X-POSITION: Mike Carey

One of the big Marvel Comics announcements to come out of the X-Men Panel at the 2010 New York Comic Con concerned a mysterious X-event titled "Age of X." Since then, fans have pondered what this name could possibly mean: is it a reference to the "Age of Apocalypse?" Does the "X" actually stand for the number 10? All we can say for certain is that the event doesn't follow the "Age of W"...or does it?

The writer of this upcoming event, Mike Carey, is also the scribe for one of the core X-books, "X-Men: Legacy." And while he can't spill all he has in store for "Age of X," he will try to share a few details with you in today's X-POSITION. Ready for some late Halloween treats? Let's see what's in the candy dish...

The Big G is back (and it's still not me). He starts us off with several queries about an assortment of characters:

1) Mike, we've seen ideas and characters from your run on "X-Men" used in "Legacy," like the Children of the Vault in "Collision" and Omega Sentinel in the upcoming "Fables" arc. So I've got to ask: when will you have the lovely and deadly Lady Mastermind grace the pages of "Legacy?" I ask because I'm going through Regan withdrawals...

I can totally empathize, G. I'd love to bring Regan in again, and actually, there's a brief and sneaky glimpse of her in the "Age of X" alpha issue. She's very high up on my list of mutants to visit.

2) I have a question regarding the big "Legacy" arc come February. I remember reading on your Facebook page that you wanted to do an arc that kind of united the various generations of X-kids (Generation X, New X-Men, Young X-Men, and Generation Hope) in a big mission/event - is this it? Also, is this the arc that you wanted to do about Cipher and whatever the thing is that's haunting/following her?

It's neither of those things now, but it did start life as the "Generations" idea. It just morphed into something bigger and more exciting - and then the core of the story turned out to be somewhere else from where I was thinking it was.

The Cipher story is one I'd still like to get a crack at, but obviously Marc (Guggenheim) would get first dibs there because he created her and set all that stuff up.

3) After seeing the promo art from issue #242, I have to ask: is Hellion becoming more machine than man - more twisted and evil? Because the picture of him with the new prosthetic hands reminds me of the scene in "Revenge of the Sith" where Darth Vader wrecks the med lab that made his infamous armor.

I think he's been very badly messed up, psychologically, by what's happened to him - but twisted and evil would be taking it too far. Having said that, this is a story that's precisely about the impact of "Second Coming" on Julian and what it's still doing to him. It goes to some dark places.

Renaldo wrote in wanting to know more about Rogue, love, and magic. Can you tell him a bit about that voodoo that you do so well?

1) When "X-Men: Legacy" shifted from Xavier to Rogue in focus, it took me by surprise. Is there any desire to give the reins back to him or even another X-Man, possibly?

Probably not the first, Renaldo, but definitely the second. The idea with "Legacy" is to keep it as a rotating solo book with - in effect - rotating team support. In other words, we focus on one protagonist at a time, for a period of maybe a year and a half to two years, while at the same time making full use of the huge and rich supporting cast that the X-Men books have built up over the years. So at some point, Rogue will rotate out as main POV character, but we'll still see her in the supporting cast as we did during the time when it was Professor X's book.

2) With Magneto's 'lust' for Rogue, as well as the recent love story in India, are you leaning towards romantic themes as the main overtures in your plot threads?

Not the main focus, no. It's just one thing among many: love is all part of growing up and being a mutant.

3) Your many other works (including "The Unwritten," "Lucifer," "Hellblazer," "Red Sonja," and your Ultimates work) was intriguing and kept me interested at all times. Are you eyeing any other Marvel book to write in the future? I think you'd do a great job on a supernatural Marvel book such as Dr. Strange, Ghost Rider, Doc Voodoo, or Hellstorm...

Thanks! Well, I finally got to write Doctor Strange in the recent "Mystic Hands of..." anthology - thereby scratching an itch that I'd been feeling for a long time. I'd love to take the Doc out on another house call with Pablo Raimondi on art. We've talked about it for ages.

The Seventh Light provided seven questions - how appropriate! That's quite a few, but they're quality queries, so I'm letting them fly.

1) In "Collision Course," Rogue has somewhat returned to the sassy southern belle I was initially drawn to. While I enjoy seeing Rogue as the inventive, rebellious, and unpredictable character which you have so well portrayed in your run, can we also hope to see the flirty and fun side she should have released since gaining control of her powers?

It's a fair point, SL. Up to now, I've put Rogue through so much trauma that that side of her nature has been kind of suppressed. But you're right that it's an important part of what made her so appealing in the first place. In "Age of X," there's a scene where she uses that time-honored technique of stealing powers by stealing a kiss.

2) In "Age of X," will reality be changed like it was in its presumed predecessor, "Age of Apocalypse?" Can you hint at any similarities they may share?

I'd rather not get too explicit about what "Age of X" is and what it does. Marvel wants to unveil it slowly, and I'd hate to short-circuit that process. But it's fair to say that the "age" referred to isn't one we know. And in some ways, neither is the X.

3) Is "Age of X" going to be a maxi- or miniseries? Or will it be a big crossover for 2011?

It's big in terms of the scope of the story - but relatively tight and self-contained in terms of how it's told. It is what it is, and it unrolls in a very linear and clear way. We lay all our cards on the table.

4) Will any of the Young X-Men students appear in "Age of X?" How much will "X-Men: Legacy" be involved?

Yes, they will. Very much so. Including some former students who haven't been around for a while. "Legacy" is central, as is "New Mutants," which maybe tells you something about where the emotional core of the story lies.

5) Do you have any more future plans for Bling!, such as exploring her family background and power set? How about her arch-nemesis, Emplate?

Yes, but probably not this side of #250.

6) Will any of the Five Lights become part of Legacy's rotating cast?

In the fullness of time, everybody gets swallowed up alive by "Legacy." But I'll be steering clear of the Five Lights for the near future; Kieron [Gillen] doesn't need any grace notes from me for the marvelous job he's doing on "Generation Hope."

7) We've seen Hope capable of shepherding the new mutants by a mere touch. Does she have any capabilities in helping depowered mutants, such as Marrow, whose mutation seems to be in limbo between active and dormant? Will she explore being able to help depowered mutants in general?

That's a really good question, but the only answer I can give is an evasive one. We've seen that Hope's powers point outwards - that she interfaces with other mutants' powers in very profound and spectacular ways. We haven't yet seen everything that she can do, or why she's such a pivotal figure in the future of mutantkind.

Taimur Dar is curious about the future of a couple of mutants in particular and hopes to see them soon. Maybe you can shed some light regarding their destiny.

1) From the cover of January's issue of "X-Men: Legacy," it looks like Blindfold will be playing a big role, so what's the chance we'll be seeing Ruth's brother that Destiny warned her about?

Not in this arc, Taimur. Again, that's a set-up that I really want to pay off in the near future.

2) Do any of your plans for "X-Men: Legacy" in 2011 involve the long-awaited return of Claudine Renko or anything else "Sinister?"

We won't be seeing Ms. Sinister in "Legacy" next year, but look for her to pop up somewhere else with a very scary agenda and an unnerving focus on one particular X-Man.

Ooh, something to look forward to in 2011 - thanks Mike!

That's it for reader emails, but we still have today's "Behind the X" question and I think it's a fun one: for those readers who don't know, you live in England. What item/product/convenience do you miss most about your country when you visit America? And, conversely, what do we have here in America that you miss when you're back home?

When I'm in the U.S., I miss Marmite, the love-it-or-hate-it breakfast spread that's made from zombie underpants and machine oil (oh, and yeast - it's a great source of B vitamins).

In the UK, I miss - oh God, how I miss it - great Mexican food. We do have Mexican restaurants in Britain, and you can have a reasonably good experience there: so long as you eat the menu and avoid any of the actual dishes. I miss good steak, too. It's a little known fact that British steak comes, not from cows, but from the heatproof ceramic tiles that fall from failed space shuttle missions. American steak is so good that British vegetarians have successfully campaigned to get it reclassified as a legume.

And that concludes this week's X-journey. Next week, writers Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu join us to answer your thoughtful and well-worded emails. Together and individually, the two scribes write quite a few X-books, including "Deadpool," "Daken: Dark Wolverine," and "X-23," so I'm sure you'll have many great questions to tickle their brains.

Just jump on that keyboard and shoot me an email as soon as you can. If you throw an "X-Position" in the subject line, I promise to leave a few candy-corns in your couch cushions (they're there - go ahead and check). So what are you waiting for? Send me those mind-bending missives right now!

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