Thanks to the multiverse shattering events of "Secret Wars," a number of fan-favorite events and status quos are getting a new lease on life as a domain on Battleworld. The X-Men of the '80s are back in full force in series like "Years of Future Past" and "Inferno," and the same can be said for the '90s X-Books as well. "X-Men '92" is hitting all those brightly colored notes on the digital front, and now "Age of Apocalypse" is poised to revisit the "Secret Wars" version of the titular 1995 event along with artist Gerardo Sandoval.
If you read X-Men comics during their '90s heyday, then odds are you are very familiar with this week's X-POSITION guest. Not only did Fabian Nicieza co-create "Deadpool," write over 75 issues of "X-Men" and "X-Force" combined and pair Cable up with DP for a beloved buddy book -- he also wrote two series in the original "Age of Apocalypse" event! This week, Fabian Nicieza makes his big X-POSITION debut and answers your questions about everything from Apocalypse's beef with Doom to the status of the X-Ternals... and yes, there's even some Deadpool talk.
CBR News: Welcome to X-POSITION, Fabian! This has been a long time coming. Let's kick things off with a question from Andrew, who's a fan of yours from way back.
Fabian! So excited that two of my favorite things are uniting: the Age of Apocalypse and your writing! I really loved your '90s work on "Cable" and "X-Force," and your incarnation of Cable is by far my favorite. That being said, is it too much to hope for a huge role for X-Man (Nate Grey) in your upcoming "AoA" Battleworld series?
Is it too much to hope for, Andrew? No. No, it is not. But maybe it's too much to expect.
Next, Joseph has a question about the new "Age of Apocalypse's" backstory.
The second issue of "Secret Wars" established that Apocalypse had taken over several neighboring domains and made their former rulers his Horsemen. Will we find out anything about the realities these conquered domains represented before falling under Apocalypse's thumb?
No, sorry, Joseph, but in the new "Age of Apocalypse" series we have a ticking time bomb plot structure that really minimized our ability to tell stories of the past or the history of Battleworld. We show glimpses of the past throughout the issues, but more in how it relates to the core X-Men characters, including Cyclops and Jean Grey.
With Doom having created strict laws to keep every Battleworld citizen in their respective domains, Jarred wants to know if any of your characters will break the God Doom's law.
Do any of the characters question the Battleworld boundaries and explore other areas, or is this "AoA" story more self-contained?
This storyline is very self-contained. Apocalypse had gotten a little too feisty with incursions into neighboring domains, so Doom put a stop to that. For a few years, Apocalypse has been confined to the borders of his own domain, so this story is really about the snake eating its own tail.
Because all the crazies were put in a locked room, things got a lot worse for the humans and mutants within his domain far faster than they might have under other circumstances. So, we start with everything in dire straits and the X-Men very desperate to put an end to Apocalypse before the pressure-cooker explodes and everybody dies.
It's clear from the solicitations that you're including newer additions to the X-Universe in "Age of Apocalypse," and CraigTheCylon has a question about one of those characters.
From other interviews you've done on the book, we know you're planning to use Doctor Nemesis in a featured role -- a fairly recent addition to the X-universe, one you haven't used before, and one who wasn't part of the original "Age of Apocalypse" crossover. Since Nemesis is my second-favorite mutant (number one is Domino, so hat-tip to you, sir), I gotta ask -- what drew you to the King of Science-Snark, and what role does he play here?
I've read a bunch of X-trades over the last few years, Craig, and Doc Nem was a character that really stood out to me, mostly because I have a history of loving to write very likably arrogant characters (they do always say to write what you know)!
As for what role he plays in the story, he is Dark Beast's "right hand man," though that does seem to involve chopping off lots of people's right hands. And left hands, too, for that matter...
You're no stranger to the "Age of Apocalypse," having written two of the original "AoA" series from 1995. Dominique has a question about the cast of one of those books.
Are we going to see the X-Ternals in "Age of Apocalypse"? That team has some of my favorite mutants and I want to know if we are going to see them and not as background mutants!
Sorry, no X-Ternals. Seriously, Dominique? That's who you ask for?! Trying to deal with their convoluted backstory within the context of a new depiction of "AoA" would probably have been enough to kill me!
Trevor has a question about a character that seems to be a shoe-in for inclusion, as they're prominently featured on one of the issues' covers.
So, Emma Frost is featured in the artwork for "Age of Apocalypse" clad in her classic White Queen costume. This makes me super excited, as she has been not as prominent in recent Marvel story arcs. How big of a part will Emma play in this "AoA"?
A very, very big part, Trevor. Such a big part, that it might even require parts of her in the telling of the story! What does that even mean? You won't know unless you read all five issues.
This time around, "Age of Apocalypse" has a very unlikely lead character -- master of all language Cypher. Icantstandthisindecision wants to know why you put Doug Ramsey in the spotlight.
What made you choose Cypher as a focus here?
1) I wanted a sensitive, innocent perspective on the savagery and madness of the Age of Apocalypse. Doug was always one of the most "human" of all the new mutants and I liked the opportunity to use a young, hopeful "everyman" as my narrator.
2) I always was curious about the possibilities of a passive power like Doug's in revealing layers of the story and the true natures of various characters. In a world of evil men, liars and cheaters, a world where power and force rule over logic and intelligence, I liked that one young teen could use his powers to reveal the truth behind the words of what people say, which in turn helps dictate the actions characters take and propels the story forward.
With your track record of creating memorable, new mutants, Crabadan wants to know if you'll be making any additions to the classic "AoA" cast.
Will you create any new mutants for this series? Some ["Secret Wars"] X-comics have new characters, like "Years of Past Future" and "X-Tinction Agenda."
Yes. Sort of. There is a new X-Man named Burner. We are giving him "the Sunfire treatment," the way Scott Lobdell and Joe Madureira did in the original "AoA" -- which was to take a known character and radically alter their presentation.
Considering the role you played in the original "Age of Apocalypse" storyline, nx01a wants to know something about that classic X-Men event.
You were part of the planning team behind the original "Age of Apocalypse." If you could redo anything about the original "AoA," what would it be? Why?
Wow, that's a tough one, because I don't know what I would redo of the original story. It was so sprawling and complex, some aspects of which I thought were very well handled and others not so much, but I know I would have changed a lot about the process through which we created the storyline.
First of all, I would demand we have an ending to the story before we started, much less before we got halfway through the whole thing!
Although the end product was very well received and very well liked by many readers, it wasn't the most pleasant working experience for me back in the day. But this series is completely different. It is far smaller in scope and focus.
Lastly, we couldn't have you -- one of the original minds behind the Merc with a Mouth -- on X-POSITION without getting in one Deadpool question. Take it away, The Mighty Yabanzik...
First of all, congrats on the new "Age of Apocalypse"! I'd like to ask you about -- as I guess most of the fans -- about the Merc with the Movie. What do you think of the changes he had through the years? Have you considered returning to write his series (not to disrespect our dearly beloved Gerry Duggan)?
I'm looking forward to the movie, but I won't be any different than anyone else walking into the theatre to watch it. I haven't seen the script. I haven't been asked to participate in the production by Fox in any way whatsoever and I don't know that I will be in the future, so I go into it with the same level of curiosity, apprehension and hope that any other Deadpool fan has.
As for writing the character again, when/if Marvel asks me to write Deadpool, odds are very high that I would be more than happy to, since I never wanted to stop writing him to begin with. Such a request might happen tomorrow, or maybe it happened already and you just don't know it yet! Either way, getting to write Deadpool is more than just fun for me, it is creative therapy.
What a lot of people don't understand is that unlike what it means to other writers, this character was never an "assignment" for me, he was a part of me. His thought-process, his insanity, his hopes and insecurities, all of that came out of my brain, my own fears, needs, and desires -- all hyper-realized and excessively depicted, but still the sick, sad little twisted parts that exist inside of me is what exists inside of Wade. Even his fight against cancer and the lengths he was willing to go in order to fight the disease came as a result of real-life issues I was dealing with at the time involving my mother-in-law.
And no disrespect intended to Gerry [Duggan], who is a great guy and has done an excellent job on the character, but there are enough Deadpool projects to go around that having his father work on some of them wouldn't be the worst idea ever. Who knows? Maybe sooner than you think...
Thanks to Fabian Nicieza for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, X-POSITION takes a breather in the wake of Comic-Con International. Keep your eyes on CBR for information on our next X-PO guest and how you can submit your questions.