Faced with the cosmic threat posed by a mysterious object known only as the Black Vortex, the X-Men will return to outer space for a truly out of this world adventure. The team of mutants will also join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy, reuniting the Internet's new favorite long distance couple Kitty Pryde and Star-Lord after months spent interacting via hologram. This reunion won't be all hugs and cuddling, however, thanks to that otherworldly device that's prone to giving people unfathomable cosmic upgrades. Getting things started in this week's "Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha" #1 is "Legendary Star-Lord" writer Sam Humphries, who makes his big return to the X-Universe following his run on "Uncanny X-Force."
Sam Humphries joins once again at X-Position and answers your questions about everything from the beef between Storm and Gamora to the future of the #StarKat social media movement.
CBR News: First up this week, SirynBanshee has a question about the two teams at the heart of "Black Vortex."
The X-Men and Guardians are both teams that tend to double as surrogate families for the members. What do you think are the biggest differences between the two groups? Does that make it more interesting for you to write?
Hey SirynBanshee! I think the X-Men would love to have the freedom that the Guardians have. Both groups are outsiders, but the X-Men are trapped on a tiny planet that hates them and wants them dead. The Guardians have all that space to hide out in -- outer space.
The X-Men and Guardians have more than a few strong-willed members on their rosters, and Wind Rider has a question about two in particular
It was mentioned in a previous CBR interview by Mike Marts that there will be some friction between Storm and Gamora. What is the relationship dynamic that you see between these two?
Yo Wind Rider! They are both characters who believe strongly in justice. When their ideas of justice are in sync, they could be the strongest of allies. But when they conflict...
Since "Black Vortex" will crossover between half a dozen titles, ComplexWrecks has a question about how this event was coordinated.
What difficulties were presented in writing the first chapter in a big event like this? How much prep did you have to do with the other writers in order to figure out what your issue would look like?
Well, it's kind of like your name -- the preparation is very complex so it doesn't turn into a wreck! In some ways, you write this all out backwards. You figure out what the whole event is, then that informs what your "alpha" issue needs to be.
I wrote the "Black Vortex" planning document, which was half outline, half reference material, half "True Detective" crime wall charting the location, status quo and motivation of about 30 or so characters. Each revision was informed by my co-authors and editors right up until the end. For example, the most recent revision included a giant shift thanks to [Brian Michael] Bendis coming up with a huge X-Men moment that could be included -- nay, screamed to be included. That's just one example.
So it was a very collaborative process. We are very prepared, we've got a killer game plan, and some razor sharp creators to bring it to life. Hold on to your butts.
starlord215 has two questions that are on the minds of a lot of X-Men and Guardians fans heading into "Black Vortex."
Sam, a lot of people want to know what the chances are of Kitty actually staying in space with Star-Lord, and a lot of people think it won't happen since she stars in the X-Men comics... Do you guys have to discuss your ideas for using other characters in Marvel or do you have free will?
There's always a chance, oh #StarLord215. The love for #StarKat we've been seeing online has been blowing everyone at Marvel away. But the Black Vortex is going to put them through the wringer... their relationship is gonna be changed forever. And after that comes "Secret Wars"...
How much of a role will Kitty and Peter's relationship play in "Black Vortex"?
Huge role. Peter and Kitty are the nexus of the Guardians and the X-Men. In some ways, it is their relationship that brings the two teams together in the first place. If you've been reading "The Legendary Star-Lord," you've been seeing these threads for a long time...
Peter and Kitty's relationship is the giant, beating heart of "The Black Vortex." But even giant hearts can get broken...
Another one of Marvel's cosmic heroes, Nova, will be taking part in the crossover. Alucard2099 has a question about Sam Alexander's role in "Black Vortex."
How important Nova's role will be in "Black Vortex"? Because Sam Alexander has really grown on me as a character and I wanna know if the new Nova will play a big role in the event or not.
Yes, Alucard2099, Nova has a big role to play in this event. Now I see why Gerry [Duggan] has so much fun writing him; he's a great character -- particularly when paired with huge superheroes and epic cosmic scope and blood-chilling stakes. His youthful exuberance brings a great element to the table. I've read Gerry's "Black Vortex" chapter and it's fantastic -- everything you'd want out of an issue of "Nova."
Even with dozens of characters in play, MCBT wants to know about those you didn't get to use.
Are there any characters you wished you included in the story but couldn't?
Hi MCTB! Yeah, Wolverine! But that big galoot Charles Soule killed him. So I swapped in Charles instead. In space, no one can hear you, Soule...
"Black Vortex" is the latest in a long line of cosmic crossovers, and Darrin has a question involving all the ones that came before.
Hey Sam, I was wondering if you went back and read some of the previous cosmic events ("Annihilation," "War of Kings," "Thanos Imperative," etc.) or any other material in preparation for "Black Vortex"? Love your work on "Legendary Star-Lord"!
Hey, thank you Darrin! Yeah, I read all that stuff before I started "The Legendary Star-Lord" and went back to them as needed when planning "The Black Vortex." [Dan] Abnett and [Andy] Lanning deserve a galaxy of credit for what they built...
jdgs has a question about your workload -- specifically your X-Men workload -- post "The Black Vortex."
Seems like you get along pretty well with Mr. Bendis and editor Mike Marts. Would you be interested in doing an X-Book in the future? And if yes, would you like it to be a solo series like "Star-Lord" or a team book like "Avengers AI"?
Yeah jdgs, Brian and Mike have been invaluable in their support, expertise and ideas for "The Black Vortex." When you get along with your collaborators and find it easy to agree on a common goal, it makes these big, complicated sprawling stories possible. As for the X-books, I've been a big X fan since "Mutant Massacre," you never know what will happen...
Lastly, after all of this "Black Vortex" talk, Liam addresses the elephant in the room.
If you had the Black Vortex, would you use it?
Liam, I guess I'm supposed to say something like, "No one man should have all that power," but who am I kidding? Hell yes I would use the Black Vortex. My fro would become a super massive black hole. A galaxy would form around me. The Shumphries System.
Special thanks to Sam Humphries for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, X-Position welcomes "X-Force" writer Si Spurrier back to sound off on Cable and company one last time. Have a question for Si? Go ahead and send 'em in via an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position" or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. But get 'em in quickly, because the deadline's Friday! Make it happen!