Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
We did it, X-Fans, we survived the experience that was the Hellfire Gala! Of course, I can’t say the same for Wanda Maximoff… or Pete Wisdom… or Christian Frost… or Scout. But, they’re mutants, right? They’ll be back. It’s fine.
What’s that? Wanda’s not a mutant? And Gabby’s a clone?
Well, at least Pete will come back — who doesn’t love Peter Wisdom?
Before I start a riot, let’s bring in X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White for X-Men Monday’s final Hellfire Gala-focused edition, where we reflect on the final week of this game-changing party and what tease lies ahead for mutantkind.
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Jordan! The current X-Men era has embraced the mission statement of being “additive.” So with that said, and now that X-Factor has come to a close, what did X-Factor add to the X-Men mythos you’re most grateful for, from an editorial perspective.
Jordan: Well, it’s a really unique series. We went into it going, “Can we do a procedural mystery or procedural investigation series?” And we did, and it was really fun. And Leah Williams brought the same thing to it she always brings, which is amazing character work, getting really in-depth and into the heads of those folks and bringing some more obscure characters to the forefront and really letting them shine in ways that I think made people who didn’t care about those characters now have new favorites, which is always awesome. So on the specifics for the characters, I think it did great for them, but for the whole line, again, I think it added this idea of kind of X-Factor as an investigative organization, which we’re continuing to utilize in The Trial of Magneto.
AIPT: In Leah Williams’ note at the end of X-Factor #10, she mentions the team’s “last” investigation will take place in The Trial of Magneto. X-Fan LuckyMe was wondering if the team will still be operating on Krakoa after this series ends?
Jordan: It remains to be seen. I mean, anything is possible. Obviously, if you are a fan of the series, do your best to support it, or rather, I’m not asking you to go out of your way to support it. I mean, do the thing that you already are hopefully doing — buying and reading the stories. That’s the most obvious way. If folks really dig The Trial of Magneto, then yeah. There’s no saying anything can happen. X-Factor could be back or in a new form. Who knows — but I can’t talk about that yet.
AIPT: We got a glimpse of Magneto and Polaris’ relationship as father and daughter during the Hellfire Gala. X-Fan TripleThreat was curious what your thoughts are regarding Magneto’s relationship with Lorna, and how do they compare to his feelings toward Wanda, which we caught a glimpse of in S.W.O.R.D. #6?
Jordan: It’s interesting, right? Because in some ways, his relationships with them are full opposites, right?
AIPT: Polar opposites…
Jordan: That’s really funny. Well, right, because Wanda was introduced not as his daughter, but then was revealed to be his daughter. And then, for many, many years that relationship was embraced. I mean, it’s not like they were a happy family or anything like that, but they were known to be his children. And that was a thing that was talked about and discussed a lot. And then suddenly, they were officially revealed to not be his children. And that is where we currently stand.
Whereas with Polaris, she was first introduced as his daughter, I think she was, but then doubt was almost immediately cast upon it. And then for tons of time, it was like, is she? Isn’t she? Kind of just existing in this unconfirmed state until eventually I’m pretty sure it was in Peter David’s X-Factor that it was finally eventually confirmed.
It is definitely true. He’s definitely her father. And now she’s the only biological daughter he has, which is weird. I mean, those two paths their relationship took color them completely. Again, for so long, I felt like him and Polaris had a very minor relationship. Or sometimes, even a contentious one, because she would be claiming he was her father and he would be denying it or things like that. In some ways, it almost has felt like him accepting her as his daughter and treating her more like his daughter is almost in reaction to having lost the other children. But who can say? I will say we will see more interrogation of those relationships in The Trial of Magneto for certain.
AIPT: And Zaladane was in the mix for a time. Do you remember Zaladane?
Jordan: Oh, goodness gracious.
AIPT: She was possibly connected to Polaris and Magneto.
Jordan: It’s been so long.
AIPT: She was in the Jim Lee Savage Land story.
Jordan: Yeah, yeah, yeah — I’m looking at some pictures of it now.
AIPT: I only bring this up because Zaladane is mentioned on every episode of the Cerebro podcast. I even got a Zaladane question for X-Men Monday recently and I had to go back and see if she was mentioned in one of the Hellfire Gala issues.
Jordan: Well, I guess I’ve just spoiled that there’s no Zaladane content in The Trial of Magneto, because I have not thought about Zaladane in a very long time.
AIPT: [Laughs] OK, switching gears, in X-Men Monday #67 — you remember X-Men Monday #67, right?
Jordan: Oh, of course!
AIPT: Leah Williams said, “I’m going to make you love Daken so hard that we’ll revisit this question with laughter in a few months.” Similar to Apocalypse, Daken is a character who seems to have a new lease on life and outlook thanks to Krakoa. What are your thoughts on Daken’s growth as a character?
Jordan: Yeah, well, he’s a character that’s always been very complicated. I mean, he’s certainly always been of questionable morality in the whole time we’ve presented him, but I think a lot of that was driven by, you know, his circumstances and his life and his relationship with his father. But even those things have changed quite a bit over the years. I mean, in some series he has come off better than others, you know, where he’s done things a little bit closer to the side of good. And then a lot of times he’ll then revert back to type.
I think that one of the things we made a conscious effort to do in this era is to introduce characters like him and Apocalypse and, you know, traditional villain characters into the teams because that’s going to be the heart of a bunch of good drama, right? I mean, these are people who have goals in alignment right now, but they don’t always have alignment in the way that they did it.
I mean, that’s the story of Magneto, right? That’s the story of Magneto and the X-Men the whole time. They both want what’s best for mutantkind. They have different ideas about what that is at points. And they have definitely different ideas about how to achieve it most of the time. But every once in a while they don’t, right? Sometimes he joins the X-Men and then a lot of times he becomes their opponent again, and then he joins them again. That’s really kind of classic X-Men stuff in that respect.
So having Daken on the scene is something I think that Leah pushed for. And I think that she did a great job of showing another side of him, letting him kind of let some of his walls down around Aurora and become close to her in a way that I don’t think we’ve seen him get to anyone in the past. I mean, I know he certainly had flings in other comics. I’m trying to remember if there’s ever been like a semi-serious romantic plot about him. And I can’t think of one. Again, there’s been lots of flirting. He’s always been a heavy flirting character. But I don’t remember ever seeing one where we’ve seen him so clearly have this kind of an emotional connection with someone and I think that’s great. I think that’s super interesting. And I look forward to seeing where it will go.
I do know a little bit about where it will go and where we will see it go that way. So, Daken fans, you’re going to continue to be well-served, I think.
AIPT: On that note, can you confirm whether the X-Factor cast will have homes in other series following The Trial of Magneto?
Jordan: We have a lot of plans for the next year’s worth of comics. But they don’t cover all things. And like I said, some of that is also because we’re going to see how things play out. So there’s a lot of possibilities that can still be explored with a lot of these characters. Some of them, there are specific plans for already, but that doesn’t mean that X-Factor can’t still be a thing. And it also doesn’t mean that more of them might not find other places to do things. So no, I don’t necessarily have it locked in place where all of them will be, but that’s partially because we’re still leaving room for there to be more opportunities for them.
AIPT: X-Fans Juan Camilo Arévalo and Derrick McElroy Of 1407 Greymalkin Lane both commented on Wakanda’s rejection of Krakoa’s offerings. How do you view the status of relations between Krakoa and Wakanda and could tensions continue to escalate?
Jordan: Well, obviously, the opportunity for tensions to escalate will always exist, but I don’t think that they have a bad relationship with them. I think that Wakanda does not need it. And that’s fine. I don’t think Wakanda has animosity toward Krakoa. I think they just say, “We don’t need your medicines, we don’t need your metal — we have our own of all of those things and more.” They’re not saying that to stand in their way. Although, I think that at the same time, they don’t like the idea of being blackmailed. And so they’re just stepping out of it and going, “Yeah, not us.” And by the way, I say blackmailed — that’s an interpretation.
Obviously, the things that mutantkind is offering are good. The medicines they’ve offered are very good. The metal that they’re giving is very useful. It’s saving the galactic economy. All of these things are good. And what they are asking for in return is recognition of themselves and people. So I don’t think that they are doing a bad thing by doing that. That’s not what I’m saying at all, but I do think that that is an interpretation that many have, and I think what Wakanda is leery of it, because they’re going, “We’re not going to do something because you’re forcing us to do it. We make our own decisions. We don’t need your bribes,” let’s say. “We have no need for them. So if you need to convince us, convince us a different way.”
AIPT: Makes sense. Looking back again, in X-Men Monday #104, you mentioned there’s thought going into Wanda’s status on Krakoa as “the pretender.” How far back does the plan to murder Wanda go? Obviously, “the pretender” stuff has its origins in House of X. Was this always a sort of endgame?
Jordan: Jonathan [Hickman] came in with plans for directions, but he also has been incredibly generous and incredibly collaborative. So this is not exactly what he came in with, but it’s not like he came in with a literal roadmap, you know? It’s not like he came in with a literal thing going, “So then, three years from now, we’ll do an issue that has these lines in it.” It was more like, “This is the direction, this is what I’m aiming for way down the line. This is what we’re going to be working toward.” How we get there and what exactly it looks like when we get there has always been something that’s been in flux and that is highly influenced by what all the work everybody else has been doing is as well. So is this particular thing something we planned? No, but we always knew that we were going to be building toward something big and at the very least similar for the character. It’s just, this is the way we chose to deliver it.
AIPT: Similarly, and on a deeper note, we’ve seen in the real world — very recently — how stirring the pot, riling people up and demonizing others can have fatal consequences. On Krakoa, mutants have casually referred to Wanda as “the pretender.” And now, she’s dead. Is it possible we’ll see some mutants questioning their treatment of and views on Wanda leading up to her death?
Jordan: The answer is it’s certainly something that we’ve thought about a lot and that it does affect the story. You know, we talked last week about the idea of how the mutant problem in the 616 world is very similar to some of the other larger problems in our world and the way people react to it. We’ve talked in the past about how the questionable things that happen in X-Force are similar to questionable things that happen in the service of a nation state in the real world. People talk about Krakoa and they want to be able to say either Krakoa is a paradise or Krakoa is a dystopia that is broken.
I think the answer is probably somewhere in between. And that also lies in the fact that we currently live in a broken place that could be called a dystopia if you’re in the past, you know? I think Krakoa is reflective of the difficulties of the world we live in and much like the mutant metaphor, It is not always a one for one. We live in a world where things are complicated. And sometimes the things that unite people are also the things that divide people. And sometimes the things that unite a certain group of people are very bad for other groups of people.
The idea of Wanda as the pretender — well, I don’t want to say it’s something Krakoa needed, but it’s something that developed in it at the very least. And it’s something that developed as they came together as a people. And I certainly can’t come down and say anything where a person is so demonized is great, like for sure that’s not an ideal situation. It’s the one that they live with. Did she do something that was not good to these people? Absolutely. Again, let’s let’s see what happens in The Trial of Magneto.
AIPT: Looking back on the Hellfire Gala, what are you most proud of as Senior Editor?
Jordan: Well, honestly, mostly just that we pulled it off as well as we did. I mean, listen, I’m not going to lie and say there were no mistakes. There’s at least two that I can think of. But I’ve said before every comic book that has been published has mistakes in it. That’s just how it is. No comic book is perfect. But generally speaking, the fact that we did manage to do this number of books that all take place in one night at one party, they all sync up pretty well. They all still managed to tell their own stories. You know, I don’t think any of the books were really usurped by the Hellfire Gala. Like they all still continue. You know, the S.W.O.R.D. book obviously has huge key things for the mutant nation of Krakoa story, but it also has S.W.O.R.D. the series stuff in it and the same for every single one of them.
But beyond that, I think probably the fact that we were able to do something in the realm of 60-plus new costume or character designs for the mutants and got them done early enough that we were able to reflect that across the line. In order to make that happen, we had to work on them in advance of any of the artists beginning to draw their interiors, or at least very early in the process so that we could get that entire packet of 60-something designs to every artist and say, these are the characters that you’re drawing in your issue because they’re doing things in your issue, but then they’re all at a party. So when you draw people in the background, you can’t just draw a Storm in her Storm costume, it has to be Storm in her this costume. And it was a huge amount of work from a number of people, but it turned out really well and I’m thrilled by it.
AIPT: I know there are readers who can’t stand when I ask questions that aren’t about X-Men, but you’re a human being, Jordan, not a spoiler machine. So, we all got to attend a crazy, mutant party, but what’s the best real-world party you ever attended?
Jordan: Oh, goodness gracious. That’s a good question. Well, I mean, it’s cheesy to say my own wedding, but my own wedding was pretty darn fun. I won’t count that. People will be a little disappointed if I’m just talking about all of my friends and family for a question. Well, you know what, Marvel threw a really nice party after they had a Stan Lee tribute. I don’t know if you remember, but after he died, they had a special on ABC. And part of that involved some folks speaking about him in a theater, a number of the MCU actors and Joe Quesada spoke and Todd McFarlane. They invited us all down to a Broadway theater.
We saw the show and then afterwards there was a reception in Madame Tussaud’s down in Times Square. And it obviously was a sad occasion. It was a while after he died, but we were honoring him and it was much more of a celebration. Everybody was having a really nice time. It was a beautiful party. It was Madame Tussaud’s, so it’s obviously beautiful. There was a Marvel exhibit there, so we were allowed to go through the displays in private in the nighttime. It was really neat.
There were a lot of cool people there. It was great that everybody was there just to celebrate the contributions that Stan gave to what we do, but also the whole world. And obviously, that’s to take nothing away from Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and folks like that. But that moment, we were there because Stan died. So that was what we were celebrating. I rode the elevator up with Clark Gregg, and he probably did not remember pretending to yell at me in the back of a Deadpool comic. But it was fun. There was a number of cool people there. It was a good time hanging out.
AIPT: Very nice. Finally — This is What Comes Next. What can we look forward to post-Hellfire Gala?
Jordan: I mean, that’s the thing that was fun about the Hellfire Gala — it started a lot of stuff. There was a lot of stuff that happened there that is going to continue to be relevant. Obviously, there’s the new X-Men team. There’s the fact that the Planet Arakko now exists. There’s Storm now being the Regent of the solar system, the voice of Sol. There’s England having left the deal with Krakoa. That’s going to be a big problem for them.
There’s the death of Scout. Poor Scout died, and again, will she be back? Well, there’s currently a rule that says she doesn’t automatically come back. We’ll have to see what happens. The death of Pete Wisdom, obviously. I mean, it’s not as impactful necessarily, but the poor guy got betrayed by his country.
AIPT: Can we go back to Gabby? She’s really been concerned about that whole “clones-can’t-come-back” debate.
Jordan: That’s something that they’ve been talking about for a while, yeah. Scout was kind of going, “What’s the deal with that?” Then everybody kind of went, “No, don’t worry about it.”
Oh, and the Sinister clone came back from Amenth. I mean, a lot of stuff is cooking. Next week is going to be X-Men #1. I think that’s good. People are going to really dig it. The Trial of Magneto is going to be bananas. But it’s going to be super cool. And then obviously we’ve announced Inferno, which is going to create some real problems. Mystique is pretty mad and she knows how to make things difficult for folks.
Oh, and also, side note that old Cable is back. And just to clarify, just because I saw people confused about this and we were just talking about the clone situation — the deal there is that we mentioned this in a previous Cable issue. The deal there is that there’s only one person who’s eligible for Resurrection Protocols. In order to bring back Old Man Cable, Kid Cable gave it up. So he’s no longer eligible for Resurrection Protocols. That’s the deal he made.
AIPT: Well, he better stay safe in The Summers War because this series turned me into a big Kid Cable fan. But on that note, that’s a wrap on our Hellfire Gala coverage! Thanks for taking the time to field all these questions over the past five weeks, Jordan! And thanks for these eXclusive preview images from this week’s X-Comics!
X-Fans, as I mentioned above, there have been four other Hellfire Gala-focused editions of X-Men Monday. So if you missed any one of those, here are some handy links:
- X-Men Monday #108 – Week 1
- X-Men Monday #110 – Week 2
- X-Men Monday #112 – Week 3
- X-Men Monday #113 – Week 4
And, as Jordan and I did five straight weeks of X-Men Monday interviews — plus two Marvel’s Voices: Pride editions as well (X-Men Monday #109 and #111, in case you missed them), we’ll be taking next Monday off. But, we bounced around a few ideas for who comes next, so rest assured, there’s some eXcellent content on the way, including former S.W.O.R.D. and upcoming Inferno artist Valerio Schiti! Click here if you’d like to submit a question to one of comics’ most dynamic artists.
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
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