresting puns (too late!). See you in seven!

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Tags: marvel comics, x-position, christos gage, x-men legacy, avx, avengers academy

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