X-POSITION: Jeff Parker

In comic book universes, it's tricky to radically change characters. A writer can't chop an arm off Spider-Man, or make Cyclops' eyebeams project movies instead of lasers. And if they manage to make these changes, they are typically undone somewhere down the line.

But that's the beauty of a book like Marvel's "Exiles" - readers get to visit Earths in other dimensions where those changes have occurred and had lasting effects.

"Exiles" writer Jeff Parker joins us today at X-POSITION to discuss the fun he's having, the characters he's playing with, and touches on some of the other books he writes, including "Agents of Atlas" and "X-Men: First Class Finals."

So without further ado...

CBR: Marcus Martin gets us warmed up today with questions regarding the two Parker titles that peak his curiosity most.

Since you write "Agents of Atlas," will it ever be explained how Namora reunited with Namor after her return and learned of the events of her daughter's death during the Civil War event?

Jeff Parker: An "Atlas" question! We touch on it some - especially in the upcoming story where Namor appears (issues #6-7) - but most of it you can fill in. After the events of the first miniseries, all the Agents who had been out of contact for years (or like Jimmy Woo, just didn't have the memories anymore) had to catch up on recent events - I wouldn't have wanted to have been around the day Namora looked into what started the Civil War.

We did mention (along the way) that after she learned what happened, she went to find her people for awhile. And that's where she was hanging out when Hercules and Amadeus Cho came cruising by during World War Hulk.

Is it possible for the Exiles to recruit the Cloned Spider-Girl with the Venom symbiote (from the current digital comic "Spectacular Spider-Girl") onto their team?

I guess it would be, sure.

And on the topic of the Exiles team, Justinian Capone was wondering about two of its members.

I really liked your depictions of the Witch and Polaris. What swayed you to use these two characters? And will the fact that they're half-sisters affect their relationship going forward?

Using Wanda Maximoff grew directly out of writing her in "X-Men: First Class" - I always liked her. And Polaris, I just always liked period (probably because she started off being drawn by Steranko and Adams). That they have the sister connection just makes it even more interesting to me, so we will be working with that, yes.

As most readers know, the first "Exiles" team had some interesting members and an even more interesting history. So it's not surprising Andre4000 wants to pick your brains about those two facets of the book.

How did Morph end up in the position of being a Timebroker? And, as a Timebroker, does this mean he can't be involved in the Exiles' missions? Is he essentially a "Watcher" to their adventures?

Well, Mark Paniccia disapproved of my notion to make him a "TimePimp," so that's the way it went. Actually, I was reevaluating the original Timebroker who was kind of funny, and I thought that Morph would be funnier in the role. Also, for longtime readers, it carries more weight for Morph to be explaining things he learned the hard way. The extent to which he's involved will become clear later.

What the heck happened to the old Exiles? And to be clear, the Blink on this new team isn't the Blink from the old Exiles, right?

Well, I was going to build an interesting story around that but, heck, since you ask, maybe I'll just answer it here - [jerks hands away from keyboard]! You'll have to wait, but you will see what happened to them. But why do you think this isn't the original Blink? Like watching "Lost," you've got to read closely and watch for cues in the art and dialogue. But since I've said it before, this is Blink from the original books.

As long as we're talking about Blink, Providence had another query regarding this character's involvement with the team (along with a few other questions).

First of all, thank you for returning the classic feel of "Exiles" back to the book! But since the whole cast of the book has changed from the original series, what prompted you to keep Blink around in your book?

With the subplot I'm working, it was necessary to bring back one of the originals, and Blink fit the bill perfectly. Can't say too much about it...

Your version of the Panther is already proving to be more interesting than the 616 version, which begs the question of whether it is T'Challa or not. Will his true identity be revealed anytime soon?

He'll have that mask off in issue #2!

Are you planning to keep the same "life-and-death" philosophy of the first "Exiles" series, and by that I mean that anybody can die at anytime? This kept fans on edge and also was a nice way of rotating the book's cast...

Yes, but I don't want it to be all about who's going to die. With this premise, you also have other possibilities of what can happen to characters that you normally wouldn't be able to get into in the regular books, where they need to be close to the franchise version. But yes, they sure can die.

As interesting as it is to see new alternate realities, will you be taking the book into the cast's own realities? We already saw a bit of them in the first issue, but is there any chance we'll be seeing more of their realities through flashbacks or having their own world in peril?

Yes, there's a good chance!

Baldo wraps things up for us today with some questions that cover "X-Men: First Class Finals," strange terms, and the afterlife.

I'm enjoying "X-Men: First Class Finals," but when will the "Finals" part kick in? Unless - and the "ghosts" in issue #3 may be a hint to this - this whole story is some sort of Danger Room exercise or Xavier mindgame that is supposed to serve as a final. Am I close?

Nope. You've only got a couple of weeks until it's all clear though, and it is definitely the last days of the Original Five. Sniff.

In "X-Men: First Class," you have a lot of fun with pop culture references. Is there ever a fear that the references you make will be out of sync historically with where the characters were at that time? What is supposed to be the time period of this series, in your opinion?

I do? I don't remember making any, beyond one X-Box joke that I couldn't resist. We try to give them classic cars and various props that purposely wouldn't date those stories. I always thought of it as an amorphous "ten to thirteen years ago," with no strict year implied. It slides forward with us.

And speaking of references - "Deuce?" Where did that term come from? I've heard of "dropping a deuce," but that's about it.

My friend Paul Friedrich was using it randomly one day, and I snagged it from that. The word didn't matter as much as having a group of friends using one of a running joke term or phrase, which most tight-knit groups of friends often do.

You've probably found yourself visiting one of those circles and everyone's making this goofy noise or repeating a word that you have no idea what it's about - and usually neither do they because they've forgotten what started it at that point. I just like that it annoyed Hank because he still wasn't comfortable with cracking jokes at that point.

I think your "Exiles" are off to a great start, and I really liked Morph's explanation of Marvel's multiverse. Are you guys numbering these worlds as they're being visited? I'd love to see some kind of Marvel multiverse catalogue one day!

My man - Number One Assistant Editor Supreme Jordan Delight White - is in charge of numbering the universes. Sometimes the Handbook guys like Michael Hoskin will run in and figure a good place to put a certain earth too. And he does save that info for just such a book.

The "prize" offered to the Exiles seems kind of dubious - you don't come back to life, but you can see how life continued after you died. Um, if you died and there is a heaven, wouldn't you ideally get this anyway?

Oh yeah? How do you know? I don't remember any ancient writings about Heaven that guarantee you the ability to float around and watch what everyone on Earth is doing like some ghost stalker. That little "solid" that Morph might do for them (which remains to be seen, too) isn't the reason the Exiles are supposed to do their job, it's the oblivion they'll be returned to otherwise. As the old joke about getting old goes, it beats the alternative.

It also seemed a good way to truly "unhinge" a character from time. That you can only take them and put them back at the same point, and the fact that they are temporally-displaced individuals, is why they can affect another - wait, I'm getting ahead of myself! There are bigger questions and answers to come, but all in time...

In seven days, we get a special treat as writer Chris Claremont joins us for his first outing with X-POSITION! The man who wrote many of the classic X-Men tales - and continues to entertain with "X-Men Forever" and "GeNext" - is making himself available to answer your questions directly. Ain't life (and X-POSITION) grand?

So think real hard and gather all those Claremont questions that keep you up at night, type them up, and email them to us just as soon as you can. An "X-Position" in the subject line will set my ears a-twitching and makes it more likely that I'll pay close attention to your missive. Now, put on your thinking caps and we'll see you next week!

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