Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
Or… maybe this an adjectiveless edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT, because this week, we welcome legendary X-Writer Fabian Nicieza! I first spoke to Fabian way back in 2018 when we revisited the wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey in the iconic X-Men #30. Then, we talked again a year later–this time about Scott’s space brother that never was, Adam-X the X-Treme! We finally got to meet in person later that year at New York Comic Con 2019, but it’s high time Fabian got an X-Men Monday all to himself!
Fortunately, Fabian’s returned to Marvel’s X-Men line to bring us a new, five-part Juggernaut mini-series illustrated by the gifted Ron Garney (who’s also appeared in a past edition of X-Men Monday). So, before Cain Marko’s new comic hits shelves September 23, get up to speed on all things Juggernaut with the writer behind some of your favorite ’90s X-Men and X-Force stories!
AIPT: Welcome to X-Men Monday, Fabian! So, Juggernaut’s been a villain, a hero and even a member of the X-Men. What, in your opinion, makes Cain Marko worthy of his own comic (written by you, of course)?
Fabian: Well, of course, the last half of your question answers the other part. 😉
I think fans have loved Juggernaut for decades because he is like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. He is such a flawed character, insecure, awkward, sometimes-good-intentions-with-bad-results man-boy but we root for him because he fails so often it’s sad.
Plus, he’s big and cool-looking and generates a lot of rubble in his wake.
AIPT: So much has changed in the X-Men universe in just a few short months. Where’s Juggernaut’s head at when this series begins?
Fabian: Good question. His head is at, “So much has changed in the X-Men universe in just a few short months, where’s my head at?” He lost his powers and was exiled to Limbo, so how he returned and how he got his powers back seemed a good place to start.
AIPT: As this series is set in a post-House of X/Powers of X world, is it safe to assume we’ll get a bit of Juggernaut’s take on his step-brother’s actions and Krakoa’s place in the world? X-Fan Vendetta (@Eman419Boyd) wanted to know.
Fabian: Well, it’s a sore subject since Cain would very much like to live on Krakoa, but he isn’t allowed to because of that pesky not-being-a-mutant issue. The status of Krakoa, what it means to mutants and what it means to Cain, is a running thread of the series.
AIPT: Adam Reck (@arthurstacy) was wondering, with Black Tom busy on Krakoa, will Juggernaut have a new BFF in your series?
Fabian: Yes! He meets a young powered teenager in the first issue named D-CEL (for “deceleration”) who becomes sort of like Arya to Cain’s Hound. She’s a big social media girl and hanging out with Cain means more clicks for her channel, but it also gives him a purpose to redeem himself in the eyes of the general public.
AIPT: Good segue to our next question from AIPT’s own Content and Media Manager David Brooke (@Nosocialize)! In an interview with Marvel.com, you mentioned something called “RoxTube.” Dave was curious to know more about social media’s role in the story.
Fabian: As discussed, D-Cel livestreams a lot of the adventures they’re on, but it’s not really a thematic aspect of the story. But sometimes, the characters don’t know if she’s talking to them or to her audience.
So, yes, she’s kinda that annoying.
AIPT: We know the Hulk is set to appear in Juggernaut #2. Can we expect a few more major guest stars from the Marvel Universe?
Fabian: Major guest stars, I don’t know, but familiar faces, yes. Two new characters who work for Damage Control are introduced in issue 1 and run through the series; an old Captain America character appears in issue 3; an old sort-of villain who appeared in New Warriors is in issue 4. If it’s me writing, then you can expect some fun dives into the Marvel Universe.
AIPT: Ron Garney’s an artist that seems to only get better with age, and you’ve shared quite a bit of his art from the series on Twitter. What can fans expect from Ron in the visuals department?
Fabian: Ron gives you pretty much what you expect from him: fantastic art, fantastic storytelling, fantastic mood and tone, fantastic, powerful images, fantastic backgrounds and fantastic fun. Ho-hum, right? He’s been so excellent for so long that it’s almost taken for granted. He has always been amazing, now, he’s just more ruggedly handsome with age. And Matt Milla’s color art is… fantastic, too!
AIPT: Based on what I’ve seen, “fantastic” is definitely the right word for it all! I’m curious, do you have a favorite Juggernaut story of all time?
Fabian: Probably Uncanny X-Men #183 by Chris Claremont and JRJR, and also I hear great things about the upcoming Juggernaut limited series.
AIPT: As a legendary X-Writer returning to Marvel’s mutants, how does writing an X-Men story today differ from those crazy ‘90s?
Fabian: I honestly wouldn’t know, since this is only tangentially an X-Men story. It is actually more the story of what Cain Marko will do now that he can’t be in X-Men stories!
The current X-Writers room is filled with lots of talented writers who seem to have exciting, new ideas and are supervised by a smart editorial guiding hand. I’m glad they’re forging stories that are less beholden to the ’90s stuff, or the Whedon/Morrison time period.
AIPT: You’re no stranger to the convention circuit (at least, back when we had them). Is there an X-Men character X-Fans ask you about more than anyone else?
Fabian: Honestly, outside of Cable and Deadpool, probably Adam-X, because his story was never told and there was a large sub-set of X-Fans who wished it had been, or at least wished it had the chance to have been told to see how it would have played out.
AIPT: While you’re here, I’m going to ask you a random question I’ve always wondered about. In X-Men #30, the wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey, the newlyweds’ first dance is to “One” by U2. So, are Scott and Jean big U2 fans, OR was a younger Fabian Nicieza just really into U2 back in 1994?
Fabian: Besides that it was a very popular song at the time, it was also a song about Bono’s problems in his marriage and I thought its melancholy, knowing, exhausted tone was in perfect synch with the history of Scott and Jean.
AIPT: That’s good. I love them, but “exhausting” is very on-brand for those two. Finally, you’ve been doing a few tutorials on the comics craft and how to succeed in this industry. How does it feel to be an elder statesman of comics that people look up to and turn to for advice?
Fabian: Shut up. My emotional maturity remains at about 16, so I’m hip to that jazzy rock ‘n’ roll the kids are listening to.
The truth is, I am such a smart, experienced and wonderful person that I’m astonished not that people turn to me for advice, but that so many more people don’t turn to me for advice. Maybe they’re cowed by my smartness and wonderfulness, is the only reason I could think of.
What kind of way is that to end the interview? Go buy Juggernaut #1 in September. You’ll be glad you did and so will Marvel!
AIPT: I’d say that’s the perfect way to end this interview! Thanks for stopping by, Fabian–it’s always a lot of fun! Remember, X-Fans–Juggernaut #1 goes on sale September 23!
Oh, and one more thing to remember: just two installments of X-Men Monday to go before we hit our milestone 75th-anniversary edition! Here’s a live look at Charles Xavier reading my mind for a sneak preview of all the awesomeness to come:
Uh, someone wanna check to make sure he’s OK?
Until next time, stay safe–stay out of my mind–and continue to be eXceptional!