In life, I'm sure many people would find it helpful to be able to peer into the future. As a country, if the United States had this ability, we could've prepared for – and possibly avoided – many tragedies. The mutants in the Marvel Universe have the Books of Destiny, which outline the future of their race. It doesn't appear to be helping much.
The X-Men and their ilk are trying to fend off attacks from Acolytes and Morlocks, in addition to figuring out a solution to their potential extinction. All of this will culminate in the upcoming "Messiah CompleX," a 17-part crossover that will carry through the four main X-books and leave a big mark on the X-Universe. How big of a change? Well, that's what we here at X-POSITION are to find out.
This week we have a two-for-one special. Joining us are writer Ed Brubaker ("Uncanny X-Men," "X-Men: Deadly Genesis") and X-editor Nick Lowe. They came armed and ready to talk about our favorite mutants and the upcoming crossover, so let's get to it!
Ed, let's begin with you. You've been involved in crossovers at both DC Comics and Marvel. What would you say is the difference between "Messiah CompleX" and other crossovers that you've been worked on?
ED BRUBAKER: This one stars the X-Men? I don't know how to answer that, really. The biggest difference is probably the scope and the size of the cast, both good and bad guys. None of the Batman crossovers had this much stuff going on all over the world or this many bad guys involved. Also, this is something big that the books have all been building to organically, in many ways, and so it just feels like the next X-Men epic.
With this crossover, you are really getting exposed to a majority of the existing mutants in the Marvel Universe – what has that been like for you? Have you had to do a lot of research? Did any character really "speak" to you when writing them?
EB: It's not quite a hundred characters – but it does sometimes feel like it – though it's been fun, grabbing characters from everyone else's book to use. As for research, as much as I can and as little as I can get away with, or somewhere in between. It really depends on the character and how they're used in the story.
Sometimes you need to go back and read most of their appearances, and sometimes they're just punching someone or something and you just need to read their bio on uncannyxmen.net and a few of their recent appearances to get their voice...well, hopefully. It's the same with all my books, but the difference on X-Men is there have been sooo many previous issues it would be almost impossible to read them all ahead of time.
I think I really enjoyed Layla and Jamie the most, and maybe Emma. This was my first real crack at Emma, and she's a lot of fun to write.
In CBR's must-read interview with the X-writers, we discovered "Messiah CompleX" is about the search for the first mutant born since M-Day. Is it safe to assume that this babe is the "Messiah" referred to in crossover's title?
EB: Well, no one's going to kill you if you assume that, but that doesn't mean you'd be right.
Is the whole crossover about the search for this child, or is there more to it than that?
EB: What do you think? There's a lot more to it than that. It's an epic that "changes everything" – which is like a mantra, I know, but the fact is, it is and it does . And all for the better, I think.
Many of the events taking place in the X-books at the moment seem to be predicated on prophecies and future timelines. Has this child "Messiah" been foretold somewhere? Is he considered a "Messiah" because he'll save mutantkind from extinction?
EB: Who's saying the child is a messiah? I think you're reading too much into the name…and not enough. It's got a larger meta-meaning. A messiah complex and a messiah are two different things, aren't they?
But as for prophecies, yes, it's not a coincidence that we've seen so many stories about predictions of the future in the X-books recently.
We'll keep that in mind. And now, let's go to a question from reader AspBros, who was curious about a certain powerful mutant. "As the Scarlet Witch was the cause of M-Day, will she make an appearance during the 'Messiah CompleX' crossover? And will magic play a part in this new baby's birth?
EB: No. Her appearances won't go beyond "Endangered Species."
Well, at the very least we can look forward to seeing her there. And speaking of characters that will appear soon, Danny van der Sluys had a couple of queries.
1) Will we see any more Acolytes in the 'Messiah CompleX' crossover? And if so, can you spoil a few?
NICK LOWE: You certainly will. A few that you might recognize are Vindaloo and Neophyte.
2) Any hint how many mutants will die in the crossover?
NL: At least one.
Let the dead pool begin! Gil Van Sligtenhorst wrote in because she was curious about a character's chance at redemption. "Is it possible that at some point in the future Gambit could return to the X-Men? Understanding that both he and Rogue have a lot of their own individual stories to work through, is it also possible at some point down the line that they could be reunited?"
NL: Sorry, Gil, that would give away too much of his role in the story.
Going back to the beginning of this column, HerringBone requested some clarification. "The Books of Destiny seem to be playing a big part of events leading up to 'Messiah CompleX' (in both 'X-Men' and 'Uncanny'). I kind of need a refresher – can you tell me what these books are and where they came from?"
NL: Those are the diaries of the character Destiny. She was a compatriot of Mystique's from her early villainous adventures. Destiny could see the future and would write it down very cryptically in her diaries. They have been passed around through the X-books many times. You can read more about Destiny here.
Okay everyone, you've got homework! NMarino is up next with a question about one of his favorite mutants. "It was great to see Storm return in 'Uncanny' for this past arc. How much of her will we be seeing in the next few months in the X-books? The more the better!"
NL: You'll be seeing a lot of Storm in "Messiah CompleX" and more in X-books in 2008!
As long as we're on the subject of characters in "Uncanny," Ivan was wondering, "In the original 'X-Force,' Warpath had enhanced senses. Right now it seems as if he's a poor man's Wolvie when he should be light years better. How does he see/sense the world around him?
EB: He still has enhanced senses. He's mentioned them a number of times, and used them even recently in the Morlock story. The only thing I've not really dealt with is his sudden ability to fly, which I've just avoided because...well, just because.
Sometimes, "just because" is the best answer.
We'll finish up with Sabre, who wants a tease about the upcoming crossover. "Will any X-characters be returning from the dead during 'Messiah Complex'? And if so, any hints as to who?"
NL: I will neither confirm nor deny this, but the fact is that a few people who have been called "Messiah" throughout history have risen from the dead.
Thanks for leaving us with something to think about, Nick!
Next week, writer Peter David will be joining us to talk about his latest issue of "X-Factor," which is on sale now. Do your research and gather up some good head-scratchers for Mr. David.
Please send me your questions as quickly as you can type them up – preferably by this Saturday at high noon, pardner. And don't forget to stick "X-Position" in the subject line; otherwise, my email system might treat you like an inappropriate piece of spam. See you in seven!