X-POSITION: Marc Guggenheim's "Young X-Men"

What would you do if someone ordered you to jump off a bridge? What if it was someone you knew, trusted and looked up to? This is the figurative dilemma currently facing the teenage mutants of Marvel’s “Young X-Men.”

Cyclops, the former headmaster of their school, has pulled together a bunch of the ex-New X-Men (along with one or two new faces) to hunt down and kill the individuals who formally made up the New Mutants. The challenges in this proposition are two-fold: the “kids” of the Young X-Men will be fighting highly trained foes, and said mutants include some of their former friends and mentors.

The situation almost comes down to the question posed by Marvel’s “Secret Invasion” -- Who do you trust?

Maybe you’ll trust Marc Guggenheim, writer of “Young X-Men” (as well as other Marvel books and TV’s “Eli Stone”), who joins X-POSITION today to answer your questions as best he can.

Andre4000 kicks things off for us, and it sounds as though he’s got a bone (or two) to pick with our guest.

1) I’ve got a question -- are the Young X-Men dumb? There is no way this is Cyclops, and they should know that. He wouldn’t ask the kids to go kill. Even with the reasons he gave, there is no way he would ask them to do this, and they should know that. Why are they so willing to follow him?

Implicit in your question is the assumption that Cyclops would never send a group of kids to kill anyone. And before M-Day, before Messiah Complex, you might have been right, but circumstances have changed; Cyclops has changed.

As your third question points out, Cyclops has already embraced killing as a necessary evil with his creation of X-Force, so -- further delving into your question -- the real issue is why he would send kids to do such terrible things. And the answer is that those kids are the last X-Men the world will ever see. No more mutants are being born. These kids are it. It's "baptism of fire" time. Cyclops is no longer concerned with preserving their innocence; as far as he's concerned, that innocence is either shattered or a luxury the kids can no longer live with.

As for why they don't question him more, well, we get some of that in issue #2 and we'll continue to revisit it over the course of the series. Be patient.

2) If you’re going to tell us that this is Cyclops, why wouldn’t he use X-Force for this task? That’s why he has them…

He has X-Force to pull off missions that, by their nature, need to be covert -- “off the radar.” The Young X-Men are the X-Men, the group that's in the public eye. Cyclops doesn't feel that this mission -- going after the New Brotherhood -- should be covert. And why would he? It's not like the X-Men never went after all the previous Brotherhoods.

3) And Cyclops is a master strategist. Why send Wolf Cub after Magma? What would he be able to do to her? Why not send him after the de-powered Dani, where he stood half a chance?

Don't underestimate my boy Wolf Cub. Just wait 'til you see what he does to Magma in issue #3. If you're not going to trust me, Andre4000, at least trust Cyclops. He knows what he's doing.

4) I still don’t get Ink’s powers (or who he is for that matter). Can you share some details with us?

They're simple: each new tat gives him a new power. For example, if he got a tattoo of wings on his back, he'd be able to fly. The biohazzard symbol on his palm makes anyone he touches with it sick.

5) I came in late to the “New X-Men.” Can you explain what the Danger Cave is and how it works?

It's basically a low-end version of the Danger Room, but instead of being able to re-create any situation or environment, it's limited to scenarios taken from the X-Men's previous missions.

Everyone who wrote in this week appeared to feel a deep connection with the YXM characters. Guillermo Sifuentes sure does, and that’s why he’s worried.

1) I'm concerned about Dust's role in “Young X-Men.” In “New X-Men,” she wouldn't go after the Purifiers (who murdered a large number of her classmates), because she didn't want to see any more blood spilled. But now, she's following orders to go kill some of her former teachers -- with no clear reason -- and she's just "uncomfortable?” I would think she'd have more to say about the situation and wouldn't be doing something that goes against her beliefs and principles…

Guillermo, it's simple: Dust is Donald Pierce in disguise. That answer your question?

Seriously though, you're not wrong in your observation about Dust. But can I be honest? I've got only 22 pages a month to tell a lot of story and I've got to make hard choices about how to spend those pages. Not every character is going to get serviced to everyone's satisfaction. In Dust's case, that one line of dialogue was all I chose to devote to the subject for the time being. Again, stay tuned.

2) Will the New Mutants remain in the book -- or be showing up in other X-books -- once the first arc is complete?

Who's to say any of them will be left alive by that point?

Well, Dani better not die, because Marcus Martin is hoping to see more of her.

With all of the recent focus on Dani Moonstar in “Young X-Men” and “Avengers: Initiative,” plus an upcoming appearance in the “Divided We Stand” books, it makes me wonder if the X-offices have any big plans for her, even though she is de-powered?

Hey, Storm was de-powered for years and that didn't stop Chris Claremont from writing kick-ass stories about her. Stay tuned.

“Stay tuned” -- see? Your blind obedience is needed.

We now turn to the “darker” side of things with the following question from msierra185:

How about the villains? What kind of villains (old & new) can we expect to see in “Young X-Men”?

Well, we know from Blindfold's vision that Donald Pierce will show up eventually. On the new villains side of things, wait 'til you see "the Y-Men."

Um, we don’t think he’s kidding about that.

Daniel Bowen shuts down our little party today with a handful of queries. Take it away, Danny boy…

1) I know you've said in a previous episode of X-POSITION that Greymalkin is an old character, but is it possible that you could give us any other clues?

He's related to [CENSORED BY MARVEL]. And his -- Greymalkin's -- first name is Jonas. One last hint: when I said last time that Greymalkin is an "old X-Character," remember that that doesn't necessarily mean one you've met before...

2) Is the base for the Young X-Men (where they sleep, hang out, etc.) the Danger Cave? If not, where is it?

Their current base of operations is the underground portion of the X-Mansion. That includes the Danger Cave, but there are also numerous other parts of the underground portions of the facility that they've made habitable.

3) Will the Young X-Men be involved in the move to San Francisco?


4) What other projects do you have coming up?

Good question. I like that question. But wait...my Spidey-sense is tingling. 'Cause last time I answered a question related to my TV show, “Eli Stone,” I got slammed for it on the CBR boards, so I probably shouldn't mention returning to Eli. Comic book-wise, my next Spider-Man arc gets published in July and I just turned in a script for a story that will be published in the “Brand New Day Special” later that same month.

I also have a twelve-part serial running in “Marvel Comics Presents” and my Oni Press creator-owned ongoing, “Resurrection,” which was just optioned by Universal Pictures. Plus, there's “Nowhere Man” for Virgin Comics and this little movie about Green Lantern I'm co-writing for Warner Bros.

Green who? Wasn’t that one of the New X-Men Kyle and Yost killed off?

That concludes this week’s gathering of pleading and harassment. Thanks goes out to Marc Guggenheim for playing along!

Don’t worry though, there will be more merriment in another seven days as writer Jason Aaron joins us to discuss “Wolverine” #65, in stores this week May 14. Be sure to do your homework and read up. Then, shoot us an email by 12:00 PM PST this Friday with “X-Position” in the subject line. Make your questions fun; make them creative. The better the questions, the better the X-POSITION.

Now discuss this story in CBR's X-Men forum.

Tags: marvel comics, marc guggenheim, x-position, x-men, young x-men

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