If you've been to Comic-Con International in San Diego, you know what a fun, chaotic, exhausting-yet-exhilarating experience it is. Comic books, movies, video games, toys and costumed fans appear everywhere you turn. And then, there are also the fantastic panels featuring the folks behind your favorite comics. At these public forums, you have the opportunity to stand in a long line while hoping there's enough time for the panelists to answer that one question that's been driving you crazy all year!
Every comic book fan should try to experience this event at least once. However, if you can't afford a plane ticket (plus the expenses of hotel and con passes), don't despair -- there's always X-POSITION, your very own private convention with all the minds behind the X-books. There are no lines, no cost and we even give away prizes on occasion!
This week, we've gone the extra mile for you as well and rounded up the editors of all the books in the X-Men corner of the Marvel Universe. Led off by Senior Editor and X-Men Group Editor Nick Lowe, these hard-working folks have gathered to answer your questions on the upcoming "Schism," the various X-announcements from San Diego, and all those other mutant-minded queries rumbling around in your heads. As these folks are unimaginably busy, let's hop right in!
Our first email of the day comes from one of last week's "Fan Appreciation" winners, Derek. He's not slacking-off since receiving his award and sent in a long list of inquiries to prove it.
1) Will we finally get a Polaris origin story when she returns? I was really excited when she was revealed to be Magneto's daughter because of the possible story potential, but it's been nearly ten years since the revelation and no story has materialized.
Nick Lowe: Hello Derek and other X-Position junkies! Glad to be back for another round! The whole X-office is on board here, so "X-Men: Legacy" editor Daniel Ketchum has this one!
Daniel Ketchum: While we will certainly be touching upon Magneto and Polaris' father/daughter relationship in the upcoming "X-Men: Legacy" story "Five Miles South of the Universe," they'll be too busy dodging alien ambushes to address the matter in full. Hopefully all of the exciting plans we have for Polaris in the near future will suffice until we find the opportunity to delve into her past!
2) Namor's kingdom and people are physically connected to Utopia. Even if he believes in Wolverine's viewpoint philosophically during "Schism," would his role as the king of Atlantis allow him to make a move against Cyclops, the "king" of Utopia?
Lowe: I don't think proximity to Utopia or the difficulties of such a break would stop Namor from doing whatever the heck he wants to do. That's pretty well established in his character.
3) The Revenant code-name was a hit with fans and seemed to suit Rachel given her history. Will we see Rachel finally move out of her mother's shadow and forge her own identity as "Revenant" when she finally comes home?
Ketchum: I would love for "Revenant" to live on in the X-Men titles. Rachel's undergone a slew of changes in the last couple years...maybe this is the next direction we'll take her? (SPOILER ALERT: At the very least, expect to see Rachel in an awesome new costume!)
4) Nearly every one of Charles Xavier's students could potentially carry on his dream. However, nearly all of the followers Magneto attracted have been depicted as cultists, psychotic and/or incompetent (a notable exception would be Amelia Voght). Who do you see as keeping Magneto's dream alive after he's gone? Or has his dream already passed by?
Lowe: A lot of people would say that Cyclops is keeping Magneto's dream alive, though he would disagree. As for the depictions of his followers, I would say that a lot of them are volatile, sure, but not all of them are cultists, psychotic or incompetent. Frenzy (who has a huge part in "X-Men: Legacy") was always volatile, but I wouldn't call her psychotic. Magneto certainly has adapted his dream since joining the X-Men and I would say that his dream, as it stood, is either dead or in hibernation.
5) With Polaris and Havok coming home from space and Quicksilver appearing over in "Avengers Academy," could Peter David be convinced to reunite his original X-Factor for a special? Nearly all of those characters have been through radical changes since they last served together and I'd love to see how they'd interact now.
Ketchum: Who said Polaris and Havok are coming home? And even if they are -- who's to say Peter David will need convincing?
A reader with an unusual name -- NM00997 -- sent in an unusual question:
I was re-reading "Daken: Dark Wolverine," and while he was on the boat to Madripoor, Daken learns that Winter Solider and Captain America are the same person (and the killer of his mother). So I was wondering...was there a plan for Daken and Bucky to interact in some way? Or did you already know that Bucky was going to die by this point?
Lowe: Oh look, everybody -- it's "Wolverine" editor Jeanine Schaefer!
Jeanine Schaefer: Yup, we knew the larger plan for Bucky at that point, but while Bucky was on trial, we couldn't pass up the opportunity for Daken to find out what really happened to his mother -- that information has subtly informed a lot of his choices since then. And keep reading, because a bomb like that can do more damage than is immediately apparent. It's an information stealth-bomb!
Madroxdupe024 (another of last week's winners) sent in an email on a trio of topics:
1) Will we ever see Genosha/Necrosha again and what's being done with the island? Did any of Selene's "techno zombies" survive?
Lowe: Hi Madroxdupe024! There's no current plans for Genosha/Necrosha right now, so you'll have to wait for a story that goes there to see what's being done with the island. As for Selene's "techno zombies," Doug Ramsey sure seems to be doing okay after the fact.
2) What is currently up with the Westchester Mansion? Last seen, there was construction going on in "X-Men: Legacy" (the Emplate arc), but then it was trashed when Cable and Hope came for "Second Coming." Where do things stand now?
Lowe: There certainly was some construction going on back in the Emplate arc of "X-Men: Legacy." It was a big-box store being built, but after Emplate killed some workers, the construction folk pulled out and took their materials with them. I know I wouldn't want to worry about vampire-like people killing my construction workers. It is still a pile of rubble gathering moss in Westchester.
3) Now that Rachel Grey is back (in "X-Men: Legacy"), will she tell the X-Men about her losing the Phoenix Force to her mom (as shown in "War of Kings")? And I really hope the X-Jammers come back to the X-Men full-time...
Lowe: I imagine that she'll tell them.
Ketchum: I imagine that too, Nick. And I can also imagine a world in which the X-Jammers play important roles in some key X-Men books.
Schaefer: I'm imagining a world made out of cupcakes. What were we talking about again?
Skaddix might be imagining things too, but he thought he heard a rumor.
1) Is Darwin really going to join X-Force? And what is the purpose of X-Force now that Wolverine has his own X-Men team?
Lowe: Well, Darwin would certainly be valuable on any team, X-Force not-withstanding. I'm not sure where that rumor started, but it sure is interesting. As for the purpose of X-Force, that is certainly a question that will need to be answered after "Schism."
2) Does Cable coming back mean that Bishop is returning too?
Lowe: Well, Bishop didn't really have anything to do with Cable's death, so I don't think that one coming back means that the other will.
The Seventh Light has two questions on the creation of mutants. Well, in one case, it's about the re-creation of a mutant...
1) How will the depowered mutant community react to the return of Rictor's powers at the hands of Scarlet Witch? How much of a role will Wanda be playing in the X-Men in the coming year?
Lowe: Hi, Seventh Light! There will certainly be a response to Rictor's re-powering, but we can't say just what it's going to be. As for Wanda's involvement in the X-Men, keep reading "Avengers: Children's Crusade!" It's not over yet!
2) I feel the latest mutants to pop up in the X-books are some of the most important mutants to emerge since 2005's "Decimation" storyline began. What goes into conceptualizing and designing the newest and brightest of mutantdom?
Lowe: A lot of hard work. For the Five Lights, who were creations of Matt Fraction and Kieron Gillen (with visual help from Bryan Hitch and Whilce Portacio), it started off as being part of the story. Matt and Kieron sent a bunch of ideas to us for the new characters and we picked the five we thought best served the story and the X-Men moving forward. Matt and Kieron developed the characters with feedback from us and then Whilce designed Transonic while Bryan designed the rest. Sometimes characters are created in this fashion and sometimes it's less formal and they are developed as the story they are to appear in develops.
Blair is trying to figure out his comic book budget for the upcoming year and was hoping for details on all the X-citement coming his way:
1) Apparently there will now be five ongoing X-Men books. It looks like "Uncanny X-Men," "X-Men: Legacy," and "Wolverine and the X-Men" will each feature a distinct cast, but what function will "Astonishing X-Men" and "X-Men" serve? Will those books continue to tell stories on the fringes of the X-Men universe or can readers expect them to tie in more closely with the other books? Most importantly, will the books feature a larger and different cast of characters or will each book focus on the same mutant group?
Lowe: "X-Men" will continue to tell big action stories and really look at the ties the X-Men have to the rest of the Marvel U. That's the book you go to for other Marvel characters interacting with the X-Men. The core cast of that will be revealed soon!
As for "Astonishing X-Men," that will also continue with its current mission statement of telling big stories that are in continuity, but not as weighed down by it. We want "Astonishing" to be a book that you put a big creator on and give it to anyone off the street and not need them to read all the other X-books to get it. Make sense?
2) What can readers expect from "Wolverine and the X-Men?" Is this another Wolverine solo title with some of the X-Men serving as supporting characters or will the other X-Men be featured as starring characters?
Lowe: I cannot wait until you all can read "Wolverine and the X-Men" #1. It's definitely not a Wolverine solo book with X-supporting characters. "Schism" splits the X-Men in two, forcing X-Men to choose sides. "Wolverine and the X-Men" is the flagship book of Wolverine's side and is very much an X-Men book and not a Wolverine book. It's an ensemble book and Wolverine is the leader, but not necessarily the one with the most screen time every issue. When we can finally tell you who is in the book, we can give a lot more details on the matter.
And now, it's my turn for some fun with today's "Behind the X" question! Allow me to have a laugh at someone else's expense and ask: what is the best prank you've seen pulled (or had pulled on you) in Marvel's offices?
Schaefer: There was a Heroes Office/X-Office prank war that lasted for a few months last year or so. It started small but escalated pretty quickly (chairs were stolen, mice and keyboards were disabled and we were finding pickles hidden around our office for weeks -- don't ask). But the big pranks are really reserved for when people go on vacation -- Nick has found that out first-hand, even though it's usually him behind the shenanigans.
Lowe: The best prank ever pulled up here (in my opinion) was when I was out of the office on my honeymoon. I took a nice long vacation and when I got back my desk was covered in Post-it notes (most of which had notes and pictures from everyone up in editorial). All was masterminded by Daniel Ketchum!
If we ever come across a mutant whose power involves Post-its, we'll now know who thought them up!
Thus, we conclude today's X-POSITION, but we'll return next week with adventures and mysteries galore courtesy of "X-Factor" writer Peter David. Read up, write up and send me those questions just as soon as you can. Put an "X-Position" in the subject line and I'll tell you the meaning of the following sentence: "I've never Smurfed a Smurf before, not even when I was Smurfing Smurf." See you in seven!