X-POSITION: Peter David

A few years ago, the Scarlet Witch said three little words that shook the X-Men's universe: "No more mutants." This caused a majority of the Marvel Universe's mutants to lose their powers and, even worse, made the birth of a Homo Superior an impossible event. Well, it seems that X-Factor didn't get the memo on that latter development, as they've already had one mutant birth and have one more on the way (thanks to Wolfsbane rejoining the team).

Granted, the first birth (from Madrox and Siryn) was shockingly "undone," so that probably doesn't count. And the second child? Well, that's the byproduct of a union between a mutant and an Asgardian Wolf Prince, so there's no known scenario that would apply there either. Basically, "X-Factor" doesn't conform to any standard mold, and writer Peter David (PAD to his fans) wouldn't have it any other way.

The "X-Factor" scribe happily volunteered his time to answer emails for today's X-POSITION. As shown by his writing, anything can happen (and often does), so buckle up and hold on tight, today's Q&A is going to have more twists than a bowl of rotini pasta.

Our first email comes from Chad, who just can't get enough PAD. He begins by serving up a plate of gratitude.

Peter, "X-Factor" is top of my read pile every month. Thank you for all the entertainment your comics and novels have provided me. And now, my questions:

1) Of all your works, are there any runs that you'd like to see collected or re-collected in trades? My money's on an "X-Factor" Peter David Omnibus!

Of all my works? Well, Marvel's actually been pretty good at collecting my material, whether it's in the regular trade collections of "X-Factor" and "Dark Tower," or the "Marvel Visionaries" that have collected my work on "Hulk." And, of course, IDW has been collecting "Fallen Angel," including the twenty issues published by DC which were never collected in their entirety.

In point of fact, the vast majority of my DC material has never been collected. "Aquaman," "Young Justice," "Supergirl," even "Atlantis Chronicles" - none of it. And I think that's a shame. Artists such as Todd Nauck or Leonard Kirk, who have gone on to do superb comics for Marvel, did some stupendous work in those titles and it certainly deserves to be seen by new audiences. I think it's a crying shame that all that material is being sat on.

2) With the news that Stephen King's "Dark Tower" books are being turned into film and TV properties, is there any chance you'll be involved in any way?

Well, there's always a chance, in that I'm not all that hard to find and if they wanted me to work on it, I'd be there in a red-hot moment. But I'm not expecting to be involved. I think they pretty much have it in hand at the moment.

J. J. Mealer has a thought for a book he'd like to see you write outside of "X-Factor." What do you say?

How come you haven't written a Marvel Noir title yet? You seem to be passionate about the genre. Are there any characters you'd like to write in that genre?

I haven't written one because no one's asked me. The writers they already have have done some great work. If I were going to do a title, I'd love to do a noir version of Thor, just because he's absolutely the last individual you'd expect to see in a noir setting. Heck, with the movie coming up, they probably already have someone working on it.

If they don't, let's hope they call you soon!

Jon Anderson wants to know about your picks in the recent draft...for your X-team, of course.

When Rahne became available after her "X-Force" stint, did you automatically have first dibs? Or did you have to arm wrestle Zeb Wells for her?

We've wanted to get Rahne back for some time. I'm really not sure what sort of editorial machinations went on behind the scenes. All I know is that one day Jody, the editor, let me know that we were going to be getting Rahne back. He also told me we were getting a pregnant Rahne back. And I thought, "Okay, that's fine. It's X-Factor and a woman's pregnant under unusual circumstances. What could possibly go wrong?"

Just don't let Madrox hold that baby!

And on that note, madroxdupe024 naturally had a question about Siryn's little (non-existent) fella.

I was wondering if we've really seen the last of Sean Madrox? I was looking forward to the baby a lot, so that issue really got to me. It was awesome and heart-wrenching, but I'm curious if it's possible that Madrox will stomp his feet one day and the baby will pop out?

No plans to have that happen, because I think it would totally undercut the power of the end of "X-Factor" #39.

Knowing what Siryn went through in that issue (and the ones that followed), Derek Brunell had a reasonable query:

Will Siryn be envious of Rahne and her baby?

Good lord, no. Theresa simply wouldn't have the sort of mindset that says, "I lost my child, so this other person has no right to be happy." Theresa would be the first one on line to be empathetic if something terrible went wrong.

Well, let's hope that doesn't happen, right? [Silence] Um, right?!?

Let's move on to this laundry list of questions from Andre4000 and hope for some happy answers:

1) Darwin is an interesting character, but his power set confuses me. How do you view the limits of his abilities? Does an evolution stay with him even if he doesn't need it anymore? For example, if he has had to breathe underwater before, can he just make gills appear at any time?

No, he can make gills appear if he's underwater. The evolutionary steps he takes to survive have thus far been transient and then he reverts to his default biology. Of course, that's what's happened so far. There's nothing to say it couldn't change, particularly if an evolution is catastrophic enough. Some things, you don't come back from.

2) And for that matter, which character's mutant abilities on the team do you struggle with most? What do you find challenging about that power set?

Probably Madrox, because his power really doesn't make much sense. I get that an impact creates a duplicate of him, but where do the clothes come from? The objects he's holding? The thing is, I actually have a whole storyline in mind that really would make sense out of it. I just haven't quite worked up the ideal time to launch into it.

3) Fitzroy is currently dead, correct? Any chance "Necrosha" could have brought him back? It would be interesting to have Layla confront him. For that matter, will it be revealed that Layla brought others back to life that we haven't heard from yet?

No, we've seen all the people that Layla brought back. No shocking revelations in the work in that regard. And no current plans for Fitzroy, dead or otherwise.

4) Many of the members of X-Factor seem to have a dark side to their personalities. Of all the people on the team, which has the potential to be most dangerous if they became a villain?

Probably Layla. Seriously - would you want to get on her bad side?

Speaking of folks on Layla's "bad side," there's one in particular that Joshua Hetherington is worried about:

1) Is Layla going to bust Rahne for lying to Rictor, because it's quite clear from the look Layla gave her that she knows what Rahne's playing at. Of course, history has shown that Layla isn't completely unwilling to withhold information from Madrox and the gang...

Here's the thing with soap opera: you introduce a character who has a secret. And then one person finds out the secret, and then a second, and sooner or later everyone knows. Same basic concept here. Eventually everyone is going to find out. What you guys don't know is exactly how it's going to happen and in what order. The obvious thing is that Layla is going to blab, to which I'd say: when have we ever done the obvious thing?

2) Any chance the cast will thin out a little? I thought the book was pushing it when Shatterstar joined and Layla rejoined...and now you've brought back Rahne! I love all these characters, but I like reading their adventures as a team and now it seems to take months before they can all get together. (Plus I want Marrow to join and I'm fairly certain you won't bring in an 11th member...)

Actually, compared to the average network drama, or even afternoon soap opera, our cast isn't that big. To say nothing of the X-Men having dozens upon dozens of mutants living on Utopia. I think of X-Factor as "Mission Impossible" - I have a cast of characters upon whom to draw, and the ones who are most appropriate for the mission at hand are the ones who are brought in. With that said, one member of the team will be departing in #213, and another gets seriously messed up in #215 and may or may not survive. So be careful what you wish for, because you may get it.

3) I like the idea of Strong Guy being attracted to Monet, but it's hard for me to fully believe at this moment. I was just getting used to the idea of Darwin and Monet (or Monet and Longshot) and then you went and threw a dark horse in the race to win Monet's heart with Guido. With the exception of Rictor and Shatterstar, it's kind of weird that every guy on the team has gotten together with - or want to get together with - Monet. I hope M doesn't sully her good name...

Monet isn't actively looking for a male companion at the moment. She enjoys the attention, sure, but at this point, that's as far as it's going...which is not to say that things might not change.

4) Lastly, will Darwin have any major storylines coming up where he can prove his worth? He kind of just seems to hang around trying to act tough - although he did say one of my favorite lines from the book: "Come on join X-Factor! We're low key, we don't fight Giant Robots!" (and then a Sentinel fell on him).

Major, major developments with Darwin coming up as a result of the current storyline, as a matter of fact. Besides, what's wrong with hanging around trying to act tough? That pretty much describes my entire high school social life.

Really? Then let's use that notion as a cue for today's "Behind the X" question. In sticking with a back-to-school theme for the fall, tell us: what sports/activities did you participate in during high school? What did your high school yearbook say about you?

I was on the JV soccer team. I was fifth string on a team that only have four strings. I once nearly knocked myself unconscious trying to bounce the ball off my head. I was, however, damned good at volleyball. It was the only team I was picked first for in gym because I had a killer serve and I never missed. Eventually I became the editor of the school newspaper and was also in the drama club. As for my yearbook, I haven't looked at it in years and haven't the faintest idea where it is. That's deliberate; if you saw the doofy hair I had in the photograph, you'd totally understand.

I graduated during the "Flock of Seagulls" music era, so I sympathize completely. Thanks for sharing, Peter!

Next week, "X-Men" writer Victor Gischler swings by to answer all those questions about mutant-vampire hybrids that are keeping you up at night. Just type out those emails as quickly as you can, send them my way, and put an "X-Position" in the subject line if you please. I'll pass them along with a wink and a bottle of O-negative (Victor is a "method" writer). See you in seven!

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