The saying goes, "Everything old is new again."
From Zeb Wells' perspective, everything "new" is new again... at least when it comes to "New Mutants." The writer is now three issues into his relaunch of the popular 1980s Marvel Comics title, and both fans and critics have enjoyed the results of his efforts, not to mention the artwork of Diogenes Neves.
Wells has given readers exactly what they've always wanted - he's brought the original New Mutants team members back together while maintaining all the character developments of the past quarter-century. He's even managed to bring back the son of Professor Xavier, Legion!
In answering your questions, it seems Zeb Wells has a bunch more fun (along with a pinch of sentimentality) planned. So, exactly what is in that "New Mutants" gamebook of his? Let's find out...
CBR: BadKarma3000 starts things off with a big splash, courtesy of queries about...Cannonball!
I am a long time New Mutant/X-Force reader. One thing that has never been fully explained concerns the fact that Sam Guthrie is an immortal X-Ternal. Will you guys finally close the chapter on this, or will it continue to be ignored?
ZEB WELLS: I'm not going to lie to you BK3K, Sam's immortality is fairly low on my list of "Things To Get To The Bottom Of." But if an exploration of Sam's role as a
Also, will there be more development of what makes Sam a different leader than other X-leaders? He has been trained by Xavier, Magneto, and Cable (and to some degree, Cyclops). I would like to see more exploration of how his life experiences and training make him a different kind of X-Men leader.
Definitely. The series will be driven by how Sam acts as a leader and how his history informs the decisions he makes. One of the first lessons learned in his X-Force days? Never ever try to lead with a shitty goatee.
Prodigial enjoys Sam's clean-shaven look, but wonders if it's one of the things that's bothering Cannonball's teammate.
You are doing something really special with the relationship between the old co-leaders Sam and Dani. I loved the scene where Sam leaves the de-powered Dani behind those bars! And I was equally glad Dani complied to his error accordingly! Can we expect Dani and Sam to continue rubbing each other the wrong way?
Thanks, my man! Sam and Dani have only begun to rub each other the wrong way, though their relationship does take an interesting turn in issue #5. I think deep down, Dani will always yearn for the leadership position, no matter if she eventually comes to respect Sam.
Legion has a seriously messed-up disorder with all those psyches floating in his mindscape. But I am a little confused about who the individuals inside him are. Are they real people (like Karma) or psychic "copies" as the story suggests? And where are they from? And is the carnival-like look to some of the characters intentional, or is it just me imagining something that's not really there?
I don't think I understand your question. The only characters Dio drew in Legion's head were unicorns and fluffy bunnies. Good Lord...what did you see? You might need help.
To answer your first couple of questions, most of the characters in Legion's mind are pieces of his fractured ego (personalities like Jack Wayne, for example), while others are real people who have met their end while in Haller's vicinity. He picked up a few of the crazier characters on his travels through the no-time after the "Age of Apocalypse" storyline.
As long as Legion is around, Taimur O Dar was curious if Daddy WarbuX might make an appearance.
How long until Professor X finds out his son is back and pays him a visit? That's a father/son reunion I'm looking forward to...
Me too, but the Prof might need a little convincing. Somehow I don't see ol' Chuck getting a "World's Greatest Dad" shirt out of it.
Speaking of the Xavier family, is there any chance of seeing Cassandra Nova, Xavier's twin sister, in the book and perhaps taking an interest in her nephew?
No plans yet, but I would love to see CassNo in the book at some point.
Toboe is a romantic. Does he dare hope for true love?
Is there any chance some sort of romantic relationship will eventually develop amongst the New Mutants? It is a wonder that Sunspot's charm hasn't won over any of the girls so far, and he's been a pretty close companion to Moonstar lately. There's also Cannonball's never-ending attraction to Magma. And how about giving Karma some lady love?
I like where your head is at, Toboe. You can't have proper Soap Opera without a little romance. Stay tuned...
Besides Magma's feelings towards him, Empath's also got an interesting dynamic with Magik and quite a history with the rest of the team that would be cool to see. Will Empath stay on the book as a supporting character for a while?
He's going to play heavily into the story arc playing out in issues #5-8. After that, there may be a new team he wants to join (wink!).
Chrissstopher is a walking wiki for the New Mutants and wanted to send a "thanks" your way...
I'm loving the "New Mutants" book! You have done a great job of picking these characters up and treating them like experienced adults. And you don't pander to the reader; in fact, you seem to bank on us knowing our X-history - it's much appreciated. How did it feel when you began writing these characters and how did you find their personalities? Also, was it a conscious decision to write the book assuming your audience knew a fair amount about these characters and their histories?
Thanks for noticing! We wanted our book to reward longtime readers and challenge new ones. Your remark about pandering hit the nail on the head. Nick Lowe and I made the decision early on that we weren't going to do that. I believe there's enough information in the books that a new reader will know what's going on.
Is it explained for them explicitly? No.
Will they pick up on every subtlety of every interaction? Maybe not.
If they pay attention, can they figure out enough to follow the story? I think so.
I think there are enough clues that a new reader would pick up on the fact that Legion has multiple personalities, and that each of these personalities has a mutant power. I could be wrong, but that's the risk we're taking. There's an almost neurotic urge to make a book everything to everybody, but if each issue has to bring every reader on the planet up to speed on our team's history, the exposition-to-story ratio would be unsatisfactory.
As a reader, I enjoy being in the dark about certain points of a story, as long as I get the feeling the writer knows what he's doing and will pepper in enough information that I'll be able to figure things out eventually.
As a writer, it's much more thrilling to try and show that the hierarchy of personality in Legion's mind is tied to an imaginary doll in his mind, as opposed to having someone explain it to the reader. The idea would sound stupid if Jack Wayne stepped up and explained it, but if you have to figure it out yourself, it seems to sell itself (in my opinion...).
What made you decide to bring Legion in for this first arc of the story? And is this really David Haller/Legion? Will you be providing any clues on how Legion is back since Bishop killed him after the "Age of Apocalypse" timeframe was corrected?
Yes, this is the actual Legion from the AoA storyline. The full details of his return will be elucidated as the books mega-story takes place. There were clues in issue #3, and look for a few more in issue #5.
Are you still writing with the Spider-Man brain-trust? Any chance Spidey will guest in "New Mutants?"
Hmmm. That's not a bad idea. I'd have to repair the relationship between [editors] Steve Wacker and Nick Lowe first, though. They recently got into a fight over which one loves me the most and that may have permanently scarred their relationship (literally - Nick is a biter).
Daniel Gay feels that a Sunspot belongs in the sky...
Why isn't Sunspot utilizing his flight and energy blasting powers? Roberto is depicted as flying on the Kubert variant cover of "New Mutants" #1 and in "Uncanny X-Men" #513. Assuming he still has these powers, why is Cannonball carrying him around?
This will get addressed in a later issue. Sunspot's powers aren't exactly what they seem.
Continuity alert! Officer Patricio Oliver is reporting for duty and needs to know where Sunspot was on the night in question:
How come Sunspot was portrayed as part of the Hellions team in "Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia"? And will the team have a role in the "Dark Reign" crossover?
The X-Men/Avengers crossover takes place between issues #4 and 5 of "New Mutants," so while the team does have a role in "Utopia," it won't be playing out in our book. Believe me though, Fraction has some big things going on with a few of the characters, and we'll grab the football without missing a beat come issue #5.
James Figueiredo sent his email all the way from Brazil. As a native, he has quite a few things in common with the New Mutants' Brazilian teammate, Sunspot. However, there is one difference he'd like clarified (and possibly rectified).
Let me start by saying I'm a huge fan of the New Mutants and have been following the characters since they first appeared. I was thrilled when your new "New Mutants" series was announced, and I think for the most part the new book has done well. However, in the second issue, Roberto, who's Brazilian, says "Madre de Dios!"
Here in Brazil we don't speak Spanish, but Portuguese. This is something that's bugged me since the character's first appearance. And isn't the artist on the book Brazilian? I would think that would make it even easier to write Roberto's lines in his native tongue accurately, and he could even give tips on things that would characterize Roberto as more than the token generic Latin guy.
Now, back in the day you would have gone a step further, James, and explained this gaff for me. Then you could have won a No-Prize. Never in my career have I missed those simpler times more.
The long and the short of it is, I'm a complete jackass. I've been to Brazil. I know you guys speak Portuguese. I reread the proof after it had gone to the printers (after having already proofread it three times) and that line finally jumped out of me. Needless to say, I was mortified. I will allow Dio one free punch to my stomach when I meet him. I hope this is enough.
The final question today comes from Iceman06. Although we originally said that "everything new is New (Mutants) again," it seems that he has some concerns...
Do you worry that calling the book "New Mutants," having them wear matching costumes, and isolating them from the other x-characters (especially the X-Men) regresses the New Mutants in the eyes of readers and makes this book a "hard sell" beyond the initial arcs?
I'm trying to keep the stink of "regression" off the book, because I don't think that's what anyone wants. I know I don't. However, for the first arc I wanted to focus on the New Mutants in a relative vacuum, so I could define the characters before throwing them back into the larger X-world. But, as I've said before, these characters are X-Men, so they'll be returning to X-Men HQ in issue #5, and you'll begin to see exactly how they fit into the X-Men's world - but it has to be a balancing act.
I want the book to "matter" in the larger X-universe, but I never want to find myself in a position where I sacrifice a character moment with Karma to come up with another cool way for Wolverine to stab something. I believe in these characters and I don't want to use the X-Men as a crutch.
As far as the costumes go, they'll be evolving over time. When they cooked them up they didn't have time to add flair.
The title will take on a whole new meaning come issue #9. Believe it.
That wraps up today's X-POSITION pow-wow, but more exclusive access to X-creators will be coming your way in two weeks. Why the delay? A little event called Comic-Con International will be tying up everyone in comics throughout the next several days. Be sure to swing by CBR, though, as I'm sure there will be lots of X-goodness revealed in San Diego!
When X-POSITION reconvenes, we will be bringing "X-Force" writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost with us to answer your questions. Their legions of fans do enjoy sending in their thoughts, so email me early with some well-worded missives. An "X-Position" in the subject line guarantees a read for your letter, and makes the world a better place - isn't that reason enough to do it?