X-POSITION: Paul Cornell

If you've read any Marvel comic in the past year, you would know that there's a new hero calling the shots for the rest of the Marvel Universe - Norman Osborn. Yes, the same Norman Osborn who used to terrorize Spider-Man as the Green Goblin is now leading the Avengers...well, the Avengers team that the American public knows about.

This team (known as the "Dark Avengers" to readers) consists of ex-convicts and morally compromised individuals, with Osborn himself leading them as the Iron Patriot. Not content to merely rule over the superhuman population, Osborn has also decided to make his presence known among the mutants by forming his own team of "Dark X-Men."

Led by Mystique, this group of mutants has already experienced several betrayals and reversals in it's short history. Currently, they face a threat that's almost ironic, given its name - X-Man. That's right, the alternate universe Nate Grey is back...or, at least, he's on the verge of coming back. Not fully corporeal, he exists in a state that's neither here nor there; however, if he does get "here," the Dark X-Men can expect a reckoning.

Joining us for today's X-POSITION to answer your questions about this team of menacing mutants and what X-Man's return might mean is writer Paul Cornell. He's braced himself for your emails, and is even willing to discuss his recent series "Captain Britain and MI:13." Ready for things to get a little dark?

Mundungus kicks things off today with a little praise, which is always a good way to begin...

I'm loving "Dark X-Men." It's more like 'Dark X-Factor (Vol. 1),' except they are "evil" mutants pretending to be "heroic" mutants solving mutant problems. Still, I like it.

I am really interested in the continuing story of Michael Pointer - are you planning to develop him beyond kooky one-liners? He went from the unluckiest, but well-meaning guy in the world to an energy-siphoning crackhead. I just want to see him built up as a viable character. He's certainly at a dark moment in his life, but I hope there is a break in the clouds...

Thanks. I'm very much concerned with exactly the character development you mention. You'll have seen, in issue #2, the start of Michael showing what's going on underneath his power-holic exterior.

He does tragedy rather than comedy, as will become clear. He's a very important character for me, embodying the funny/horrifying thing I hope to do with this book, and I hope that comes across.

Patrick Bateman worries about the entire mutant race and wonders if there's a Dark X-Man who might be willing to lend a hand...or paw.

Before the Dark Beast was in Norman Osborn's employment, he and his doppelganger were attempting to reignite the mutant race. While the 616 Beast may have thrown in the towel, is it possible this is still on DB's backburner and that he might be using Norman's resources to continue his mission?

I think that might occur to him when things have settled down a bit. He's interested in every line of biological research, and finds that Osborn's reign gives him more space to pursue things, free of ethical constraint. But we won't be tackling that in this mini. Sorry.

Hunter Lambright - one of our X-POSITION regulars - believes Dark Beast might be busy with something other than experiments soon:

1) With both Dark Beast and X-Man showing up in the same book, how much can fans expect to see sparks fly as the two characters inevitably meet up thanks to their "Age of Apocalypse" history together?

Absolutely. If Nate ever fully gets to our reality, fully powered, then Henry is pretty certain he's toast.

2) With their team size cut in half after "Utopia," will we see any more additions to the Dark X-Men during your run? Or is the focus directly on the four characters you have on the team for this mini?

We're only aware of having this mini at the moment, and I'm happy with the team I've got. Of course, if we sell shelf-loads and get to continue, then I'm up for that too, and have loads of troubled and conflicted mutants I'd like to feature. I'll just mention one: Sauron. Probably under a new codename, unless he himself is fleeing the copyright lawyers...which would be kind of fun.

Joshua Hetherington is curious about another dark mutant that he sees as "fun."

1) Why isn't Daken in "Dark X-Men"? He didn't defect to the X-Men like Cloak and Dagger, Namor or Emma did - it seems he would've made a good addition...

Obviously, any character called Wolverine is very much limited as to the number of books he can appear in. Seriously, you'd have to ask my editors, but I suspect it's a Dark Avengers continuity thing. I'd love to have him onboard: great character, and Marjorie's really shown depth to him.

2) Were there any things you wanted to write in "Captain Britain and MI:13" that you never got the chance to? Maybe get Kitty out of that freaking bullet? Or get Rachel back in our solar system?

I'd love to have had Pete Wisdom rescue Kitty, but that looks like a S.W.O.R.D. thing now. The very vague discussions (and this a few mouthfuls of one lunch) we had about going forward mentioned Rachel and the Fury, and we also talked slightly about a crossover with Secret Warriors.

As long as we're talking about "Captain Britain and MI:13," Bkdane was hoping you might spill the beans about a Dane he's fond of...

Can you tell us where you were going to take the relationship between Dane and Faiza if "Captain Britain and MI:13" was not canceled?

I had no specific plans, but now I'd like to see them get married. But that's how I feel about everyone.

Are you married? Well, you should be. To any gender, I don't care about that, I just like weddings.

Well, Willow616 just likes "Captain Britain and MI:13" and is experiencing some serious withdrawal. Is there anything you can say that will help stave off the suffering?

I'm a massive (obsessive, and possibly a bit scary-like) fan of "Captain Britain and MI:13" and have shed a river of tears since its passing. Will we ever see a miniseries of the title? Maybe once a year? Pleeeeeeaaassseee?

I direct the Marvel massive to the above and plead my case. Please?

Please, please, please? I know, it's kind of pathetic of me. I do hope we get to do more in some way or form.

There are so many plot threads left to tie up - the Shang-Chi/Killraven situation being one of my personal faves. And judging by the ending of "Vampire Nation," was there a role call change on the cards? I'm loving "Dark X-Men," by the way...

Thanks. I wanted to keep the team with the same official status. That made them different, I feel. And yes, Young Killraven would be cool.

Grey wrote in because he, naturally, had questions about Nate Grey.

Let me start off by saying "Captain Britain and MI:13" was one of my favorite series, and it's missed. Secondly, thank you for bringing Nate Grey back - he's my fave. With that said, I have a few questions.

1) Why bring Nate back now? Was it your idea or did it come from the "powers-that-be?"

It came from (X-Men Editor) Nick Lowe, who's definitely a power that is. But I always loved Nate, so I'm happy.

2) Will "Dark X-Men" lead into "X-Men: Second Coming" in any way?

I don't think so, unless Nick has specific plans for...whoever's left at the end of this.

3) What other projects are you working on (in comics or other media)?

Hopefully a novel this coming year, loads of telly I can't talk about, and "Indomitable Iron Man," amongst some other lovely stuff for Marvel that, yes, I can't talk about. Sorry! But thanks for asking.

Should be a fun year ahead for me. Oh, and at my blog (www.paulcornell.com) I've just started the "12 Blogs of Christmas," with new content every day, including some "Dark X-Men" exclusives.

Sounds better than two turtle doves! RickyD410 had a query about the field leader for the Dark X-Men, mostly concerning her motives...

Usually, Mystique is the type of character who would only do something if she could somehow gain from it. What do you think Mystique hopes to gain by working with Osborn and his Dark X-Men?

She doesn't have a choice. It's that or be exploded. But she seeks to escape with every breath.

If Mystique does escape, there is a surprise waiting for her, courtesy of "X-Men: Necrosha." And Brian wanted to know how Mystique might feel about this little Christmas present:

1) Are there any plans for Mystique and her team to confront Selene and her deadly group - especially now that Destiny has been resurrected?

That happens after the end of this mini, I should think, so that's down to someone else. Clearly, Mystique doesn't know about Destiny during this mini, and the whole story takes place only over something like three days.

2) X-Man is a very interesting character. I hope with the craziness in the X-universe he doesn't become dead (again) or lose his powers. Are there any long-term plans for his future or his new mission that you can fill us in on?

Nick wanted to have him back, and that's all I can say.

That's it from the fans, so it's my turn for our weekly peek "Behind the X." As a way of getting to know our X-writers, here's a little non-comic question for you: since the holidays are fast approaching, what holiday tradition from your childhood was your favorite?

I always enjoyed helping to tidy up the living room and put up the tree, with the same decorations every year. I used to do that with my Auntie Jen. Thanks for asking; that brought back a little warm glow...

Ah, we do so love leaving our guests with a warm feeling. Sing it with me! "X-nuts roasting on an open fire..."

No? Then time to cut to the chase: writer Duane Swierczynski of "Cable" joins us for a yuletide X-POSITION next week. Pour yourself a cup of egg nog, type up those emails, and send them to me ASAP. Be sure to throw an "X-POSITION" in the subject line or coal goes in your stocking. Don't test me...

X-Fans, stay tuned! At 4:00PM EST, 1:00 PM PST, CBR will have an EXCLUSIVE announcement regarding a brand-new X-Title!

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