A writer has to juggle several storylines when working on a superhero team book, a consequence of the title's uncommonly large cast. Sometimes these plot threads will wrap up individually, and other times they'll crash into one another spectacularly as they have in Marvel's "X-Factor," written by Peter David.
Feeling like a failure due to profound relationship woes and the loss of X-Factor's youngest member, Layla, Madrox was about to end his own life when he was "rescued" by a no-longer-young Layla -- and flung far into the future, where he is recruited into fighting a rebellion to help save mutantkind and begins to fall in love with Layla.
Meanwhile, back in the present, Madrox's former flame Siryn leads several members of X-Factor on a strange which results in one teammate being "possessed" by a villain. As she and others try to deal with this little problem, another challenge manifests in the form of giant mutant-hunting Sentinels... that happen to be sent from the future where Madrox and Layla are!
As if that wasn't enough, two other teammates were visiting one of Madrox's dupes when they were attacked by a former ally who was being mind-controlled. Then, when the ally was no longer under "outside influence," a surprising relationship came to light - one that set the internet ablaze.
If you think it's tricky keeping track of all this information as readers, just imagine the challenges Peter David faces as "X-Factor's" writer. The busy man joins X-POSITION to answer all of your questions about the myriad of events going on within the pages of "X-Factor." Let's hurry, before another storyline starts!
CBR: Maria Leona Vasquez helps us get underway, and she's a bit concerned about things getting unwieldy...
As the cast of your book continues to grow, are there plans to lose any members now that the roster is headed towards the double-digits?
PETER DAVID: Not at this point, but I am going to be redistributing our resources.
Will the duplicating mercenary known as Clay return to the book anytime soon?
Yeah, he'll be back sometime in the next year.
Since some fans are still having trouble attaching themselves to Longshot and Darwin, what qualities do you think those two characters bring to the X-Factor dynamic?
I think Longshot has some valuable powers-related capabilities: his offensive and defensive capabilities, and his ability to get a psychic "read" off inanimate objects. That's a pretty handy ability to have for someone in a detective agency. And Darwin makes a good bodyguard because he has the invaluable ability to be basically unkillable.
From a character point of view, I like Longshot's perpetual sense of being an outsider. He's always going to be questioning other people's perceptions and taking nothing for granted. Having an alien effectively looking in on humanity and commenting on it is a grand literary tradition.
As for Darwin, what I find appealing is the notion that he always feels he's not good enough. That the cool kids have all these offensive powers and his main ability is that he can survive pretty much anything. He sees that as something that benefits only him, and he is concerned enough about humanity that he wants to find a way to benefit others. So basically, you have an outsider and a frustrated altruist. Considering the misfit status of a number of our heroes, I figure they fit right in.
Hm, is that misfit status a result of their hairstyles? If so, justinkos91 has a suggestion:
Seeing Shatterstar's new look is refreshing, so is there any chance Longshot will lose the mullet and move on from the black leather?
He pretty much has lost the mullet. His hair is still recognizably Longshot's, but the style has been modified.
Will we be seeing Cassidy Keep at all in the book, considering Siryn inherited it from Banshee?
As a matter of fact, X-Factor is going to be doing a bit of globetrotting and I was planning to work in a visit to the Keep.
With the events in "Necrosha" taking place outside of "X-Factor," will the team be impacted at all with the people that are returning from the dead?
Not at the present time. I find crossovers with other major storylines to be a double-edged sword with "X-Factor." For every fan who says, "So how is 'X-Factor' going to be tying-in with (fill in the blank)," there's another fan who says, "I hate when 'X-Factor' does crossovers!"
It's a zero-sum game, so I have to pick my shots. I mean, the obvious thing is to have Banshee come back to life and interact with Siryn. I tend to shy away from the obvious thing. On the other hand, sometimes I don't.
Jack has been busy reading other X-books, which has given him an idea for an intriguing meeting in the pages of "X-Factor."
With Monet's brother Marius (a.k.a. Emplate) making an appearance in "X-Men: Legacy" soon, will sister and brother reunite once again? What about Monet's twin sisters? Penny?
I'd actually been planning to bring in Emplate and then found out about his involvement in "Legacy" which took him out of play for the time being. I'd rather stay away from the sisters because, honestly, that whole thing confused the hell out of me.
On the other hand, I am planning a storyline soon involving Monet's dad: one in which, as a ranking diplomat, he becomes a target for terrorist capture and Monet has to save him.
The marvelous Marcus Martin is concerned about one of the book's periphery characters. What can you tell him about the things going "dark?"
You wrote Val Cooper into the series as X-Factor's government boss, will we see how she reacts to Norman Osborn's rise to power? Will X-Factor have to deal with "Dark Reign?"
Not at this point, if for no other reason than it seems like just about everyone else is doing Dark Reign tie-ins. So from a sales point of view, I'm not sure it would be effective, and from a story point of view, I'm not sure what I'd have to say about the subject that would be new. A whole storyline about, "Boy, Osborn's in charge, that sucks," doesn't really sing to me.
While Chase Stein has some thoughts about Madrox and Layla's relationship, he's mainly worried about what others are thinking. Can you give him some insight?
While their ages are not that far apart now that Layla's all grown-up, I'm still weirded out by Layla and Madrox's relationship. When will we get to see how Siryn and the others react to this? I also really liked Siryn's dysfunctional relationship with Madrox, and I'm wondering if there will be some sort of closure between her and Madrox?
You're not the only one who's going to be weirded out about it. Madrox and Layla hooked up when Madrox was extremely vulnerable emotionally. When someone is tossing you an emotional life preserver, you tend not to scrutinize it. But if/when they return to modern day, Madrox is going to be dealing with some serious second thoughts for all the reasons you'd think.
And just to clarify misapprehensions that some people seem to have: Madrox and Layla have not slept together. She was coy about it with Ruby, but Jamie and Layla have done nothing beyond kissing. So there's plenty to explore there. As for Siryn and Madrox, they have a ways to go before finding a way to rebuild their relationship.
In addition to the "Madrox/Layla" coupling, Mitsaso wants to know how a particular someone will react to the other relationship that was recently revealed.
Are we going to see Wolfsbane visiting X-Factor again someday? I'd like to know how the flash-forward of her murdering Madrox and Layla plays out. Plus, I'd be curious to see her reaction on the Rictor and Shatterstar news.
I'd like to see that, too.
Although there is a time-travel storyline currently going on, how soon will you address the plot thread about the second Madrox dupe who jumped into the future during "Messiah CompleX?"
Hey, it's time travel: for all you know, I've already addressed it.
Pro is next and they wanted to check the status of a certain character in light of other events around the X-Universe.
Will we see Tryp again anytime soon? Hope seems central to restoring the mutant race (which I would imagine conflicts with Tryp's plans), so I was sort of expecting him to mix himself into that conflict...
That seems a very reasonable expectation to have.
As long as we're talking about Hope, Ryan Pavlica was hoping an earlier story thread might get picked back up...
X-Factor's interests in "Decimation" and the Messiah Child seemed to disappear right around the time Layla did. Now that Layla is back in the picture though, will these interests get picked back up?
It's not that XF's interest in the Decimation has disappeared so much as that they're bumping up against the limits of what they can do. Plus there are, honestly, limits as to how far I can take such storylines. I mean, if editorial came to me and said, "We want to undo the Decimation and have X-Factor take the lead in making that happen," then I'm there. But unless and until that happens, I wind up walking a fine line creatively. There's only so far I can have the group get and no further when it comes to being involved with those events.
Have there been any "X-Factor" stories that you really wanted to tell but couldn't due to logistics (like outside events in the Marvel U)? If so, is there any chance you might give us some sneak peeks at "what could have been?"
Well, I'd have them find a way to restore all the mutants' powers and then have it all go horribly, horribly wrong.
Our last email of the day comes from Josh, and he feels like celebrating!
If I can add in my head correctly, issue #51 marks what would be X-Factor's 200th issue (if not rebooted). Any plans to commemorate it?
Party at Axel Alonso's house. Everybody's invited.
Next week, we'll party like it's 1999 (plus ten years) as writer Victor Gischler joins us to answer your questions about "Deadpool: Merc With A Mouth." If your emails are as mouthy as his book's main character, we should be in for a good time!
So write up those queries, email them to me as fast as fast can be, and I'll pass them along with a smile and a snide remark. If you put an "X-Position" in the subject line and/or write your question in rhyme, you'll be given special consideration. All right? Hang tight!