On the opening day of C2E2 in Chicago, Marvel gathered creators to talk about their X-Men books, and particularly ResurrXion.
Chris D’Lando hosted the panel with Marc Guggenheim, Ken Lashley, Charles Soule, Matthew Rosenberg, and editors Christina Harrington, Wil Moss, Nick Lowe.
Issue #1 of X-Men Gold is out, and #2 is out next week. This is the “brotherhood of self-aware mutants”, Guggenheim said, since they refer to themselves as evil, and the book is about getting back to “classic” and “Claremontian” stories. These are the X-Men he grew up with, he said. Guggenheim said that he’s been with X-Men as long as Kitty Pryde has, and this is a time of both having big responsibilities on their shoulders. The “voice” he hears in his head is Kitty’s and takes down “dictation” working with the character, and they are both Jewish and cute, he laughed.
D’Lando pointed out that there are teams of “old flames” in the comic, and Guggenheim said he’s having a lot of fun with that, playing off the soap-operatic elements. There’s going to be a “done and one” issue that’s very Kitty and Peter-centric, Guggenheim said and Lashley agreed.
The arc of X-Men Gold from #4 onward is called “Techno-Superior” and it’s about a “heist goes very much awry”, Guggenheim said, featuring Gambit.
Lashley was asked about working on X-Men, and he said that X-Men was originally the book that got him into comics, and he’s been drawing them for a long time, but he’s always dreamed about drawing X-Men, he said. His favorite character is Collosus, he said.
Toward the end of the arc, Collosus, like many, will be changed by their experiences, Guggenheim said. There’s a Secret Empire tie-in comic up, that’s like a “locked room horror story” where a new character, a new version of The Executioner, targets mutants. He’s going to be locked in the X-Mansion while New York is plunged into darkness, Guggenheim said.
Moving on to talking about X-Men Blue, Harrington said the book is beautiful, with amazing characters, and the focus on Jean Grey is particularly important to her personally. This story is about showing what the X-Men can do, with the “added twist that Magneto is their dude”. Issue #2 is out next week. Having Magneto run the team is a “role reversal” that allows us to see the team through a “different lens”, D’Lando said. Harrington said the younger members of the team don’t have as hard a time working with Magneto as older members who remember former conflicts well. Toward the end of issue #1, Jimmy Hudson came over from the Ultimates Universe, a surprise for fans, giving them a Wolverine. This isn’t his universe, and he’s been brought over for “mysterious reasons”, Harrington said. A “beautiful relationship triangle” between Jean, Scott, and Jimmy. There’s definitely a possibility there for Jean and Jimmy, from the sound of it.
Their newest X-Men book, Astonishing X-Men, will be written by Charles Soule, coming out in July 2017, drawn by Jim Cheung on the first issue. Future artwork will be by Ron Garney, Phil Noto, Greg Land, and many more. Asked what it’s like to work with so many artists, Soule said that he’s worked with some of these folks before, and he asks himself what an artist needs in order to do well, script-wise, and he’s trying to do that. With Cheung, who excels at epic feeling and realism, the first issue heads that way. Set in London, intense real-world situations open the first issue, like a James Bond film, Soule said.
The first big villain of the series is The Shadow King, Soule announced, with some art shown. It was a “happy accident” that he also appeared in Legion, but in the comics he’s the first mutant Xavier encountered who was “mean”. Xavier engaged in a “mental battle” with him, and it was an eye-opener to Charles Xavier that bad guys existed, and prompted Charles to start his school to train mutants. But he’s also an “ancient force of darkness” and “chaos”. He resides on the Astral Plane. The Shadow King starts to “twist reality”. The book is “like a puzzle box” and you aren’t supposed to always know what’s happening. Issue one jumps around between locations and characters based on this.
Soule really wanted real cities to be involved, with human settlement, hence London. There’s a “giant purple psychic butterfly” on the Shard, for instance. Soule said that characters have to fight on the astral plane, and the way to “win” on the astral plane is odd–it’s about making “your version of reality” win out. Soule says that he uses “weaponized nostalgia” for fans, hitting on key elements from the past, but that’s not the only thing the story does, turning instead to new territory. The cast for the book are each “very different” in the way they approach conflicts so that enables him to “run the soap opera of the X-Men in different way”.
Talking about All-New Wolverine, starting a new story arc “Immune” in issue #19, Harrington said that there’s “heart” and “humor”, including pages that make her want to cry. She wants the jacket that’s the new “uniform”, Harrington said. The arc following this one will send her to space with Guardians of the Galaxy, Harrington said.
“In space, no one can hear you snikkt”, D’Lando said.
Talking about Royals, Wil Moss explained that a secret buried on the home planet of the Kree leads to a “space epic” with “weird characters, since Al Ewing is a weird guy”, Moss said. There’s a twist in the issue of #2, which came out recently, which leads into the series Black Bolt. Black Bolt is trapped in a prison, Moss commented, and his powers are “off the table”, so he has to rely on his “wits”. Christian Ward’s art is just gorgeous, as shown in previews and in the panel.
Secret Warriors, the only team book with a dinosaur in it, will be written by Matthew Rosenberg, who said that this book is about the “underdogs” and that’s where he wants to be. With Quake, Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Inferno, and Karnak, the characters are a team in the loosest sense of the world, and are only together because they will probably be executed if they don’t work together. They want to “kick Hydra guys in the face as much as possible” and fight for their lives. They are young, and don’t trust each other, so conflict arises. The Inhumans are in an interesting place in the Marvel Universe since there’s no Terrigen Mist anymore, they are leaderless and have “no future”.
It’s a bleak time for them and it’s “only getting bleaker”, Rosenberg said. His favorite character is Quake, who is essentially “a weapon”. Rosenberg praised artist Xavier Garron, and says he makes his art look “effortless” in the midst of “chaos, fighting, and fun”. Ms. Marvel is the “future of superheroes” in many ways, the next generation who wants to be what’s good in the world, whereas Quake just wants to make sure that bad guys don’t win. Rosenberg loves that drama from X-Men that he’s brought over to these Inhumans. They are four teenagers, and Karnak, who’s “sort of a sociopath”, so the dynamics are interesting.
The latest announcement for Inhumans, Christopher Priest on Inhumans: Once and Future Kings, is a five part series and will have two page Lockjaw stories in every issue by Gustave Duarte.
During the Q&A, a fan asked about the nostalgia elements that cause “complex continuity”, and how they are planning to keep things “fresh”. For X-Men Gold or X-Men Blue, they have lots of history, so what makes them accessible? Guggenheim said you don’t actually have to read other X-Men books to read these, but if you have, you’ll see the references. Like the pop culture references in a Pixar film, they may go past you, but it won’t distract from the story. Guggenheim says he uses “nostalgia as a Trojan Horse”.
Asked if Quake will get her own solo title, Rosenberg said that it’s not up to him, but he hopes so. This series of Secret Warriors will show her potential and Rosenberg’s Quake one-shot in the past really showed her strength too, and gets fan reaction still. Her first appearance in Secret War is “one of the best entry points for a character in recent years”, Rosenberg said.