Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
Scott Summers, Bobby Drake, Warren Worthington III, Hank McCoy and Jean Grey–the original five X-Men, aka, the “O5.”
I love them–always have. Wolverine? Gambit? Jubilee? Pfft. Growing up, my favorite characters on X-Men: The Animated Series were Cyclops, Jean Grey and Beast. What kid doesn’t love the adults in the room?
So yeah, 70 editions into this column, I was very eXcited when X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White agreed to answer some X-Fan questions about the mutants who started it all (no offense, Neal Adams‘ First X-Men!). And be sure to stick around until the very end for some eXclusive preview images featuring the O5–and the Cerebro-helmeted mastermind who brought them all together way back in 1963!
AIPT: Welcome back, Jordan! The O5 have appeared in several series together: the first X-Men adventures, X-Factor, X-Men: First Class, X-Men Blue and so on. Which of these series has been your favorite and why?
Jordan: Probably my favorite is the X-Men: Season One OGN, aka X-Men: Uncanny Origins because I was lucky enough to get to work on it. That one was Dennis Hopeless and Jamie McKelvie telling a story of the O5 that dances between the raindrops of the original comics with the knowledge of the characters and history that the decades that followed provide.
If you don’t know, I’ve actually started reading the original X-Men series one issue every workday and tweeting about it. I’ve been doing it for over a month now. It’s interesting to see how SLOWLY the things we now take as fixed and true enter into the story. When the series began, the characters were absolutely shadows of who they are now. I think Season One did a great job of filling them out into the characters we know and love during those classic stories.
Similarly, X-Men: First Class did the same, taking the fully fleshed-out characters and giving them new stories set back in the day. I think it was always a little unclear if those stories were in continuity or not, but I loved reading them. I got to work on the Uncanny X-Men: First Class and Wolverine: First Class books a little, which was fun, but I don’t think I worked on the O5 version. So those are probably my favorite versions–Season One and First Class.
AIPT: Those are great picks–I love X-Men: Season One and it’s just gorgeous to look at. I was also a big fan of All-New X-Men and X-Men Blue. You’ve mentioned you’re not a big fan of alternate X-Men making their way to the regular universe. How did you feel about the time-displaced X-Men coming to the present from a story and character-development perspective?
Jordan: I thought it was great! BUT, the one thing is that I think it worked because it had a resolution. I love time travel stories, but I get really picky about them in that I want them to make logical sense by their own rules. There are parts of the story of Time Displaced O5 that don’t work, logically–I fought to make things happen differently in “Battle of the Atom,” time-travel-wise, but I was overruled. In all honesty MOST of the time people say I am crazy in regard to time travel because people just want to tell cool stories where people travel in time, they don’t want to make a logic puzzle. But it really bugs me when time travel does not make logical sense.
BUT–in the end, I think it all worked out. I know, while the kids were in the present, a lot of readers were like, “They are two different characters!” but I always maintained that they were the same character, just at different ages. I am glad that we were able to work that out in the end, getting them back to the past with their memories suppressed… AND giving those memories back to their adult selves in the end. I think it worked out nicely.
AIPT: Both versions of the character win! Now, our first X-Fan question, from Grey_life12 (@304grey_fan), is likely a controversial one–if you could swap one member of the O5 out for another X-Character, who would you swap for and why?
Jordan: Well, I would probably ditch Angel. Sorry, WWIII fans, to me he is the dud of the group. He’s kind of a generic good-looking rich guy who can fly.
Who to replace him with I have less of an idea of. I feel like most cool mutants would work. How about we have young Storm join the team back then? So before she becomes worshipped as a goddess she joins the X-Men from the beginning and gives Scott some SERIOUS challenges to his status as deputy leader of the team.
AIPT: Cut to all the Warren fans…
Hey, it wouldn’t be an X-Men Monday if someone wasn’t upset, right? OK, moving right along, Mike Thacker (@MichaelSThacker) said the O5 have always felt like a family, especially during the X-Factor years. Do you think this dynamic still holds? Or have these five moved past the family dynamic?
Jordan: Oh, I think they definitely still feel that way. I look at what happened recently between Hank and Jean in X-Force and I think you can feel that familial connection at the root of the conflict. If Hank was not someone Jean loved deeply, I think she would have destroyed him. I think the five of them share something that runs deep. ALL of the X-Men are a family, but those five have something they share under all of that and I think no matter what happens to them, they will still feel it.
Like… the X-Men feel like the family you choose, they always have… but to me, I almost feel like the Original 5 feel like proper siblings. They are all going out and finding their place in the larger X-Men and Krakoa with their friends and chosen families… but these are the actual brothers and sisters who they will be connected to forever even if they are not interacting with them regularly.
AIPT: Well, they’re like siblings… but there’s also been some romance. I’m curious, based on the O5’s various series, do you feel like it’s challenging for creators NOT to make it the Scott and Jean show, featuring three other mutants? It seems like whether they’re together or on the rocks, Scott and Jean are always central to O5 series’ action and drama.
Jordan: Well, sure–there is such a soap opera component to the X-Men that it makes sense writers would go to one of the major romances of the franchise, even if the other three boys have long since given up on wooing Jean. That said, I think there is still a lot to explore between the others because, again, their “family” unit feels even more connected than the rest of the X-Men’s.
AIPT: Speaking of Scott and Jean, we know they live in the Summer House on the Moon. Jameson (@StyXcalibur) asked where on Krakoa Bobby, Hank and Warren live.
Jordan: Oh, interesting question. I guess just… in other buildings on the main island. Well, Bobby has a nice bunk on the Marauder, but I think he must have a home on the island as well. And don’t think Warren doesn’t still have like 3 homes not on the island as well, because he definitely does. I imagine Hank’s apartment on Krakoa is not very well cared for–he’s “too busy” to get everything set up correctly or cleaned.
AIPT: While we’re talking about Hank, Adam Reck (@arthurstacy) was wondering if Beast still practices sorcery.
Jordan: I think he looks back on it as something he did when he was young and foolish. He is old and foolish now.
AIPT: In past editions of X-Men Monday, we’ve talked about how Cyclops and Emma Frost are characters who are living their best lives thanks to Krakoa and the new status quo. Would you put Iceman in the same category? Pre-Kate’s death, Bobby seemed to be thriving and very happy in Marauders.
Jordan: I think Bobby is doing well, but I don’t think he has reached his full potential yet. I think there is still more Bobby for him to discover.
AIPT: Outside of the X-Men, Scott has been a radio DJ and part of a fishing boat’s crew. Which of these very different jobs do you think he enjoyed more? Or does he only enjoy being an X-Man?
Jordan: I don’t think Scott Summers is built to enjoy things for enjoyment’s sake. I think he “enjoys” the love of his wife and children but I think beyond that, he will always feel the pull of angst. I mean… I think in many ways he “enjoys” that angst, but not in the traditional sense.
AIPT: Tim Maytom (@trivia_lad) had a fun question. If the O5 aged in real-time, they’d be in their 70s. What would life be like for the retired O5?
Jordan: I tell you, it would be fun to do an X-Men: Life Story.
AIPT: I don’t know if you just teased an upcoming project or you’re just messing around… but I want it. (CC: Chip Zdarsky) Alright, Jordan, I know you love talking music, so… the O5 are classic characters. What classic album have you been revisiting and loving while spending extra time at home?
Jordan: Inspired by Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott’s new U Talkin’ Talking Heads 2 My Talking Head podcast, I have to say Talking Heads: 77, which is their debut album. It was the first one I got into–not at the time, it was in the late ’90s, it was just the song “Psycho Killer” that convinced me to take the leap into their work. It’s a really weird, funky, quirky album but one that I got into pretty big time when I first heard it and revisiting it with the Scotts has been a great reminder of how much I loved it.
I am trying to decide who of the O5 would be into Talking Heads. Probably Hank… I want to say Scott, but I think they might not be emo enough for him.
AIPT: Note to self: Ask Jordan what Cyclops’ favorite emo band would be in a future X-Men Monday article. But that’s a wrap on our O5 edition of X-Men Monday. Thanks so much for taking the time to field these questions, Jordan–you’ve been missed ’round these parts! And I know X-Fans have missed those X-Men Monday eXclusive image teases, so without further ado…
Yes, I too am eXtremely happy X-Men Monday’s become a destination for prime Dadclops imagery.
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay safe and be eXceptional!