More so than most recent years, 2015 was packed with numerous beginnings and endings for the X-Men. A number of new storylines started while the status quo of the past few years, defined by Brian Michael Bendis' runs on "All-New X-Men" and "Uncanny X-Men," came to a close. Following that, the X-Books have been thrust into the all-new beginning of All-New, All-Different Marvel, which has seen the launch of a new line of ongoing series. And heck, in between all that, a group of X-Men series (unlike any that had come before) caused a ruckus as part of "Secret Wars." There was a lot of turnover, turmoil and triumph this year for the X-Men -- and the X-Men editors were there through thick and thin.
This week in X-POSITION, editors Daniel Ketchum and Christina Harrington join us and answer your questions about next year's recently announced "Apocalypse Wars" event, the many M.I.A. X-Men and what's to come in 2016.
CBR News: Welcome back to X-POSITION, editors!
Daniel Ketchum: Hello! Thank you, readers, for taking a break from your continued discussion of "Star Wars" to join us for this week's X-Position. We promise you we'll make it brief so that you can get back to shipping R2-D2 and BB-8 post haste.
We'll kick things off this week with a question from MarvelMaster616.
The Original Five X-Men have been in the present for quite a while now and there's no denying they've made an impact. We've also seen in "Battle of the Atom" that any impact on them also impacts the timeline. When and how can we expect the extent of this impact to be addressed?
Christina Harrington: I think for right now the more interesting part of the O-5 being brought to the present is seeing how that time travel has affected them, rather than the other way around. "All-New X-Men" has been doing this, too, with our first arc all about the young Scott Summers inheriting this legacy from his older self -- and deciding to reject that legacy in favor of making one for himself. We've been seeing Jean struggle with the idea of destiny in "Extraordinary X-Men." Is she destined to die? And here Jean rejects this notion, too. She can't be a normal person, she's an X-Man, but that doesn't mean she has to follow in the footsteps of her older self, either. And, of course, Iceman has been able to come to terms with his sexuality in the present.
I can't wait until we start exploring Beast an Angel and how they're changing! It's going to be some pretty exciting stuff coming up in the next few months for "All-New" fans.
Next up, Chief Jon has a question about the line's overall theme.
Almost from their inception, the X-Men were represented as fighting to protect a world that might hate and fear them, all in the name of Professor X's dream of peaceful coexistence between human-and-mutant... However, over the last several years of X-publishing, the mission of most X-teams seems to have moved away from peaceful coexistence and into the realm of identity-based separatism and protectionism. In the first issue of Jeff Lemire's "Extraordinary X-Men," Storm even thinks to herself "the dream is dead". That being said, I'm wondering whether there's hope of a return to the pursuit of the original X-Mission for a more neighborly and united world in any of our All-New, All-Different X-Books?
Harrington: When Storm says "The dream is dead" at the beginning of issue one of "Extraordinary," she's coming from a very dark place. Scott is dead, her people are dying and being forced to flee to a dimension that looks a lot like hell, and the Terrigen Mists have repressed any new mutant manifestations. That's a lot of stuff to be dealing with, and I think it's understandable for her to feel a little defeated. That being said, I know one of the reasons that Storm is one of my favorite characters is her resilience... I don't think she'll be in that mindset for long.
Ketchum: A "more neighborly world"! I love that. Let's all just make that our own personal mission statement.
I think part of the appeal of the X-Men's current status quo is that it puts them on the ropes and gives them something to push against. Fighting for peace is fine (albeit oxymoronic?), but fighting for survival immediately makes for higher stakes. And at the end of the day, I think that's what we are all really here to see? The soap opera that unfolds when the X-Men have their backs against the wall?
But to answer your question, I actually do think we'll see some of that pursuit of a more neighborly world, it may just not be worded as such. Certainly Storm's efforts in "Extraordinary X-Men" to preserve the future of mutantkind in the short-term have the long-term goal of being able to rejoin humanity on Earth... because I don't think Storm wants mutantkind to stay in Hell for forever. And the kids in "All-New X-Men" embody what you're looking for even more so: emboldened by the unfettered optimism that comes with youth, the original X-Men have set out to be the kind of heroes they dreamed they'd be, hitting the road to make the world a safer place for man and mutant alike.
Winter_fury has a question about the line's pair of Wolverines.
I was reading "Wolverine Epic Collection: Madripoor Nights" and Wolverine had his own supporting cast. Will Laura and Old Man Logan also have their own supporting casts?
Harrington: Laura already has her own supporting cast! We've got allies like the Sisters and O5 Angel. And we've got enemies like Captain Mooney and Director Chandler -- and this is only the first arc. "All-New Wolverine" is really meant to be a corner of the Marvel Universe we're carving out for Laura to own and live in, so naturally that means giving her a cast of characters to interact with and expand on.
Ketchum: The same more or less goes for Old Man Logan. Over the course of the first arc of his ongoing series, he'll meet a bunch of characters who will form his supporting cast. Of course, he'll have the X-Men as well -- they begin showing up in "Old Man Logan" #5. And in a less traditional sense, Logan's family in the Wastelands will also be supporting cast members.
Sidenote: "Madripoor Nights" is my favorite collection subtitle ever. Whenever I hear a cover of a song that's particularly sultry or sounds like it was performed by pirates, I refer to it as the "Madripoor Nights Remix."
I'm looking forward to the X-Office dropping a "Madripoor Nights" Spotify playlist any day now. Next up, Knives wants to know about the X-Men's possible role in 2016's big Marvel event.
Will the X-Men have some participation in "Civil War II"? If the answer is affirmative, will it involve all the mutant titles?
Ketchum: I can neither confirm nor deny X-Men involvement in "Civil War II" at this point. Have we even revealed what that story is about yet? Stop trying to trick us into giving you spoilers, Knives!
Can't blame Knives for trying! Now we have a Q from Obella about an event you can talk about.
Hi! I'm wondering how young Angel will react to his older self being a central figure in the "Apocalypse Wars"? In previous issues he's talked about how not many people will tell him what happened to him but since the time jump -- how much does he know? How does this affect him? Where is he mentally and emotionally being just as knee deep in the "Wars" as his fellow X-Men?
Harrington: Warren's older self is definitely something that's on his mind, but I don't think it's something that distracts himself away from the present. In "All-New," all of our X-Teens are invested in being heroes in the here and now. If I were Warren, that future self would be in the back of my mind, to be sure, but I don't think I'd let it ruin my present. He's here to be a hero, and anything that might have happened to his future self isn't going to ruin that.
Ketchum: "Apocalypse Wars" isn't a crossover in the vein of "X-Tinction Agenda" or "Battle of the Atom," but more of a spiritual crossover like "Fall of the Mutants." Each title will tell its own story that ties into the central theme. So while Archangel will be the focal character in "Uncanny X-Men's" tie-in, young Angel over in "All-New X-Men" will be more concerned with that book's own Apocalypse character, Kid Apocalypse.
There are a lot of students and new mutants out there that fans want to see, and EyeBoy wants to know the whereabouts of the most recent, pre-"Secret Wars" recruits.
Thanks for a great year of stories. In "Uncanny X-Men" #34 you had Hijack, Triage, Morph, Goldballs and the Cuckoos saying something along the lines of "just because they are mutants does not mean they have to be X-Men." I was wondering will we ever see that come to fruition? Will we see Tempus any time soon?
Harrington: The world our mutants inhabit is chaotic right now. The mists have really scattered our characters all over the world, and, in some cases, off-world to Limbo and X-Haven. Our core titles have been dealing with where certain mutants are, each in their own way: with some being rescued in "Extraordinary," and others are heroes in "All-New." I will say this though: keep your eye out for "Uncanny X-Men." A familiar face will soon be making an appearance in its pages...
Ketchum: Yeah, as Christina alludes, you'll see some of what you're looking for evidenced in "Uncanny X-Men." You don't have to be an X-Man to go out in the world and do good on behalf of mutantkind.
As for Tempus, no immediate plans yet, but we're very aware that she's a favorite character from Bendis' "Uncanny," so we're hoping to check in with her soon...
A lot of readers are eager to see the "New X-Men" students again, and Master of Sound is one such reader.
There are a lot of students still missing, like Hellion, Pixie, Armor, Hope and my favourite, Indra. Are they going to appear in one of the current books, or is there a young X-Men book to be announced?
Ketchum: If you look closely, Indra made an appearance in "Extraordinary X-Men" #3! So we know that he's at X-Haven.
But yes, there are many mutants who are currently MIA. We're slowly checking in with characters with each new story and it's probably only a matter of time until we've hit all of your favorites. Except for Maggott. Never again, Maggott.
As a legitimate Maggott fan, those words strike me to my very core! But moving on, Kamose1234 has another question about "Apocalypse Wars."
In your last CBR interview, you mentioned that X-Men characters outside of the three core titles would be dealing with the terrigen mists and we've seen that with those such as Beast, Rogue, Cable, and Frenzy, but will they also be involved in the "Apocalypse Wars" event or will the X-Men teams already established be the only participants?
Ketchum: The stock answer of "Wait and See" applies here. There are pretty clear reasons in each story as to why more characters don't get involved.
Harrington: The "Apocalypse Wars" event is going to be an X-title event, meaning that the repercussions of these stories will resonate in our current "Uncanny," "All-New" and "Extraordinary" rosters. These stories are, I think, personal to the characters currently on our teams and we'd lose the impact if we bled these stories out into the lives of the mutants currently filling out the rosters on other hero teams.
Patrick wants to know about the whereabouts of a certain A-List X-Man that's currently missing.
No word or sightings yet for best X-Woman ever Emma Frost. Us here in the fan peanut gallery are getting anxious and worried. Can you throw us a bone? A date range? Something?
Ketchum: What can I even say? We have definitely not forgotten about Emma Frost. I don't want to tip our hand more than that right now, though. Maybe try again at the next Editor X-Position?
Also, "best X-Woman ever"?! How dare you, sir. That title obviously belongs to Storm.
Next up, Nick R has a continuity question to ask.
I always assumed that Old Man Logan's continuity was the same as the 616's, but only to a certain point. Does he have the same past and memories of 616 Logan up until he killed the X-Men, or does his own past and events differ? And will readers ever get to see how much is the same?
Harrington: This is one of those answers that's going to get me in trouble with the comments section. Read and find out! Our first arc for "Old Man Logan" follows Logan as he acclimates to being in the present rather than the Wasteland, and some of your questions will definitely be answered there.
Ketchum: I think I'm willing to commit to a bit more here: I would wager that yes, Old Man Logan's history is the same as our Wolverine's up to a point. You'll maybe more or less find out what that point is in "Old Man Logan" #4.
And finally this week, Gene Gaysian has a question about the enduring popularity and usage of certain characters.
As the brains of the operation, do you all intentionally keep certain bubbling-under characters (like Magik and M) on rosters so that they maintain a presence, or has it been pure coincidence that a succession of writers have been fans and/or wanted to build on these well-loved but (relative to the classics) blank slates?
Ketchum: One of my favorite things about the Marvel Universe is that every character is someone's favorite. Especially when it comes to the X-Men. When a new writer takes the reins on a title, it usually works out that they'll populate the cast with mainstay characters... and then throw in a surprise or two, and it's because they have some fondness for the character. For example, I can't tell you how many Marrow stories Simon Spurrier pitched me before she finally ended up on his "X-Force" roster!
In the case of Magik, I think she just gained steam over time. Whereas she might have started as someone's surprise addition to the roster (Kieron Gillen's "Uncanny," maybe?), she's probably closer to a mainstay character at this point. And Jeff Lemire looked at her and saw that she's obviously an avenue for all kinds of stories -- her interactions with her brother, Colossus; her moving the school to Limbo; her mentorship of the new mutant, Sapna; etc. He also probably just figured that a mutant sorcerous with a giant sword would be a badass addition to the team. (And rightfully so.)
So, yeah, in my experience, it's usually less of a heavy hand on the part of the editor than it is a writer understanding how the characters work and what the right mix for their book will be.
Special thanks to X-Editors Daniel Ketchum and Christina Harrington for taking on this week's questions!
Next week we're doing our third annual New Year's round-up X-Position, and we want to hear from you -- the fine readers of this column! Go ahead and send in a few words answering one, some or all of the questions below and we'll print the best responses in our final column of 2015. To keep all of your responses a surprise to your fellow X-Po readers, we will only accept those sent in via email. All submissions need to be in by Sunday, December 27.
What was your favorite X-Men moment of the year and why?Who should win X-Character of the Year and why?Which series are you most looking forward to in 2016 and why?Which character are you hoping makes more appearances in 2016?