Set in a Mutant Town increasingly bereft of mutants, Marvel's X-Factor team has begun to wonder whether there's any point in remaining together as a group. Jamie Madrox fights to keep the band together, especially since his trip to a dark future where mutants are herded into concentration camps, which has taught him the value of standing together against would-be oppressors. But an enemy Rictor made while infiltrating the Purifiers has brought the mad genius of Arcade against the team, and by the time it's all over, well, the debate as to whether to stick around Mutant Town may be moot.
That brings us more or less up to date as "X-Factor" writer Peter David joins us to answer your questions about what's going on behind the scenes for our mutant detective agency, and maybe hint a little about what's coming up next. Welcome once again to X-POSITION.
We'll start with a question from Chris, who is interested in Madrox's recent experiences:
Mr. David, I was just really curious about your recent characterization of Jamie. Did you have Holocaust Survivor in your head when the decisions were made during Messiah Complex to force Jamie through the alternate future mutant camps? That scene with him and Nathan was very touching. Kudos on a really well written scene.
Being a Jew whose father (as a child) and grandparents, German Jews, barely escaped from pre-World War II Berlin before they started rounding people up, the Holocaust is always going to be in the back of my mind. So the future mutant camps naturally drew that parallel for me. There is no present, there is no future; there is just the past endlessly repeating itself. So when we're talking the government rounding up citizens who have committed no crime other than being born into the "wrong" race, sticking them in a camp and tattooing them for ID purposes, how could I not draw a link? I think the best comics are the ones that have some sort of real world resonance. In any event, thanks for the kind words.
Next, Jamie G. has some rapid-fire questions about Madrox's powers:
When the 'X-Factor Dupe' blew himself up at Singularity Solutions, did that aspect of Jamie Madrox's personality die with him? Do all the dupes that die take a piece of Madrox away with them? Will we ever find out why Jamie's power is creating dupes with different personalities and how the "World's Greatest Detective Dupe" found out how to keep information he learned away from Madrox when he was killed?
1) That's what Jamie thought, but he's going to discover that he may have been premature in that estimation. 2) No. 3) Eventually.
More ado about powers, this time from Kit:
A few mutants in the Marvel Universe have regained their natural powers after having unnatural ones for a time - Quicksilver of course, and the late Mulholland Black from the Initiative. Is there any hope for Rictor?
There's always hope, but I think Rictor is more interesting without his powers at the moment.
Another popular character this week was Quicksilver, appearing in Peter David's "X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead" one-shot. Kris wonders about what's really going on with this conflicted character.
The "X-Factor: The Quick and the Dead" one-shot was great, and it was nice to see a fresh spin on Quicksilver. Regarding his powers, however, did he have them accessible the entire time like Iceman had following M-Day (mentally blocked), or did the Terrigen crystals just affect him enough for so long that they eventually restored his powers to a safe level? And do you plan revisiting Quicksilver again any time in the near future? He still has quite a bit of unfinished business with certain members of the team, and it would be awesome to see a confrontation again. Thanks.
I do plan on revisiting Quicksilver at some point in the near future, and perhaps those questions will be definitively answered. At the moment, I think it more appropriate to leave it open to interpretation. Isn't that more realistic? Even common? Some people look at the development of life on this planet and see a divine hand guiding everything. Others see the same events and believe it to be explainable scientific happenings. At the moment, that's where we are with Quicksilver. He sees it as a gift from God. Others will see in another way, and believe it to be a precursor for the return of all mutant powers. Much better to let things play out than just offer up an easy explanation. Life is never that easy.
That should make for some interesting conversation on the forums.
Following on from this we have Lance, again with kind words for Quicksilver:
1. Have you considered having a Quicksilver mini-series ? I mean, "The Quick and the Dead" was amazing.
No one's approached me about it, but if Marvel were interested and wanted me for it, sure. Glad you liked "QATD."
2. Do you plan to explain the whole thing about X-Factor "Units" that were shown in the future in issue #12 ? And also re-visit Trype, since he showed up at the end of that issue?
I'm probably going to get back to that somewhere around issue #45 or so. So we've got some time.
Next up, reader Steve M. wants to give PAD more work and bring XF into the greater MU:
1. I miss letter columns and realize they're gone for good. I also miss seeing PAD's thoughts here and there. Would he consider running the occasional text piece in the back of X-Factor?
They're not gone for good. But with the various editorial shifts, they seem to have fallen by the wayside. But I'm happy to go back to doing them if Will "Sancho" Panzo asks.
2. Will the X-Factor series be less mutant-centric after the She-Hulk crossover exposes it to the greater Marvel Universe? It seems to me a shame that the great characters stuck in the X-Ghetto are so often left out of the excitement to be had in he rest of the fictional world.
Well, certainly if something major is going on in the Marvel Universe that I think would work for X-Factor, there's nothing stopping me from getting involved.
More on the upcoming She-Hulk crossover from Jediwakko--wha? Oh! No, it's about "Les Mis":
I love what you've done with these characters and am very excited about your crossover with She-hulk in the future for these characters. But I want my no-prize award. In this latest issue of X-Factor, Nathan's concentration camp number was based on Jean Val Jean right? I just love little nods like that.
Technically that's not No-Prize material. A No-Prize is when you spot a continuity gaffe and then come up with an explanation as to why it's not a gaffe at all. The comic book equivalent of Pee-Wee Herman taking a header off his bike, bounding to his feet and announcing that he meant to do that. But you are indeed correct: 24601 was Jean Valjean's prisoner number in "Les Miserables." That was in my original script. What can I say? Just like any manly man, I'm into musical theater.
On that, we move to a series of roster questions, courtesy of Lil Joshy:
1. Is a former New X-Man still going to join X-Factor? I remember that it was unofficially confirmed by several writers and editors...
2. Will Layla return to X-Factor?
3. Can Marrow join up with X-Factor?
Technically? I suppose anything is possible. But there are no immediate plans for that.
Finally, the question that's on everybody's mind, from BlueThunderArmy:
When will Peter David's "X-Factor" cross over with Simon Cowell's "X-Factor"?
Right after "American Idol" crosses over with "American Splendor."
Thanks for joining us, and a big round of applause for Peter David for answering your questions.
Next week is a special edition of X-POSITION, which will take a slightly different format. After that, regular host George Tramountanas will return and with him a new era of Q&A with your favorite creators. Start thinking about your questions now, and welcome George back with the most awesome X-POSITION ever!