Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT! Only nine installments to go before we reach X-Men Monday #100!
Following last week’s check-in with Wolverine and X-Force writer Benjamin Percy, it’s time to see what the Reign of X has in store for Cable and the Marauders with the always-entertaining Gerry Duggan! Hm… I wonder if he has anything new he can share about Emma Frost’s much-teased Hellfire Gala. Let’s find out!
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Gerry! In X-Men Monday #86, Jonathan Hickman used the word “expansion” to describe the Reign of X. So with that in mind, what does the Reign of X mean for Cable and Marauders?
Gerry: Well, Jonathan’s story is a great X-Men story, but we also run it as… an operating system for the line. His collaborations continue to accommodate many, many other stories. There are some stories that we’ve set up and promised you, but many more that will surprise you. If readers have half the fun that we are cooking it up, it will be special. Marauders will swap lenses and push in on what we’ve set up. Cable has a very fun trajectory through ’21. The entire line feels imbued with Kirby crackle at the moment. We’re working on four red issues for the summer.
AIPT: Kirby crackle–nice. Looking back on your Cable and Marauders runs so far, X-Fan PaleoRage was curious, who is one character you found you unexpectedly enjoyed writing?
Gerry: I answered this question last, I wanted to swish a name, but honestly I love getting to write for everyone I reach for. I begged for all of them. Boring answer, but true. I’m busy enough that the character in my head who is dying to get out that morning wins by yelling the loudest when I sit down to type. I’m very lucky in gigs and collaborators.
AIPT: During X of Swords, we saw some real emotion from young Cable, who was named “The Fool” and put through the wringer. Since returning from Otherworld, we’ve seen that Nathan has gotten a job aboard the Peak in S.W.O.R.D. At this point in the Reign of X, how would you describe Cable’s mindset?
Gerry: Inexperienced heroes are always precious resources. There aren’t enough of them, they make mistakes, they win and lose in unexpected ways. My time on Nova was special for that reason, and there are always so many young mutants. Cable is wonderful to write because he’s not just growing up in the shadows of his parents, but also what he understands he is to become. Young mutants in love at war makes for a hell of a comic, and of course, it will be an immortal comic because of Phil [Noto].
AIPT: We received quite a few X-Fan questions about Cable and Hope. So, for X-Fans Mark Abnett, Kyle Cambray and Nathan Salim, is there any chance we’ll ever see young Nathan interacting with his older self’s daughter… or is it just easier for the two to focus on their jobs and avoid any potential awkwardness?
Gerry: It’s on the drawing table now.
AIPT: Nice. And X-Fan Dave wanted to know if the Quiet Council has had any discussions about resurrecting the original Cable.
Gerry: No, not the Quiet Council.
AIPT: Interesting… Let’s shift gears to Marauders. Kate’s character arc has been one of the most enjoyable to watch in the Krakoan era (despite her murder, of course). Post-resurrection and revenge on Shaw, Kate seems a lot more sure of herself and her place in mutant society. Where would you say Kate’s head is at at the onset of the Reign of X?
Gerry: Well, certainly she and Emma have rebounded. I think she had the hardest start of any of these mutants in the Dawn Of X and was thrown a lifeline by Emma. Even though I’m wrenching on a story about a young time traveler in Cable, Marauders is the book that mines the continuity nearly every issue. Kate as the Red Queen of the Hellfire Club shouldn’t work, but it’s perfect because of the history these characters share. Kate’s more confident heading into Reign of X, and I’m really excited about the Emma/Kate/Shaw threads that will come together in 2021.
AIPT: X-Fan Sam (@AlligatorSky) loved the relationship between Iceman and Christian Frost in the early issues of Marauders. Sam was curious if we’ll see more of these two together moving forward. Anything you can share?
Gerry: I think the future is bright for both characters, wherever you may find them. Iceman has some big moments in the next few months. In Marauders, and in Savage Avengers. Christian is admittedly a supporting character, but that spotlight will find him this year, too.
AIPT: Jonathan and Jordan have been hyping exciting developments for Storm in 2021, and X-Fans Karl Bello and ororoswind were among the Storm fans wondering what you can say. As Ororo’s a regular in Marauders, is it safe to assume you had a hand in planning whatever’s coming readers’ way this year?
Gerry: Yes. I could and probably should stop there, but I will continue: when Jonathan commenced, he had carte blanche on all but two mutants. In the case of Storm, Ta-Nehisi was just starting to write her on Black Panther. We were happy to share her during Dawn Of X, but we’re only now in January of ‘21 about to hit print on Storm stories that would have made coordination a bit trickier.
The preview for Marauders #17 is out now and Callisto has sniffed out some of Ororo’s secrets. For fans, trust me, her trajectory is upward. I think when Reign Of X is in the rearview, it will be regarded as both a major expansion of mutantdom in the Marvel Universe and of the line at your comic shop.
AIPT: As long as they don’t sell out of copies before I get there. Now, in addition to multiple issues of Savage Avengers–featuring the Marauders, Cyclops and Storm–you have King in Black: Marauders #1 on the horizon. What about this Symbiote-centric event had you excited to jump in the creative sandbox?
Gerry: Crossovers are a good opportunity to tell some fun stories. In the case of both tie-ins, I think it’s safe to say we changed the lenses out from the normal wide-screen mayhem to focus more on how these things are affecting the characters, and I think those are the best use of events. For both titles, we’re getting to swivel that spotlight around, and in the case of Savage Avengers–I’m getting to borrow Deadpool from Kelly to celebrate his 30th by having an issue on stands in February. Gonna be fun.
AIPT: And speaking of crossovers, we’ve seen how X of Swords has impacted our favorite mutants, but I’m curious–did watching Vita Ayala kick ass writing an issue of Marauders or co-writing the series with Benjamin Percy impact the way you approach writing in any way, post-X of Swords?
Gerry: Sure. I think it was just a validation that the plan was working. Before Marauders launched, we made the case that if it hit, it could be a new legacy title for the line, and when COVID changed the shape of X Of Swords, Vita showed that to be true by writing a great Storm story, and one that is many readers’ favorite issue of the run.
The production changes brought Ben and I to the realization that we’d work faster and better by jamming on 80 pages together instead of writing 20 pages back and forth twice. I don’t know if it was less work, but it was more fun. Incredibly proud of X Of Swords, a monumental undertaking while some of us were dealing with immense hardships and changes. The collected edition is going to be special.
AIPT: As we wrap up, it’s clear anticipation is starting to build around the upcoming Hellfire Gala. As you deal in all things Hellfire, what can you tease about what’s coming our way?
Gerry: If the White Queen sends you an invitation to a party… you go, right? It’s been over a year since I was at a proper party. It will be nice to get out with everybody. The bar will be open, the fashion will be high, and the fireworks will be loud. There will even be puffins. I think the wind will be at our backs for this one, too as I think everyone will be itching to get dressed up and go out. We hope you’ll join us.
AIPT: And a follow-up question from X-Fan JustMJ04–will Emma Frost’s look at the Hellfire Gala be iconic?
Gerry: Jumbo never shows me a work in progress. You’d have to ask Russell [Dauterman]. He’s tight with him.
AIPT: Well, since you invoked his name, Gerry, I reached out to Russell Dauterman for a response. Russell responded with the following:
AIPT: The perfect reply–thank you, Russell! And, of course, thanks to Gerry for taking the time to chat. Oh, and how could we forget X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White, who supplied these eXclusive preview images from upcoming Cable and Marauders comics? I’m just so thankful!
Good drinks, cool jackets–love it. Thanks to all the X-Fans who submitted questions for Gerry and thanks in advance for the questions for next week’s edition of X-Men Monday (told you I was thankful). As many of you are already aware, next Monday, writer Tini Howard is stopping by to share what the Reign of X has in store for Excalibur.
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
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