X-POSITION: James Asmus Leads "Generation Hope"

For the past few years in the Marvel Universe, there were "no more mutants." Now, with the arrival of Hope, there are mutants (AKA Lights) and their existence has raised many questions -- some of which have led to the current "Schism" among the X-Men. Thanks to this recent event, this young team has lost a valuable member; however, they are gaining a new leader -- in more ways than one!

First, in "Generation Hope," the Lights will now find themselves led by Sebastian Shaw -- a former leader of the villainous Hellfire Club. Secondly, Generation Hope will find their upcoming adventures determined by a new writer, James Asmus. This scribe boldly agreed to jump into the X-POSITION fray and answer the jillion questions people have about the new direction for the book. Let's make him feel welcome, folks...

Martha gives us our first email of the day and has included a friendly note to get you started:

James, I just wanted to say that I am very excited for you to take over "Generation Hope" after your great work in the "Escape from Negative Zone" storyline and the various fun anthologies you've written! Here are my questions:

1) Now that "Schism" has divided even the youngest batch of mutants, will a rivalry emerge between Generation Hope and the group of students that have traveled back to New York? Will Hope and Laurie still maintain their ties with Idie or surrender her to Wolverine's care?

Martha, thank you! You are too kind. I'm still just tickled pink anytime people actually remember which stories I wrote, let alone like them! As for your queries -- I don't anticipate a rivalry, no. The Young X-Men/Generation Hope kids were pretty well keeping their distance before, so I don't think they're going to start sweating each other now.

However, I do imagine that Laurie will be keeping in touch with Idie, while Hope won't (mostly because she feels guilty).

2) While Hope's powers have had strange effects on the new mutants that have arrived post-Decimation, what, if any, effect would occur if she used her abilities on depowered mutants?

Hm, that's a good question. We might just have to try that and see what happens...

Ooh! Anyone else have a suggestion for Mr. Asmus? Maybe Hope could get a perm and adopt a dog named Sandy? No? Anyhow...

Sean is up next and he also begins with some kind words:

I absolutely loved your short in "Curse of the Mutants: X-Men vs. Vampires." You infused humor into action and characterization...and you used Husk! Your work tends to balance these things well, just like the three-part annual.

Wow! Is there some kind of rule -- like people have to say something nice before they can ask a question? I like that rule!

My questions are:

1) What will Generation Hope's role be within the mutant community?

For now, their mission remains the same as it was under Kieron [Gillen's] (fantastic) run -- they run out to grab any new mutants (or "lights") that blip into existence. The assumption being that they may have to do some damage control, and will ultimately offer sanctuary on Utopia to anyone who'd want it.

2) Will the book solely focus on Generation Hope, or will we see a lot of interaction with the other X-Men on Cyclops' side? And will they interact at all with Wolverine's side?

I'm definitely getting our kids entangled in some other mutants too. From older X-folk to some of the remaining New/Young X-Men. They'll be making friends, enemies, and even a few "frenemies." But, they won't be mixing it up with the Wolverine/Westchester camp in the near future. (I hope I didn't lose you with that bit of honesty.)

Chris has an interesting theory he wants to run past you. Can you tell him if he's onto something?

1) It seems as though Laurie -- due to the markings on her face and skin pigment -- bears a resemblance to Warren's Archangel persona as well as Chamber and, perhaps most ominously, Apocalypse. Is there a possibility that Laurie is connected in any fashion to Clan Akkaba?

What happened to the starting with something nice rule? I liked that rule! Nonetheless, Chris, I'll still answer you. And in this case, the answer is -- I honestly never thought along those lines.

I think that's a very intriguing idea you've cooked up, but if I ran with it now, I'd just be stealing from you. So I think the best solution is for you to become a comic book writer and take over "Generation Hope" after I'm chased away with pitchforks and torches.

Also, Laurie's growing philosophical objections to Hope's ideology seem to foreshadow an eventual split between the two and mimics the perpetual conflict between Cable and Apocalypse. Will Laurie's background be explored any further in upcoming issues?

You're really hoping for an Apocalypse tie-in, aren't you? I am very interested in the differing philosophies of Hope and Laurie, but I don't know that Cable/Apocalypse would be my model. I do want to push into Laurie's background (and future!), but that story won't be in this first round of tales.

Renaldo sent in his usual list of intriguing queries. Take a deep breath and... begin!

1) In the aftermath of "Schism," Generation Hope is now going to be minus a pivotal Idie. Will she and her newfound loyalties to Logan factor into your book?

Not initially. I'm letting the "Schism" actually cut ties for the time being. I do love Idie, though, so I'm keeping an eye on ways to pull her into our tales after this first arc (which is really going to be two 2-part stories and a sort of one-off).

2) Hope has been teased as a Phoenix entity -- will your run clearly define who she is and possibly shed light on her parentage?

Hmm. I'm trying to be diplomatic about this without just saying "wait and see!" Stories that we're mapping out right now are going to pay off a lot of the questions surrounding Hope. I am very interested in exploring the mysteries of her parents and unusual origin (mutant from birth, not puberty) -- but that's looking like it might be its own story separate from what we're tackling for early 2012 (and I hope that's not too coy).

3) Will your book factor into "X-Sanction" as Hope's "dad" Cable returns?

Not during "X-Sanction," but after its conclusion -- yes.

4) Will Scott be playing a father-figure role in your book? And can we hope for some romance for your team's members?

Those are two very different questions (I hope). So you're numbering system no longer makes sense to me, Renaldo. But...

4a -- Hope would bristle at the word "father" being used in any way for Cyclops. But he will still be keeping a cautionary eye on Hope (and the rest of the team) for the foreseeable future. I know there's a lot of Cyclops haters out there (and he gets face-time elsewhere), so I promise I'm trying to keep it to a minimum.

4b -- There will be many more hormonal encounters! And you may be sorry you asked for it...

5) Emma seems to be scared of Hope at times -- will this be investigated in your run?

Yes! Especially now that Sebastian Shaw is entering the picture, it only makes sense to have Emma more worried than ever.

6) Are you eager to write Sebastian Shaw? And were you involved in getting him thrown into this book once it was decided you would take over for Kieron?

I am thrilled to play around with adding Sebastian Shaw into the mix -- especially as we'll be introducing him! And yes, his addition came out of the initial brainstorming process with Nick Lowe. For those who may not know, when we last saw Shaw, Emma Frost completely erased his mind and left him abandoned. So this new man growing from the scorched earth of Sebastian Shaw brings with him some interesting questions with regard to nature vs. nurture from here on out.

Agent X has several requests regarding X-interactions he would like to see...

1) Is there any chance that certain adult X-Men will take a larger role in the lives of the Lights? Perhaps Storm, Colossus, or Psylocke?

That is something I'm hoping to do, but it won't be in this first arc. (I know I keep saying that, but there are only so many pages, guys! And we need room for romance!)

2) Will there be any future interaction between Magneto and Hope? The conversations they've had were so interesting, and I believe there's still so much potential in their relationship...

I agree, they're an interesting (and tense) pair. But for a little change of pace, "Generation Hope" #13 actually features a very different moment with Magneto -- and Kenji! (And it's one of my favorite parts of the issue.)

3) Will Hope's reaction to Rogue's choice to join Wolverine's side be shown in your book? They seemed like they were so close I would imagine Hope would be upset...

I'm sorry to say, no. While the ramifications of "Schism" hold true for the team, they aren't going to spend much time crying over spilled milk.

Instead, we hit the ground running both throwing new complications at the kids as well as working toward a payoff on several of the slow-burn stories that Kieron set up in the first twelve issues.

4) Who is your favorite X-villain? Which X-Man would you most want to write if given the chance?

You're all going to hate me for this, but -- Arcade. I'm sorry, but (just by accident) he was the villain in the first two unrelated Marvel comics I ever bought as a kid. I must have read those each twenty or more times, so he's burned in my brain. Plus, he's basically carte blanche to create crazy-odd traps and scenarios that (ideally) evoke something personal about each of your characters. Pretty good qualities in a villain, no? (Though this isn't a hint. I don't have an Arcade story in the works... yet).

Arcade was one of my "firsts" too, so his little bow tie holds a special place in my heart. And now, it's my turn for a question!

Per a suggestion from one of our readers (Madroxdupe024), I'm asking all of our guests the following: assume you were a mutant and needed to choose a side in "Schism." Although you have an "uncanny" bias, whose side do you pick and why?

I knew this question was coming -- and I still don't have an answer!

My opinion changes on this almost every day, if I'm being honest. I'm afraid, in reality, it would probably come down to something less ideological and more practical. I'd probably move to Westchester because they'll have better living conditions, I miss a nice autumn, and -- if I'm imagining myself as a mutant -- I'd probably try to become Kitty Pryde's rebound boyfriend. It's sad but true. And don't tell my wife.

Mum's the word. Thanks James!

Today, we had a guest who is at the start of his run on an X-book. Next week, we'll be looking at the flipside of this with a writer who is soon ending a lengthy run with the children of the atom -- Mike Carey. For those who haven't yet heard, the scribe will be leaving "X-Men: Legacy" by year's end. Everyone, insert your frowny emoticons here.

So, if you have any questions for Mr. Carey that you've been hiding under your pillow, pull them out and send them to me now! Put an "X-Position" in the subject line, and I'll pour you up a nice mug of mulled cider. I eagerly await your emails...

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