X-POSITION: Victor Gischler Secures the X-Men

As the leader of a nation, it's important to know when to speak softly and when to carry a big stick. It appears Cyclops has this practice perfected for the most part -- the "big stick" in his X-Men equation being his security team as seen in the pages of Marvel's "X-Men." They have a unique job on and off of Utopia that seems to have piqued the interest of many readers -- so it must be time to call in writer Victor Gischler for an X-POSITION!

The scribe has survived Black Friday and joins us to present you with a true holiday special: personal responses to all your emails. How can you beat that? So pour yourself a frosty glass of eggnog, sit back and enjoy our rendition of the Gischler who stole Christmas.

Our first email comes from James, who needs a little clarification about the duties of this particular X-squad:

1) Cyclops describes this team as his security team, but what are they securing? Are there still residents on Utopia that aren't part of the X-Men?

"Security" is a loose term that covers a lot of things -- basically, any leaks Cyclops thinks needs to be plugged or any X-Men-related issue that looks like it's going to develop into a problem. For example, in the current arc we have some Sentinels in the hands of some people that might cause problems with them down the road. That's X-Men business and needs to be dealt with. But it's also a situation that bleeds over into the rest of Marvel U.

2) It's felt like Warpath has been in the background ever since he joined the X-Men years ago. Can we expect to get more in depth with him? He is one of the most powerful X-Men with super-strength, super-speed, heightened durability, endurance and agility, enhanced senses and flight, and I'd love to see more done with him.

That's one of the reasons we thought Warpath could use some more face time. (And also, he's just cool.) Having story arcs that focus specifically on him is something we might explore in the future.

3) Keeping with this title's purpose of intermingling with the rest of the Marvel Universe, it would be interesting to see Warpath work with other Native American characters like American Eagle or Puma. Or maybe Domino could get the team involved with some S.H.I.E.L.D. operations? Any chance for either of these situations?

Honestly, we haven't thought about those specific situations, but you're right that those are ideas just right for adjectiveless X-Men. I wouldn't be surprised to see such scenarios developed.

Dandoruin also has some questions about upcoming events. Do you have a hint or three to spare?

1) I love the first arc's lineup of characters. It's a great mix of very capable people who can be stealthy and strong with varied powers. Will the focus be on this team for future arcs? Or will certain members take the spotlight?

The Marvel U is a fluid place, so if there's one thing I've learned is that things can change -- sometimes in an eye-blink. But my thought is that these are the characters we'll be playing with for a while. Keep your eye on Jubilee for future spotlight goodness.

2) With Kieron Gillen's reveal that the Street Team won't be written for a while in "Uncanny," are you planning to write any stories with its members consisting of Boom Boom, Lifeguard, or Dazzler?

I've always had a secret soft spot for Dazzler. I have no plans, but would love to write her. Actually, I keep pitching an idea to Editor Daniel Ketchum called "Three Queens" in which Storm, Emma and Dazzler all go to Las Vegas for some reason. Daniel just laughs and squirts me with pepper spray.

If it helps, tell Daniel I would guarantee him at least three sales of that story -- I'd buy one copy in honor of each queen!

Renaldo has female characters on his mind as well, and wants to know where their loyalties will lie as things develop.

1) With Psylocke, Domino, Ororo and Jubilee all having close ties to Logan, will he factor into this title in any way? Will we see his influence on these characters?

That's an understandable question, Renaldo, and I plan to discuss with Editor Nick Lowe how/if/when we talk about Logan and what that might be like. Don't look for a Wolverine guest appearance any time soon, but certainly his influence is felt in characters such as Jubilee. It's something that at least needs to be touched on, I think.

2) Warpath was Logan's former "knife-guy;" how was it decided that he end up on this team? Did you choose him? Also, will James' love interest Hepzibah play a crucial part as she seems to be in the doldrums lately?

When I was going back and forth with Nick about who would be on the team, I knew I wanted to fill a specific role, and "knife guy" is a pretty good way to characterize it. Nick suggested Warpath and I immediately agreed he was the right guy. Can't say I see any doldrum rescues on the immediate horizon.

3) Upon further inspection, this seems to be a powerful and somewhat volatile team -- any chance is this Scott's cleaner, less-clandestine version of Logan's X-Force?

I haven't thought about it quite like that before. Certainly less clandestine.

4) Any plans to sneak in more Dracula, vamps, and/or Hulk into this book?

Shhhhhh. Secretssssss. Secrets, my precious.

As long as we're talking about vampires, Taurean was hoping you might shed a little light on the following:

1) According to "Wolverine and Jubilee," Jubes now has the ability to turn into mist. Does Jubilee have any other vampire abilities/quirks we haven't seen yet? And what is it about her that is causing these unlikely abilities to develop?

We want to be careful about her whipping out too many vamp super-powers too soon, but definitely keep an eye on Jubilee and her vampire situation. Turning into mist and other powers are squarely in the vamp power lexicon, but every bloodsucker is master of these powers the second they turn vamp, though some have more aptitude than others.

2) This new X-Men team seems to operate on stealth recon missions while interacting with other Marvel heroes. Can we expect to see them run into the Secret Avengers? Or maybe have them accidentally stumble upon the X-Force team?

No, the Secret Avengers want to turn into the X-Men! No? Not buying that?

In a way, these X-Men are like Scott's Swiss Army knife -- lots of uses. Stealth/recon is one of the big "blades" but there is also a corkscrew and a toothpick and some tweezers. I'd actually love an X-Men/X-Force collision. That would be cool. Somebody get Remender on the phone!

Speaking of future stories, Aspbros has a couple of inquiries about the behind-the-scenes "magic" you perform.

1) I had a process-oriented question I was curious about: when writing your X-Men stories, are you given a scenario and asked to write it? Or are you pitching ideas to editors based on the characters' situations in the Marvel Universe?

Both. Sometimes I'm given specific instructions. Other times, just a sentence like, "something with Sentinels." And other times, nothing at all. X-Men are high-profile characters, so there's a very collaborative team approach most of the time.

2) How far ahead can you plan with a book like "X-Men?" Do you go arc-to-arc? Or are you thinking ahead six months to a year?

Usually one or two arcs ahead.

3) I need to catch up on my comic reading during Christmas break, so what comic books have you read recently that you really enjoyed?

Aaron's great "Punisher MAX" run. Also, I have my eye on "Loose Ends" (put out by 12 Gauge). I seem to be in a hardboiled mood.

And now, it's my turn! Per a suggestion from one of our readers (Madroxdupe024), I'm asking all of our guests the following: assume you were a mutant and needed to choose a side in "Schism" -- whose side do you pick and why?

That's a tough one. What is my power? Do I need schooling?

I suppose I'd choose Team Cyclops. I used to teach in a former life and that's hard work! I'd rather fight Sentinels.

Thus concludes another fascinating episode of X-POSITION. Next week, we'll have one of Marvel's busiest writers swing by. Need a hint as to who that might be? Well, he writes "Wolverine," "Wolverine and the X-Men," and "Incredible Hulk" (as well as the outstanding "Scalped"), he split the X-Men in two, and he has a beard that's bushier than Santa's...

Naturally, I'm talking about Jason Aaron. He's ready for fourteen intelligent questions (and one weird one), so sit down at that keyboard and send me your missive just as soon as possible. Include an "X-Position" in the subject line, and I'll mail you some of the Thanksgiving leftovers from my family's meal (you like parsley, right?). Get to work quickly, but before you start, I have a quick announcement.

I'm busy preparing our "Best X-Moments of 2011" column for the end of the year. This is the column where you, our readers, tell us what events from Marvel's X-Universe made you cheer with glee (or possibly cry with emotion) over the past 365 days. From today through Christmas, either post your favorite X-Moments of 2010 at the appropriate string in our X-forums or email me directly with your thoughts on the matter.

Let me know why you picked this moment and which X-issue it came from. Images help us out too, so either post them in the thread or send them to me in your email (not a requirement, but it's appreciated). We'll do a tally of the results between the forum posts and emails, and then expect one heck of a fun X-POSITION at year's end. If you do email me, put "Best X-Moment of 2010" in the subject line -- pretty please?

Thanks everyone! I can't wait to see what you come up with!

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