Following the events of House of X and Powers of X, Marvel’s mutants have entered an all-new, all-different era. It is the Dawn of X. To celebrate, AiPT! Brings you X-MEN WEEK–seven days of original interviews with past and present X-Creators. Pax Krakoa!
You read correctly, X-Fans–X-Men Week at AiPT! has arrived! And what a way to kick things off–with writer Jonathan Hickman taking over X-Men Monday and answering YOUR questions about his House of X/Powers of X epic. And boy oh boy did you have a lot of questions. More than 500 last time I checked!
OK, #XMen fans, let’s hear those questions for @JHickman! What do you want to know about #HouseOfX, #PowersOfX and the #DawnOfX? Reply with your questions and use the hashtag #AskHickman. Then, check out #XMenMonday at AiPT! on October 14 to see if your questions were answered! pic.twitter.com/lF0VaN348o
— AiPT! Comics (@AiPTcomics) October 10, 2019
That level of interaction is ASTONISHING (sorry) and so great to see. A sincere thank you to everybody who submitted questions. Of course, Jonathan couldn’t answer every single one–that level of question answering would no doubt ensure the delay of all future X-Men series! But he did answer quite a few. In fact, Jonathan provided the following note:
Jonathan: I had a hard time narrowing these down to a manageable number, but I did my best to both keep things interesting and hit some version of the most requested questions. So, if one of these seems very straightforward and I give a longer than expected answer, it’s probably because I’m actually answering three to four questions at once.
AiPT!: Thank you, Jonathan! So without further ado, here’s what Jonathan had to say in response to your questions!
Marcos (@deadloops_) asked: Will Namor appear again?
Jonathan: This is an example of a lot of questions I got that I’m not going to answer.
I will not tell you whether or not Namor (human name: The Fishmann of Chekhov) will return.
Jamesons (@SiteJamesons) asked: Does Logan still have his Adamantium skeleton after coming back from the dead? How did he get it?
Jonathan: This was, by far, the most frequently asked question, but I don’t think it’s actually that interesting because it doesn’t matter what the answer is.
If Wolverine is reborn without his Adamantium skeleton, we’ve seen him get it back before and we can replicate that (sure, it sucks, but he’s a tough dude), if he’s born with it, then it’s because the Five were able to tweak his body In Vitro (Vivo? Eggo?) Either way it’s just a process.
What the more interesting question is is why does Cyclops need a visor? Why doesn’t Chamber have a jaw? Does the imprinting of the backup of their mind mean they have to be broken in that familiar way to actually be them?
And we’ve already shown a couple of interesting tweaks like Monet being able to assume a Penance form and Warren being able to be both regular angel and Archangel. So there seems to be some ability to tweak the finished version of a resurrected mutant. Is that also true about their age? Or about other aspects of their physical condition? What about their gender? What about if they want to be backed up from an earlier version? One that hasn’t suffered a particular trauma or had their heart broken?
Regardless, these all sound like stories to me.
And we don’t tell them for free.
Tizz (@AstonishingTizz) asked: Powers of X #6 didn’t include an updated timeline info graphic of Moira’s 10 lives. Any plans to publish one?
And Josué Sarolli (@josuesarolli) asked: This is eating me up: if x2 and x3 are different timelines, how come Cylobel is in both, in a tube?
Jonathan: Okay, so these are actually the same question. And although this is a spoiler and me clearly explaining the story (which I try not to do), I’m giving myself a pass in this case because the plan we started with at the beginning of the project changed during the publishing of it.
So, yes, there was going to be a thousand-year timeline in the back of Powers of X #6 explaining all the cool things that happened in that life. Included in that timeline was going to be the revelation that black brain telepaths are a Nimrod construct and on a long enough Nimrod timeline–where he is locked in a battle with mutantdom–Nimrod always oversees the ‘creation’ of black brain telepaths as a way to infiltrate the ranks of his mutant enemies.
And the kicker here is that they all look completely identical when they manifest (like Cylobel does) but before then they all look different and display different power sets. It’s only when they shed their external skin that a black brain telepath is revealed. So the matching shot in Powers of X #1–where they looked like the same person in a stasis tube but actually weren’t–was built to be deceptive.
The reason why this changed in production is because there was a writer we had hoped to get to do our eventual Moira book (that works as a kind of ‘dancing between the raindrops’ of X-Continuity story), and they agreed to do it long before we were expecting them to commit. Which was great news. Then I basically told them what I was planning to do and asked if they wanted me to NOT put the timeline in the book (which would lock a lot of plot/story stuff in), and after talking about it, we decided not to stick it in there. So the Cylobel bits went unresolved (for now) on the page.
But we got the writer we wanted, and that book is going to be amazing.
I’m very excited.
murphy leigh (@_murphyleigh) asked: Can you explain why you’ve smashed Genosha, House of M, “Messiah Complex,” the Utopia period, the Schism, all of Wolverine and the X-Men, Secret Wars II, Civil War II, IVX, and Uncanny X-Men vol. 5 into a three-year period for Moira X? It doesn’t make sense in a book so fixed on time passing.
Jonathan: You’re right. The math doesn’t work. The math also doesn’t work for a single other long-running book in the Marvel universe.
I personally don’t believe that those things took place in that duration of time, but on a sliding continuity timeline, I’m also wrong.
I’ve said this elsewhere, but my editor Jordan White is completely convinced that Cyclops is in his late 20s. I’m convinced that he’s in his mid-30s (how could he not be?). But the truth is, depending on which story metrics you use, we’re both right and both wrong. It’s Schrödinger’s birthday. What are you going to do?
Maybe don’t stare at the sun.
Matthew Perpetua (@perpetua) asked: Is there a difference between a No-Place and a No-Space? I noticed the terminology for that shift over the course of the series from the first issue to the end, where Moira is in a No-Space.
Jonathan: No. That’s a screw-up we didn’t catch until the book was printed (and will be corrected).
The other two glaring screw-ups were ‘Galm’ in #1 (it was supposed to read ‘Mars’), and the Forge-Xavier scene in Powers of X #5 not working continuity wise. The problem there was we got the character art wrong but because we were racing against the clock instead of having RB tweak things, we were just going to have Marte fudge with it color-wise to make it ambiguous, but that’s right when he got sick. So we just ate that one.
These things are bummers, but they always happen when you have the deadlines we do.
Hell Yeah Teen Super Heroes, Agent of G.I.R.L. (@HYeahTeenSupers) asked: Whose idea was it to put Selene and Emplate among villains invited to this new paradise? They’re both basically vampires who feed on mutants to live. It’s like building a bunker for greatest human minds to survive nuclear apocalypse in and inviting Hannibal Lecter.
Jonathan: Story-wise, that’s a terrible argument. Hannibal was the best show on NBC over the last 10 years–always give the scene-eating cannibal a seat at the table. Especially if they can help you by doing things only they can do, even if in doing those things they might try and take a bite out of you. And why wouldn’t they? Mutants are delicious.
Besides, what’s the thing that David Mamet always says? “Whenever possible, put the monster under the bed, not outside the window.”
(That wasn’t Mamet. I made that whole Mamet bit up. I’m honestly not even sure if it’s an actual saying or not.)
(Whatever. It should be.)
Billy-Vell (@williamaximoff) asked: Marvel Girl going back to her old ’60s costume is probably the most controversial wardrobe change in a while, can you talk about why she’s wearing it again, and if there’s any chance she might get a new one(or even go back to another old one)?
Jonathan: I’m not going to lie, this one has been disappointing.
I was pretty sure everyone would figure this out as soon as House of X #1 hit the stands. And while I’m not going to spoil the story for you, I will say go back and look at the most famous time she put this costume back on. That should help.
And to answer the other part of your question directly, Dauterman is actually doing some Jean stuff now and she’s wearing a version of one of her newer suits (but colored green and gold, as all Jean costumes should be).
Archu (@Educateko) asked: What is the name of the font that you use in the cool infographics in HOX and POX? And will you keep using them in your run in X-Men?
And Jacob (@crimson_sphinx) asked: Any reason you chose to use the ultimate type font? I assumed it would be something to do with the story but that wasn’t the case so far.
Jonathan: We ended up using Helvetica Now and Helvetica Monospace for our design fonts. These were not Tom’s original choices (I think those were Replica and Akkurat Mono), but it’s where we ended up.
And yes, we’re all doing data pages in our X-Books.
As for why we use a mixed case font instead of an all caps font for our dialogue, sorry to disappoint you, but there is no story reason for that, it’s purely practical.
I noticed a couple of years ago that you could stick more words in a smaller balloon if you used a mixed case font and so I made it standard for all my books.
I like looking at a page and seeing the finished art not the word balloons. FIGHT ME.
Adam Henderson (@SGT_KILR) asked: Is Goldballs considered an omega level mutant? He can create the balls without limit which matches your description.
Jonathan: The list of Omega Level mutants is complete and set in stone. Anyone who isn’t on the list isn’t one, and there won’t be any new Omega Level characters created for quite some time. There are way too many overcooked characters as is right now.
It’s probably the second worse thing we do after breaking things for dramatic, and not story, reasons.
(That last bit is why one of our rules for the X-Office is be additive, not destructive. Don’t just break things, build them.)
Joe Glass (@JosephGlass) asked: If one of the laws of Krakoa is “Make More Mutants” how does that work for gay mutants like Iceman, or mutants who don’t wish to have children? Are they breaking a cardinal law of Krakoa by refusing to participate in that?
Jonathan: Well, obviously, ‘Make More Mutants’ is a play on ‘No More Mutants’ so any confusion about this comes from me loving the poetry of how the three laws sound when you read them together instead of them being the actual codified laws with restrictions and provisions and what not.
Saying that, even a strict reading of the law doesn’t change the fact that I showed you three (four if you were watching closely) ways that mutants can reproduce and only one of those is in the ‘traditional’ hetro manner (that’s also leaving out pretty commonplace practices like IVF and surrogacy, which seem to me to support the spirit of the law).
Also, no, I don’t think not wanting to have kids is against the law (but I do however think that this wouldn’t be a popular sentiment in the world that we’ve built).
And this is tangential, but in that vein, I do want to point out that story-wise we’re also leaning into the fact that there are going to be thousands of mutant children showing up on Krakoa in search of their mutant family. So while a spirit of adoption isn’t really what you were asking about, I do think it matters contextually as what we’re talking about here is a communal parent/child relationship and what flows from that into the next generation.
Hope that answered your question.
Mitchell Haddad (@mitchhimself) asked: I want to ask Hickman if he believes the sum total of backed up memories and psionic engrams is the same as a mutant’s soul? I love this series but the scene with Storm welcoming the resurrected back sits uneasily in my mind.
Jonathan: The afterlife is ‘technically’ part of Marvel continuity (and Jack Kirby is ‘technically’ ‘God’), so if you want to make an argument that there’s strict Judeo-Christian set of post-death rules for a resurrection to result in a soul-reclaimed and soul-equipped being, then cool.
The problem is that we don’t do that. Almost every single character death we undo, or character we bring back through whatever story construct or general shenanigans doesn’t go on a soul quest to recover their essence (in the past, yes, sometimes, but not anymore–imagine if we did that nowadays in our current death-resurrection cycle, that’s a lotta issues).
Now, if you want to make the argument that recovering your soul is a lot like William Gibson’s explanation for jet lag (souls don’t travel at the same speed as planes so jet lag is just your body waiting for the soul to catch up), and it’s just floating around waiting to reattach itself to it’s rightful reanimated host, also cool.
But if that’s the case then what about duplicate copies, which one gets the soul? I dunno, that sounds like a story to me, but that’s also why they’re not allowing copies of characters on Krakoa. But what if there’s a mistake and you think someone’s dead, but make a copy anyway? Well, again, that sounds like a story… and we even have a series built around resurrection problems coming out next year.
The broader point is we bring back characters all the time in much less elegant ways, and this one is actually based on an experience Professor Xavier had in earlier X-Men comics, so it makes sense he would think of something like this. He knew it worked.
As for the reason it seems creepy, well, it feels that way because we did all the resurrections at (generally) the same time and presented it as a ceremonial. It feels religious. It feels other. It feels terrifying. Unless you’re them, and then it feels ascendant.
It feels like victory.
Anyway, the issue you’re looking for is (I think) X-Men #7 (it’s the one with Apocalypse and Nightcrawler on the cover). This will cover all the life-death-resurrection-soul questions.
Marvel Mythos Podcast (@marvel_mythos) asked: Will any of the Dawn of X books cover the gap between AoX/Uncanny and the beginning of X1? More specifically, will we see how Storm, Cyclops, Jean, etc. were recruited to the cause?
Jonathan: Good question. In the same way that we aren’t going to be doing alternate reality stores or time travel stories, we’re also not going to be doing pre-Krakoa stories.
Now, I know why you’re asking, because there’s A LOT of meat on the bone regarding not only the recruitment of particular X-Men to the cause, but also there are some pivotal ‘reunion’ scenes that we skipped over.
It’s my argument–and argument that I’ll win–that those scenes (where the characters were) will have more power if presented in juxtaposition to later scenes (where the characters are now).
I would expect some of that, but only when the time is right.
Spooky Skeletor (@SexySkeletor13): How do you respond to the claims some fans have that the X-Men are the “bad guys” now? Does that seem like a fair assessment to you?
Jonathan: Well, I think it’s fair for people to ask the question.
I like writing stories that force readers to take a hard position. I’m okay if dueling fans argue about who’s right and who’s wrong, I don’t mind if they fight about it. The more passion the better.
If you read House of X and came away thinking the mutants are the bad guys, great. If you read the book and think they’re the good guys, super. I’m fine either way.
It’s worth pointing out that I intentionally didn’t start this as an X-Men story. It’s broader than that. It’s a story about mutants. All of them, and what their place is in the world–and in the Marvel Universe.
How you read that is, of course, something I’m at least partially responsible for, but because of how it’s constructed, it’s also about you and how you perceive these things.
Which I think is fun and how stories should be.
Erik Eliason (@erik_eliason) asked: A lot of writers in the line of X-Books have talked about the level of collaboration in the line and how it’s higher than what they’ve dealt with at other companies. I was wondering if you could reflect on what that looks like and what brought about that focus.
Jonathan: We knew we would only get one shot at this so we decided not to f--k around.
AiPT!: What a note to end on! Thank you, Jonathan for the in-depth (and in some cases, very revealing) answers! And thanks again to all the X-Fans who submitted questions! I think we can all agree, this is one X-Men Monday you’re going to want to read a few more times.
And remember–the X-Men fun doesn’t end here. Be sure to visit AiPT! tomorrow for Day 2 of X-Men Week!