Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
As you’re no doubt aware, X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White got to take a week off (from X-Men Monday) so Darcie Little Badger could tease Marvel’s Voices: Indigenous Voices #1 and field your Dani Moonstar questions. If you missed that one, definitely give it a read. But that week off also meant Jordan would need to discuss not one, not two but five chapters of X of Swords! So without further ado, here’s Jordan talking–deep breathe—Hellions #5, New Mutants #13, Cable #5, Excalibur #13 and X-Men #13. Phew.
AIPT: Welcome back, Jordan! Marvel’s been teasing the sword battles to come: Captain Britain vs. Isca the Unbeaten, Magik vs. Pogg Ur-Pogg, and most recently, Cable vs. Bei the Blood Moon. X-Fan Michael Que was curious how you all decided which Swordbearers would face off against one another?
Jordan: How did we decide? Hm… I don’t know. That’s kind of like asking where do ideas come from. We just thought about what would be a good story and then the writers wrote it. There are cool things that happen in each of those battles.
AIPT: Well, obviously with characters like Solem and Wolverine, they’re kind of matched up from the get-go. Would you say that applies to other Swordbearers of Arakko? Were they all kind of designed to be opposites to the Swordbearers of Krakoa?
Jordan: No. I mean, even Solem and Wolverine, I wouldn’t say they’re designed to be opposites. Now, obviously, we’ve said he’s a foil for Wolverine and that thing about him being kind of like a Loki to Wolverine’s Thor in a certain way–they’re not brothers–spoiler.
But I think the characters came about in different ways. I mean, I think we’ve said Pogg Ur-Pogg came about in going, “We’ll have a monster. Pepe, draw someone.” And he drew someone awesome. And so then we developed a character around that awesome drawing. So some of the characters came from story ideas. Some of them came from visual things. Some of them came from things we wanted them to do in fights. Some of them came from things we wanted them to do a post-X of Swords and they were kind of back-engineered, I suppose.
So each of those, in particular, I’m trying to think if they all were the same. Yeah. Those all kind of came about for different reasons. The Betsy and Isca one has a very specific goal for what that battle is about. I mean, basically, all of them have very specific reasons why those two fight, but they’re very different outcomes as to what we get from each of them. Because I think there’s still a lot of surprises to come in this and I don’t think anybody really knows what’s going to happen–by which, I mean, I’ve seen a lot of speculation and well, certainly nobody has been right about what’s going to happen. But I think some of it, people are not even thinking in the right direction, which is good because that means we’ve misdirected them well.
AIPT: Love a good misdirection. You and I have talked before about how rather than having Alpha and Omega issues, there are beginning, midde and end issues to X of Swords. X-Fan and possible Swordbearer of Arakko, Zack “The External Sadness” Jenkins (I’m not editorializing, he chose to be identified that way), pointed out that the first portion of X Of Swords has largely been character profiles. Zack wanted to know how you all decided on this approach to the beginning of the event? And will the next portion follow it’s own theme?
Jordan: Yeah. X of Swords: Stasis is definitely a turning point where things will be going slightly differently. I mean, and again, generally speaking, I think people can tell what direction that is, but it has a different feel and different pacing and a different, I don’t want to say a different style, it’s all the same story, but you know what I mean. It’s got different goals than the first half does. And I think that that was the case all the way back to our original conception of X of Swords, even when it was two-thirds the size it is now, it was always going to be the first half is about finding the swords or training. And then the middle point happens and everything after that is the second half. So it’s going to read differently and, I will be honest with you, it will read much more as one thing.
The first half of it has been a lot of, I don’t want to say side stories because they’re not, but parts that seem a little bit like, well, OK, here’s a story about Storm getting ready. Here’s the story about Doug getting ready. But I wouldn’t think of those as separate stories. I would think of those more as when you read a good novel where there is, let’s say, more than one perspective to it that isn’t just one character you’re following the whole time. You will read a lot of times the first half of the novel–there will be characters doing things in chapters that you’re like, well, these aren’t even connected yet. And then everything starts coming together more in the end. The second half of this is going to be much more “this issue follows directly after that issue.” And again, I think in a way that will bring together all of the threads from the first half. So it is one big story and is intended to be one big story for sure.
AIPT: OK, so in Hellions #5, we saw how much Mister Sinister grates on the other Quiet Council members’ nerves. But who on the Council, in your opinion, secretly gets a kick out of Sinister’s antics at those meetings?
Jordan: Oh, who likes him? That’s a great question. Gosh, that’s so funny. I mean, probably Emma, right? Like Emma has to be like–I think she would never want to show it because she needs to keep her power over him and not make him think that he has anything that she cares about. But I’m sure that there’s a part of her. That’s like, “That’s a good one.”
AIPT: It’s funny because you look around the room and Sebastian Shaw’s also there–but Sinister makes people hate him.
Jordan: Maybe Shaw is relieved that he’s not the most hated. He’s like, “That’s good. I’m glad.” But at the same time, I don’t think he would brook any of his nonsense, like I think he’s just like “That f-----g guy.” So he’s probably relieved that there’s a worse person in the thing that everyone can just dislike more. If I had to pick who is actually more of a terrible heel, I probably would say–Oh, you know what? I was going to say Shaw. And then I started thinking about some of the awful things Sinister has done. It’s really a tough call. In this moment, I’m going to say it’s probably Shaw, but Sinister is more obnoxious. So he draws all the attention to him. And I think Shaw is happy to let that ire cross the room and just sit there and do his despicable things a little quieter.
AIPT: And one more question from the last Hellions: How did Nanny get onto that horse?
Jordan: [Laughs] Uh, Orphan Maker boosted her? I mean, like he probably did one of those hand stirrups, right? That seems like the most likely thing. Because he’s there and he’s strong. Who else? You know, Wildchild’s no help, I guess. Maybe Psylocke helped.
AIPT: Clearly you need to release a special edition with extra panels.
Jordan: If we ever have conventions again, commission Carmen Carnero to draw how Nanny got onto a horse.
AIPT: Moving on to New Mutants #13, X-Fan Miguel2004 asked if we can expect an answer to why Doug’s been hiding Warlock. In Giant-Size X-Men: Nightcrawler, Magik learned the truth, but they never got a chance to talk about it. Then in the Giant-Size X-Men: Storm, Doug used him as armor and nobody seemed to notice. Is this a future plot point or just something that was resolved between the panels?
Jordan: I wouldn’t say it’s a future plot point. I would say I’m sure more will be discussed about it, in general, but it’s not like this is a big conspiracy that everybody should be waiting for a shoe to drop. I think it has more to do with the fact that Warlock was dead and it turns out he wasn’t. And that probably was a secret that Doug was keeping. But I think that, as you’ve mentioned, the more people see that Warlock is alive–I don’t think anybody’s upset about it. They’re happy that their friend Warlock is alive. So I don’t think it’s going to be a huge issue that he kept it a secret.
AIPT: And they may not even survive X of Swords, so there’s that. OK, over in Cable #5, the Summers’ space trek to the Peak is obviously setting up the upcoming S.W.O.R.D. series, but is it safe to assume Gerry Duggan dropped some threads in that issue Al Ewing will pick up post-X of Swords?
Jordan: Yes. Although again, I’ve seen a lot of reaction to these issues, like I alluded to earlier saying, “OK, so this is really just a side thing.” But it isn’t. These aren’t side things. So you’ll see. Yes, though, for sure. As everybody has noticed, Al’s been working closely with us for a long time now. So Al is well aware of everything we’re doing regarding S.W.O.R.D. Obviously, we’re working on the S.W.O.R.D. book already. It’s not that long until it comes out. It’s going really great. And he’s got so many awesome things in place and he’ll be touching on a ton of stuff from all over the Marvel Universe. It’s going to be terrific.
AIPT: In Excalibur #13, Saturnyne refers to the Amulet as a relic. X-Fan Veitha asked if Saturnyne completely rejects Merlin and Roma now and, will we ever discover more about Merlin and Roma’s current status?
Jordan: Well, you’ve heard a bit about it in the data pages about their realms or their provinces, I suppose, of Otherworld. But yes, the balance of power has reversed. She is now the ruler of all of Otherworld. And each of them are, I wouldn’t say subservient to her, but at the very least lower on the power ranking than her. So yeah, she’s higher up in the tree of Otherworld power than they are. As a result, she does not need to bow to their ways of doing things anymore. That is, as she said, a system that Merlin set up–she doesn’t care what Merlin set up anymore. It’s now hers to set up so she can do it however she wants to.
AIPT: And speaking of those data pages you mentioned, X-Fan Jake T. said we’ve been learning about Otherworld’s status post-Secret Wars. Originally, Otherworld consisted of two islands, Avalon and Tír na nÓg, so where do all these realms come into the picture? Was the whole island of Avalon divided into 10 kingdoms or are the other nine kingdoms located outside of Avalon?
Jordan: So they’re talking about the fact that maps of Otherworld pre-Secret Wars were the British Isles, right? Otherworld has changed in a big way, though. I would say it is not that Otherworld is now the British Isles divided in 10. I would say now Otherworld is 10 times bigger than it used to be, or infinitely more than that even. Everything that we have ever known as Otherworld pre-Secret Wars is reflected in what we are calling Avalon now. And the rest of Otherworld is completely never seen before.
AIPT: Interesting. Now this next X-Fan question comes from our friend Adam Reck, and I’m just going to read it as it was written. How long has the twist that Apocalypse is actually a wimp that needs to prove himself been on the table?
AIPT: It’s a huge recalibration that simultaneously ups the stakes of X of Swords and makes us rethink Apocalypse’s entire continuity. Was this a pre-House of X/Powers of X story Bible concept or something that evolved in collaborating for the event?
Jordan: Great question. The reason I don’t 100% know the answer is because, you know, Jonathan has a giant brain with lots of stuff in it. As far as I am aware, it is something that crystallized for him in the buildup to X of Swords. I don’t think he knew that beat before when he talked about the islands being divided in Powers of X. It’s possible he did and just didn’t tell me because he thought, well, that’s far enough away that we don’t have to worry about that yet. But it certainly wasn’t anything we discussed when he did tell us that idea. That is that his wife would say, “I mean, obviously, I have to go, you’re not strong enough.” Everybody loved it and we all were like, “Oh my God, that’s amazing.” So, as far as I’m aware it came up between House of X and X of Swords in the development of it or in the buildup to it at the very least.
AIPT: So, we know changes were made to “The Hanged Man” page in the Free Comic Book Day X-Men comic. Is the same true of the page with the 10 Swordbearers of Krakoa? Also, X-Fan Anonseed246 asked if there’s a chance we’ll be surprised by the identity of the 10th swordbearer of Krakoa?
Jordan: As I’ve said before, we produced those pages very early in the process because Free Comic Book Day comes early. But let me put it this way: there are definitely folks out there who know the answer to this one who have sussed it out because all the information is right there. So they definitely have 10 magic swords that they are going to be wielding in this tournament. And the question of the 10th swordbearer, I suppose, is still lingering, but there are folks who have spotted the answer.
AIPT: Then it’s confirmed that some X-Fans may be surprised. There are a lot of fans out there.
Jordan: There are a lot of fans out there. So I’m sure, yes, from a certain point of view.
AIPT: While Juggernaut has nothing to do with X of Swords, I did receive one question about his series this week, so I figured I’d ask it. X-Fan Rob D. is wondering why Charles Xavier said Cain isn’t allowed on Krakoa because humans aren’t. But we’ve seen that some humans have been allowed on Krakoa, specifically Northstar’s husband Kyle and Jubilee’s son Shogo.
Jordan: That’s a great question. The reason I love this question is because it gives an opportunity to talk about something that I do think people have been confused about, which is the whole “Are humans allowed on Krakoa or not” thing. Because at first we were like, well, it’s for mutants. It’s not for humans. And so everybody thought it was like, OK, there’s a hard rule. Like literally humans cannot set foot on Krakoa.
Well, no, that’s not the case in the same way that my house is for me and my family. No, you can’t just come into my house. But that doesn’t mean no human being who isn’t my family can’t be in my house. I have to let you in. It’s the same for Krakoa. Why does that mean that Charles can say that? Well, because he doesn’t want to invite him. I mean, it’s that simple Northstar is like, “This is my husband. We’re going to come to the Island together.” And it’s like, yeah, of course. Jubilee’s like, “This is my baby. I’m going to bring him to the Island.” Yeah, absolutely. Broo is like, “Hey,” and they’re like, “Oh, Broo’s our bud.” Even if he’s not technically a human mutant, come on, come hang out. I think Charles in that scene is showing he cares about Cain, but not enough to go, “Hey, come live at my house.”
I think it’s that simple. You know, it’s not an easy thing. It’s not like, well, I have a connection so I can come. No, you still have to be asked and allowed and Charles is going, “It’s good to see you, but I’ll call you next time.”
AIPT: Well, there’s always Black Tom. OK, what can you tease about this week’s lone X of Swords chapter: Stasis?
Jordan: So, two days from now, Stasis comes out and it’s the only one. And like I said, it’s a big turning point. There’s a lot of really cool stuff in it. If you’ve been curious about these Swordbearers, there’s going to be a lot of fun stuff to learn in there and we’ll be moving into the next phase.
I actually also have another thing I can tease, which is fans who have been fans of X-Men for a long time, or just fans who are fans of the long history of X-Men–there is actually a big announcement coming up tomorrow, Tuesday, that I think a lot of you will be excited about. So keep an eye open for that as well. So Tuesday, a big, big, big thing that I think people will like, and Wednesday, Stasis–a turning point in the series. And then from there into the back half of X of Swords, which is going to be bananas.
AIPT: Can’t wait! Before I let you go, it is Halloween week, so what are you and your family doing for Halloween this year?
Jordan: You know, it’s funny you ask, I was really expecting there to be like very clear guidelines of like, here’s how we’re going to handle Halloween. And I don’t feel like that’s happened in my community anyway. So I don’t really know the answer, which is a little frightening because this is the first year my kid is really conscious of it. We talked to him about Halloween last year, but he was still young enough that he didn’t really understand what was going on. Now, he knows, he knows about saying trick-or-treat and he knows what candy is. And he is very excited. We got him a costume for Darth Vader. I got a giant Chewbacca onesie that I’ll be wearing to hang out. And it’s enormous. So it’s going to be a very crazy giant thing.
But we’re going to have fun, I guess there’s going to be some form of trick-or-treating. Yeah, I don’t know exactly how that will work. Assuming it’s not raining, I’m guessing we’ll put a bowl out on our front walk and like, sit very far back from it and wave to people and say, don’t take too much candy. I don’t know!
AIPT: Candy floating in a bowl of rubbing alcohol or something.
Jordan: [Laughs] Perfect. Perfect. I love it. My father suggested we get like, those really, really long tubes and like, drop candy in a tube and have people line up their bags at the other end. I honestly don’t know how it’ll work, but I guess we’ll improvise something like that. I’m looking forward to it, though, because it’s going to be exciting to dress up with him.
And I hope that we see lots of cool, excellent costumes on the internet. I know there are no conventions, so we haven’t been able to see all the cosplay there, but, you know, I hope people have cool, excellent costumes for Halloween that they all share online. That’d be super fun to see.
AIPT: For sure. Well, Jordan, I hope you and your family have a fun and safe Halloween! X-Fans, here’s your special Halloween treat directly from Jordan–six eXclusive preview images from this week’s X of Swords: Stasis #1 by Pepe Larraz, Mahmud Asrar and Marte Gracia!
Gorgeous as usual. Once you read X of Swords: Stasis #1 on Wednesday, head over to this very website and fill out the official call for questions form about the issue. You’ll have until 5 PM EST Thursday, October 29. Then, check the next edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT to see if your questions were answered!
Until neXt time, X-Fans–stay safe–VOTE–and continue to be eXceptional!
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