Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AiPT!
Is everybody caught up on their X-Books? Specifically Uncanny X-Men #15? I sure Hope so, because we’ll be touching on Cyclops’ shocking injury a little later on. Eye mean, who could have seen that coming?! Eye yai yai!
Oh… I’ve just been informed X-Fans don’t come here for eye puns. Sorry, X-Fans! How about an eXclusive first look at the cover to Uncanny X-Men #21 a little later on in this article? Perfect! But first, let’s dig into some answers directly from X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White!
AiPT!: Let’s kick things off on a positive note by talking about… death! We’ve seen a lot of it in recent X-Books. Marco Fari (@marcofari) was curious to learn what factors go into killing off a character.
Jordan: A lot. As I feel like I say every week in these columns, the first concern is always if it’s a good story. Why is that character being killed off? What does their death mean to the story? What happens in the story as a result of it? And then there is always the big question… how permanent is this death?
The comics industry has changed a lot since the days when Jean Grey first died–pretty much every character has died and come back to life. Just thinking about it quickly… maybe Miles Morales hasn’t? But it’s a short, short list, especially after Secret Wars. So… I think we all know that it is rare for a death to be permanent at this point. Even if it’s MEANT to be permanent, the people who intend that won’t be working on the characters forever… someone is going to bring them back. For my part, I like to try to avoid the super clunky stories where people have to bend over backwards to bring a character back to life because they were killed off with no plan. If we know going into the death how they are going to come back, that’s great. If not that, maybe there is an “out” built into the death. Or maybe the balance is that the story is actually so good and so worth doing that it outweighs that and we DO intend it to be permanent, in which case bringing them back is the problem of that poor sap in the future. It’s very much a case-by-case basis.
AiPT!: On a more positive note, some kind words from Star Queen (@geneticghost), who said: “The Shatterstar mini had a super profound effect on me and I loved it so much.” Star Queen wanted to know if there’s any chance we’ll be seeing Ric and ‘Star finally team up in a team book any time soon. Or do you think they work better carving out their own paths?
Jordan: Right now, those two are not even in the same universe… and Rictor doesn’t know about ‘Star, so he can’t vibe them back together this time. That said, I am not opposed to seeing them together in the future… it’s just too soon to say where either of them might go from here just yet.
AiPT!: Han (@gayvengerr) was wondering what happened to the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that was introduced at the end of Cullen Bunn’s X-Men Blue run.
Jordan: They were thrown into chaos when Magneto was kidnapped by Nate Grey. Some of them stuck with the Brotherhood, others went their own separate ways. Some you might see soon, others it might take a little longer.
AiPT!: Speaking of classic teams, Phil @ AlphaFlight.net (@AlphaFlight_net) wanted to know if there are any plans to celebrate or acknowledge the anniversary of Alpha Flight this year, as it’s been 40 years since Uncanny X-Men #120.
AiPT!: OK, Jordan, whatever you say here is sure to be divisive, so tread carefully. But Marvel Mythos Podcast (@MarvelMythosPod) wanted to know… who is canonically sexier: Gambit or Cyclops?
Jordan: Gambit. Come on. Look–that is not an insult to Cyclops. He’s a good looking man, and as we have covered in depth, he has no problem attracting women. But Gambit is Gambit. Sexy is his super power. Besides, Cyclops is a long-term relationship guy, a serial monogamist. Gambit is a one-night-stand. He’s all sex, no commitment. Sorry, Rogue, you know it’s true. Keep your eye on that one.
AiPT!: We get a ton of Psylocke questions, so for Betsy’s fans, I have to ask Avalon’s question (@braddocklegacy). Are there any plans to delve into Psylocke’s mindset after reclaiming her original body?
Jordan: Yep, there are.
AiPT!: Move over Betsy, because Pickles also has a passionate fanbase! ororo munroe appreciation account (@aliastager) asked where Pickles went now that the X-Men are all “dead” and their home has been destroyed.
Jordan: He started a sandwich joint in the underground shops at Rockefeller Center.
Jordan: Hm. I don’t know if I would want to redo a story? Generally speaking, I am of the opinion that if something was good the first time, it doesn’t need a remake… and I am certainly not going to call out X-Men stories I think were lousy here.
Oh, you know what? I would like to do an in-continuity adaptation of the arcade game for Pryde of the X-Men. It would be fun to figure out how to take that and make it fit into the continuity in some way, but keep it recognizable. I spent a lot of quarters on that arcade game. Hey, why don’t we have a cabinet of it here in the X-Men office? We totally should have one here.
AiPT!: Make it happen, Marvel! (#GetJordanThatCabinet) OK, so X-Men but gay (@xmenbutgay) said that a lot of younger generations have come and gone the last few years, with some characters falling aside and others taking prominence. What do you think contributes to a character’s staying power in the world of X-Men?
Jordan: Honestly, it comes back to the problem of there being too many X-Men. There are just so many. Everyone–every fan, every editor, every writer, every artist–everyone has their favorites, and because there are so many, you could poll 20 people and they could all give you a different list for their TOP 10 mutants.
The main factor in a character’s staying power is a really great story being told about them. The second factor is more than one really great story being told about them. If a story becomes beloved enough, then the new creators on the books will want to keep using the characters. I think, really, that’s why the older characters get more attention–because they come from eras when there were fewer characters, and therefore they got much more consistent panel time in good stories. At this point, there are so many characters, it’s difficult for the newer ones to get that panel time. And, as I’ve said, I am not particularly interested in forcing writers into using newer characters they are not drawn to. Ideally, a writer gets to pick what characters they want to use.
AiPT!: Today’s final X-Fan question comes from Zack Jenkins at Xavier Files (@XavierFiles), who asked what the biggest disconnect from the general audience and the vocal online fandom is. What do loud fans love but the market just doesn’t go for?
Jordan: Much like every topic when it comes to X-Men fandom… it’s not one thing, because internet X-Fandom does not agree as a whole on any one topic. Again, in that giant list of a zillion mutants, every single one has fans who are fervently passionate about them… and I will often get messages that they have become essentially “single-issue voters” when it comes to those characters. All they care about, or all the say they care about, is the treatment of their one favorite character… and that just is not how the general X-Men audience is. The X-Men is a team book, there are a lot of characters who come and go from the focus, some get the spotlight more than others… and I think that is how the general audience likes it. They enjoy the team dynamics and the themes of the series, and if one particular character is in it is less important. It would be like a Star Wars fan saying they are not going to watch any more movies that don’t have Jabba in them, or Star Trek fans saying to call them when Keiko O’Brien is back. Hopefully, what you like about these franchises is something that can transcend a single character… or ever a single team roster.
AiPT!: Before I let you go, I’d like to revisit death again… specifically the “till death do us part” line in wedding vows. Scott Summers and Jean Grey may not be in the same reality right now–but they’re both alive in some form. Are they still considered to be married to one another or did both their deaths officially end their marriage?
Jordan: Great question! I would think yes–their marriage was likely legally dissolved. Jean was pretty clearly dead for a while there, I am confident they had her legally categorized as dead and executed her will. Yes, she came back… but what matters is the legal status. Much like if a person is missing for a very long time and declared dead, their spouse is legally released from the marriage.
If you want to get even weirder when you think about it, there’s this: the wedding of these two people actually never happened. The Cyclops who married Jean died in issue #1 of Secret Wars. He was replaced by a recreated version who was created with the memory of having married her… but that event never actually happened. Has there ever been a ruling on the legal distinction between events that occurred and those that exist only in forged history and memory?
AiPT!: Uh… I’ll get back to you on that one. Finally, Scott suffered quite the injury last week. What song should Cyke listen to to raise his spirits while he recovers?
Jordan: I’ve got a double dose of They Might Be Giants for him!
First off, there’s this one, “Cyclops Rock,” which is the first that came to mind when you asked:
But if he finds that choice a little tasteless, he can fall back on their more recent “Good To Be Alive”:
AiPT!: “Cyclops Rock” has always been one of my favorite TMBG songs, so I more than approve (and I’m sure Scott would too)! Speaking of approval, I’m sure X-Fans will approve of this eXclusive first look at the cover to Uncanny X-Men #21 by artist Whilce Portacio!
And with that we bring to a close another eXciting edition of X-Men Monday at AiPT! As always, I’d like to thank Jordan for taking the time to field X-Fans’ questions. And, of course, thank you to all the passionate readers who dreamed up those questions! Get your next batch ready for when AiPT! posts the call for questions on Twitter tomorrow (April 9) and report back next Monday to see if Jordan answers your questions!
Hey Cyclops! Those songs making you feel any better?