X-POSITION: Mike Carey

One of the more fun aspects of comic book universes is finding the "rules" of how things work (i.e. the logic of how that world operates). Comic book rules aren't always hard and fast though; sometimes they bend, and occasionally they break. Fans are often the ones to point out when this occurs, and they're known by a title which sends chills down many editors' spines: the Continuity Police.

Now, truth be told, we need these police, and comic book publishers actually do appreciate their efforts and passion. As far back as 1964, Marvel's then-EIC Stan Lee would award "No-Prizes" to fans who caught continuity gaffes (provided they also gave solutions which explained the errors).

In today's X-POSITION, several of these self-appointed "officers" sent in continuity questions for "Age of X" and "X-Men: Legacy" writer Mike Carey. Knowing that they did so out of love and excitement for his titles, the scribe was happy to explain things to the best of his ability. Hopefully, the Continuity Police will approve! Let's get things going so Mr. Carey can have his day in X-court...

First up is the Big G, who sounds as though he's dying to know what occurs between panels:

Mike, I want to say that "Age of X" has been fantastic, and I'm looking forward to "New Mutants" later this month, as well the "Age of X: Avengers" tie-in and future X-Men: Legacy" issues. Having just read "X-Men: Legacy" #246, let me say that it was a very good "chase" issue, but I have a few questions:

1) In "Age of X: Alpha," Husk said she wouldn't go back to being flesh until Cannonball cried over what occurred (back in their side-story), but in "X-Men: Legacy" she was flesh again. Did the two make up or was there an art error? Clay and Steve have done an excellent job by the way -- I love Magma's redesign.

Hi, G! Glad you're enjoying the story. Yeah, we have to assume that somewhere, off-panel, there's been a partial reconciliation; at least to the point where Husk feels -- if I can put it like this -- her terms have been met. But they're still far from close, and the lack of a real connection to Paige (his only living relative) has weighed heavy on Sam. We get some more glimpses into this dynamic in a future issue.

2) I'm just wondering... how does Wolverine maintain a supply of adult beverages in his bar if Fortress X is surrounded by a forcefield? Does he make it in the basement and have Storm grow the ingredients?

You can make beer in a bathtub if you've got barley malt and hops. So I guess there were some supplies of those things in one of the buildings Magneto hijacked, or else in the unidentified location where he set them down. But you're right, the supplies would have to be limited, and there's no way of replenishing them once they're used up. Like everything else in Fortress X, Logan's bar is running on borrowed time.

3) I also wanted to clear up a possible bit of miscommunication: at the recent Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, Matt Fraction said that X-Man would first be returning in "X-Men: Legacy," but from teasers that were released it seems he is going to be primarily in "New Mutants." So will we get to see Nate hang out with Rogue, Magneto, Frenzy, Legion and Gambit, or was Fraction mistaken. I just wanted to double-check.

Matt meant "New Mutants." We don't have any plans to visit with Nate in the immediate future. But I steal every X-Men character sooner or later. It's only a question of waiting until enough people's backs are turned.

That's one crime I'm sure people anxiously await you to commit. Andrew is next, and he has a question about a character that you are currently using:

I'm loving your work on "Age of X." I'm thrilled that you've finally gotten the opportunity to work your magic on all the X-Men at once. It's the best X-story in years! Now for my questions:

1) What made you decide to give Frenzy such a prominent role in this X-book? Out of all the background characters of the X-Men, why her? What drew you to the character? (I'm not criticizing this at all, I think you've done amazing work with her -- I'm just curious...)

Thanks for the high praise, Andrew. I'm really glad you're enjoying the story.

I always find this question hard to answer. It's usually "Why Rogue?" rather than "Why Frenzy?" but to some extent the answer is the same -- because she gets my imagination going and I really enjoy writing her. If you look at the X-verse characters I normally gravitate to, a lot of them share certain traits. Some of them are intellectuals, highly intelligent, and very cerebral in the way they look at the world (Professor X, Magneto, Beast); the ones who aren't still tend to be very shrewd, outspoken and articulate.

Frenzy sticks out by contrast in that company: she's intelligent enough, sure, but she's absolutely not someone who buys talking cures. She's all about powerful emotion, direct actions that speak louder than words, and function instead of words. She's not interested in abstract debate or philosophy. It's not that she doesn't think about things, it's that she's not interested in anybody else's opinions, and her own opinions are instantly formed and instantly acted on.

I think this is why -- when Magneto was depowered -- she went so quickly from admiring him to feeling a visceral disgust for him. There's not a lot of room for grey areas in her world. Exhibit A: when she tells Basilisk, bluntly, that she doesn't love him for his mind and that her tolerance for his doubts rapidly disappears when it impacts on his ability to satisfy her sexually. There's a devastating, magnificent simplicity about her. It makes her loads of fun to write, especially as a member of a team.

2) Back in the 616, I was wondering which artist designed Rogue and Gambit's costumes that they've worn since arriving on Utopia. Was it Daniel Acuña (as the costumes first appeared in his "Emplate" arc)?

Yeah, I think that's right. But actually we've seen some variations even in that time, and you'll notice that on the cover of issue #248 Rogue's costume in particular has changed a lot.

3) I really liked the character Luz that you created back in the "Collision" storyline. She was the coolest new character in a long time. Will she be appearing again soon? It'd be great if she could join the X-Men...

I'd love to bring her back, and to add in some more of the children of the Children of the Vault, if that makes sense -- Luz's contemporaries in Quitado, who are the first generation of the Children to have the opportunity (in theory, anyway) to leave the homestead and see the outside world.

You know what would be cool? A sort of rumspringa story, where a whole bunch of teen Children of the Vault characters including Luz are allowed to leave Quitado and somehow run up against their X-Men equivalents...

It's DB's turn, and he's written up quite a continuity citation for you. Would you care to respond to the charges?

One of the things I am loving most about your run on "X-Men: Legacy" is the huge cast of characters, including many long-forgotten favorites. I was especially excited to see Ariel show up, who hadn't been seen since "Fallen Angels" miniseries so long ago. Therefore, it was really disappointing when she was apparently killed during "Second Coming."

Ariel was sitting next to the door of a car when she saw a missile coming at her and had time to verbally react. It doesn't seem logical or in-character for her to be killed the way she was, given that she was a survivalist by nature and a teleporter who could instantaneously teleport across the galaxy through any door (which she was clearly right next to). Since we never saw Ariel actually die (nor did we see her corpse), is there any hope at all for seeing this character again in "X-Men: Legacy?"

DB, your analysis of Ariel's apparent death is accurate, detailed, and impossible to argue with.

So, is there hope? There is from where I'm sitting. And, to be blunt, I deliberately wrote that scene so there would be.

Guilty as charged! But we'll let you off with a warning... Derek is also confused about a story point. Can you please appease him?

1) Is Moira a mutant in this story?

She certainly speaks as though she is, Derek, when she's confronting Magneto in Chapter 3, but we haven't seen her display any powers. That could just have been the heat of the moment -- a casual identification of herself with the mutant cause. Or she could have a power that we haven't seen yet. Sorry, that was sickeningly evasive -- only one step up from "watch this space." But do. Watch it. The space, I mean.

2) Is a handbook to the "Age of X" a possibility once the mystery is solved? I know you have done the communiques, but that only covered a handful of characters. Is there interest in fleshing out the backgrounds of some of the other smaller characters -- living and dead -- in a handbook format?

I don't know. I guess there might be. The communiques were great fun to write, and they seemed to go down well with CBR readers, judging from some of the responses that were posted. If we ever got to revisit the "Age of X" setting, I'd certainly be up for writing some more of those -- and I'm hoping that the ones I did write will make it into the collected version as a value-added feature. For the record, it was CBR's Dave Richards who suggested that we do the communiques -- and it was a really cool idea.

3) You mentioned a brother for Cargill and a sister for Warpath in the "Age of X Communiques." Are these important characters for this story or just characters that may appear in future stories in "X-Men: Legacy?"

I was just trying to give a sense of a context for these characters. They don't appear in the story, and they're not referenced elsewhere. Having said that, I would like to write Gareth Cargill into "X-Men: Legacy" at some point. The only snag with that is that I've got a brother for Blindfold hovering in the wings, too. If I clutter up the X-verse with too many previously unmentioned siblings, I may get an official reprimand.

Let's hope you're spared! Goodjon might be willing to let you off the hook if you can answer his questions...

1) Why weren't characters like Gambit and Cyclops affected by Rogue's telepathy in "New Mutants" #22?

Everyone was affected, Goodjon, but some certainly got hit more than others. There was usually a reason in my mind for the people who showed partial resistance, but it's kind of a difficult topic to discuss because I was working backwards from what the Age of X reality is and how it works. I'm sorry, but I'm going to duck that question for now, but by the time the story is finished you should have part of an answer -- and I can clarify the rest in my next X-POSITION.

2) After "Age of X," will we see artist Clay Mann again?

Emphatically, yes! I absolutely love Clay's work on "X-Men: Legacy." And it's impossible to overstate how much of the impact of Age of X depends on what he and Steve [Kurth] have done in designing and furnishing this world. I think the book would still be selling solidly if I forgot to put anything in the word balloons.

For our last email of the day, Nathan keeps things simple with inquiries focusing on a single character:

1) Can we expect to see Gambit's point-of-view in the love triangle he's stuck in, as it seems like Rogue is always making their relationship decisions?

Hi Nathan. Yes, we can and will. See "X-Men: Legacy" #248, particularly.

2) We've seen a lot of Rogue's issues with the development of her powers. Can we expect the same with Gambit? Maybe he can grow to his full potential, as seen in his first ongoing?

I have some ideas for exploring Gambit's powers further -- ideas which relate to the dark persona apparently speaking from inside him. So yeah, it's built into the plan, so to speak.

3) Will we see Gambit grow to become a major character in "X-Men: Legacy" as he becomes more involved with the team?

If I'm up to the task I've set myself post-issue #250, then "yes." I want him to be a mainstay of that team. The cast is going to alter a little after the first arc, but Gambit is definitely going to stick around.

Now that we're done with all the mind-bending queries, how about we have some fun with today's "Behind the X" question? I don't know if you spend much time in the kitchen, but when you get the chance to cook, what's your favorite thing to make and why?

I tend to cook dinner on the days when my wife works in Central London, because she gets back so late. I often go for spaghetti Bolognese because it's quick and easy, but probably my favorite meals to cook are Indian ones. I make a mean chicken Rogan, a beef and chickpea curry, and a dish called -- unappetizingly -- "green fish," which is very hot and very tasty. You make it with tuna or swordfish -- the kinds of fish that have a really meaty consistency. Sliced chilies and cayenne pepper both figure largely in the list of ingredients.

But the number of meals I make by opening a jar and dumping the contents into a pan is a disgrace.

In sticking with kitchen terminology, X-POSITION will slice, dice and julienne your questions next week as we go into a berserker rage courtesy of "Wolverine" writer Jason Aaron. The scribe will also answer queries about Logan's adventures with everyone's favorite webhead in his "Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine," if you're in the mood for something sassy. Either way, send me those emails just as soon as you can. Include an "X-Position" in the subject line, and you won't be held accountable for what happens on St. Patrick's Day. See you in seven!

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