X-POSITION: Mike Carey

Training the next generation of Marvel's heroes is a huge responsibility, especially in the mutant community (where there seems to be a few dozen). Professor Xavier was the first to undertake this job, and now, the role of "Mutant Mentor" has fallen to Rogue. Within the pages of "X-Men: Legacy," the heroine takes confused, young Homo Superiors under her wing every month and counsels them - both with their powers and the personal issues that come with being a teen mutant.

The writer who puts these sage words into Rogue's mouth each issue is scribe Mike Carey. By now, Carey should have an honorary degree in teen psychology from all he's written in the pages of "X-Men: Legacy." Today, he joins us to answer your emails and share his wisdom. How about some salve for your soul? Let's go!

Our first question today comes from the Phoenix King, who writes in about a mutant teen he feels is in trouble:

I am loving your work on "X-Men: Legacy," and I was wondering if you had any plans for an arc focusing on Surge in the future. She has a lot in common with Rogue: both are determined young women with some skill at leadership and command; and both have a history of problems when it comes to their powers (as well as a healthy disregard for authority). The work you've done with the two in the past has been excellent, so is there any chance we'll see them working together again in the future?

You can bank on it, Phoenix King. In fact, I think we'll see her again as early as issue #244 or #245. I like your comparison with Rogue; you're right, they have a lot in common.

Jsmith John also sent in an email about a couple of Homo Superiors he believes could use some loving guidance. Does Rogue have room under her wing for them?

1) Are there any plans for Cipher or Greymalkin in your title's future? They were cast in starring roles in "Young X-Men," but before they could get any real development to their plotlines, the book was canceled. Are they forever doomed as barely-identifiable red shirts?

No, JSJ, they're not! I want to work Cipher, Greymalkin and Ink into a future arc. Cipher has to come back in, of course, because there's still a big mystery hanging over her in terms of who it is she's been hiding from. It would be cool to write the story that resolves that thread.

2) Are there plans to delve into the origins of any students, sort of like what is being done for Indra in the current arc?

No plans in the immediate future, but I love doing that - and it's amazing that after all this time there are still characters in the X-verse whose pasts and backgrounds are relatively unknown. Amazing, and kind of hard to resist. It was great writing the Pixie one-shot that took her home to Wales, and I'm enjoying doing the same for Indra in "Collision." There are a fair number of other young mutants I've got my eye on in that respect.

Ybrik Metaknight wants to know how a young mutant captures your attention and puts in a request:

1) I've noticed you've focused quite a bit on Trance and Indra. Why those characters, specifically?

See previous answer, Ybrik. I often tend to go for characters whose past is kind of obscure; also for characters whose powers and/or personalities really interest me. I love the crazy, complicated way Trance's power works, and I like the fact that Indra is from a very different culture, with a very different set of values. But long-term, I want to write everybody. Bwa ha ha ha!

2) Any chance we'll see Sofia Mantega (a.k.a. Wind Dancer/Renascence) in the arc dealing with Hellion's injury? I always felt like their relationship simply stopped abruptly when she lost her powers and was rarely mentioned afterward. Additionally, I don't think she's popped up anywhere since New Warriors ended (though I could be wrong). Any chance we might see her?

Funny you should ask. I honestly hadn't thought of bringing Sofia back, but I'm very keen to steal another New Warrior, Chamber/Decibel. Maybe I should try for a two-for-one deal. It would be cool to bring Sofia and Hellion together again. I was about to make a really tasteless comment about how her supernumerary limbs would be an awkward topic of conversation for Julian right now, so let's quickly move on to the next question.

The Big G wrote in with a pat on the back and a question about something he heard around the internet. Normally, we wouldn't comment on rumors, but...do you have a comment?

It was very nice of Rogue to ask Hellion if he wanted to go to India, but as a seasoned traveler, he would have been a major buzz kill if he went along - good choice to have him stay put. Also, Loa was awesome in the last issue. She really stole the show!

Thanks, G. Wait until you see her in issue #239!

Quick question: I've heard through the grapevine (a.k.a. fanboys and interviews) that Hope is "co-starring" in Hellion's arc in some way. If true, do they have their own separate stories? Or will they be interacting with each other? Hellion was kind of angry at the end of "Second Coming"; then again, I'd be angry too if I'd gotten my butt kicked in two straight X-crossovers (let alone getting my hands blown off). Thanks a bunch and keep up the eXcellent work!

They'll be interacting - fairly catastrophically. But Hellion does get to work his anger out.

Mike, I hope your back isn't getting sore, because madroxdupe024 also wants to get some patting in. And as long as we're on the topic of Hope, he has a query too:

Mike Carey, I have to say that the latest issue of "X-Men: Legacy" has been one of my all-time favorites of yours. Finally, we got some down time with intimate character-defining moments. After "Second Coming" and this issue, you are at the top of my pull list.

Thanks, md. Yeah, it was a change of pace, all right.

In regards to "X-Men: Legacy," do you feel that the recently-announced X-title "Generation Hope" will conflict with yours? Since that title will have the "new" mutants/Five Lights, what is the difference between the mission statements between that book and your own? Just for the record, I'm sticking with "X-Men: Legacy," but I'm scared your title will suffer with a new book that has a similar concept.

You're right that there's some overlap - with Rogue, for example, featuring in both. But I've read Kieron's (amazing) scripts, and I think the two books will have a very different vibe and mission statement. My feeling is that there'll be room for both. But thanks for the vote of confidence!

Hey, if you need another vote, it appears artist Mike Perkins ("Captain America," "The Stand") is checking off your name on his ballot. He writes in with a question and asks for a little campaign favor:

When will we see Children of the Vault again? And can I illustrate it?!?

Next issue, Mike! And I'd do an X-Men book with you like a shot. But I'd do a Rocket Raccoon book with you like a shot. Or the Inferior Five. Or Batroc the Leaper. Or pretty much anything - you know that.

Hmm. Actually, the Inferior Five might be quite fun...

Ooh! Who knew Mike Carey was such a tease?

BiggerBarda sent us the biggest list of questions this week. Are you ready for the Spanish, er, Mutant Inquisition?

1) Why is it that Rogue picked up a malevolent presence in the back of Gambit's mind while she was borrowing the Cuckoos' power, but none of the Cuckoos, Xavier, or Emma Frost have noticed the same? Shouldn't she put two and two together after the events of Hellbound and alert the rest of the team that something is terribly wrong with Gambit?

I don't think the rest of the team need much alerting by this stage, Barda. They know that Remy is in a peculiar and dangerous state of mind and that it's something that has to be dealt with.

Great name, by the way. My daughter, Lou, had two stick insects named Barda and Scott - with Barda a huge female Aretaon Asperrimus and Scott a small, willowy male.

2) Speaking of which, shouldn't Gambit be hanging from his ankles in the basement for what happened during Hellbound? It's not like his track record would give him the benefit of the doubt (and there would probably be a team of volunteers to do it). Shouldn't he be the least popular guy on Utopia by now?

He's certainly a contender. And yes, I think by now the X-Men will have him under restraint. I promise, his situation is one that will be returned to very soon.

3) You've said in the past that you were interested in the issue of Gambit's parents. Are there any plans to address that in the long term?

Not at the moment, sadly. I had a revelation all lined up, but I couldn't convince anyone it was a good idea. And maybe, in the cold light of day, it wasn't.

4) Can you dish on when Rogue is finally going to have "the talk" with Gambit? I appreciate that she's been through a lot lately, but it's been more than a year (in real-time) and keeping us waiting that long is a bit mean. Their little moment in issue #234 was very sweet, and did make me pine for their time as a couple...

No, I can't give you a time frame. I'd like it to be soon - before issue #250. I agree that Remy's been more than patient.

5) I really enjoy "X-Men: Legacy" on an issue to issue basis; it's consistently a good read. One thing I don't understand about the current direction, however, is why Rogue - and Rogue alone - is the chosen mentor to the kids. It seems to me that Iceman or Kitty (when she's tangible again) would be two great candidates to help the New X-Men deal with their powers and personal problems. Will we see any other adult X-Men helping Rogue with her job?

We're already seeing that to some extent. There's been no shortage of mature X-Men moving in and out of the book - and the fact that Cyclops has given this mission statement to Rogue doesn't mean that he's seeing it as her exclusive responsibility. In #234, Magneto revealed that he'd been helping Surge develop her powers, although with mixed results. I agree that Bobby and Kitty would both be great mentors.

6) One thing I've noticed about 'Legacy' since the title began to focus on Rogue is that there doesn't seem to be a lot of connection between the different arcs. There are subplots, but they seem to be moving along quite slowly. Is this a deliberate change of pace, or is there a plan running underneath it all?

You wound me deeply, Barda...

No, you're right. For various reasons, I've been zipping around, introducing one set of characters and then another. Part of that has been because of the tumultuous events that have been going on in the X-verse; part of it has been because I wanted to let Rogue's new role and duties bed in. But there are some broader themes and plotlines that are going to kick in - and pay off - shortly. Some of them have already been introduced.

That wraps up our fan queries for today's X-POSITION, so now it's my turn with a "Behind the X" question. Since your stories are often compared to emotional roller coaster rides, this seems apropos: what was the best amusement park ride you have ever ridden...and what was the worst?

The worst is easy. I went to a scrawny little funfair in North London - the kind where they just set up overnight on a bit of common ground - and I made the mistake of riding the Ghost Train. It was just a dark space where you rattled around in a little carriage while some bored teenager squirted you with water from a water pistol and occasionally made a "Wooooo!" or "Bwahahahaha!" noise. I've been more scared crossing the street.

The best? Probably Nemesis Inferno at Thorpe Park. But I confess that I also love Disneyland's Space Mountain - especially the bit right at the start where you're shot from the mouth of a giant space cannon. What's not to like?

Thus concludes today's X-capade, but we'll be back with more fun and hi-jinx in two weeks. Why the skip week? It's summer and Marvel keeps the X-office busy; apparently, there's no summer break for the mutants in the Marvel Universe!

In fourteen days, however, we'll be back with Jason Aaron, writer of "Wolverine," "Wolverine: The Road to Hell," and "Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine." I expect lots of adamantium-tipped emails from all of you. So type them up, throw an "X-Position" in the subject line, and send them my way ASAP. Hurry, or I'll get my berserker rage on - snikt!

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