X-POSITION: Marts Takes X-Men to Comic-Con & Beyond

With Comic-Con International 2014 behind us, there's nobody better to discuss future plans for the X-Men than Marvel Comics Executive Editor Mike Marts. As editor-in-charge of all things X, Marts has the best view of what's to come for Marvel's merry mutants as 2014 starts its progression to the end of the year.

In this week's X-POSITION, Marts discusses the major Comic-Con announcements -- including a new "Cyclops" creative team and the "Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program" miniseries -- as well as when readers can expect some big X-Men announcements to drop, the "Generation X" 20th Anniversary Plans and more. Plus, he takes on a few reader questions about time-travel, possible "indie-style" books in the X-Men's line and changes coming down the line for the X-Men in 2015.

CBR News: Mike, Comic-Con had a few X-Men related announcements, but the biggest is the announcement of "Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program." How essential is this to the change-up of the X-Men's universe following "Death of Wolverine?"

SDCC: Soule Follows "Death of Wolverine" with "The Weapon X Program"

Mike Marts: It's super important. People should really consider this to be pure canon, and an integral part of the Wolverine mythos and the X-Men mythos. This follows up on story elements that we introduce in "Death of Wolverine." Without spoiling too much, I think the title indicates a little bit of what story elements we're setting up -- but it's definitely a can't-miss for X-Men readers and Wolverine readers and hopefully those who have enjoyed "Death of Wolverine" will definitely want to pick up this series as well.

We've got a great creative team. Charles Soule has been our "Wolverine" and post-"Wolverine" architect on a bunch of projects lately, and the story he's cooked up is amazing. And, we have the great Salvador Larroca, who's providing art on that series, and it's great to be able to work with Salvador again.

John Layman will come onboard "Cyclops" as the new writer, along with Javier Garron on art. Having worked with him before in the Bat-office at DC, what do you think made John a good match for "Cyclops?"

SDCC: Layman Sets a Course for Interstellar Adventure with "Cyclops"

Well, John is such a talented writer and so versatile. When editor Katie Kubert and I were talking about potential people to fill Greg [Rucka]'s shoes -- and it wasn't an easy task -- John popped into both our heads at the same time. Having worked with John before -- not only on Batman stuff, but I worked with him on "Gambit" way back -- he was always very talented in writing swashbuckling tales of high adventure. We knew we wanted to continue that flavor with Cyclops and Corsair in the title. Also, John has a young son, so he experiences that father/son dynamic every day. We wanted someone who knew what that relationship was like to approach this book, because the father/son dynamic between Scott and Chris is so important to the title and is almost as important as the whole space adventure/space pirate aspect of the title.

That said, while it was a big show for Marvel as a whole, there weren't all that many X-Men-related announcements at Comic-Con. When can readers expect to hear more about what's in store for the X-Universe going into 2015?

We have a lot of stuff -- it's funny, on our end over here, we feel like we have a lot of announcements only because we've been working so hard on what's coming up. The entire X-Office, and especially Brian Bendis, have been working on what's coming up in 2015. I expect around the time of New York Comic Con or before, we're going to have a lot of announcements that are pretty big.

Also, we didn't want to get in the way of all the crazy things that are happening in the Marvel Universe with "Original Sin" and "AXIS" and everything that's coming afterwards. We wanted our brothers and sisters in editorial row to shine and take the spotlight for a while, and show what kind of cool stuff they have coming up. But we have plenty in store and a lot of good stuff coming down the road.

SDCC: Avengers & X-Men "AXIS"

Before getting into specific reader questions, there were a few trends in this week's submissions: first off, readers are pretty excited that Rogue survived the big "Uncanny Avengers" arc. What kind of plans are in store for her in the X-Universe?

Well, she's still going to be -- for the most part -- in Rick [Remender]'s area with "Uncanny Avengers" for the time being, but as the months go on, you'll see her definitely interacting with her former teammates a lot more.

The second overall question was about the upcoming 20th Anniversary for "Generation X." Previously, your predecessor, Mr. Nick Lowe, mentioned that there might be something in store for that. Is that still planned as 2015 approaches?

Yes! We haven't moved past that and that's been something we've talked about quite a bit, so expect something from that in 2015.

On to specific reader questions, reader krisis wants to know more about the time travel aspect inherent in the modern X-Men era.

1) Are the X-Men inextricably tied to time travel and alt-timeline plots by virtue of their history with "DoFP" and now "All-New X-Men?" Even outside of the theme of Incursions, it's been a pretty heavy thread from "Second Coming" through "Battle of the Atom" and "No More Humans." Will it ever wane, or is that what the X-Men are about forevermore?

Well, it's not what they're about exclusively, but so many great storylines from the X-Men world have been time travel stories, so we'd be silly not to visit those areas in the books -- especially when you take into account how popular "All-New X-Men" has been with the cast of the original five and the fact that their whole reason for being in this current timeline has to do with time travel -- it's really just become such an important part of the X-Men storytelling. While it's not all that we're about, it's certainly a big thing the X-Men are about.

2) Marvel has found critical success with the "indie-style" runs on "Hawkeye" and "Superior Foes," and the X-Men helped set the stage with that over a decade ago with "X-Statix." Is another more indie-vibed team book something we can look forward to during your tenure?

Well, sure -- it all comes down to casting, and while we may not specifically set out to have a certain book capture an indie feel, we're always looking for the best writer and artist to match up on whatever specific character is in that book. A lot of times what we get as a result is a book that appeals not only to the mainstream audiences, but also to more of an independent audience. I think we're seeing that in books like "Magneto," "Wolverine & the X-Men" -- plenty of titles up and down the roster are appealing to fans in different sections.

Matt D wants to know more about how you're approaching your second run as editor-in-charge of the X-Men.

Your fellow editor Tom Brevoort has written quite a bit about how you can't go home again, meaning that there is almost always diminishing returns when a creative force returns to a title that they had a classic run upon. Obviously it is a little different for an editor but you did have a lengthy run on the X-books with some very notable highs and lows. How are you approaching this run differently?

Sometimes I approach it the same, actually. It's like coming back and seeing old friends that you haven't seen in a while, and you're catching up. It's certainly a nice homecoming that way. But at the same time, it feels like something All-New, pun intended. While I was previously here, I got to work with greats like Joss Whedon and Grant Morrison and Chris Claremont. This time around, I get to work with Brian Bendis, which is a total treat. Brian and I used to joke back in the day that we would never work on a book together, and now I'm working on three books with Brian. It's really satisfying from an editorial perspective to get such a fresh start like that with such a great creator like Brian.

Anduinel is hoping for some insight into what's coming down the line for the Jean Grey School.

Between the revelations coming in Xavier's will, Wolverine's death, and the hints being dropped that "AXIS" is going to shake things up in general, it seems like changes are on the way for the X-Books. Are there any teasers you can drop at this point about what's looming for the JGS side in particular?

Hm. I could, but I almost feel like I'd be spoiling too much. Yes, there are big things coming for both X-camps, and certainly after the big events we have for "Death of Wolverine" and "AXIS."

Finally, Ava wraps up this week's X-Position with two overarching questions about the X-books as a whole.

1) "Decimation" significantly narrowed the mutant playing field, specifically in regards to villain teams, many of which folded into the 198 and Utopia citizenship. One thing I feel the X-Books lack are different groupings and niches that enrich the idea of mutant culture. Will we see a re-emergence of the Morlocks, the Acolytes, MLF, etc. now that new mutants are being born or will the focus be maintained on the dichotomy between Cyclops and Wolverine?

That's a good question. Anything's always possible, and exploring some of the groups that have been introduced in the past is something we may come back to, but for right now, I feel we have so many different balls in the air with various storylines and various conflicts that we're going to be busy for quite some time with what you would call the Wolverine/Cyclops conflict.

2) While the Avengers have the "big three" in Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man, each of those heroes have taken time off or have even been replaced for varying amounts of time. With death looming over Logan, are there plans for there to be a new "Wolverine"? Do you believe the X-Men's iconic visuals and roles have the capacity to be exchanged or inherited in the same way aside from alternate reality offspring?

Wow, that's a great question. It's actually one that we've been asking ourselves over here in the past few months. We're going to be tackling that specifically in "Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy," the seven-issue limited series that Charles Soule starts and finishes. We tackle that question head-on in that series.

Special thanks to Mike Marts for taking on this week's questions!

Next week, X-POSITION heads back to "Storm," as series writer Greg Pak returns to answer all questions about the Windrider's latest ongoing adventures. Got a question for Greg? Send over an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position" or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. Just be sure to have 'em in by Friday! Do it to it!

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