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X-POSITION: The X-Editors

by  in Comic News Comment
X-POSITION: The X-Editors
“Wolverine” #63 on sale March 12

It’s a new world for the X-Men. The mansion has been destroyed. The mutants’ hope for the future, a new mutant child who shouldn’t exist, has been transported to the future. And Cyclops, as leader of the X-Men, has disbanded the team. Things are different, to say the least.

As the emails received from X-POSITION readers indicate, there are questions about this new status quo – lots and lots of questions, as a matter of fact. Thankfully, we have the perfect people to help you out: Marvel Comics’ X-Editors. Joining us today are X-Men Group Editor Axel Alonso along with editors Nick Lowe and John Barber, who discuss ongoing developments across the X-Men line and premiere exclusive new artwork from "Wolverine" #63 and "X-Factor" #29.

For more X-action, be sure to check out CBR’s exclusive first look at Brandon Peterson’s variant cover of "Young X-Men" #1.

Helping us out of the starting gate today is William Mahaffey, who had a logical question in light of recent events.

How long has Bishop been a traitor? Is that going to be explained or are we to just assume that he came back almost twenty years early just for this baby?

AXEL ALONSO: Bishop’s got very good reasons for wanting the baby dead, and these will become clear in the pages of “Cable.” To dismiss him as a traitor or a villain is premature.

EXCLUSIVE: Pages from “Wolverine” #63

Speaking of “gray areas,” John O. was wondering about a certain character’s morally ambiguous actions in MC.

Mystique used the baby to reset Rogue. Afterwards, she and Gambit were talking about the baby and Mystique says, ‘It’s destiny, Lebeau. It’s a….’ The way I interpret that is that Mystique knows who or what the baby is. If that’s the case, when are we going to learn what Mystique knows, and where (which book?) are we going to learn that? Unless I’m just reading that wrong?

ALONSO: The first clues to the baby’s identity can be found in the new ongoing series “Cable,” out next week.

NICK LOWE: But if you’re looking to see just what Mystique knows, it has less to do with who the baby is and more with what that baby meant to Rogue. She knew that whoever that baby was, it would heal her daughter. I don’t think she gave a second thought as to who the baby was.

Regarding the aforementioned babe, Danny van der Sluys asked….

When will the "Messiah baby" get a name?

ALONSO: Soon. In “Cable.”

And as long as we’re talking about Cable’s new book, Yema Latify was wondering about Cable’s “better half” from his previous series.

Please, please, please tell me a release date for the new “Deadpool” series. Also, can we expect Steve Dillon to be the artist for a short or long period of time?

EXCLUSIVE: Pages from “Wolverine” #63

ALONSO: “Deadpool” #1 hits stores in September. Until then, you can get your Deadpool fix in “Wolverine: Origins,” where he’s been tasked to take down Logan. You won’t believe who hired him. As for artist, we’ll be making that announcement later.

It seems msierra185 was also curious about another new Marvel series.

I’m really interested in the upcoming mini “GeNext” since it’s about a group of young mutants in an alternate timeline. If this goes well, will ‘GeNext’ become a new series?

LOWE: If “GeNext” sells really well, I think we’d be crazy not to do more with the characters.

With beginnings, there are sometimes endings. La Fea had a question about one such end that she hopes might be a new beginning.

Now that “The Order” is ending and member Mulholland has been revealed to be a mutant, can we expect her to join an X-team anytime soon?

LOWE: This is going to have to be another wait-and-see, La Fea. There’s a lot going on with the X-Men right now and there’ll be some very defining moments coming up. Don’t be surprised if things involved with the Order become big parts of our X-Plans.

Hm, your “X-Plans.” M. T. wanted to know a little bit more about those….

Can you give us some hints or teases about Warren Ellis’ “Astonishing X-Men” run. More specifically, how will this book be different than Joss Whedon’s in terms of style, direction, and scope?

ALONSO: It all starts and ends with the enormously talented duo of Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi – neither of whom are intimidated by telling stories with “scope” or are interested in trying to play the exact same tune as Joss and Cass. Apart from that, I’m going to have to keep you guessing.

EXCLUSIVE: Pages from “Wolverine” #63

Derek Brunell makes a guess with regards to “X-Men: Legacy” – or is this just a wish? Let’s allow him to explain…

Any chance we will get an origin story for Polaris, Peter Milligan promised us her origin story a few years ago at a con but he was taken off X-Men and it never saw print. Since ‘Legacy’ is going to be revisiting the past it seems like the perfect book for this.

LOWE: You won’t see Polaris in “X-Men: Legacy,” but she’s not gone for good. When we get down to finally filling in her origin, you can be sure it’ll be a big deal.

And speaking of Polaris, John Crowley (along with several other fans) wrote to me with questions about the status of her and her associates.

Will we be seeing a resolution to the Shi’ar civil war by the end of the year?  I thought I had read earlier that “Emperor Vulcan” was supposed to be the final act of the whole story with the Summers (at least for a while). What changed? And when will we see what happens with the Starjammers, Havok, Polaris, and Rachel?

LOWE: As the person who wrote the solicit text for “Emperor Vulcan” and did a lot of interviews about it, I don’t remember reading or saying that it was the final act of the Summers’ story. We always saw it as a middle chapter. As for when you’ll see them again, you’ll just have to wait and see.

John had one other question, this one related to “Messiah CompleX.”

Why is Amelia Voight back with the Acolytes? Wasn’t she trying to distance herself from them last we saw her?

LOWE: The first mutant baby born after a long dry spell will make people do interesting things. It’s the kind of thing that makes you reevaluate everything about your life. That’s what happened when Amelia learned of the birth.

EXCLUSIVE: Page from “Wolverine” #63

In discussing the conclusion of “MC,” wjgmianecke was hoping you could provide some clarification.

As much as I like aspects of Chris Bachalo’s work, I feel his art tends to not always work well with a lack of descriptive dialogue. For example, did Bishop lose his arm to Predator X or not? And if he did, why didn’t he bleed to death? (Maybe he’d seen the ‘Kill Bill’ films?)

LOWE: I think Chris played that scene beautifully. Predator X did, indeed, bite off Bishop’s arm. And you’re not the only one who worried about his blood loss. As for how he didn’t bleed to death, don’t think we didn’t plan that part out. Check out “Cable” #2 for an explanation of how Bishop survived his brush with Predator X and escaped Muir Island!

Hakael also wanted to know about more about the ending to “MC” – or at least what happened on the day after.

With the X-books currently taking place a few weeks after the big fight with the Marauders/Acolytes, there are still a lot of loose ends left over from the end of “Messiah CompleX.” What happened to Hellion and Elixir? Last we saw them, they were out of commission in the Mansion infirmary.  It would seem weird for the X-Men to disband and take vacations with NXM still wounded.

LOWE: Cyclops is a lot of things, but he’s not heartless or careless. He and Emma didn’t leave Muir Island and go directly to the Savage Land. Heck, he was back at the mansion to meet Iron Man, wasn’t he? They made sure everyone was okay and then went on vacation. You’ll see more of Hellion quite soon.

JOHN BARBER: Elixir shows up in “X-Force.”  The X-Men definitely didn’t forget about him or abandon him.  He’s healing nicely as we speak, just not on-panel anywhere.

Good to hear! Cayman, however, had a question about a character that many may have forgotten about.

Fantomex is one of the killing-est X-characters and Cyclops has worked with him in the past.  Will he show up in “X-Force?”

"X-Factor" #29 on sale March 12

LOWE: Fantomex is an awesome character, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in one of the X-books in the near future.

On the topic of characters we haven’t seen in a while, Joseph Roberson was curious about the recent return of one of the greatest threats the X-Men have ever faced.

With Onslaught now back (finally!) and in the Marvel Universe, will we see him come back to fight the X-Men? Also, will he finally be used as originally promised, to be a Galactus-type villain for the X-Men?

LOWE: You’re just going to have to wait and see Joseph. We’d be crazy not to use Onslaught in some way or another.

Ah, Onslaught – good times! And along those lines, Marcus Martin wanted to ask….

Will you go through the events of “Onslaught” and “Operation Zero Tolerance” during “Legacy?”

LOWE: Anything is possible, Marcus. It’s a book about the past and what it means to the present. Onslaught, especially, was a big part of Xavier’s life, so I can’t imagine us not getting into that, at least a little.

With all the history “Legacy” will be covering, Marc Tarazevits was curious about its present.

Will “X-Men: Legacy” tie into the events of what happens in “Uncanny” #500? Is anything special planned for that issue?

EXCLUSIVE: Page from “X-Factor” #29

LOWE: It won’t be tying in right away (it’s a specific story that has its own course).

Marc also had a few artistic questions and suggestions for you regarding the book.

Any hints on who else we might see handle some of the flashback art after John Romita Jr.? I’d love to see Bachalo come back even for just a few pages, and I’d also love to see Jae Lee.

LOWE: You’ll see Billy Tan in #209, Greg Land in #210 and Brandon Peterson in #211. There are more big names on the horizon for the mindscape parts.

André La Roche had a very practical query about “Legacy.” Good luck with this one….

One thing that struck me about the first issue of “X-Men: Legacy” was the decision to make Professor X’s experience in the Korean War a central plot point. Given Marvel’s typical strategy of hand waving away the passage of time in the real world, this clearly was a very deliberate decision.

My question then is what was the exact reason for making this creative decision given the likely kvetching of some who might point out that this would effectively put Charles in his early 70s by even the most conservative estimate?

LOWE: “X-Men: Legacy” is a book centered around Xavier. To ignore key moments of his origin would be foolish. It was an important time for Charles, so it’s important to us. As for his age, do you see me waving my hands?

EXCLUSIVE: Page from “X-Factor” #29

Reader Marcus Martin must also be good at misdirection, because he somehow snuck back in line with two more questions.

1) One of the main things that bugs me about the current “Wolverine” arc is, shouldn’t Nightcrawler have a say in the fact that his best friend is going after his mother (to kill her)?

ALONSO: Evidently, Cyclops didn’t think so.

LOWE: You know what, Marcus. If you’re going to second-guess Cyclops and his methods, you can get out of here. You’re ejected from this column. Guards!

2) What is with Cyclops “kill first and ask questions later” policy on the X-Men villains?

ALONSO: Cyclops is not targeting just anybody. He is taking the fight to anyone who’d raid the X-Men’s doorstep. “Messiah CompleX” ushered in a new era of hope for mutantkind, but just that – hope. At this juncture, the X-Men stare onto the horizon with the faith, but not the knowledge, that they have a future. All their hopes are wrapped in a baby bjorn on Cable’s chest, out there in the timestream. Only when the baby returns – if it returns – will their faith get any answers.

In the interim, they’ve got to survive. They’ve got to keep every like-minded mutant – any mutant who’d stand by their side – alive. And Cyclops has elected to do just that, by all means necessary. These are serious times, and Cyclops is making some very hard decisions – decisions that will keep him up at night. But hey, he wanted the job.

Killing, death, and mayhem – David B. has had enough and wrote in with a well-worded request:

Please return Logan to his focus on heroism. I am not buying Jason Aaron’s or Mark Millar’s or Daniel Way’s version of Wolverine. I desperately want “classic” Wolverine back. He needs his central focus back, the whole “path of honor” philosophy which is what has defined him for years.

EXCLUSIVE: Page from “X-Factor” #29

As Greg Rucka put it, “When I think of Logan, I don’t think of John Wayne, I think of Gary Cooper in ‘High Noon.’ The need, and the desire, to step up and speak for what is right – be it moral, ethical, legal – and the conflicts that come from trying to maintain a sense of honor, even when it would be far easier to stay silent. Logan, for me, is all about his actions, very little about his words.”

Under Rucka and Tieri, Logan was a dark character but very much still a hero, and I’d love to see that return. What is your view on the character in light of all his actions recently?

ALONSO: Last time I looked, Logan was acting like a hero, and he did have a code of honor. Over the past few months in “Wolverine,” Logan has brought down Nitro (who set off Marvel’s Civil War) and Sabretooth (don’t get me started how much he deserved it), and now he’s on the trail of Mystique (who’s betrayed the X-Men more times that I can remember). These are the baddest of the bad. The same is true of “Wolverine: Origins.” Logan is a man that’s haunted and atoning for his checkered past, a man who’s changed and wants to keep it that way.

BARBER: I agree with Axel completely. Wolverine is a complicated character – that’s one of the reasons he’s become probably the most popular fictional hero created from the 1970s onwards. I think “the conflicts that come from trying to maintain a sense of honor” are a key element of his personality, and that is exactly the territory that’s being explored in “X-Force.”

One of the things Wolverine has always done is walked the dark path in an effort to not only protect the innocent from the effects of that path, but also to protect others from having to walk that path. And X-Force throws a wrench in the gears of that philosophy.

I hope that helps you out, David!  And as long as you’ve brought up X-Force, Cruelly_innocent was hoping for some intel.

I really love Hepzibah, so I would like to know if she is going to hang around with the X-Men for long, or is she going to join X-Force in the issues to come?

EXCLUSIVE: Page from “X-Factor” #29

BARBER: Even though she’s not in the X-Force series right away, she’s definitely got important ties to the team. She’ll be playing a role, but will she rejoin the squad? You’ll have to wait and see.

We could go on seemingly forever with readers’ questions, but as the editors have actual editing to do, we’ll close out this X-POSITION with a query from frog.

Some X-Men characters who have been teased as Skrull imposter possibilities, such as Beast and Emma, would lose a lot of recent character development if it turns out they had been replaced by Skrulls for very long.

How has this been taken into consideration, and have the writers responsible for said characterization and storylines been consulted through whatever process was used to determine who gets revealed as Skrulls? And any comment on the recent Jean Grey Skrull teaser poster?

ALONSO: We’ve thought very carefully about who is – and isn’t – a Skrull. And Jean Grey definitely i…>mpf<

Axel? Axel?!? Did Nick magically wave his hands again?

And that wraps up this week’s little X-soiree, but don’t despair – we’re back again next week! In addition, we’re bringing along someone new to the X-POSITION experience: “Cable” writer Duane Swierczynski.

The first issue of the new series is in stores on Wednesday, March 5th. Read it, allow your brains to absorb its time-traveling goodness, and send us your wonderfully worded questions by 12:00pm (PST) on Friday. Put “X-Position” in the subject line, and I’ll treat your correspondence with extra loving care. See you in seven!

Now discuss this story in CBR’s X-Men forum.

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