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!
Cannonball, Karma, Mirage, Sunspot and Wolfsbane. Back in 1982, they truly were the New Mutants when their creators, Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod, introduced the next generation of X-Men. Well, that was quite a long time ago and now, in 2019, co-writers Ed Brisson and Jonathan Hickman and artist Rod Reis are ready to remind readers why these young mutants still have plenty of “New” in them!
Both Brisson and Reis were tabling at New York Comic Con 2019, so you better believe I took the opportunity to pick their brains about the Dawn of X’s take on the New Mutants.
AiPT!: Ed, do you have a favorite New Mutants story?
Ed Brisson: My favorite New Mutants story… I liked the whole Sienkiewicz/Claremont run as a whole. For me, that was sort of a formative reading experience. I was probably about 12 or 13 when that was coming out. So just that entire run is one of the most perfect comic runs of all time.
AiPT!: Have you read the recent one-shot, War Children?
Brisson: I haven’t read it yet. I got to flip through a preview copy and it looked amazing.
AiPT!: Rod, were you a New Mutants fans before you took this assignment?
Rod Reis: Yeah definitely, but mainly because of the Sienkiewicz/Claremont run. That was one of my favorite Marvel comics ever. After that, I kind of lost track of who’s dead, who’s still living–so they lost me and I’m excited they’re going to bring back the dead members–the classic group. And I’ve been talking to people about that and the fans feel the same. It’s an opportunity to come back to New Mutants.
AiPT!: The New Mutants have always been an offshoot of the X-Men, but what, in your opinion, makes this team of younger mutants stand on their own?
Brisson: Well, I think for me, originally when I was younger, what made the New Mutants stand apart or seem exciting anyways is that it felt like they were the next X-Men and you got to get in on the ground floor. Obviously, that was 30 years ago and things have changed, but I still think there’s something exciting about that. This is going to sound derogatory toward them–and it’s not meant to be–but they’re like the X-Men B-Squad and there’s something about that I like. They still have that youthfulness, that’s fun to play around with as well and they’ve still got their own drama–it’s not as dramatic romance-wise as the X-Men. So its a nice break from the romance stuff a little bit.
AiPT!: You’ve co-written with other writers on past series, such as Uncanny X-Men, but I’m going to assume writing a book with Jonathan Hickman is a very unique experience. What’s it been like?
Brisson: Yeah, it’s the worst. [Laughs] It was strange. It worked a lot different than how I collaborated in the past in that he had a rough idea of where the first issue was going and he sent me a rough outline. I did an outline, sent it back to him, got notes and I wrote a script, sent it to him then he took a stab at the script… so it’s a weird process for me. It’s always interesting to work with other writers and see how they work and what their process is like, you know? You can do far worse than working with Hickman and seeing his process.
AiPT!: Did he send charts?
Brisson: I did not do any charts. I think it’s just we’re very much different writers, and he’s like this global-view writer with all the politics and stuff and I’m much more a through-the-kitchen-window sort of guy. So it’s just kind of seeing how those things play off each other and it’s really interesting.
AiPT!: I want to talk about some of the characters you’ll be using. For instance, how does having characters from Generation X in the mix add to the New Mutants’ team dynamic?
Brisson: I think like, you’ve got new characters in the mix who don’t have the same shared history, bringing their own hopes of being X-Men. I think it will be interesting to see how that rubs against the New Mutants. And going forward, the plan is to constantly mix up the team and change up the dynamics all the time, so I think we’ll be looking at how do the Generation X characters and New Mutants characters and all the other characters we want to bring in play off one another, which I don’t know if that answers your question, but taking some of the characters like Chamber and Mondo and what’s out of place for them is incredibly interesting. I think it’s a good way of evolving the team a little bit and not just being this one class of future X-Men.
AiPT!: Did Matthew Rosenberg killing off Chamber almost ruin your plans?
Brisson: Eh… he’s an a-----e. [Writer Note: Matthew was standing next to us–it’s just jokes, folks!]
AiPT!: And then you’ve got the Starjammers. What do you love about Corsair and his space pirates?
Brisson: Yeah, the Starjammers stuff is fun, just crazy space pirates doing weird, underhanded stuff in space. It’s fun, they’re doing some heisty stuff and I’m taking the crime stuff I do and just moving it somewhere else. Yeah, their personalities–there’s a lot of clashing between them and the New Mutants. It’s a lot of fun.
AiPT!: I love seeing Rod draw Corsair’s costume–that classic look that never changes.
Brisson: I feel like there are some characters that just stick with their ’70s look–you always see those dudes with their tour jackets that they’ve had since the ’80s. I love it.
Reis: It’s a lot of fun. I did Hadrian’s Wall for Image with Kyle Higgins, so I had a chance to draw a lot of space ships and planets and sci-fi stuff and I love it, so it’s a chance for me to draw that kind of stuff again and I’m trying to have a retro spin on it. That’s what I like too. I like sci-fi. I like to draw sci-fi, but if I can do it more retro-weird, it’s more fun.
AiPT!: That’s neat–so we can expect retro space ships?
Reis: Yes yes–not only am I doing that, but the aliens. Sometimes I try to make them look like rubber costumes.
AiPT!: Very fun. Ed, the cover to New Mutants #4 features Maxime and Manon. Is it safe to assume readers will continue to learn more about these two and possibly their parentage in this series?
Brisson: Oh yeah, that’s a plan–I think that sometimes in X-Men comics, there has been a little tendency to introduce characters and abandon them. Since Maxime and Manon are two characters that Pepe Larraz and I introduced in Extermination, I didn’t want to just leave those characters and found an opportunity to bring them in and show who they really are and what they’re really about. The parentage thing is like, really just this mystery I’m going to leave for awhile because I kind of like people guessing. I’ve seen some pretty intense essays, like critical papers on who their parents are and why and here’s proof through the history of X-Men, and I kind of like to keep people guessing in that regard. But they’re two very fun characters to write.
AiPT!: So you know who their parents are?
Brisson: I do.
AiPT!: Also on that cover: Glob. Did you even have to ask for permission to use that character or is it a given that so long as you write for Marvel, you just control Glob’s fate?
Brisson: I hope so, I love glob a lot.
AiPT!: Is Glob part of the team?
Brisson: So they’re like a B-Squad for the New Mutants, with Armor sort of heading up what’s essentially a welcome wagon and just kind of finding mutants they know are out there. In this case, it’s a mutant they know hasn’t come to Krakoa. They say, “Hey, it’s so great on Krakoa, why don’t you come”? They basically find out why the person didn’t come. But I don’t want to spoil who didn’t come.
AiPT!: Having Armor lead this group–is that following up on her clashing with the older X-Men in “X-Men Disassembled”?
Brisson: Yeah, well that’s one of the things we really wanted to do in Uncanny. We talked about just building Armor up. I feel like she’s got a lot of leadership potential and this is definitely following up on that. She’s taking initiative to find these mutants and help usher them into Krakoa. Obviously things go real bad, but yeah, that’s kind of right now their mission. They’re trying to find out where these mutants are and why they have not come in and sometimes there’s some real nasty reasons why they haven’t come in and they have to contend with that.
AiPT!: Well, I look forward to finding out what those reasons are. Thank you, both for taking the time to chat about New Mutants!
Be sure to return to AiPT! tomorrow for X-Men Week: Day 6!