Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AiPT!
But this edition of X-Men Monday isn’t just uncanny–it’s oversized! That’s because not only do we have X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White answering questions, but Mr. Uncanny X-Men himself: writer Matthew Rosenberg! And if that wasn’t enough, we’ve got your eXclusive first look at artist Whilce Portacio’s cover for Uncanny X-Men #22! So let’s jump right into the eXcitement with a few questions about Rosenberg’s constantly surprising Uncanny run.
AiPT!: Dark Beast, the Mutant Liberation Front and now Joseph–Matthew Rosenberg’s Uncanny X-Men run is chock-full of ’90s X-Villains. Is their inclusion in this story 100% Matthew, or are you or others at Marvel throwing out suggestions Matthew runs with?
Jordan: I am pretty sure all of those were Matt’s idea. Well, the Mutant Liberation Front was part of “X-Men Disassembled,” so it could have been Kelly or Ed who came up with looping them into that part… but it was definitely Matt’s idea to bring them back in here.
Why don’t we ask Matt his thoughts on those guys?
Matthew: Well I like to try and pull from all eras. I’m not sure I really lean into any one era more than others. So far we’ve had some ’60s villains like The Brotherhood and Juggernaut, some ’70s stuff is coming up with Sabretooth and others, some ’80s villains like The Reavers and Purifiers have already appeared. Nanny and Orphan-Maker are also on their way, and maybe even someone a bit more Sinister. And then we have 2000s villains like O.N.E. and even, in a sense the Avengers, who are definitely not villains but were certainly X-Men antagonists frequently in the past decade.
And for the record I think it was Ed who wanted the M.L.F. earlier in the run. That dude loves Forearm.
AiPT!: There was a time not too long ago when including a controversial ’90s character like Joseph in a modern X-Comic would seem insane. So on that note–Jordan, in your time as X-Men Senior Editor, have you ever received a story pitch so ridiculous you just had to say no? And if so… what was so crazy about it?
Jordan: Errrr… well, I don’t know that I’ve ever been pitched the return of a character that I thought was too crazy. There’s no bad characters, it’s all how they are used and if someone has a story to tell with them. Although, that being said, I was literally telling Chris Robinson yesterday that we are not bringing Adam-X back any time soon. Sorry, guys.
I think the only “too crazy” things I have had to say no to are things that went too far in the realm of violence or sex… which is ironic since in my tenure as Deadpool editor I definitely put out a lot sex and violence that other editors might think was ALREADY too much. But in general, I am a fan of someone pitching an idea that is “too crazy to work” and then telling me why it works. I think that can lead to some really fun and surprising stories.
Matthew: Let me bring Adam-X back, you coward!
AiPT!: Speaking of Adams, Adam Reck (@arthurstacy) wanted to know how long Matthew has wanted to turn Scott Summers into an actual Cyclops. And was this an ode to Slim’s Age of Apocalypse counterpart?
Jordan: Again–these sound like questions for Matt himself! Let’s pick his brain.
Matthew: Everyone’s so hung up on Cyclops only having one eye, nobody is asking why I turned Banshee into an actual Banshee. Or whether Wolfsbane is going to be the bane of any wolves coming up (she is!).
Some of this story is about inevitability versus self-fulfilling prophecy. So getting glimpses at alternate universe and future versions of the X-Men and seeing what role they play in making those a reality is something we wanted to play with. So yes, it is a nod to AoA in some ways. But it’s also about how desperate they are. They don’t have a healer. They don’t have a medical bay. They just have to keep going.
Also it looks cool.
AiPT!: And while we’re talking about Cyclops… where did the idea come from to finally have Scott and Steve Rogers begin to mend fences?
Jordan: They are both heroes. They have different approaches, they have different priorities, but at the end of the day, they both want to protect innocent people from harm. I think even at their angriest with one another, they would both recognize that fact. Pretty soon after AvX ended, at what was probably the height of their disagreements with one another, I worked on a story over a few issues of A+X with Gerry Duggan where the two of them were handcuffed together for an adventure. That was a good time.
Matt, what are your thoughts on the Steve/Scott relationship?
Matthew: Steve and Scott are two of my favorite heroes and I think we’ve had some amazing stories in the past decade or so about how two good people can still have trouble seeing eye to eye. I think that’s such a smart interesting take for both characters. Especially when you have good creators making Cyclops’ case compelling in X-Books and Cap’s case compelling in Avengers books. It is where the interconnectivity of the Marvel Universe is at its best. But I think we’ve done that story and I wanted to show how we can move past our differences and histories and work together too.
Or maybe it won’t work out. Who can say?
AiPT!: Scott and Logan were “off the board” for a significant period of time that was filled with fans’ pleas for their return. Having been through all that, and now seen the response to their return, do you view death in comics any differently?
Jordan: I don’t think either of those two deaths and returns affected my thoughts on it very much as I wasn’t really that involved in killing them off, just in their returns… and both were already at least partially in motion before I came onto the projects (though I do remember advocating for Cyclops’s return in Extermination at a Marvel summit even before being back in the X-Office along with some other folks). I do think, though, that what I have observed of those stories from both the outside and inside reaffirmed what I already thought about death in comics.
AiPT!: And on the topic of death… Pyro. The original Pyro… that’s him in the most recent issue of Uncanny X-Men, right? And if so, how did he come back from the dead again?
Jordan: Good question! Pyro definitely came back to life during “Necrosha” and has been seen a few times since then… but there is more to the story. Keep reading.
AiPT!: Robert Secundus (@RobertSecundus) said that being a “time cop” wasn’t always Cable’s mission. Can you speak to what motivated that shift in the character’s concept? And, in general, how do you and other Marvel editors and creators decide when it’s time to reconfigure a character?
Jordan: You know, that is a great point and a really interesting question. Again, that is a change that happened before I came back into the X-Office, but if I had to take a stab at why that was done, I would guess it is because protecting the timeline is an easier ongoing story engine than changing it is. Cable coming back in time to stop something from happening has a pretty clear ending–he changes things, and then he did it. Protecting the timeline from more changes is something that is continuous. The difference between a person obsessed with solving one specific crime and a police officer who is there to deal with any crime.
That said, you’re right–it is a very different approach to things from him. I would say that maybe he, having successfully averted his future, wants to maintain the timeline where it is averted… except I think he still seems to be able to access that future? Time travel stories get really messy when there are not extremely clear and hard rules.
AiPT!: Kevin Ong (@Avatarkyungsoo) was curious–as an editor, what is more difficult to portray across writers’ multiple books? Character personalities and attitudes or their power levels?
Jordan: Short term, it’s personalities, long term, it’s power levels. On the personality side, I think a lot of the characters have fairly well-established core personalities, but their specific situations change. So you have a tendency of someone writing a character showing up in a book to revert to their “classic” mode and not reflect their current circumstances.
On the power level side, there is a tendency for power creep which is incredibly hard to combat. Because we’re trying to continually come up with new and exciting events to happen with these characters over and over again, we try to think of new and exciting ways to use their powers. But if you add that all up over the years, you have an X-Men team full of characters who can each individually destroy and remake the world a hundred times over with the crazy expansion of their powers. It’s a difficult thing to rein in.
AiPT!: The “Age of X-Man” event is several months in now. Is there anything about the response to its various series that’s surprised you?
Jordan: I gotta tell you, what surprised me most about this storyline is just how well the writers have all done getting into the heads of the characters. They’ve all taken to the casts of their books whole-heartedly and really used the opportunity of the strangeness of this world to dig deeply into who they all are, and I think the readers have responded really well to that. Whether it’s Storm and Magneto in Marvelous X-Men, Kurt and Meggan in Amazing Nightcrawler, Glob and Armor in NextGen, Blob and Betsy in X-Tremists, Bishop and Beast in Prisoner X, or Kitty and Genesis is Apocalypse and X-Tracts, I think this whole thing has been a great showcase for some terrific character work.
Jordan: “Age of X-Man” was definitely a challenging world to come up with. The big hurdle we had was that it was meant to be a good place. In Age of Apocalypse… it’s a world where a villain ruled and everything was terrible… post-Apocalypse, if you will. That is, on the face of it, a relatively easy concept to wrestle with. It gives all the characters something to fight against–the fact that everything is terrible. With this one, X-Man’s whole goal was to make the world a better place. A world he ruled had to, on some level, in some capacity, be a better world. A world of peace. And that created a big problem–if the world is a paradise, what are the heroes fighting? I think Zac and Lonnie did a great job in coming up with the Dystopic twist that makes the world sinister, and gives the characters all something to fight within themselves while the dark corners of how you keep the perfect world perfect provided the external threats to punch.
AiPT!: You used to work on Marvel’s Star Wars line… so what’d you think of the trailer for The Rise of Skywalker?
Jordan: I loved it. Star Wars trailers are a real thrill and I love the excitement they generate, the speculation and discussions with friends and co-workers. I have really enjoyed all of the new movies–The Force Awakens is my second-favorite Star Wars movie after the original–so I am pumped for this. Also, this is the first new Star Wars movie I will be seeing with no foreknowledge of what is in it since the prequels! That’s exciting, too.
Hey, you know, Matt is working on a Star Wars comic! Let’s see what he thought of it!
Matthew: I am trying a thing where I don’t watch trailers for movies I am really excited to go see. I like going in with everything being new to me. So I skipped the Black Panther, Ragnarok, Infinity War, Spider-Verse, Captain Marvel and Endgame trailers. Skipped Solo and Last Jedi. Skipped the trailer for Shoplifters and Free Solo.
So I made a firm decision to not watch the Episode IX trailer. There was no way I’d watch it. But… I lost my battle with the dark side. I watched it. It made me cry. And then I watched it a dozen more times. It’s so good.
AiPT!: And finally, Jordan, for your song recommendation of the week–what’s your favorite piece of Star Wars music?
Jordan: I am gonna give you two answers again.
If you mean what is my favorite piece of music from the Star Wars films/shows/etc… that’s gotta be “Duel of the Fates.” It’s… look, it’s just so good. It is probably the best thing to come out of the prequels in any capacity. It’s astounding.
BUT–there is a lot of “Star Wars music” out there that is not actually part of the Star Wars films! There is SO MUCH awesome music made by fans of Star Wars and I think a lot of it is so much fun. I’ve talked in other interviews many times about my love of the Auralnauts and about Star Wars the Musical, and I stand by those… but today I feel like shining a light on Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans, which is the full album of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper re-written and rerecorded to tell the story of A New Hope. It’s… pretty amazing.
AiPT!: Wow, that’s impressive! Also impressive–that promised Portacio cover for Uncanny X-Men #22!
Things are certainly looking pretty dire for Scott and Logan… but X-Fans wouldn’t have it any other way, I’m sure! Speaking of X-Fans, thank you to everybody who submitted questions this week! And a big thank you to Jordan and this week’s special guest Matthew Rosenberg! You’re welcome back anytime, Matt!
If you have follow-up questions for any of this week’s X-Men Monday answers or have questions of your own, feel free to post them in the comment space below. Otherwise, look for our call for new questions tomorrow morning (April 23) over at AiPT!’s Twitter! Then, check back next X-Men Monday to see if your questions are answered!