X-POSITION Week 24: Ed Brubaker

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder..." --Isaiah 9:6

For those who've read last week's "X-Men: Messiah CompleX" one-shot, the above quote may seem oddly fitting.  A mutant baby has been born in the Marvel Universe -- something that should not have occurred due to the events of M-Day, when the Scarlet Witch stripped the vast majority of the mutant population of their powers and declared, "No more mutants." Nevertheless, the child is here and three groups (that we know of) are in active pursuit of this mutant babe:  the Purifiers, Mr. Sinister's Marauders, and the X-Men.

The "Messiah CompleX" one-shot kicks off a 13-part story and aims to change the X-Universe's status quo.  And as the events of last week's issue seem to indicate, this change is not going to occur quietly nor peacefully -- blood (and lots of it) has already been spilled.

Writer of the one-shot and "Uncanny X-Men," Ed Brubaker is here to answer your questions about all that has happened so far and to giving you a glimpse of what's to come. Additionally, he was kind enough to bring a funny anecdote or two.  Prepare to sit back and enjoy!

Oh, and if you're one of the few who haven't read the "Messiah CompleX" one-shot yet, SPOILERS follow....

Andre4000 is first out of the gate, and he has a question that covers more than just last week's issue.  I hope you're ready, Ed.

"Marvel keeps saying that this book will 'redefine' the X-Men.  Why do you think it's so important to do this?  Joss Whedon came in, took established characters, and made them work greatly.  Why do you think there is such a need to fix things that aren't necessarily broken?"

I don't think "redefine" here means what you think it means.  I don't know that "Messiah CompleX" changes who any of these characters are, as much as the end result of it gives us a series of different X-books that are vitally different from each other.  There will be no issues about who's in what book or whose team is doing what. After "Messiah CompleX," everything is streamlined and each book has a very clear purpose. 

And while some characters may appear in more than one book, the agendas of each book and the way they're approached feel vastly different than what we have now.  I think that's important to do when you have so many books about the same characters.

Manolinator is up next, and poses a query that surprises me no one else has asked:  "If it won't give away too much of the story, can you tell me how you guys came up with the title 'Messiah CompleX'?"

We were looking for something that fit the basic theme of the storyline we'd created, and that had an "X" at either the beginning or the end.  Jim McCann (from Marvel's Sales Communications) wrote "X-Men: Messiah CompleX" down on a piece of paper, and it just stuck.  It really fits the story.

Nice work, Jim!

As we're dealing with a mutant baby, Ramel F. was naturally curious about mommy and daddy.  "So a mutant baby is born.  Why aren't they searching for the parents?  Wouldn't that -- in some ways -- be even more important than the baby itself?"

Maybe.  Keep reading.

Is that an order?  If it is, Shadayo might question your authority...

"In this issue, Xavier ordered the X-Men to go investigate the town.  While this was a necessity, does he actually have the authority to 'order' the X-Men anymore?"

I don't think it was an order, so much as him being the only one who knew what was going on and wanting to act fast.  As for the rest of your question, it'll be addressed in the next few chapters, actually.

Moving on to darker place, Creyes was wondering about the tragic events of the one-shot.  "The Purifiers killed a lot of children in this issue.  Won't that attract the attention of the government and others?  I mean, it sounded like there were just as many deaths here as the event in Stamford that kicked off the Civil War.  Will we see Tony Stark rearing his head soon?"

Not soon, but yeah, this is going to get a lot of press.  It's a slaughter, for sure, and a big one.

Speaking of different characters appearing in the crossover, Anna P. was curious about one of her favorites.  "What's up with Darwin?  Will he be seen soon?"

Yes.  He's going to be a major player in one of the books post-"MC," too.

Based on emails I've received, that should please several fans. 

As mentioned, lots of groups with different agendas are after this new mutant baby.  Aspbros wanted to know more about the plans of one group's leader in particular....

"Will we learn what Sinister's agenda is this time?  He always seems to have a mysterious agenda that doesn't really seem 'mysterious,' just annoying.  I'd like to know what his reasons are for being so psycho... or is he just a Joker-level nutjob?"

We'll learn a lot about what he's up to, yes, and there will be some real surprises with him and his Marauders, too.  Things are not what they appear to be...maybe.  But I've already said too much.

Really?  Because bbinko hopes you'll say more...at least regarding last week's issue.  "I couldn't make out who the dead mutant was that Predator X had just gutted (in the MC One-Shot).  Were we supposed to know this person?"

He didn't gut anyone.  It was one of the two Marauders (named Blockbuster) that the X-Men found dead in the wreckage of the town.  Predator X is hungry, remember?

How could we forget?  Mighty X is very concerned about the post-MC status of someone he feels makes the X-Universe awesome -- namely you.  "Ed, will you still be writing 'Uncanny' (or any X-book) after this crossover is finished?"

I will be around on an X-book, yes, but I don't know if I can say what is happening yet, post-MC.

Go ahead!  If you're worried about starting some kind of controversy, well, according to Ethan Lavelle, you should be used to that.  "You've brought Bucky back from the dead and you've killed Captain America.  Do you think response to 'Messiah CompleX' could top the backlash you got from either of those?"

There was really no 'backlash' on either of those things you mentioned, Ethan.  Readers overwhelmingly approved them and sales increased.  A few disgruntled fans online does not a backlash make.  As for "MC," I can't think of a single reason why any X-fan would be unhappy with this story.  It's the exact kind of story X-fans have been waiting for, I think.

Oh wait, they could complain that Havok and his team are still in space and can't take part in it, but that's the only complaint I could think of.  You don't have to trust me on this, but I really think "MC" is going to please the X-readers a lot.

On the topic of the amount of work you do, Jon P. had a question.  "Just out of curiosity, how do you prioritize your time?  You write 'Uncanny X-Men,' 'Daredevil,' 'Captain America,' 'Iron Fist,' and 'Criminal' -- plus the 'Young Avengers One-Shot' coming up!  Do you have designated days you work on each one?  Or is it whichever is due next?"

Whhhooooo.  That's a tough one.  I'm usually just trying to write one book a week, but sometimes I have to juggle a bit and do part of one and jump to another.  I've been writing three to five books a month for about four years, though, so it's nothing new.

Our last question has nothing to do "Messiah CompleX," but it involves a weird story circulating on the internet. I'll allow paraman to pose the query:  "Why does Tom Jane want to kick your ass?"

He doesn't. He's a pal of mine with a weird sense of humor. But, to set the record straight, that Wizard piece got the details wrong.  The phone call I got during that breakfast was from Matt Fraction asking me if Thomas Jane had gotten in a fight with me the night before because he'd heard some things, and I told him the real story.

The thing is, I wasn't actually there when any of this happened.  I had wandered over to the other bar to see if Bendis or any of the Marvel people were around, and was in my Eisner-winning daze.  When I got back to the other side of the Hyatt, two friends of mine said, "Hey, Tom Jane was just standing out here yelling your name and then he said, 'Where's Brubaker?  I'm gonna punch him!'" or something like that.  I had no idea what was going on, but my friends seemed to think it was real.

I assumed it was a joke, so I called Steve Niles to ask him what the deal was because I missed the whole thing.  He told me that Tom was just fooling around because he thought I was in the bar and it would be funny.  He's a good actor, though, so people thought he was serious.

Tom is a really good guy, though, and the next day we took some pics together because everyone kept asking about it.  But no, obviously Tom Jane is not going to actually threaten to punch anyone.  He's a full grown adult, after all.  He's just a big goof, too.

Happy to hear it.  Thanks for sharing, Ed!

That wraps up this week's X-POSITION.  Next week, we will return to discuss the second installment of "Messiah CompleX" which can befound in this week's "Uncanny X-Men" #492.  Do your homework and read up, everyone!

As always, send questions to me Thursday with "X-Position" in the subject line.  We'll find someone with uncanny abilities to answer them for you.  Forgive my pun and return next Tuesday!


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