Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
And yes, at long last, this is the one where we finally get to talk about Storm. I’ll provide a little context for the casual reader who doesn’t have a die-hard Storm fan in their life. Ororo’s future has been teased a lot — and due to pandemic-related delays — it’s been teased for a very long time. In fact, I’ve got the receipts from this very column! Check out this exchange with Head of X Jonathan Hickman from X-Men Monday #86:
AIPT: I’m curious, who is the character every X-Fan will be talking about a few months into Reign of X?
Jonathan: Probably Storm or Nightcrawler.
Jonathan went on to add:
Jonathan: For lots of reasons (creative, logistical, etc.) we actually ended up throwing away most of our initial Storm plans, which is why it’s taken a little while to get to where we wanted to with the character. The shutdown, obviously, didn’t help with the timeline.
I actually think all of this turned out to be a blessing, however. Because the new stuff everyone came up with–and the way it resonates through the entire line–is so very much cooler than what we had initially planned for Storm. So, while it’s taken longer than we hoped, yes, you can expect some pretty big things for the character this next year, and yes, lots of changes.
Very, very excited about what’s in front of us.
Of course, thanks to S.W.O.R.D. #6, we know Jonathan was teasing Storm becoming the Regent of Planet Arakko. And now, we get to dig a little deeper with X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White to learn how this shift in Ororo’s status quo came to be, as well as what the future holds for the voice of Sol.
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Jordan! After much teasing, Storm has been revealed as the Regent of Planet Arakko and the voice of Sol. It was an awesome reveal that has many X-Fans eXcited. What can you tell us about how this plan came together?
Jordan: Well, it was ages ago, and as a result of it being ages ago, it’s difficult to remember exactly how it happened. So last week, we talked about Gerry Duggan pitching Planet-Size X-Men, right? That was in place for a long time. I can’t remember whose idea it was that after they do that, they go, “By the way, this is the capital of the solar system” — that wasn’t in the original pitch. That was something that we generated as a room that we came up with together. And as soon as that idea was on the table, the idea of who’s going to be — well, at the time we kept saying “the president of the solar system” — so who’s going to be the president of the solar system became the big topic.
But almost immediately, we went, “Well, it’s Storm, obviously.”
And as soon as we said that, it was like, “Oh my God, that is so right, that is exactly what needs to happen.” And then the rest of the stories that stem out of it started flowing immediately from there. So when I teased that, it was pretty soon after it happened. It was probably within a week or so of us having the discussion where we came up with that. As soon as that idea came out there, the entire room was energized.
AIPT: And I know Gerry has talked about how sharing Storm with Black Panther delayed things a bit.
Jordan: I mean, yeah, it was certainly complicated. Ta-Nehisi Coates had been using Storm in his book — he had been using Storm on and off since before I was even the editor of X-Men line. So, you know, we didn’t want to get in the way of the story he was telling, but at the same time, obviously, she’s an incredibly important character to X-Men. So we didn’t want to not use her. We weren’t giving her to the Black Panther office the way that she had been at one point, when she was living in Wakanda and just acting as queen pretty much all the time.
But we were happy to share because he’s doing a good story and we want to respect that. But we wanted to still be able to use Storm because she’s one of the biggest and most powerful characters around and it’s important to have her in the X-Books. I know some people don’t feel like we’ve done enough with her. Hopefully, this will change that. She’s pretty awesome.
AIPT: X-Fan25 asked if there was a specific reason why Storm, a Krakoan, was named Regent when Planet Arakko mostly features Arakki citizens. X-Fan25 said it seems a bit unfair to the Arakki.
Jordan: That’s a great question. As for why, I mean, the reason for why her is because she’s her. It’s kind of self-evident why her in some ways, like why her out of all the people we know. But why her, when most of the planet is Arakki is a really good question. That will be something that continues to be addressed.
AIPT: X-Fan Joseph Hagan asked if Storm will be moving from Marauders to S.W.O.R.D. Basically, where should Storm’s fans go to follow her new adventures?
Jordan: She bid her adieu to the Marauders in the issue before the Hellfire Gala, saying she was going to be moving on. And yes, she will become a permanent fixture in S.W.O.R.D. I think we didn’t put her on the cover of S.W.O.R.D. #7 because we didn’t want to spoil that, but she is all over that issue in a big way. That will be the first place that she begins acting as Regent of the solar system that you definitely want to check out. And then S.W.O.R.D. #8, you’ll see her on the cover fighting — it looks pretty awesome — and yeah, that is a place that she’s going to be going forward.
I should mention that S.W.O.R.D. #7 is part of The Last Annihilation crossover. Let me just say, I know some people are trepidatious about crossovers right now. First of all, it’s masterminded by Al Ewing. So, if you’re enjoying his S.W.O.R.D. run, you’ll probably also enjoy his Guardians of the Galaxy. They do deal with similar things in that they’re both about galactic politics in some ways. But in addition to saying you should check out the whole thing, because it’s actually quite good and I’ve been reading it and enjoying it, you could also just read this issue. It’s great. If you’re just a Storm fan and you want to see her first day on the job, or one of the first things she does on the job, check it out. It’s got big, big stuff and she does cool stuff.
AIPT: Very nice. Now, according to X-Fan Grey, it’s clear Captain America knows — or at least has heard — of Orchis. So, Grey wants to know why the Avengers or Earth’s other heroes aren’t actively trying to stop Orchis.
Jordan: Well, that’s a great question. First, I don’t know that it’s clear he knows.
AIPT: He overheard.
Jordan: He heard the words, we showed that happen, but I don’t know that he knows what it is just yet. Like, I don’t think it’s on his active list of threats right now. And as for why, in general, humans aren’t tackling it — that’s a really good question. And I think that one possible answer, let’s say, is that in the world of the Marvel Universe, mutants are a quote-unquote “complicated issue.”
Now, what do I mean by that? What I mean by that is — and not that I’m saying I think that both sides are right or anything like that, obviously, it’s pretty clear that mutants should be treated well — but without going into any specifics at all, because I really don’t want to, if you think about the things in the real world that people call “complicated issues” that people feel very strongly about, you can probably think of groups of people that you would think are pretty clearly evil and wonder why they haven’t been stopped.
And the answer is because it’s these quote-unquote “complicated issues,” you know, the people on the other side feel the same way. Now, I’m not going to do it, but if I want to, in my head, I could go down every complicated issue and tell you which side is right, because I have strong opinions as well, just like everybody does. So again, I’m not saying mutant-hating bigots are right — they’re not. But I think in the world of the Marvel Universe, it’s not as simple as everyone there going, “Well, if you don’t like mutants, you’re a bad person.” Just like in the real world, there are issues that seem like they should be self-evident and are not treated that way.
AIPT: And I’m sure it’s concerning for some people in the Marvel Universe watching Magneto, who they thought was a mutant terrorist, suddenly take over an entire planet.
Jordan: Exactly true. I mean, the humans — again, I don’t want to say they have a point, because nothing justifies being as terrible as the people who hate mutants have been — but there are things that mutants have done that make people uncomfortable. And that goes for everyone across the board. Steve did really beautifully show how a very moral and compassionate person could react to these things, even though they are surprising and kind of put you on your back foot, he shows that no, there’s still a good way to react to it. But I think Steve Rogers is one of the best people, right? He’s a highly moral person and not everybody gets it. So I think a lot of humans are scared by mutants — even humans who don’t hate them and are acting against them — I think they’re afraid of how big the moves they are making are. Yes, that is something that they do need to come to terms with in various ways.
Also, while we’re talking about Captain America and that scene, let me just praise Al, who did a great job on that. I know historically, a lot of X-Fans will call out the Avengers for not being concerned enough about mutant problems and saying that they are bigoted against mutants in some way. I really think Al did a nice job of showing that Steve isn’t, but that he’s just not there yet. He’s not exactly in lockstep with them because he doesn’t know what they’re doing.
AIPT: OK, moving on to another human Avenger… maybe. X-Fans Griffin and Ann wanted to know if Wanda walked through a Krakoan gate without a flower to meet Magneto, which would imply she’s actually a mutant. Or maybe she just teleported? Also, if she stepped through a gate, wouldn’t X-Force have noticed?
Jordan: We did not show her going through a gate.
AIPT: She’s standing in front of a gate, or it looks like a gate, so people assume she stepped through a gate.
Jordan: Well, listen, we didn’t show her going through a gate, whether she went through a gate or not, I don’t know the answer because it’s not something we address, but I also don’t think it really makes a difference in the sense that, would X-Force know if she came from a gate? Yes. But I think the fact that she’s there means she was probably invited and she’s not a party crasher. She’s there because she was asked to be there. And so if X-Force saw that she was there, they would go, “Oh,” rather than attack her.
In addition, like you said, she could’ve teleported there, so that’s one possible explanation. And here’s another, did she walk through a gate? Yeah, maybe she did. Does that mean she’s a mutant? Well, you’d think the answer was “Yes.” Except, as we know, she was thought to be a mutant for many, many, many years. And she was thought to be a mutant by people who have technology developed specifically for identifying mutants.
So while she is not a mutant, whatever she is, whatever was done to her, was enough to fool Cerebro, apparently. Because otherwise, all of those years, Xavier would’ve been going, “It’s weird that there’s a Brotherhood and she doesn’t fit in this at all.” Like, no, she clearly did. And so did Quicksilver. So I think there’s a good chance that whatever that is, she might be able to walk through a gate. That’s a great question and we’ll have to see if we ever get an answer on that, specifically.
AIPT: Changing gears, X-Fan Kenny asked how you felt when you heard the Onslaught pitch for Way of X. Obviously, Onslaught is a divisive character in X-History. Was this something Si Spurrier pitched?
Jordan: Great question! So, how did I feel? Super pumped and excited because it fits so well. But to answer what you were just starting to ask, was it Si’s idea? Was it in the original pitch? The answer is “No.” A lot of stuff was in place when Si brought the idea for Way of X to us, he had a lot of different ideas and the idea of a threat of the type that Onslaught currently is in that book was a part of it. But it wasn’t 100% clear who it was going to be — he was still working on it.
And that’s good, because as I said, we operate as a really great group where we bust each other’s stuff up and we throw ideas out to each other and that idea came up in the room. “What about Onslaught?” And that’s another idea that just clicked, just like the Storm as president of the solar system. As soon as they said it, it clicked because of the nature of the threat that he’s looking at and what he’s doing with it and what he wants to do with it. It was like, “Yes, of course, of course it’s Onslaught. That’s perfect.” And again, I can’t talk about where it’s going, but it all worked really well. So we were very happy.
AIPT: And then X-Fan LuckyMe wanted to know why Zorn and Xorn keep following Legion around.
Jordan: That is a good question and it will be specifically addressed very shortly. Very specifically addressed. I think it’s in Way of X #4, in fact, because I’m pretty sure I’ve already read the scene where that happens.
AIPT: OK, as we wrap up, let’s try to resolve two issues of great concern for fans of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men era. X-Fan My mutant power is spell check asked, with the Hellfire Gala ending this week and Inferno on the horizon, where are we in the grand scheme of this mutant epic? The first act? The second? Neither?
Jordan: You know, I think the answer is that those terms are obsolete at this point, that we’ve moved past that idea so far that we’re not really charting it on that map.
AIPT: Yeah, I see a lot of people bring this up and I assume Jonathan mentioned the acts initially?
Jordan: For sure. What it is is that Jonathan came in with plans. Jonathan came in with plans like he always does, but working with everybody changed his plans and they have changed to a degree that trying to apply his original act structure to it — it doesn’t work. That’s not the structure we’re following right now. It’s a new one and it’s one that he likes better. So the answer is, we’re not in an act…
AIPT: The answer is don’t worry about it.
Jordan: We’re in X-Men for all time, forever, eternally.
AIPT: And then X-Fans Miguel2004, Griffin and AdamTheUncaring are all concerned that Jonathan Hickman’s time with the X-Men is ending after Inferno. Should these X-Fans keep worrying or should they relax?
Jordan: They should relax, but you know, you’ll see. The answer is you’ll see where we are and big things are going to happen in Inferno in more ways than one. And you’ll get more information about Inferno pretty soon — relatively soon — before it comes out for sure. But don’t worry. We do have a lot of stuff mapped out. We do have a lot of plans that Jonathan has been working on with everybody and yeah, you’ll see. And you’ll find out more very soon.
AIPT: Finally, a new segment: This Is What Comes Next, in which you tease what comes next… as in this week. So we’re ending the Hellfire Gala in X-Factor #10, but we’ve also got Cable #11. That’s not part of the Gala, right?
Jordan: It’s not, it’s not part of the Gala, but again, it is listed on the chart, but that’s because it’s the release order, that’s just when it’s coming out, it’s part of the Krakoan experience. It is the second-to-last issue of Cable, so it’s a very good one, but it’s not at the Gala. The last part of the Gala is X-Factor, the final issue of X-Factor. That’s pretty exciting, it’s got some awesome stuff in it, including — well, how can I say this without saying it. [Laughs] Let’s say a surprising reversal of something. Something that happened that people were like, “Oh, I understand that,” is now going to be turned completely on its head in reverse. I think.
AIPT: I don’t know what that could be. But I do know that the scandalous romance you teased was Dazzler and Doctor Nemesis, right?
Jordan: Yeah, that was crazy, man. I couldn’t believe that was happening. I was like, “WHOA,” it was scandalous.
AIPT: And we learned that Stacy X’s powers only give a little nudge, so Nemesis does have real feelings for Dazzler, right?
Jordan: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Listen, I’m not saying it’s healthy, it’s not. But that’s why he was such a jerk about it. That’s why he was being so negative, because he’s not a guy who likes his own feelings.
AIPT: [Laughs] I never thought we’d be talking about Dazzler and Doctor Nemesis.
Jordan: Well, that’s why it was very funny. I think it was very soon after I read the script for this issue that you asked me that question, it was like, again, probably within a week that you asked me, “Are there going to be any crazy match-ups,” and I was just like, “Yeah, here’s one nobody’s going to see coming.” Like, “I just read one, oh my goodness.” So there you go.
AIPT: You never know what those wacky mutants are going to do next. What I do know is that’s all for now. Thanks for taking the time to chat, Jordan, and thanks for these eXclusive preview images!
Isn’t it nice to see Scott and Jean happy together?
Actually, don’t answer that. Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
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