X-POSITION: Yost Talks Mutants and Evolution

In 2009, Cyclops took the extreme action of establishing a mutant safehaven (a country, no less) he named "Utopia." With mutantkind's population dwindling due to Decimation, he felt the need to protect the remainder of their species. Now, two years later, the shoe is on the other foot as Cyclops finds himself in the position of having to protect the human race in "First to Last," the storyline currently running in the pages of "X-Men."

Writer Christopher Yost has introduced a new threat to the X-Men universe in the form of the Evolutionaries -- god-like creatures who want to ensure Homo Superiors' place as the next step in evolution. To do this, they propose to eliminate the biggest threat to mutantkind: humans. How will the X-Men stop the Evolutionaries from giving mutants this "helping hand?" That's what we're here to find out in today's X-POSITION! Let's get a move on, shall we?

Taimur Dar sent in our first email, but he didn't have questions about the X-folks. Instead, he wants to hear more about the other team you're currently writing -- you know, the one on TV?

I'm not writing in for anything X-related, but I want to say I am loving "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" as the last few Season One episodes air in the states! I dig the inclusion of the larger Marvel Universe, so I'm curious if any other guest stars will be popping up in Season Two? Also, with the Captain America movie coming out, I'm wondering if the Red Skull will be returning in the second season as a featured villain?

Season Two is going to have a ton of guest stars. You're going to get the Fantastic Four, Guardians of the Galaxy and an expansion of the Marvel Universe -- Avengers-style!

And then regarding the Red Skull -- well, he did escape. I would not be surprised at all to see more of the Red Skull. So keep watching!

Marcus Martin will follow that command, but he had a couple of inquiries as well. How about some quid pro quo?

1) Regarding "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes," is there any chance of having more X-characters guest star within the second season of the show? Can you give us any hints about the next season?

I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm going to have to say "keep watching."

2) As a writer within the Marvel animation department, do you have any news regarding the next Marvel animated movie?

That is a good question for Mr. Jeph Loeb, who is the head of Marvel TV and Animation. The "Thor: Tales of Asgard" animated feature was just released, and everyone should check it out because it's one of the best animated features they've ever done, spearheaded by Mr. Craig Kyle. But as far as future releases, again, it's a question for Mr. Loeb.

It appears we'll have to stick that question in our back pocket and move on to Joe, who hopes you might be adding a bit of Creole seasoning to your life.

1) I'm a huge Gambit fan and I loved what your portrayal of him in "Second Coming: Hellbound." Is there any chance we can see more of you writing the Ragin' Cajun?

I love Gambit, and I would be happy to write him. I was excited to write him in "Hellbound." I believe he's being showcased in "X-23" by Marjorie Liu right now, and it wouldn't surprise me if Mike Carey pulled out some plans for him as well. There's no Gambit in my immediate future, but I would certainly love to play with him.

Wait, that sounds bad...

2) I noticed in both "Hellbound" and the last issue of "X-Men," Dazzler always seems extra close to Gambit in your stories. Is this a mere coincidence or the start of something to come?

They're both young, they're both beautiful -- who can say what could happen?

Don't tell Longshot! Anubis00 finally brings us to the main topic of the day -- "X-Men: First to Last." And he has a theory he'd like to share.

I recently read "Uncanny X-Force" #10 and Dark Beast mentioned that Apocalypse was part of a long line of beings selected by the Celestials to make sure evolution takes its natural course. Then, when "X-Men Giant Size" #1 came out and the Evolutionaries appeared, Archangel said he could feel them in his wings.

I know it might be a bit too soon to ask, but are the Evolutionaries somehow connected to Apocalypse and the Celestials considering their mission statement is similar?

In "X-Men" #12 which just came out, you see the Eternals themselves were observing the slaughtering done by the giant prehistoric wolves. And Archangel's wings are obviously Apocalypse and Celestial technology, so I would say that it seems there might possibly be a connection that might possibly be answered in the next issue.

See, Anubis00? It pays to do your homework. Keep reading!

Aspbros wrote in with a handful of queries. Might you be willing to share a fistful of answers?

1) I don't know much about the Neo, but they seem to be the next step in evolution for mutants. Wouldn't the Evolutionaries want to encourage their existence?

If the Neo had continued to thrive, then yes. But something happened after M-Day where the Neo lost their powers. Now, when Hope returned, mutants got their powers back -- or mutants started popping up again -- but no new Neo did. So when the Evolutionaries checked in on them and saw that they weren't going anywhere, they took the actions that they did. So whatever happened with Hope reigniting the fire of mutantkind, it did not work for the Neo. So they were basically the end of their species and they were threatening mutantkind, and the Evolutionaries dealt with that threat.

The reason the Evolutionaries did not need the leader of mutantkind's permission to do this was that the elimination of the Neo posed no threat to mutantkind; whereas the elimination of humanity -- the dominant species on the planet right now...well, the world would be in danger if every human being on the planet were wiped out. And I believe the next issue will get more into that.

2) The Evolutionaries don't seem to have done the same math that Beast and other scientists have. If they kill all Homo sapiens, there won't be enough species to intermingle with to grow new mutants. What's their thinking on this?

That's a legitimate question, but things are happening that I don't want to spoil. The Evolutionaries are obviously not going to take actions that will wipe out mutantkind in the long term; they truly believe that if mutantkind is the superior species they will find a way to survive. And if they don't survive, they weren't meant to.

You're going to see more of this down the road, but the Evolutionaries are not perfect -- in fact, they're fairly flawed. The world has changed greatly since they were created, and you're going to see that they have their flaws.

3) The Evolutionaries seem pretty powerful. Can they restore life as well as take it?


4) If the Evolutionaries really want to help out, shouldn't they go after Wanda, who caused M-Day?

No, because she's not a threat at this moment

5) What kind of point will the flashbacks play in your story? I'm assuming we should expect to see more of them...

The flashbacks are the origin of the Evolutionaries. So every flashback you're going to see is another step in their creation.

Ramelito wraps up our reader mail by inquiring about your former writing partner (on "New X-Men" and "X-Force") and a web you're weaving in another book at present:

1) Have you spoken to Craig Kyle since "Thor" opened? As one of the producers, he must be pretty pleased. Can you tell us what he is working on?

I just left a restaurant after having a meal with him. I actually work across the hall from him, and he is beyond hard at work on a couple different things that, if I speak of them, I will be killed.

2) In the "Fear Itself: Spider-Man" miniseries, you keep going back to these "everyday citizens" and how they're reacting. What is the inspiration behind them and will their stories intersect with Spider-Man's?

The goal for me was to show Spider-Man's kinda like the everyman -- you know, just like us. Because "Fear Itself" is such a huge, world-shattering thing, I really wanted to bring it to the ground level and see how the rest of the people are dealing with all of it. And the short answer is: not very well.

And, yeah, every single one of the people you see will start to interact with Spider-Man over the course of the series. So when issue #2 starts, everyone whose story wasn't resolved last issue will keep going into this one -- and maybe a new one will pop up, but Spider-Man will touch all off of those lives before this is all over -- and more.

3) I've found Vermin to be especially creepy ever since "Kraven's Last Hunt." What made him the logical villain for your story? Or is there another villain we have yet to see?

"Kraven's Last Hunt" was the inspiration for putting him in here. I love that story. I mean, Vermin was the one villain that Spider-Man was flat-out afraid of...like, had it in his head that he couldn't beat him. He was creepy; rats are creepy. I hate rats.

And there's a preview out right now that shows the first five pages of issue #2, and Mike McKone does such an amazing job, you really feel just how creepy Vermin is.

Vermin is an obstacle that Spider-Man has to deal with, but is not the villain of the series. Really, this series is kind of a departure for me where there is not a central villain, it's more episodic. Spider-Man, over the course of three days, is just trying to hold everything together. So he encounters regular people; he encounters Vermin; he encounters all kinds of things. Vermin is not the through-line here.

And now, it's time for an encounter with me as I get to ask today's "Behind the X" get-to-know-you question. As we're discussing the topic of fears, could you tell us about one of your phobias and where you think you acquired it?

A fear I've had recently is a fear of any kind of amusement park ride: roller coaster, heights, going too fast -- I am not a fan. And I don't know where it comes from -- it's always been that way.

Fortunately, you're never afraid to answer fans' questions. Thanks Chris!

Chris Yost is leaving, but his spirit remains as we'll discuss one of his creations in next week's X-POSITION -- "X-23!" Marjorie Liu -- the scribe of this title -- will be joining us in seven days with her claws bared and ready. So send all those insightful and well-worded queries my way ASAP. Include an "X-Position" in the subject line, and I'll "like" you on Facebook (hey, it's better than a tweet from a politician -- trust me). Hurry and get to it!

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