X-POSITION: Mike Carey

Throughout the X-Men's history, the team has had several nemeses that have undergone a change of heart and tried to walk the straight-and-narrow: Magneto, Mystique, and even Sabretooth. Time and time again, however, these villains always fall back to their "evil" ways and end up betraying Marvel's foremost mutants.

There has been one reformed villain, however, that's managed never to veer in her intentions once she turned away from the dark side - and she was one of the first to do so! I'm talking about Rogue, of course, and under writer Mike Carey's watch, she's even become a prime example of all that homo superiors can aspire to be. This makes her the perfect leader for the next generation of mutants, as she guides them through all kinds of trials and tribulations in the pages of "X-Men: Legacy."

With a past as intriguing as Rogue's - and a future that holds much promise - fans naturally have questions. Lucky for them, X-POSITION has a bunch of answers lying around, courtesy of Mr. Carey. Let's see if we can match his A's to their Q's and give X-readers a heaping dose of happiness for the day. And away we go...

Fi kicks things off with a couple of queries about power control and Cajuns:

1) Rogue's choice in "X-Men: Legacy" #234 sort of left things up in the air as far as her relationship status, but could you spill on when (or if) Rogue will start to feel comfortable with controlling her powers? Are there side effects to using her powers now?

It's an ongoing process, Fi. As we've seen, she's already done some fairly spectacular things with her powers now that they're subject to her conscious control - not just blending several powers (which we've seen her do before), but borrowing powers without any visible harm to their owners and (in "Legacy" #234) controlling the amount she borrowed and then giving powers back when she was done with them. So it's fair to say that she's already more comfortable with this degree of control and experimenting with what it means. But some of the fear and uncertainty is still there, whether she acknowledges it or not, from the years when she had to hold back.

And as to whether there are side effects...good question, which we'll be exploring down the line.

2) You've said that you'd like to tie up Gambit's Death-bit storyline in "Legacy." Any chance you could hint when we'll next see him in the title again?

We'll see Gambit next in the short arc that follows "Collision," tentatively titled "Fables of the Reconstruction." But the pay-off to the Death story will be a little further down the line from there - probably later next year.

MarvelMaster616 is dying to know more about Mystique's mystique - what secrets can you divulge?

I've noticed that for all the history revealed about her, there is still a good deal of mystery surrounding Mystique's past. There is no story that reveals what she was like as a child or how she came to be the twisted shape-shifter we all know and love. Will we ever get a chance to see the story of Mystique's childhood?

That would be very cool, MM. I don't know of any current plans to delve into Mystique's past (was "The Draco" in 2003 the last time this was done?), but clearly there's a lot more to be revealed about her - not least what experiences in life have made her so mercilessly manipulative of others. You'd need the right platform, though; unless it was a self-contained miniseries, there'd have to be a reason in terms of current events for delving into and uncovering her past. That was the sort of story I loved telling when "Legacy" was Professor X's book.

There is a part of Mystique's past that was impacted greatly as a result of "Second Coming." So it's natural that Derek was wondering if that particular topic would be discussed sometime soon:

1) Will we get any Mystique and Rogue scenes concerning Nightcrawler's death? It seems that they would both have a lot to say about this...

I'm sure it will come up between them the next time they meet, Derek. Mystique has never taken such an active interest in her biological son as she has in her adopted daughter, but given that he died in the service of the X-Men, I'm prepared to bet that her opinions on the subject are pretty trenchant. But see above - we don't have any plans to bring Mystique back into the "Legacy" line-up in the immediate future, even though she's a character I enjoy writing. It could be a while before that conversation happens.

2) In your eyes, what kind of role does Rogue play in the X-Men mythos?

I see her as one of the core characters, definitely. She's the living embodiment, in some ways, of the ethos and mission statement of the Xavier Academy - a mutant whose powers have brought her severe problems in life and who needs help and support in trying to deal with them. She was the first former enemy who the X-Men brought into the fold, establishing a precedent from which many others have profited, and she's been a front-line member of a great many, very varied teams.

She's one of the options that pops up regularly in Cyclops's mind when he's asking himself, "Who would be a good choice to do X, Y or Z?" So she's the brand plucked from the burning, but she's also someone with a real and central role to play in the core story of the X-Men's fortunes and future. There's a nice contrast between her and Gambit. They both have an equal claim to be called wild cards, and they've both made a journey from the dark side into the light, but Rogue seems to have retained an essential innocence and emotional openness. Her wild card status arises from the way she fights; the unexpected and unpredictable ways in which she uses her powers and deploys the powers of others.

Patricio was curious about the current role that Rogue is playing - that of a teacher. He wants to know if she (and someone else of note) might be doing more of that in the future...

1) It seems that "X-Men: Legacy" is turning into the main "New X-Men" book with Rogue and Magneto as their mentors and teachers. Does this mean that in the near future they might reopen the school with the two characters as headmasters? I would love to see that!

Nothing is constant in the X-verse except change, Patricio. There's a sense in which the school never closed, of course. In San Francisco, it existed in a sort of devolved form, with the students spread around the city. In "Utopia," the business of education has had to take second place to the business of survival. But when the dust settles, I think it's inevitable that the question of the needs of the younger mutants will come to the fore again.

Eyebrows might be raised at the prospect of Magneto taking on a role like that (even though he's done it in the past), but Cyclops doesn't tend to shrink from a decision just because it might be controversial. Expect to see this whole question of the students' needs and how they can be met being directly addressed soon. Assuming we all survive "Second Coming."

2) This kids need a break - not from adventures, but from deadly situations and friends getting killed every single month. Are you going to develop their social lives and love interests a bit more? So far we've seen the spotlight on Trance, Bling!, Indra and Blindfold. Who will be next?

Next is Indra (again), Loa and Anole. Then Hellion. I can't promise any of them a break, but yes, there'll be a focus on relationships as well as on action, especially in the "Collision" arc.

3) Also, is there any chance to do a roll-call for all the kids still on the island? I mean, some are dead, some have risen from the dead, and some just seem nearly invisible...

Carey: Nick, could you call out the roster?

X-Men Editor Nick Lowe: Not a chance, Carey. Before I was an X-Editor, I was an X-Fan. These were days before the internet and before fans could literally ask writers and editors questions. I had to figure out who was where from the evidence at hand. There are oodles of people out there who you can do this with, Patricio. You'll get no list from me.

Carey: Okay, but in a spirit of compromise, I'm going to mime the young mutants, one by one, starting at 12.00 EST this Friday. Tune in via live web feed.

I can't wait to see Mike do Bling! And since Nick Lowe has stopped by, allow me to offer some quick congratulations to both him and Mr. Carey on their recently announced Eagle nominations!

As long I brought up Bling!, Joshua Hetherington really wants to know more about a burning secret that has yet to be revealed in "Legacy":

1) Did the thoughts Rogue heard (the thoughts that said they "burn for her") belong to Bling!? She did seem to be developing a crush on her...

You don't really want me to answer that, do you Joshua? Bling! is one of the possible candidates, certainly, but the tone of this thought seemed to be a long way from the jokey tone of Bling!'s "kind of hot" in issue #230. If it is her, she's been thinking about Rogue a lot and her feelings have intensified a lot.

2) I love Rogue and Hope. Is there any chance for some more interaction between them post-"Second Coming?" It would make sense considering the connection they share (i.e. Hope saved Rogue's life as a baby).

You're right - it would make total sense. And yeah, we will get to see that. Rogue is out of the country in "Collision," but she's back in the thick of things again immediately after that, and she will be interacting with Hope.

Speaking of interactions, Maikel was interested in hearing your thoughts on a shocking revelation about Rogue's past...

1) What was your first reaction when you heard Rogue's little confession in the "Sentry: Fallen Sun?" And is this going to have an impact on Rogue in the books written by you?

My reaction? I haven't heard Rogue's version of this yet. I'm sure something happened between the two of them, because Cyke tells us it did. I'm not sure exactly what that something was or how far it went. We know that Rogue is conservative and pretty highly moral in terms of relationships and sex; I'd be surprised if this was as cut and dried as it seems.

2) Out of curiosity, who do you like best for Rogue to be in a relation with: Magneto or Gambit? Or is it someone totally different?

That's a leading question, Maikel. (Heh.) She's never been in a relationship with Magneto, strictly speaking, so it's hard to comment on that. There was a mutual attraction once, and there's still some sort of connection, although Magneto seems to have a different definition of what it is than Rogue does. I like to show different sides of Rogue's nature, and one way to do that is to have her interacting with characters outside of her normal comfort zone. That's a weasely answer, but I don't want to say more than that right now. The possibility has to exist for Rogue to form an attachment to someone else, even though her feelings for Gambit run deep.

John was thinking we might see how deep those feelings due to some art he saw. What do you say?

I noticed the "Heroic Age" ad in the last "X-Men: Legacy" issue featured Rogue and Gambit. Is this something that you will be focusing on once Rogue returns from India? Please tell me this tease indicates something good...

The "Heroic Age" is as much an idea as it is an event. The Marvel Universe is entering a new era, and the ramifications of that spread far and wide. Also, John, you know that the X-Men cast aren't limited to appearing in their own books. All of this is a way of saying "wait and see."

Maybe the cast of "Legacy" needs a vacation. As a matter of fact, Lisa has heard they're going somewhere quite sunny soon...

With news of Rogue and company's adventure following "Second Coming" being set in Mumbai, is there any chance of seeing some notable Indian mutants of the past like Neil (Thunderbird) Sharra or Karima (Omega Sentinel) Shapandar?

We'll see Karima again very soon, Lisa, but not in Mumbai. I did think of dropping in on Neil and Heather while Rogue is in India, and in fact they were in the first outline for the arc, but in the end I decided not to include those scenes because I was already introducing a fair number of new characters and I wanted to give them room to breathe.

That's it for fan queries, so now it's my turn for today's "Behind the X" question. Since we were just talking about journeys to faraway lands, can you please share details on the best summer vacation you've ever had?

About ten years ago, Lin and the kids came with me to SDCC, and afterwards we stuck around in the US for almost a month. We hired a van and went driving, first up to L.A. to visit with Lin's relatives there, then out through Nevada to Arizona's Red Rock country. We drove through the Navajo Reservation, stayed at the Grand Canyon for a few days, visited the Canyon de Chelly, Flagstaff and Sedona before finally flying home from Phoenix. It was a really idyllic time. We just went wherever we felt like, and stayed for as long as we liked. We keep saying we'll do it again someday, but I can't remember the last time I had that amount of time free!

That wraps up today's little escapade (or is that X-capade?), but we'll be back in seven days with the writer of "Wolverine: Weapon X," Jason Aaron! Read up on all craziness going in this book, and shoot me an email with some well-worded inquiries ASAP. If you put an "X-Position" in the subject line, I'll move you to the front of the query queue and provide an explanation to the finale of "Lost" (Hint: it involves both Jean Grey and Doop). See you next week!

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