Things took a sinister turn in "Spider-Man and the X-Men" #5, the penultimate issue of Elliott Kalan's hilarious and hijinks-filled series that pairs the wall-crawler with Marvel's mutants. Spider-Man, the Jean Grey School's new ethics instructor, has had to face off against a number of the X-Men's bad guys so far as he secretly sought to expose the mole in his classroom. Sauron, Mojo, Deathbird and the Brood were all just a warm-up to the real mastermind behind the school's infiltration -- Mr. Sinister!
With one issue left to go before the bell rings on this series, "Spider-Man and the X-Men" writer Elliott Kalan joins us one more time at X-POSITION and answers your questions about everything from Glob Herman's heroic turn to Martha's power levels and Ernst's surprise reveal.
CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, Elliott! Let's kick things off with a couple of questions from The Big G.
First off, I want to say thank you, Elliott. Hellion and the New X-Men have been favorites of mine for several years now and it was really fun to see you bring them back to the spotlight for a time. I have no idea what is in store for them post "Secret Wars," but if this is their last hurrah, then it's definitely been a good one.
How hard was it to decide to make Ernst the mole? Was it something that you had to think about it, or did Ernst just jump out at you the most?Â Thank you very much! One of the things I was most nervous about with tackling this book was doing right by the fans of the X-students, and it makes me very happy to know this book lived up to your expectations.
Figuring out who the mole would be was a multi-stage process, but it didn't take too much time. Once I'd assembled the cast, it was easy to dismiss a few of the characters because it either would have been too out-of-character for them to turn on the X-Men (Eye Boy, Rockslide, No-Girl) or would seem a little too obvious because they were already aggressive/hostile characters (Shark Girl, Glob) or both reasons at once (Hellion), but Ernst was such a mysterious and relatively unused character that it made the most sense to me to use her. Of course I wouldn't have used her if I couldn't come up with a reason for why she'd do it that fit with her character and felt believable.
What was the Spidey and X-Men villain combo you regret not writing the most? Electro and Omega Red? Sentinels and Spider-Slayers? Mesmero and Mysterio? Or some other fun combo?Â Â Oh man, I wish I'd thought of any of those combinations. Honestly, now I wish I'd thought of doing a team-up of body mod villains from both sides: Rhino and Lady Deathstrike or Scorpion and the Reavers, or something like that. There's something about heroes ostracized for their in-born abilities versus villains who chose to mutilate themselves for power that's interesting to me. It feels like there's an almost infinite number of strong combinations between their rogues galleries. This was a bittersweet gig for how much endless possibility there was for the limited amount of time I could spend with the characters -- but it was all worth it to see Marco bring Triceraglob to life.
Speaking of Glob, Mikey has a question about the heroic X-Kid.
Was it always your intent to make Glob into a hero? Because I have to say, I'm a fan of his being the heat shield for the ship. That was just awesome.
I love Glob. I love his visual, I love how hostile and mopey he is, I love his lack of pretension and even his refusal to immediately buy into the whole X-Men/Xavier's Dream deal. He's a character who feels like a real teen for me, and I felt there was a lot of untapped potential in there. Until now, he's often been a punchline and I wanted to give him his moment in the sun -- almost literally as it turned out. I also wanted to show Spider-Man's example having a strong, positive impact on the kids and Glob was the perfect vehicle for that. I felt for Glob what a lot of teachers feel for troubled kids: "How do I bring out the good kid I know is inside?" Turns out it took strapping him to a spaceship. He's such a great character. If there was any chance in the world that such a thing would ever happen, I'd write a Glob series in a heartbeat.
Next up, blinkingblah has a question about Martha's powers.
Â Martha was able to sucker punch Rachel out of nowhere. Is it because Rachel was caught unaware or is it because Martha's game is that strong? Will Martha be held accountable for her actions?
A little bit of both. Rachel was distracted andÂ Martha is incredibly powerful. Rachel has been a favorite of mine for years (a reason I wanted to see her in the classic red leather again), so maybe I should have let her win. But I guess I'm on Team Martha now. And honestly, Martha should probably be expelled, but she did it for the right reasons and something tells me bigger problems may sweep her transgression under the rug for a little while. Some crazy stuff is going to happen in issue #6!
With the series wrapping up, Alucard2099 has a couple of questions about what we could have seen -- and will see -- in the final issue.
First of all I must say the humor in the book is very good -- I highly enjoy it. I have 2 questions: Are there any mutants you would have liked to include in the cast of "Spider-Man and the X-Men" that you were not able to?Â I'm glad you've enjoyed laughing at the book. I definitely laughed a lot while writing it. Well... cackled, maybe. There were a few characters I would have loved to include if I'd had more time. I've mentioned before that the Shaws (Sebastian and Shinobi) are, for who knows what reason, always on my mind. Only one mutant character was off-limits to me explicitly and I won't name him except to say he was the much-unloved clone of a much-loved character.
Before the book ends, is Spidey going to be on good terms with the X-Men? Rachel Grey and Storm do not seem to be liking Spidey at all.Â Don't worry, there will be some hatchet-burying by the end of this story. My intentions with the book wasn't to sour Spidey's relationship with the X-people, just to be honest to the tough time mutantkind has been going through. Really they won't be on best terms with him again until he's out of the house. He's a hard guest to handle.
PaxHouse wants to know if the students have any field trips coming up.
Any chance of Spidey's X-Students encountering other super schools, including those he became a part of, such as the (semi-former in some cases) atudents from Avengers Academy and those of the Future Foundation?
None at the moment, but there have been some fun books over the past few years where Marvel's different youth teams crossed over. There's a wealth of great, young, relatively recent additions to the Marvel U. I'd love to work with any and all of them someday -- I was a devoted "Avengers Academy" reader and am a big fan of that world of characters.
Greg Packnett has a question about "Secret Wars," the massive event that has changed Marvel's line of comics significantly.
What's the deal with "Spider-Man and the X-Men" and "Secret Wars"? Is it coming back after "Secret Wars" is over?
I'd love to get another crack at these kids in the brave new U Marvel's constructing, but it's all a matter of what fits into the larger plan.
And lastly but not leastly, RLAAMJR. has two questions to ask you before the bell rings on this X-PO.
Are there other friends of Spider-Man who will show up in this book -- like maybe Silk or Mary Jane?
Sad to say this is the X-Men's world and Spidey's just living in it, so his supporting cast (aside from #4's brief glimpse into Parker Industries) are off doing their own thing. I briefly considered having the class stop by Mary Jane's club, but I'm pretty sure they're all underage.
Who is Spider-Man's favorite Jean Grey School student?
Spidey's come around to respecting all of them, but ultimately I think he forged the strongest connection with No-Girl. Despite suspecting her to be the mole for so long, he recognized a kindred wallflower who feels set-apart from others even in the weird world she inhabits. I think Shark-Girl's a close second, and against all odds Spider-Man takes a real pride in Glob. But he'd never admit any of this himself. A good teacher doesn't choose favorites!
Special thanks to Elliott Kalan for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, "Storm" writer Greg Pak stops by for one more round of X-Position. Have a question for Greg? 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!