X-POSITION: Week Eleven

It's been two weeks since Comic-Con International in San Diego, and I think most of the industry has recovered. At the very least, people should be semi-coherent for Wizard World Chicago this weekend. Fortunately for us here at X-POSITION, the hard-working teams on the X-books never tire and are always willing to answer your questions.

This week, Mike Carey jumps into the X-POSITION fray. As the writer of Marvel Comics'"X-Men" and the architect behind the "Endangered Species" back-up stories, Carey's walking around with a lot of mutant mayhem going on in his head. Let's see if he's willing to let some of this knowledge spill over into the answers for your questions.

I'm willing to bet he doesn't disappoint….

Mike, welcome back! As we didn't announce your presence here in last week's X-POSITION, we received all kinds of queries about nearly every X-character that ever existed. People sent in long lists of questions – I mean, really long. I grabbed handfuls of questions from several emails, like these "ponderings" from Faded. Have at 'em!

1) A lot of previously unconfirmed mutants have been appearing powered lately. Will we get confirmation on characters like Flex (Alpha Flight), Thumbelina, the Kleinstocks, Mastermind II, or Mondo soon?

Sorry, Faded. I think the answer is "no" on all those counts. Kleinstocks, just possibly.

2) Since Gargouille recently showed up in preview images at the San Diego Comic-Con, is the ever-growing Acolytes lineup going to be as large or larger than the army of assassins, the Marauders? Will the only confirmed de-powered Acolyte, Scanner, show up?

No plans for Scanner so far, but we do bring in a great many Acolytes. And they continue to have an involvement in the X-verse after "Messiah CompleX."

3) Unuscione has had a history with Colossus, who was also an Acolyte at one point. Will their past together be touched upon when Exodus' gang storms the mansion?

You're talking about what passed between them when Colossus was one of the Acolytes himself? It's not explicitly referenced, although it's clear that Frenzy has a grudge of some sort against Colossus that probably dates back to that time. There was an earlier draft where Colossus's past allegiances did get referenced, but I wrote it out because we seemed to have enough going on already.

4) How does the X-office view characters who seem to have a devoted cult following, such as Cecilia Reyes or Scanner? Does it get irritating to get asked questions about them or does it add any enthusiasm of the characters by editors and creators alike? Do you see those types of characters as largely peripheral fanboy devotions or potential future stars?

I don't think anyone gets irritated by repeated questions, and of course if you ask the right question at the right time, there's always the chance that you'll get your character on the agenda. You're planting seeds in our minds, in some instances.

5) Mike, I believe you said on a previous edition of X-POSITION, "Humberto and Chris are going to alternate on X-Men for the whole of my run." Have plans changed now that Ramos will be on "Runaways" and Bachalo will be on "Amazing Spider-Man" for an arc? If so, who will the new artists be and what does that statement mean for your future on the "X-Men"?

Hmm. Good question, which is hard to answer right now. Plans have changed, because the shape of the X-verse after "Messiah CompleX" has now been planned out in more detail and we know where all the pieces are going to fall. I'm still going to be writing an X-book, but I can't be specific right now about exactly how that's going to work. There will be an announcement soon.

Soon? Like at a con in a windy city? Until then, Derek sent us his laundry list of questions:

1) Any chance of seeing Firestar in an X-book?

Not soon, Derek. But see answer above, and keep asking.

2) Any chance of a miniseries showing the formation of the Hellfire Club? I'd like to see how Emma went from the girl in her solo series to the White Queen.

That would be pretty cool. I love that original Hellfire Club line-up to death, and some of those characters will be showing up again soon, so it's not impossible that we'll get some new insights into their past.

3) Any chance of Emma's family reappearing?

No plans that I'm aware of.

4) Will Magneto make any attempt to find Polaris? Considering that his war on humanity just cost him Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, shouldn't protecting Polaris be his priority?

I take your point, but Magneto has other priorities – somewhat wider than his own posterity – as we'll see shortly.

It's good to have priorities. Anna's priority is obviously the status of her favorite book. "A lot of us are concerned about the future of the 'New X-Men' after 'Messiah CompleX.' Is the title continuing? What's going to happen to the kids? And on an unrelated note, any plans for Toad?"

The story of the X-students will continue to be told after "Messiah CompleX," you can count on that. No Toad appearances on the horizon, though.

Eric Scaduto, take it away…

"I have several questions for you, but first I just wanted to say that I've been reading the X-books on and off since the early nineties, and I have to say I have not enjoyed the X-books as much as I am right now thanks in no small part to Brubaker and Carey."

Thanks, Eric. I'm glad you're enjoying the ride. Seriously, though, it just gets better with "Messiah CompleX." It's become a labour of love for all of us.

1) What's the possibility of some of the following characters playing a part in the X-universe in the next year: Warlock/Douglock, X-Man, Mimic, Husk, Joseph, Pulse, Shatterstar, Longshot, Mondo, Alchemy, Lifeguard, Slipstream, or Forge?

Well, there are reasons why I can't be entirely specific, but your list includes four hits and nine misses. Forge is about to become pretty damn important.

2) Will we see Uatu and the Watchers during "Endangered Species" or "Messiah CompleX"?

No, they won't be in the mix.

3) Has the X-office ever thought about retiring Magneto and Xavier as the figureheads for mutant rights and perhaps trying a new dynamic as the heads of the mutants' cause? Maybe Cable and Cyclops? Emma and Kitty? Multiple Man and Quicksilver?

I think the dynamic is changing all the time. Magneto and Xavier are always going to be important and resonant characters, but are they the figureheads any longer? As we go into "Messiah CompleX," I'd say that the mighty opposites are Cyclops and Sinister. Professor Xavier is still extant – or extant again – but he's not a figurehead for anything right now. Too many people on his own side are still mistrustful of him. And Magneto hasn't been seen for more than a year...

4) Finally, when will the X-office realize that it's a match made in heaven and actually name Deadpool as a member of the X-Men – you know you want to…

I love Deadpool, but from a narrative point of view you might as well make Simon Pegg an X-Man. He skews everything around himself, and so you can only use him in certain kinds of story...

5) Is Mystique a skrull?

Yes. And so am I.

There you go, everyone. One skrull identified, many more to go. And on the topic of our favorite green aliens, TonyX was curious about something.

"With this whole skrull thing brewing, I assume we are going to find out that certain X-characters are skrulls. If this is the case, do you and the other writers already know who are skrulls? Or is there a surprise factor on your end too when you're told, 'Oh yeah, Colossus? He's a skrull...'"

Well, speaking as a skrull, I've been involved in the planning of this invasion from an early stage. We're going to make you bleed out of your ears, human scum.

But seriously, I can't comment on your assumption. I can't even 'no comment' on your assumption. I'm going to pretend you didn't ask that question.

What question?   Oh, how about this query from Penance then – "I miss Chamber. Will we see him at all during (or after) the crossover?"

No, I don't believe so. I miss him too.

And speaking of characters that are missed, Tavia is longing for a certain redhead. "I know lots of people ask it, but I'm going to ask it anyway. One day, I expect Jean Grey to return. What kind of things do you guys in the X-office debate before you allow something like that to happen? Why would you not want it to happen?"

Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here. I wish Jean hadn't come back that first time, or at least not in the way she did. Some resurrections work, and some don't. Being told 'this character who you think you've been following for the past X years has never actually been the character you thought she was, because the character you thought she was is in fact over here' never works.

So the questions would always be – in this order – first, do we want to bring this character back? And second, is there a way of doing it that doesn't cheat the audience or offend their intelligence? If the answer is "yes" on both counts, then you go ahead.

Ellian wraps things up this week seeking a bit of clarification on all the hullabaloo going on in the X-Universe. "I thought the 'Endangered Species' one-shot was supposed to kick off a huge event in the X- books, but so far, the only thing it started was the back-up stories. Are the events in 'Endangered Species' playing out in other books, even if readers aren't aware of it? Does the back-up story lead into the event which kicks off 'Messiah CompleX'? I don't see how everything ties together..."

"Endangered Species" was never meant to cue up plot points. That's being done in the main storylines in most of the X-books right now and over the past year. "Endangered Species" is more like the prelude to a symphony: it's important in a thematic sense. It states the central, intractable problem of mutant extinction and it visits most of the main players on the eve of something huge and irrevocable.

Sounds promising…and ominous.

Be sure to join us back here in seven days as writer Craig Kyle ("New X-Men") takes his first foray in fielding questions for X-POSITION. Be gentle, everyone! So e-mail me (with the subject line "X-Position") all of those X-queries rumbling around in your head ASAP. I can't ask your questions if I don't have them, and I want to ask them – I really, really do! Till next week….


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