X-POSITION: Mike Carey Builds his "Legacy"

Since being shot in the head at the close of "Messiah Complex," Professor Charles Xavier has been working his way through X-Men history as well as his own past, seeking a greater understanding of his effect on the triumphs and tragedies of the team he brought together. Writer Mike Carey oversaw Marvel's adjectiveless "X-Men" series as it transitioned into "X-Men: Legacy," which chronicles Xavier's redemptive journey and is absolutely ripe with continuity Eater-eggs. As the prof looks to rebuild his psyche from other peoples' memories, it becomes clear that absent father Brian Xavier played a bigger role in Charles's life than previously known--and it appears that Mr. Sinister was there every step of the way.

Recently, Gambit joined Xavier on his journey in an effort to protect him from the Hellfire Club. Does this mean "Legacy" is now a team book? If so, who else will join the cast? Mike Carey joins us for the latest X-POSITION to answer your questions about "X-Men: Legacy" and the upcoming "Secret Invasion: X-Men" miniseries.

Our first email is from Andrew, who is digging for gossip on Xavier's new BFF.

1) In the latest issue of "Legacy," Gambit mentions never having gotten close to finding out about his 'beginnings.' Are you planning to explore his origin, or do you think the character stands to lose from having it revealed?

Well, I know it's a story I always wanted to read. But you do eventually reach a point where whatever you do runs the risk of looking artificially nailed on. I'd like to explore Gambit's early days a little further �" his relationship with Sinister and how far back that goes, his movements after the Mutant Massacre and so on �" but I'm not sure that I want to give a definitive answer to who he is and where he came from. I'd be interested to hear what the hordes of Remy fans out there think of that question...

2) I'm very much looking forward to Rogue's forthcoming appearance in "Legacy." Will the time she and Gambit spent together in Antarctica come into play at all? It seemed pretty obvious that the pair were meant to have slept together in "Uncanny" #348 but a later issue seemed to renege on the idea, stating that they "kissed" (unless the writer was simply being coy about the whole thing). Seriously - did they or didn't they? It may seem like a silly question but I've wanted to ask somebody 'in the know' about this since 1997! If it's ever going to be clarified in print, Legacy seems the ideal place to do so.

I think you can take "kissed" to mean whatever you want it to mean, Andrew. For my money, that splash of the two of them embracing said it all. They were together �" physically and emotionally together, with no holds barred. "Our first, our last," as Remy put it. It's not a question I can give a categorical answer to, because we don't follows the X-Men into the bedroom (well, not always), but my personal answer is yes. They made love.

Now you know, Andrew, at long last! Next up we have Nyssane, who would like to know about other familiar faces.

So far we've seen Gambit and Rogue, will any more major X-Men join Xavier on his crusade before "Legacy" concludes, and if so, any hints as to whom?

Well you'll have seen the "Dark Deception" announcements, Nyssane. Cyclops and Wolverine are the other two front line X-Men we'll see joining Professor X on the next stages of his journey. Plus one other who I can't name right now because she's an end-of-issue reveal.

For more on "Dark Deception," the crossover between "X-Men: Legacy" and "Wolverine: Origins," check out CBR's previous interview with Mike Carey as well as our chat with writer Daniel Way.

As for that third individual, who could it be? Unfortunately for Marc T., here's who it's not:

Any plans for Xavier's son Legion to show up, either in flashbacks or real time?

We do glimpse him in the current story arc, Marc �" in flashback. He probably won't be seen in real time in "Legacy," but he's more than likely to crop up in Xavier's mindscape or be discussed again.

Only in "Legacy!" Which brings us to DaedSiLuap, who compliments Mr. Carey on his comprehensive command of continuity.

1. I love the interweaving of continuity you've been doing in "X-Men Legacy," and I look forward to the next issue to see what tiny detail you will allude to. What bits of X-Men history are you most intrigued by, and what bits of X-Men history are you going to avoid like the plague?

I'm not avoiding anything, really �" skipping lightly over Onslaught, but not avoiding it. But you'll probably have noticed that I reference a lot of the stuff Fabian Nicieza was seeding when he was on the books. That was an era I really enjoyed. Going back further, I love the first three or four years of the first Claremont run, when so many of the foundations of the line were laid. It's hard not to reference that stuff, because it was so dense and rich. And I'm a big fan of the Morrison run on "New X-Men," so I hark back to that stuff a lot too.

Okay, there is one moment I try to avoid, or at least not to reference directly: Jean's resurrection from the dead in "X-Factor" #1, and the explanation given for it. That's my personal bugbear, because it invalidated so many of the most powerful and emotional moments in the Dark Phoenix saga.

2. You seem to be very in-touch with X-Men history in a way that no other X-Writer has really been, in my opinion. How do you keep all of these convoluted details straight? What websites do you find to be the best references or the best way to keep your finger on the pulse of the fans?

Thanks for the compliment! It helps to have been a fan for so long, but I'm going to be honest here and admit that I couldn't do what I do without the help of the searchable issue summaries on UncannyXMen.net. Usually I'll know what I'm looking for, but knowing exactly where it is... that's something else entirely. The UncannyXMen database lets me check for issues where, say, Gambit and Sinister spoke before the Mutant Massacre, so I can go and pull those issues from my collection and re-read them. The "Spotlight" articles are magnificent, too.

Perhaps this will comfort pmpknface, who is having a bit of trouble following along:

I'm loving "X-Men: Legacy," but sometimes I can't place all of the flashbacks. Is it possible to get a quick rundown in each issue of where the previous flashback scenes are from? Perhaps as footnotes in the back? "Wolverine: Origins" was doing a great job of this earlier on in that title's history and I think readers would benefit from it here too.

Hi, pmpknface. It's something I very much want to do for the collection when it comes out. We're looking into that possibility right now, in fact. I think it's too late to start doing it for individual issues at this stage, although in some ways I kind of wish we had. For some sequences, like the argument between Xavier and Magneto about ways and means, I was referencing about half a dozen different stories on the same page. I know some people enjoy tracking down the references, but I feel like I should have put the references in for people who didn't want to do all that legwork. Sorry.

Apology accepted. Which leads us nicely into our next question, as Marcus wonders why a bright guy like Charles Xavier can't be more introspective.

Why hasn't the Professor admitted the mistakes that he made in the past and try to start anew?

Right now, Marcus, the position Professor X is in is a little bit more desperate than that: before he can make a fresh start in the way you describe, he's got to find out what his past mistakes were and why he made them. He does want to atone �" but that presupposes a level of knowledge and understanding that he doesn't currently have.

If you mean why didn't he admit his errors before "Messiah Complex," the answer is more complicated. In some respects, he probably still felt that what he did was justified. I'm sure he saw the harm he'd done, but the opportunity for exploring those issues with the people involved never arose. Events intervened, in the way they do.

While we're in touch with our feelings, Derek wants to know what other familial, fraternal, or romantic bonds we can expect to see revisited... and whether certain bumpy green aliens might send things further awry.

1. Are there any relationships in particular in the X-World you would like to explore?

Besides my known obsessions, you mean? It would be cool to have Mystique meet Nightcrawler again �" something I couldn't do back when she was an X-Man because he was off having adventures in outer space. I'd like to move that relationship forward a little. I'd also like to do more with Blindfold, possibly filling in her back-story. It's cool that she's on a team roster now.

2. Will there be a Skrull in the X-Men?

Not in any of the books I'm writing, Derek.

Hmm, that sounds like an invitation to read between the lines. In the meantime, La Fea has a question about the "Secret Invasion: X-Men" miniseries.

You've said that the former New X-Men will appear in "Secret Invasion: X-Men," but will any of the issues they raised in the "Divided We Stand" short stories come to the surface during this battle royal reunion?

Not so much, La Fea. The dynamic of "SI-XM" doesn't work in quite that way. It has a number of personal crises of conscience at its centre, but it's also very action-focused. For a lot of the time, we see the X-teams embroiled in a desperate struggle for survival �" fighting in an actual war. We see what that costs some of them, but we also see them subordinating their personal instincts and interests to the demands of the larger crisis.

It's amazing what can be accomplished with teamwork. Several readers wondered whether we'll see this sort of thing in the "Legacy" title again. We'll let Rick pose the question.

I love Mike Carey's run on "X-Men" with Rogue's team, and though what he's doing now in "Legacy" with Xavier is interesting, I like the dynamic of the team aspect. Is there a possibility that "X-Men: Legacy" will become a team title again, (maybe with former X-Men, Acolytes, new, or miscellaneous mutants) led by Xavier?

"Legacy" is going to turn into something very different, Rick: a lot of the planning we're doing right now and into August is about exactly that. And it will be a book with a core cast larger than one, but it won't be a team book in the accepted sense of the word. Look out for more info later in the year.

More fuel for speculation. Place your bets now on the next X-adjective.

We have time for one more, and Lil Joshy asks another question on the minds of many X-fans.

Will you still be the writer of "X-Men" once "Legacy" finishes?

Man, I hope so. I love this gig so much. At the moment, everything looks to be going great: I'm still available, and Marvel still wants me. Nothing is ever certain in this business, but I can't see any way I'll walk out on X-Men.

Many thanks to Mike Carey for stopping by X-POSITION, and gracious thanks to all the readers whose questions made Shaun Manning's first guest-hosting gig such a good time. Next up we have Chris Yost answering your questions on "X-Force," "Secret Invasion: Young Avengers/Runaways," and whatever else you're keen to ask him. So drop me an email by Friday with "X-POSITION" in the subject line to play along!

Now discuss this story in CBR's X-Men forum.

Tags: marvel comics, x-position, x-men, x-men legacy, mike carey

Steve Rude's Detective Comics Cover is An Emotional Memorial to [SPOILER]

More in Comics

Covering the hottest movie and TV topics that fans want. Covering the hottest movie and TV topics that fans want. A one-stop shop for all things video games.