X-POSITION Week 36: Mike Carey

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." --Martin Luther King, Jr.

After seventeen weeks of "Endangered Species" and thirteen weeks of "Messiah CompleX," X-Men fans have finally reached the end; and end that's turned into a beginning.  The X-Men's world will be heading in new and exciting directions as a result of the final chapter of "Messiah CompleX," as seen in last week's "X-Men" #207.

I know you have lots of questions about the events of the concluding chapter – and I have some too!  Luckily, "X-Men"-turned-"X-Men: Legacy" writer Mike Carey is here to try and quench our thirst for X-knowledge.  Mike, pour me a tall one and let's get started.


Did "Messiah CompleX" unfold as you all intended it to?  Or did any element of the story veer into unexpected territory?

I think everything played out as we'd planned, because the planning was meticulous.  I was struck as the story went on by the parallels between what was happening here with Cable and the baby and some aspects of Cable's own past, so I guess I played up some of those parallels a little more in the later chapters that I wrote (chapters 9 and 13), but those were just grace notes – as was foregrounding the New X-Men in that final battle.  The architecture was rock-solid going in, so there were no really big surprises.

Marvel editorial has said the goal of "MC" was to give each of the individual X-books a specific purpose and to define what it means to be a mutant/X-Men going forward.  Do you feel you managed to do this with the crossover?  And what is that new definition?

I think what Axel and Nick have been saying was that coming out of "Messiah CompleX," every X-book would have a specific purpose and a distinct identity.  You can already see how that's shaping up, with "X-Men" becoming "Legacy," "Uncanny" becoming the big continuity book, kind of like the spine of the X-Men line, "X-Force" being reborn as a mutant black ops squad, and so on.  The idea is that it won't be possible to confuse one book with another – that readers will always know what they're getting.

As to the new definition of what it means to be an X-Man, that's very definitely something that we'll see nailed down over the next few months rather than something that's already here and already drawn out for us.  Right now there are no X-Men, so the question is moot; but obviously the mutants will come together again in some way, in some form, in some place – and we'll get to see very clearly the terms on which that will happen and the agenda that will be set.

At the end of "X-Men" #207, Cyclops announces, "There are no X-Men."  Can you clarify what he means by this?  Is he disbanding all the teams?

I don't think he's thought it through in coldly logical terms, but what he's doing is throwing up his hands and saying, "This is over; it can't go on."  It means he's not going to rebuild the mansion; that he's presumably going to send the students home, and that he's not going to try to relocate Xavier's Academy to some other site.  The ongoing program of identifying, approaching and educating new mutants is over.

What is Cyclops' thinking is saying this?  He's been running the school with Emma, he's serving as the point-man for all the X-teams – so why would Xavier's death make him decide to throw it all away?  If anything, wouldn't he want to give that death meaning?

I think there are a lot of emotions running together in that statement.  You're right, it would be very easy to see him at another time reacting in an entirely different – even opposite – way.  But this comes after the shock of learning about the existence of Vulcan, after what seemed like a final breach between him and Professor X, and now after this new body blow.  It's fair to say that Cyclops's response here isn't reasoned or considered:  it's a cry from the heart.

I assume the locket Cyclops is wearing has some significance – can you talk about it at this point?  It also seems strange that after Cyclops is continuously assuring Emma he loves her and is "over Jean" that he would wear such a thing.  What's going on?

Saying that he's over Jean means that he doesn't brood any more over what they had; that his present relationship with Emma rather than his past relationship with Jean is the one that now defines him and is at the center of his life.  It doesn't mean that he doesn't think about her, or that he wouldn't want to honor her and remember her with love.  That's not being over someone; in my opinion, that's being a cold-hearted psycho.  But I'm a romantic at heart.

Now it's time to let the readers have their turn, and boy, do they have questions.  Several people who wrote in were curious about the end of the issue, but for the sake of convenience, I'll allow Quinton Peeples to speak for the group: 

Hey!  I saw that!  Professor X (his body, at least) is gone from the last panel before the blac-out!  What gives?

What?  You're out of your – whoa!  Hey, he's right!  He's absolutely right!  That's weird, isn't it?

And then the solicitation bit from 'X-Men: Legacy' at the end of the issue?  Is he dead or not?   Is he hallucinating in a coma?

He's dead.  But not for very long.  In fact, this may be the shortest X-verse death on record.  Short enough that hopefully nobody will say we milked it for fake emotion, because I've been hinting in interviews for months now that "Legacy" was a Professor X solo book.  But you'll have to pick up "Legacy" to find out what's going on.

It sounds like Shaun will be picking it up, but before he does, he wanted to know more about its contents.

Will the effects of the baby on Rogue's powers be better defined somewhere down 'X-Men: Legacy's' storyline?  She seemed fine after seemingly absorbing Mystique for good.  Also, Rogue didn't get to kick ass in "Messiah CompleX" – will she get to redeem herself action-wise under your writing?

The effects have already been defined pretty clearly, I think.  She's free of strain 88, so she no longer has a death-touch.  She's free of the accumulated memories – both Heptarchy and otherwise – that she's absorbed.  The baby has washed her clean, in both of those senses: physically healed her, and psychologically erased everything in her mind that didn't belong there.

Of course, when she touches Mystique, her normal powers – which haven't been removed – kick in and she absorbs some of Mystique's memories and powers as you'd expect.  This is kind of a bitter pill, given all she's just been through. 

You're right that Rogue's role in the crossover didn't allow her to kick ass.  But it has put her in what I think is a fascinating new place, and we do pick up that story in "Legacy."

Zach Padlock had several questions about the events in the final chapter of MC.  Maybe you can clarify things for him.

1) When Mystique and Rogue are speaking, Mystique talks about how Destiny's Diaries are coming true – so why doesn't Mystique know that Rogue is about to use her powers on her?

Short answer:  because the Diaries don't answer all questions.  Slightly longer answer:  if Destiny had foreseen Mystique dying as a result of Rogue's touch, I'm sure that the diaries would have referred to it.  Irene's love for Raven was very strong and very real, so there's no way she would have set her up to die at their daughter's hands.  But Rogue's touch does no permanent harm to Mystique whatsoever (see previous answer), and it may be that in Irene's opinion the touch didn't need to be prevented.

2)  Predator X comes from the same place that X-23 and Wolverine were made, right?  So why wouldn't Predator X just come back to life, since we've seen Wolverine come back to life after being sliced and diced into thousands of pieces?

I'm not sure I follow your logic here, Zach.  X-23 has Wolverine's healing factor because she has Wolverine's genes.  Predator X has an incredibly tough and resilient skin made partly out of Cessily Kincaid's sampled tissue, but it doesn't have Wolverine's genes and therefore doesn't have a healing factor as such.  If Weapon X could replicate the healing factor at will...well, I just don't want to go there, frankly.

3) Also, when Predator X attacks Bishop, you'd think that he would get eaten right?  So why did he show back up later?  And what will Cyclops do now that he realizes Bishop came back in time just to oppose him?

I think he doesn't get eaten because X-Force arrives at that moment and gives Predator X something else to think about.

Your other question is more complicated.  I don't believe that is why Bishop came back in time.  Nothing that we previously knew about Bishop has been annulled or retconned:  so to start with, he didn't come back in time of his own free will, he came as a side-effect of Fitzroy's jailbreak.  Once here, he tried to save the X-Men by warning them about the traitor in their midst, and that warning was sincere.  He regards the X-Men as heroes and has their best interests at heart.

But the birth of the Messiah Child changes everything, because in his time her actions have led to some unimaginably horrible consequences.  Suddenly he's faced with a course of action that puts him at odds with the X-Men.  He doesn't like it – I'd imagine that he feels the loss of their respect and friendship very deeply – but he doesn't feel as though he has any choice but to change the course of future history for the better by killing this one child.

4) Since we are now in Cable's future, will we be seeing the other Madrox dupe in the new "Cable" book?

Since we are what now?  Hold your horses, Mister Padlock.  We're in a future that springs from our present.  Whose future is far from clear.

But I think we will be seeing the other Madrox dupe before too long.

Our next query from Josh was one that several people asked.  Heck, I'd like to know the answer as well.  Please?

It's no secret that the "Messiah" baby's features (red hair, green eyes, omega potential) has garnered a lot of speculation among fans that she might be Jean Grey as Phoenix reborn.  However, we've been teased about a possible Jean return several times in the last few years ("Here Comes Tomorrow," "Endsong," and "Warsong") and none of these resulted in Jean officially returning.  Can you tell us whether this is yet another tease, or has Phoenix finally been officially reborn?

From where I'm sitting?  We've barely even teased as yet.  There is speculation, and there is the moment when she touches the locket – sparking a chain of associations in Cyclops that leads to his decision.  Beyond that, the future is cloudy.  I couldn't even say for sure that you'll meet a tall, dark stranger, let alone that Jean Grey has been reborn.

I'm not being evasive for the hell of it, I'm serious:  what we know at this stage about the baby's nature and abilities is as near to nothing as makes no difference.  We'll learn more, though.

Matt Osborne was also wondering about the new mutant baby, and sent in a couple of questions.

1) As a fan who believes this baby serves the story better as a brand new character with insignificant parents (as opposed to a baby version of Jean Grey or the baby of two Marvel Universe regulars), please tell me that the baby will continue to be a character that has no familial significance to any character in the MU. Pretty please?

I share your opinion, Matt.  But see previous answer.

2) Will we bee seeing the Scarlet Witch in the X-books anytime in 2008?

If we do, I think it will only be in cameo appearances.  Don't take that as gospel, but I don't believe she's going to be a major presence in the X-verse in 2008, despite the part she's played in shaping it.

From the turn of events in this past issue, you had to expect that ProfeZZor X would want to know more about Professor X.

1)  With the apparent injury of Xavier causing a ripple of doubt amongst the ranks – and the deconstruction of the X-Men as we know it – will there be any explanation or exchange of words from some of the characters that will be departing from the X-verse for a while?  I just can't imagine these characters just fading into obscurity without a whimper of acknowledgement or an idea of what they'll be doing with their lives now.

I can give you a "yes" there, ProfeZZor.  Not for everyone, of course, but a number of characters who won't immediately be showing up in teams will be seen in the short stories in the "Divided We Stand" books, and we'll see there how they're dealing with the new status quo in the wake of "Messiah CompleX."  In some cases, we'll be pointing the characters in certain directions that will have later payoffs, while other stories will be completely self-contained, but either way it does allow us to check in with them.

2)  Cyclops seems to be steadily spiraling into a darker, more pessimistic view on his world now.  And with the formation of X-Force, and his acceptance of the "doing what it takes to get the job done" mentality, his recklessness doesn't seem that far off from Rogue's "Rapid Response Team" when they were in action.  Do you foresee this being the next evolution in the X-verse, and will there be a confrontation between him and the other X-Men that don't agree with this vision?

Tough question.  Calling it the next evolution would seem to imply that it's inevitable and logical and maybe even natural.  I don't think it's inevitable.  It is a pragmatic and effective response to a situation where mutants are on the defensive, outnumbered and outgunned, and have the choice between taking the initiative and seeing their numbers reduced still further.  But it's also a course of action that would make many X-Men uneasy.

Will there be disagreements and confrontations?  Without having read any "X-Force" scripts up front, I'd bet money on it.  Cyke must know already that he's putting himself at odds with many of his closest friends and comrades.

3) With the students seemingly thrust into the Marauders' battle shortly after surviving their encounter with Predator X again, experiencing all the death and destruction in such a tumultuous time for mutants, witnessing the treachery amongst the older X-Men, and the fall of Xavier – do you see their light-hearted personalities being replaced with more serious and darker views of the world?

I think we have seen changes in them already, but they all have very different personalities and very different takes on what's happened.  Some are more robust – and more optimistic – than others.  Some are better able to roll with the punches.  It's hard to imagine though, that any of them will come out of the last year's events completely unchanged.

And our final question comes from Andre4000, who asks the question that many are wondering at this moment:

Can you promise us that Professor X and Cyclops aren't Skrulls?  They've sure been acting a bit suspicious.

If even Doctor Strange can't tell who's a Skrull and who isn't, don't come asking me.  Let him who is without green skin and shape-changing abilities cast the first stone, that's what I always say.

Mike, thanks for helping us to wrap up this last chapter of "Messiah CompleX."  Based on the emails we've received here at X-POSITION, I know the fans have appreciated all the time you've shared with us.


And that brings us to a question that I know many of you are curious about:  will there be more X-POSITION coming your way?  Well, don't you worry your pretty little heads – X-POSITION will return!  There are lots of things coming up for Marvel's merry mutants, and we want to be there to help cover them for you, so stay tuned.

But first…a break.  After thirty-six continuous weeks, the writers and editors who have been so generous as to share their time with X-POSITION need to catch a small breather.  And, truth be told, I could use a quick power nap as well.  In the meantime, keep reading, keep jotting down questions, and keep checking here at CBR for the latest news concerning X-developments.  It's been X-citing!

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


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