X-POSITION: Mike Carey

There are many mysteries floating around the Marvel Universe, but currently there is one that is at the forefront for X-Men fans: what is the "Age of X?" Many theories have been bounced around online -- it's an event that impacts the X-books; it's a revisiting of a previous event; it's a brand new alternate reality; it's about kids who are turning ten -- okay, not really...

CBR News has helped to pull back the curtain on some of the mystery with THE AGE OF X COMMUNIQUÉS, but fans still have many more questions. As always, we're all about answers here at X-POSITION, so we've corralled Mike Carey -- the mastermind behind this upcoming story -- to respond to your emails about "Age of X" as well as his "X-Men: Legacy" title. With all the work on his plate, Mr. Carey is a busy guy, so let's jump right in!

PO! is concerned about justice and starts us off by weighing in on recent events in "X-Men: Legacy."

I feel it was totally unfair how Hellion was treated in "X-Men: Legacy" # 243. How could Cyclops and Rogue treat and judge him like that when he helped keep Hope alive from the Sentinel attack and when he's already proved (so many times) how much he would sacrifice for Cyclops' mad ideas? Please don't turn him into the typical "fallen from grace" character. Surge and Laura should be supporting him now. He could be such an incredible hero...

Hi, PO. Well, I think that conversation between Hellion and Cyclops is painful on both sides -- and the judgment is flowing in two directions. I think the key difference between the two men at that point is that Cyclops has sanctioned extreme violence having reached the conclusion that nothing else would do the job; Hellion has lashed out in a moment of complete loss of control. Both have blood on their hands, and each thinks that their own violence was defensible. You have to work out where you sit in relation to that argument. But our plans for Hellion still have a number of stages to go through -- and so does his own working through of his current situation.

Michael B. would make an excellent boyfriend, as he keeps track of all the important dates for those that are near and dear to him:

This August is the 30th anniversary of Rogue's first appearance ("Avengers Annual" #10 came out in August of 1981). Do you have anything special planned to commemorate the event?

Not currently, Michael. I've been working at fever pitch on "Age of X" for the past three months, and beyond that, setting stuff up for #250. But thanks for the reminder -- we have to make sure that occasion is marked.

On the topic of Rogue, Taurean wanted to know more about her inner-workings. What do you say?

Are there any drawbacks to Rogue's powers now that she has a handle on them? Also, does she have to touch the person to return their powers to them once she takes them? Or do they return after a set amount of time?

There are drawbacks, Taurean -- we haven't seen them yet, but we will pretty soon. As far as the limits of her power are concerned, Rogue doesn't have to touch the person she's borrowed from in order to return their powers, but she can now choose to give them up before they fade naturally, as she did with the Cuckoos in issue #234.

Derek Brunell wrote in with a few questions, the first of which brings up an interesting point from the past:

1) Magneto killing Zaladane stopped him and Rogue getting together the first time. Zaladane claimed to be Lorna Dane's sister. In light of this, wouldn't Rogue be curious as to whether Magneto might have killed his own daughter?

That's a valid and very disturbing point, Derek. I don't know whether they've ever discussed it, but during Magneto's various periods of rapprochement with the X-Men, I'm certain he'd have been made aware of the possibility. How Magneto handled that guilt, or potential guilt -- given the tragedies he's already endured -- can only be imagined.

Of course, Zaladane's relationship to Lorna was never confirmed; the only evidence was that she was able to steal Lorna's powers and use them, which Moira said indicated a kinship. Bearing in mind that Zaladane's own powers were magical in origin, there are other explanations that would work.

2) We know Magneto cares about Polaris because he announced to the Genoshans that she was his daughter and also named her as his heir. Why hasn't he shown any interest or concern for her current situation on panel? Considering all the family he has lost, this seems very out of character for him to not seem to care -- especially since she's the only one of his children who doesn't hate him.

I honestly don't see this as a character point -- I see it as a plot structure point. For Magneto to raise his concerns about Polaris is totally natural, as you say. For us to show the scene where he voices those concerns raises a narrative flag that says, "We're coming to this story shortly." We weren't ready to do that, and didn't want to tease stories that we weren't yet in a position to tell. But watch this space. I predict -- I confidently predict -- Magneto-Polaris interaction in 2011.

3) Cyclops' son just died, and his brother and daughter are fighting his younger brother to the death (as far as he knows), but he hasn't mentioned any of this. Magneto's youngest child is with them, but Magneto hasn't mentioned this. Nightcrawler just died, but Kitty Pryde hasn't reacted. Lilandra died, and no one told Professor X. Will these kinds of things ever be addressed? I've been reading the X-Men for sixteen years and I'm frustrated with the characters because they just seem so cold now...

See answer above. A lot of this comes under the same heading, I think. But also, bear in mind, that you don't see every moment of these characters' lives and that it's not possible in the nature of things to show every member of a cast of forty or fifty (significant, named mutant protagonists) reacting to every event.

Kurt's death had huge repercussions in "Second Coming," and a lot of extreme reactions were shown. To show every character's reaction would have required a double-length special issue devoted entirely to that one theme. I know where you're coming from with the question, because obviously Kitty and Kurt had a very special and close relationship -- but if you think about how far Kitty is from a normal state right now, her inability (as far as we've seen on-panel, anyway) to express or discus her grief makes a certain amount of sense.

I'm aware as I say this that it's not an answer. These things are missing from the narrative if you feel them to be missing -- there was an emotional closure that you wanted and didn't get. It may come belatedly. It was a long time before we saw -- on-panel -- Sam Guthrie's relationship to the death of his brother. Sometimes the pace and rhythm of the story bring these things around sooner or later than you expect them.

Sandra wanted to probe your brain regarding a character near and dear to her. But first, some kind words.

First off, I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed "Crossing Midnight." I just read the first TPB at the library and had to order all three volumes!

Thanks, Sandra. I had a blast on that book. I hope you enjoy the other two collections.

1) As far as the X-Men and "Age of X" goes, my question concerns my favorite character: Namor. In my opinion, his presence in the X-books has been met with some disapproval from both vocal X-fans and vocal Namor fans. You've written the character in the 616 universe ("The Torch" miniseries) and the Ultimate universe ("Ultimate Fantastic Four"), do you think he is a difficult character to include fully in the X-universe?

I think I'd have to say, "Yes." With any character who's been present in the wider Marvel Universe for so long, both as a solo protagonist and as a member of various teams, and who then comes into the X-verse, there's going to be a period of adjustment for existing fans on both sides of the fence.

Namor is colossally powerful, he's got a compelling and well-documented backstory and he's also the ruler of a nation -- inevitably, that means he's a center of gravity as far as the ongoing narrative is concerned. Fitting him in alongside an existing cast that's strong and cohesive was never going to be easy, but I think Matt [Fraction] made it seem inevitable and natural. In "Dark Reign" and "Second Coming," Namor played a hugely important role, but he never derailed the story or made other characters' contributions seem insignificant.

2) I was happily surprised to see Namor in the "Age of X" promos. Given what news has been released so far, I don't expect a large role for Namor, but I believe you've said the events of this alternate universe will have repercussions for the 616 universe. Will that be true for Namor? If so, will his relationship with Storm change in the 616? Should Black Panther start to worry?

It's hard for me to answer that question without giving away something about how "Age of X" relates to the normal universe. I will say, though, that the fallout will largely be limited to the X-books. Storm's marriage isn't directly threatened, or at least not within the timeframe I'm writing about. The possibility exists for...no, sorry. I can't even finish that sentence.

Well, Malcolm Pickett also has a couple of questions. Can you give him full sentence answers for these? Pretty please?

1) Out of all the characters in "Age of X," who do you think has the most interesting backstory?

If I had to choose, I'd say Basilisk. But I'd rather not choose. We had a crazy amount of fun working out how each of the main characters' lives would have been changed if the X-Men as a group had never existed and if they'd grown up hunted and proscribed. The AGE OF X COMMUNIQUÉS, which are currently running here on CBR, give some really good insights into this.

2) Any hints as to what "X-Men: Legacy" #250 will be about?

No hints -- except to say that it deals with some of the fallout from "Age of X" for a number of key characters, and that it defines the next phase of the book's existence.

Marcus Martin wants to know more, more, more about the "Age of X." Let's see what kind of hints we might pry from you with the following inquiries:

1) Given these "History of X" moments that have been seen around the web lately, it makes me wonder when the inciting event for "Age of X" started (approximately) according to the Marvel Universe timeline?

I really, really can't answer that question, Marcus. The mystery of how "Age of X" came about is central to the story, and the answer is (I hope) one that you won't see coming.

2) Also, given the pictures showing the Fantastic Four's arrest and Sue storm's involvement in the "Age of X" Avengers, I'm curious if the kids (Franklin Richards and Valeria Richards) show up in this event, given that one of them is a confirmed mutant?

No, we don't see what happened to Franklin and Valeria on-panel. But by the end of the story, you'll have the answer to that question.

3) While we have seen Magneto in the "Age of X" promos, what are the chances of other X-Men foes appearing in this event? And if they are, any hints as to which ones?

A number of former Acolytes appear: Tempo, Unuscione, Frenzy, Voght. Heavy hitters like Sinister and Apocalypse don't, and there's a reason for that which will unfold in due course.

The Seventh Light wraps up our day with two final questions regarding this event:

1) I assume this parallel is most likely intentional, but how much will the dangers of Fortress X translate into what could befall the residents of Utopia?

You're right, SL -- the parallel is definitely intended. But this isn't a "Decimation" or "Dark Reign" analogue, it's something different that carries echoes of those events. It all comes back to this central question of how the world of "Age of X" relates to the real world, which is finally answered in the parts 5 and 6 of the story.

2) With Neophyte having been revealed as a traitor in CBR's AGE OF X COMMUNIQUÉS, are any of the Fortress X's invaders mutants themselves?

Neophyte was no traitor. Bear in mind that the communique says his evidence was given under duress -- he just broke under torture.

There are no renegade mutants among the attacking armies. There are no superhumans of any kind, which is pretty interesting when you think about it.

And while our readers are trying to wrap their brains around that fact, it's time for you to have a bit of a mental flossing yourself with today's "Behind the X" question. How about this -- if they made a film of your life, what actor would play you and why?

Umm...probably Roger Moore. He'd be able to handle my full emotional range using just the one eyebrow.

Next week, X-POSITION will slice and dice as we go full Wolvie on you courtesy of "Wolverine" writer Jason Aaron. The writer is also happy to talk about Logan's adventures with everyone's favorite webhead in his "Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine" book, if you're in the mood for a bit of sass and slash. Either way, send me those emails just as soon as you can. Include an "X-Position" in the subject line and your life will feel complete. See you in seven!

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