X-POSITION: Mike Carey

"The journey is the reward." --Chinese proverb

Writer Mike Carey seems to be a big believer in "the journey." When he first began writing "X-Men: Legacy," he started Professor X on a long expedition to reclaim his lost memories. And presently, the writer has Rogue going on a journey of her own after having her abilities and her very life renewed at the end of "Messiah CompleX."

Where will these journeys end? What will we learn about the characters along the way? It sounds like it's time for X-POSITION to step in and help you get some answers. In between his work writing "X-Men: Manifest Destiny" and "X-Men: Legacy," Mike Carey kindly answered your emails. What did he say? Let's find out...

CBR: Our first missive comes from Daniel Bowen and concerns the "Original Sin" storyline taking place in "X-Men: Legacy" and "Wolverine: Origins."

What made you (and the X-writing team) decide to drastically change Wolverine's role in joining the X-Men?

Mike Carey: I'm not sure that we ever really saw it in those terms, Daniel. It was more that there was a gap in what we knew about Wolverine's motives, and we decided to use that gap as the springboard for our story. We didn't see any contradiction between the story we were setting out here and the canonical version of Wolverine's induction into the X-Men. Okay, it means that there was another side to some of the scenes we did see, but in a lot of ways we were just bringing the origin story into line with more recent revelations about Romulus and the part he played in Wolverine's past.

Next up, Faded sent in a few more questions about "X-Men: Legacy" and that journey thing we mentioned earlier...

1) What's your take on Charles' role in the life of the former Acolyte named Scanner? While he was willing to help Rogue on her road to redemption, he didn't take Scanner's plea for a better life. Is there a chance her character could be revisited, perhaps even after "Legacy" has ended?

It's always possible, Faded. Scanner is someone who Professor X might already have visited, in between the events of the "Legacy" arcs. We haven't seen every moment of his journey, or every interaction he has along the way that falls under the heading of "unfinished business." The parallel with Rogue is an interesting one. Of course, Professor X no longer leads the X-Men, and in any case Scanner no longer has her powers, so the most obvious way of making restitution to her - if Professor X felt that it was due - simply isn't available any more. But it's true that he refused to help her turn her life around in the way that he helped Rogue. There's certainly an untold story there, begging to be written.

2) Will the title that follows after "X-Men: Legacy" still revolve around one character?

Yes. But with a very full and rich supporting cast!

3) How heavily will the stories and characters from your run on the adjectiveless "X-Men" play into the climax of Rogue's current journey?

This is the pay-off we always had in mind, so in that sense it's the last act of a story we started two years ago. We've got there by a different route though, and some of the beats are different as a result. Given the way the X-books continue to grow and change, any extended story arc is like a journey across a landscape that's moving under your feet. And really, though it gets complicated, I think that's part of the pleasure of being part of a family of books. Neil Gaiman refers somewhere to characters who seem to have a life when they're off-panel or off-page. The X-Men have that life in a very direct and obvious sense, since they're always going to be part of other people's stories as well as your own. You're weaving a thread through an n-dimensional loom.

So yeah, this resolves the predicament we began to place Rogue in way back in the "Primary Infection" arc. But it's not going to have Pandemic or Hecatomb showing up, except perhaps in flashback. It's just that they set these events in motion.

The next question comes from Jeremy:

What role will Mystique play after "Manifest Destiny" is over and she's done toying around with Iceman? Will the X-Men confront her anytime soon?

Yes. Expect Mystique to show up in one of the core books in 2009, Jeremy - and expect the confrontation to be both spectacular and painful.

As long as we're on the topic of Mystique and pain, Soulkiller had a few questions.

1) In a recent Marvel.com interview, you said that Rogue was "kind of fragile" - can you expand on that any further? Is Rogue's ability to see Mystique as though she were actually there beside her a new aspect of her powers, is she going insane (refer back to your "kind of fragile" comment), or is this just the desert sun getting to her?

Hi, Soulkiller. I meant that she's hurting and vulnerable. The last time we saw her in "Messiah CompleX," the messiah child had erased all the old personalities and accreted memories from her mind, leaving her alone in her own head for the first time since she was a teenager. But before she even had time to take stock and realize that had happened, she touched Mystique - a prolonged and deliberate contact, intended to kill her. By the time she saw the truth, she had absorbed a lot of Mystique's memories - undoing that miraculous cure at a stroke.

You can't compare where she is now to where she was before, assailed by the memories of billions of dead souls, but still, it's a terrible thing for her to have lost that peace of mind in the instant that she got it - and to now have to share her mind with Mystique, of all people.

The way I've done her conversations with Mystique is meant to suggest the same sort of contact that she had with Carol Danvers back in the day - as though there's a fully realized Mystique persona in her mind, reacting and speaking as Mystique herself would. It's not insanity - it's a by-product of Rogue's powers, but a very unwelcome one, and one that could well push her to a psychological crisis.

2) And can you tell me what happened to all the psyches that were freed from Rogue's mind? Especially the 8 billion souls she absorbed? Were they released to their version of Heaven? Did the psyches of the folks who are still alive get back what Rogue stole from them?

We're never going to get an answer to that question. In a way, though, it's a question of terminology. What the Hecatomb absorbed, and what Rogue then unwillingly downloaded, was a set of memories and personality imprints. That's not the same thing as the souls of the Heptarchy dead.

As for the human minds that Rogue had "borrowed" from, my guess is that the memories that were taken from her mind were actually erased, not repatriated. The original owners probably won't be getting them back. That's only a guess though; the messiah child's powers haven't been fully revealed yet.

3) Any chance Carol (a.k.a. Ms. Marvel) might be looking for Rogue in the near future to settle the score? In a recent issue of her series, her Mom seemed very upset that Rogue never had to pay for what she did to Carol and her family...

My take on this is that it's too far in the past now for Carol to feel any urgency about getting even. She's also probably aware that Rogue came out of those events almost as badly as she did. I honestly can't see her coming after Rogue with a view to getting revenge.

So Much Betta wrote in about Rogue as well and asked about the past - a time when they felt Rogue's powers were "so much betta."

I'm a very huge Rogue fan, and have followed her many incarnations since the 1990s X-Men cartoon premiered. However, the thing about her that has been most inconsistent for me is the handling of her powers. More than most, her powers have been manipulated beyond reprieve, and after all these years she's yet to gain and keep control of her abilities. Are there any plans to return Rogue to her "original" Ms. Marvel powers (strength and flight amongst other things), quite easily what she is known for most?

You'd have to be more specific about the inconsistencies you're referring to, SMB. Rogue's powers have certainly been through many different phases and aspects, but that's something you could say about a lot of the core X-Men cast. If I'm honest, yeah, I miss the Ms. Marvel powers too - a lot of my favorite Rogue moments and stories date from when she still had them. But I wouldn't dream of reinstating them unless there was a way that it could play convincingly into the demands of a specific story. You'll notice that's not an outright "no," but currently there are no plans. The events of "Salvage," though, will leave Rogue in a different place from where we find her at the start in a lot of very significant ways.

Hm. It appears Mythogma is curious if a certain someone might be joining Rogue in this "different place" at the end of her journey.

I really like "X-Men: Legacy," especially Gambit's interactions in the book. I understand the next appearance for the Cajun will be in the Rogue arc designed to finish off your Rogue plots from the last year or two. I was wondering if we are going to get anymore insight into Gambit's state of mind during his time working with Mystique? Also, will the crafty Cajun be sticking around after his confrontation with Rogue? And has your opinion on Gambit changed since you began writing him?

Thanks, Mythogma. I'm glad you're enjoying the book. Yeah, Gambit will be playing a major role in "Salvage," and he will be having some face-to-face interaction with Rogue. I haven't written those episodes yet, so I can't be specific about exactly what they'll discuss, but it's more than possible that Gambit will refer back to his time as a Marauder.

Have my opinions on Gambit changed? To an extent, yeah. I definitely feel like I know him a lot better, having written him in a number of different situations. And I like his quirky, paradoxical sense of honor a lot more than I used to. He's a lot of fun to write, especially opposite a dry and cerebral character like Professor X.

As Carey enjoys writing Gambit so much, let's hope he has an answer for this next question from Rogelio Erandio.

Can you give us news about 'Gambit: Origin' and when it might publish?

Sorry, Rogelio, I can't. It will probably be announced some time in spring, though.

Today's final email comes from Karen S. She's fond of the Rogue/Gambit relationship, but wants to make sure they don't Rachel/Ross it up (please excuse the gratuitous "Friends" reference).

I've been an avid fan of the Rogue/Gambit situation for years now, and while I find every situation highly entertaining and I continue to read every minute of it, the couple does always seem to keep falling back into the same patterns. Do you think there will ever be a time that the two can have a definitive stance on their relationship? If only because I have waited for the day where Rogue takes full control of her abilities without losing them completely (such as "X-Treme X-Men") and she can have the relationship with Gambit we've all been waiting so very patiently for - you know, maybe something that can even tie into what happens in "X-Men: The End." (wink wink)

I know what you mean about repeated beats, Karen. I don't like any relationship when it becomes a default option, so - while recognizing both the chemistry and the history between Rogue and Gambit - I'm not planning to sweep away recent events and bring them back together in a sort of lightning reconciliation. Gambit tried to kill Rogue at the close of Peter Milligan's run on "X-Men," and although he was under the influence of Apocalypse's machines at the time - and although he's tried to atone since by bringing her out of Sinister's clutches alive and healed from her coma - that's not something that can simply be forgiven and forgotten.

To be blunt, I think the mutual attraction is still there, but there's a psychological barrier now that complicates things almost as much as the physical barrier presented by Rogue's powers. So I'm not planning to go back to the status quo, but I'm also not planning to contrive a consummation for Rogue and Remy (whether it's like the depowered one in X-Treme or otherwise) in the short term. But we will see a reconciliation of sorts. They don't come out of "Salvage" as enemies, or anything like.

Next week, we have a set of guests who are new to the X-POSITION experience: writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (affectionately known as DnA by their fans). They will be here to discuss the "War of Kings" limited series that kicks off in this week's "Secret Invasion: War of Kings" one-shot. The project spills out of Christopher Yost and Dustin Weaver's "X-Men: Kingbreaker" title, which is currently keeping the Starjammers and space-faring X-Men very busy.

Please welcome Abnett & Lanning with some thought-provoking queries as soon as possible. Remember to put "X-Position" in the subject line as well, so your emails don't end up lost in space (much like the X-Jammers).

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