X-POSITION: Matt Fraction

For those of you who are late to the mutant melee, July's "Uncanny X-Men" #500 marked a significant change in the direction of Marvel Comics' X-Men line of titles. The Merry Mutants moved out of their longtime home in Westchester County, New York to the shores of San Francisco, California. On the east coast, their base of operations was a target for enemies and for everyday citizens that feared and hated them. On the west coast, the mutants have been embraced with open arms and are free to walk the streets unassailed.

At least, that was how it was supposed to be.

Living in the Bay Area less than a month, one of the X-Men's already been violently attacked and beaten just for being a homo superior. And while they moved to get away from the threat of foes, brand new villains have popped up to fill the X-Men's "bad guy" void. The children of the atom just can't seem to catch a break.

The X-Men did luck out in one respect, though -- writer Matt Fraction ("Immortal Iron Fist," "Invincible Iron Man") has joined the creative team of "Uncanny X-Men" as part of the landmark move, and he joins X-POSITION today to answer your questions about where he's taking the team and what he has hidden in his wizard hat!

Our first email comes from Gavin J. Vincent, who sent in a handful of thought-provoking questions. Are you ready to be provoked, Matt?

1) Who was the teenage guy that got bashed alongside Pixie? Is it someone we'll see again? Is targeting people who are pro-mutant part of the Hellfire Cult's overall goal in its brutality?

He was just a dude -- a friend of Pixie's -- not a mutant himself. Not sure if we'll see "Just a Dude" again. And yes -- any tolerance of mutants is grounds for a head-stomping in the Cult's eyes. They want to undo the perception that San Francisco, that the whole Bay Area, is a safe haven for mutants.

2) I've been a big Emma Frost fan ever since her first stories in "Generation X" but I'm beginning to see that her relationship with Cyclops -- though interesting -- has domesticated her to a point and taken her from the icy headmistress to the psychic cheerleader of Team Summers. This is not a gripe as much as it is an observation. I'm curious about what, if anything, is going to be done to showcase Emma as less of a diamond accessory and more of a dynamic individual in the near future?

I bristle a bit at your phrasing "domesticated her," as you're speaking about a woman (a fictional one, but still) and not a, y'know, wild horse or something. And I reject your premise that Emma in love means she's little more than the cheerleader for Team Summers, let alone an accessory. But I love writing Emma for lots of reasons, her complex morality being, I think, my favorite aspect of who she is and why she does what she does. That said? Keep reading.

3) Are there any characters that you've not yet had the opportunity to get your hands on and write that you've got ideas for? What are your thoughts on the seldom-used (yet relevant to the metaphors invoked by the X-Men like bigotry and phobia) gay mutant icon Northstar?

Regarding your first question -- yes.

My thoughts on Northstar is that he's back, he's alive, his powers have been upped and one of 'em is superspeed, which I kind of think the X-Men need, tactically. And it'd be nice if he didn't die for a little while.

4) I find the idea of the mutant think-tank fascinating. The idea of a group of high-minded mutant thinkers and scholars planning for the future of the mutant race is so clever it galls me that someone hasn't thought of it sooner. Can you give any hints as to what characters (new and old) might be invited to join its ranks? Any possibilities of telling stories specifically about this group (something akin to a Mutant version of the Illuminati)?

One you can guess, and doesn't need much recruiting. One of them is the first mutant. Or maybe the second. I'd hate to have to live on the difference. One is an old frenemy. And one is an old favorite of mine, but I suspect no one else in the world knows who he is. Another hint: they're going around the world to recruit. Not sure if we'll see any stories about just this group, but they play a completely pivotal role in the flow of events to come. And so far, the scenes of their recruitment have been a total joy to write.

5) When are we going to learn more about this fantastic facility Warren (et al) have built? Are the X-Men and the mutant population all living in Worthington Towers, or throughout San Francisco proper?

The key to understanding the Graymalkin facility is to remember the secret hideouts we all designed when we were kids. Infinitely complex and wonderful, constantly being redesigned, rebuilt, and re-imagined as the story demands. The X-Men deserve no less perfect a base of operations than the perfect clubhouse hideout fort.

The mutant population are scattered throughout the Bay Area, the kids living with chaperones, if you will. There are, uh, panic barracks at Graymalkin but the move to SF was about getting out of a centralized, easily targeted, location. We'll see more about how it works as the series progresses and more mutants show up.

Caleb Warren was also curious about the new location and what it means in terms other characters appearing in "Uncanny."

1) Will Hellion be seen in your book anytime soon?

Yes. Maybe in just a panel in #502, but yes.

2) Will the X-Men's new location on the west coast make possible some future crossovers with a certain group of Runaways?

I've long dreamed -- okay, "dreamed" overstates it and inflates the importance, but I've long half-considered maybe trying to one day write a scene where Hank McCoy tries to explain to Molly just what "extinction" means, exactly, at the La Brea Tar Pits. I don't know if I'll get to do it or not, or if the scene will change wildly from that idea but yeah, who knows? Maybe. Those kids are great; I'd love to take a crack at writing them some day.

3) Does the mayor have her own agenda regarding the X-Men?

Aside from wanting her city's long and proud history of tolerance and acceptance to include mutants (and to have the profile bump of being the headquarters for a big time superhero team, I suppose), she is sincere and legitimate in her desire to extend San Francisco's all-welcoming arms to mutantdom. There's nothing sinister about it, if that's the implication.

If you are hoping for something sinister, however, you might be interested in this query from Nyssie:

Any hints on the membership for the Sisterhood? Are possible candidates existing villainesses, like Dragoness, Frenzy, Thumbelina, or Phantazia?

Sure. You already saw Martinique get approached in issue #499. Here's a hint: one of 'em has already been drawn by Terry Dodson. One by A... no, no, that'd be telling. You'll have to wait and see. No on the rest of your guesses, but good try.

Next up is an email from Craig McKenney, who was hoping for some clarification regarding the last issue of "Uncanny."

Was Karma meant to be the young woman on pages 13 and 15 (of issue #501)? It looked like, based on the coloring of the hair, it could have been Rogue. It was also good to see Karma at the end of this issue, with one of the funniest tag lines I've seen in a long time. Please tell me there is more planned for her.

It's not Rogue. Believe me, if it was Rogue, you wouldn't have to ask. For Rogue stuff, check out Mike Carey's excellent "X-Men: Legacy" book. Karma, on the other hand, will be popping up on and off for the next little bit.

Well, that little pronouncement should make Amoorephilip pleased, and helps to answer one of his questions.

1) Is Karma going to be a major character now? And if so, will we see her siblings?

"Major character" overstates it, but yeah, she'll be around, along with some of the other old New Mutants. No on her siblings.

2) Will we see Cable again? Or was Cyclops talking about it while making the cradle just a tip of the hat to continuity?

Sure we'll see him again. You can see him every month in the fine pages of "Cable," by the most excellent Duane Swierczynski and my old pal Ariel Olivetti. But that's more than just nod to continuity -- all of these stories matter to one another and form a very large mural. Cable's mission, along with the baby, are critically important to Cyclops right now. His leap of faith that the fate of the child is intertwined with the fate of mutantkind, and sending her off to find that fate, is at the heart and soul of these books right now.

While it sounds like the heart and soul is covered, w00tmaster was actually wondering about... hands.

In issue #501, Beast said that he gained a bit more dexterity in his hands. Is this going to be explored further, and if so, are we going to see Beast go through more stages in his evolution?

Yeah, that was weird, wasn't it?

And speaking of weird, here is an unusual request from blake:

Since #501 had the Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties" as its soundtrack, any chance of having an upcoming issue played out to the score of the Velvet's "Sister Ray?"

"Beginning to See the Light" and "I'm Set Free." We'll have to wait for poor old "Sister Ray." Ever since film school I've wanted to shoot an action sequence to the entirety of "Sister Ray."

Creaky bats clean-up for today's X-POSITION and puts forth a fun notion...

Any chance of Nightcrawler taking Pixie under his wing as opposed to the usual deal with Logan? They have some things in common, it could be a nice change of pace and 'The Elf and the Pixie' has such a lovely ring to it.

Nightcrawler will be taking on an entirely new and fabulous burden all on his own, thank you very much, and would only be held back by nurturing for but one lowly teenage girl. He's got a whole species as his flock now, oh yes he does. Besides, Logan needs a little light to balance out all that murderous awful inside of him. That's why he seeks them out, y'know? To remind him of the good.

And "The Elf and the Pixie" sound like a horrible brother-sister filking duo and that makes me want to vomit straight into my wizard hat.

Thus ends another great meeting of mutant minds. But don't you worry, because more fun is headed your way in six short days. C.B. Cebulski -- writer of "X-Men: Manifest Destiny," "X-Men: Return of Magik," and "X-Infernus" -- will be here to answer your questions. As you can probably see by the long list of books he's writing, he'll have lots to talk about, so prepare!

A good start in those preparations would include picking up "X-Men: Manifest Destiny" #1, which arrives in stores this week. Read it and email us ASAP with "X-Position" in the subject line. We're expecting some stimulating queries from you, so don't let us down.

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