This week, "Extraordinary X-Men" expands its scope with a time honored comic book tradition -- an annual. The oversized issue features two stories starring members of Storm's team of X-Men and also brings two more writers into the X-fold: Ollie Masters and Brandon Montclare. While Masters' lead story deals with the fate of prison inmates as the deadly Terrigen Mist approaches, the backup story by Montclare features a team-up between Forge and Moon Girl.
This week in X-POSITION, "Extraordinary X-Men Annual" writers Ollie Masters and Brandon Montclare answer your questions about everything from Moon Girl and Forge to prison breaks and more.
CBR News: Welcome to X-POSITION, Ollie and Brandon! Great to have y'all here. We'll start this week with a few questions for Ollie about his lead story in the annual. Here's one from Jeanpaul123.
Last time we saw mutant prisoners it was in [Kieron Gillen's] "AvX: Consequences" [limited series]. There were only 2 mutants inmates then, one of them was Cyclops. With the rise of hate mobs against mutants, how important are these prisoners to the X-Men?
Ollie Masters: Hey Jeanpaul123! I think mutant prisoners would be important to the X-Men. I mean obviously it depends on the mutant and the crime but the X-Men are a group created to protect mutants, even the ones who’ve done bad things.
Next up, a question from Jdsm24.
Any familiar faces among the mutant inmates?
Masters: Hey Jdsm24! Yes! Two of the inmates should be familiar to X-Men fans!
Let the speculation begin, readers! Next up, a few Qs from YeahX3.
What was the pitching process like for this annual? Is the inmate story one you've had floating in your head for a while, or did you also pitch other ideas?
Masters: Hey YeahX3! I’ve been wanting to do a story set in a prison for a while now and this seemed like a good opportunity. I pitched my editor a few stories for this but this was really the one that stuck out as the best.
Also, the X-Men can be a very reactive team at times, but this story seems to position them as a proactive one taking matters into their own hands. Is that accurate, and do you like that take on the team?
Masters: I think that for this story they’re still reactive. They’re reacting to the Terrigen Cloud washing over the prison and endangering the two mutant inmates. But I do like the idea of a more proactive X-Men, maybe that’s something to explore more next time!
Purplevit wants to know more about your own X-preferences.
Which X characters were you the most excited to write and which X characters (not only from "Extraordinary" team) are your favorites?
Masters: Hey Purplevit! Writing Wolverine (or rather the Old Man Logan version in this case) was pretty damn exciting, I’ve got to say. But then he’s probably everyone’s favorite. I should be more unique and pick a more interesting favorite!
And now we'll switch gears and take a few questions for Brandon about his back-up story, which stars Forge and Moon Girl. First up, one from Cmbmool.
If Moon Girl is helping out the X-Men, then who is watching Devil Dinosaur? And will the X-Men appear in "Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur"?
Brandon Montclare: Uh-oh… no one! Devil Dinosaur can certainly cause some trouble when Lunella isn’t watching him. But maybe the better question in: who’s watching Moon Girl? I think the big red T-Rex more often helps Lunella out of trouble than gets her into it. Is Forge up for the challenge?
And here's a question from Kamose1234.
Is there a chance Luna and the "Extraordinary" team will cross paths again after the annual given the approaching "Inhumans vs. X-Men" event?
Montclare: Since both Cmbmool and Kamose1234 asked: I’m going to plug that Lunella’s next arc "The Smartest There Is" (starting with November’s "Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur" #13) introduces her to just about everyone in the Marvel Universe. And since there are so many X-Men, I’m going to go ahead and blab that yes, they’ll be playing a part.
And while I’m not myself working on the "IvX" series, Lunella will play a part that has her dealing with both Inhumans and Mutants -- so look out for that appearance as well.
Kamose1234 has another question, this one about Moon Girl's perspective.
In her solo series, Luna was very upset about the Terrigen Cloud and how it would unlock her Inhuman gene. That's something she seems to have overcome with the recent conversation she had with Ms. Marvel. When it comes to approaching the annual in terms of its deadly effects on mutants, what do you think is Luna's perspective on its polarizing adversity?
Montclare: She’s still upset about the Inhumans and the Terrigen Cloud. It was her worst nightmare come true. But she’s had a lot of challenges, so this is just another. But while she looks to Kamala Khan as a big sister, there’s no love for some of the other Inhumans. And she identifies very much with the plight of the X-Men -- she was just as scared of the cloud as they are.
Now here's a question from Ginger about the Maker himself.
I love that we're seeing Forge in a leading role in a story after him being a supporting character in the main book. Is Forge a favorite of yours? Was shining a spotlight on him always part of your pitch for the story?
Montclare: Forge is great. But ask me back when I was a kid reading stuff like Mutant Massacre -- I was all about Wolverine, Cyclops… maybe Storm. I didn’t have any interest in oddballs like Forge (or Nimrod or Callisto). But nowadays, I’m drawn to the more obscure characters. They were always more interesting, I just learned to appreciate them.
Forge is the perfect fit for Moon Girl. They’re both engineers. They both want to neutralize the Terrigen Cloud. But they are from two totally different worlds -- so there’s enough spark for a 10-page yarn.
And we'll start to wrap up this week's X-PO with some questions for both of you. Take it away, Wash!
Do either of you have any favorite X-Men stories that maybe inspired the one you're telling in this annual? Or if not, any particular fave stories?
Masters: Hey Wash! It wasn’t really an influence on this story but I’ve always had a soft spot for Grant Morrison’s "New X-Men" run, especially the issues he did with Frank Quitely. I love those two when they work together. Also, I grew up on the X-Men cartoon then the films and they probably had a subconscious influence on my approach.
Montclare: When I was a kid, X-Men was one of my favorite books (I suppose it was one of everyone’s favorites). A lot of the mutant mythology informs the monthly "Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur." Even though Lunella is an Inhuman, she resents the alien tampering -- both a millennia ago when the Inhumans were created, and the more recent Terrigen Bomb. So in a lot of ways she’s more simpatico with Mutants, which gives her an important place in the conflict between the two groups.
My favorite X-Men story, in terms of nostalgia, is probably Mutant Massacre (again, I was a kid)! So this story couldn’t be further from that! And I do love Grant Morrison’s long run with Frank Quitely, Phil Jimenez, Ethan Van Sciver and others. But these are influential only in terms of me wanting to do as good a job as they did.
Next up, L3G0H34D wants to know about research.
Hi! How much research do you have to do for a story like the one in the annual? Some of these characters, like teen Jean and Old Man Logan, have crammed a lot of pretty complex history in just a few short years.
Masters: Hey L3G0H34D! Not a huge amount actually. I was already pretty familiar with their history but I also tried to keep this story as self-contained as possible. So there wasn’t much need to bring much of their complex histories into it.
Montclare: None! Haha!! Luckily I’ve already been reading for years -- and my story just concerns Forge.
And we'll close out this week with one more question from Kamose1234.
Hey Brandon and Ollie!!! I'm excited for the annual as I love both Luna and the "Extraordinary" team's series. Do you guys have any more mutant related work planned together or separate down the road?
Masters: Hey Kamose1234! Nothing planned as of yet but would love to dive back in at some point.
Montclare: Nothing planned. But X-Men would be a great title to write. Hopefully there will be more, and the sooner the better!
Next week, "Uncanny Avengers" and "Deadpool" writer Gerry Duggan will join us here at X-POSITION! Have a question for Gerry? Go ahead and send 'em in via an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position". But get 'em in quickly, because the deadline's Friday! Make it happen!