Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
And, for the second week in the row, X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White! (You did read last week’s special Halloween edition of X-Men Monday, right?)
I’ve been loving Inferno and all its fiery twists and turns, so it’s definitely a shame there’ll be a bit of a wait for the next chapter (more on that later). But the chance to chat about each issue with the series’ editor has been an eXtra special treat. If you missed our Inferno #1 discussion in X-Men Monday #127, definitely give it a read. As for our discussion of Inferno #2, well, that begins right… now!
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Jordan! Let’s kick things off with a question X-Fans Emmanuel and Cifrazinho both asked: How did Hope use the Cerebro helmet to resurrect Destiny if no telepaths were present?
Jordan: Good question. First of all, define “present.” Second, the island is full of telepaths. There are telepaths every five feet — come on. And also, it depends on exactly how her powers are working. Her powers have grown and changed over the years. There’s nothing saying necessarily that maybe she can’t tap into power she’s used in the past. That’s probably a bit much to just infer from nowhere, though. So I think it’s more likely to say there are telepaths nearby. There are always telepaths nearby. There are so many telepaths just in the Council alone. I’m not worried about it.
AIPT: I mean, obviously it worked.
Jordan: It worked. I mean, the real answer is that Mister Sinister was hiding in the corner, spying on them and she accidentally tapped into his telepathy. Did you know he was telepathic? Of course he is. Everybody’s telepathic, don’t worry about it.
AIPT: So, before Inferno, it felt like if Mystique couldn’t resurrect Destiny, she would burn Krakoa to the ground. In Inferno #2, we see Mystique swaying Exodus to her cause through the prospect of a prophet who could explain how best to safeguard Krakoa’s future and uplift it. Does that mean Mystique does value the promise of Krakoa — just possibly under new management?
Jordan: Well, I think that remains to be seen. You know, it’s funny. I think a common difficulty that we face as comic creators is readers are very credulous. If a character says a thing on-page, we will absolutely hear back from readers going, “No, it was said that this happens.” And I think it’s important to remember who is the one saying it. This is Mystique. Do you think there’s anything she would not say to get Destiny back? Like, I would not be shocked.
I mean, she tells Sebastian that Emma will vote “no.” That’s a lie. She’s guaranteed she’ll vote “yes.” She just flat-out lied to Shaw because she was like, “Shaw will get pleasure out of this,” but that won’t happen for him. But who cares? So I think it remains to be seen, and you’ll see there are still more issues of this to go. And then, you know, lots of comics thereafter as well. So there’s a lot of potential for how exactly that will play out.
AIPT: I think that’s a scoop. Marvel will continue to publish X-Men comics after Inferno.
Jordan: Oh gosh, I spoiled it. Dang it.
AIPT: Speaking of Mystique and Destiny, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen them as a couple on-panel. And the fact that they can finally be an official on-panel couple is also something. It’s hard not to root for them. There are so many iconic X-Couples — what do you, Jordan, love about this particular pairing?
Jordan: Oh, well, I think the main reason everybody is so excited for them is their incredibly powerful devotion. I don’t know exactly how many years it’s been for Mystique since Destiny died. But it’s been years and she hasn’t moved on. She’s like, “No, I’m doing everything I can to get her back because I believe that can happen.” So it’s easy to get swept up in that, absolutely. It’s very enthralling. Not to mention the fact that they have been a couple for — oh God, I don’t even know how many years — they met in the Old West or something like that.
AIPT: Well, weren’t they contemporaries with Sherlock Holmes?
Jordan: That is certainly the implication of that, yes, Destiny went up against Sherlock Holmes. But I think there was a scene in X-Treme X-Men where we see them meeting in the Old West. So again, a long-ass time ago they were together as a couple. The point is they’ve been a couple for — well, with the sliding Marvel time scale, that means they were a couple for over 100 years, probably, or around 100 years. Let’s say around 100 years, which is also impressive and awesome. I guess it also helps explain why she is so devoted to her and convinced that she can get her back. They’ve already been through so much. It’s fascinating.
It’s also really cool to see something that was only allowed to be implication finally be able to be on the page and embraced as the story it always was intended to be. That’s great. That’s really awesome to be part of.
AIPT: Definitely. Now, X-Fan Mike Trobaugh pointed out that in Inferno #2, Mystique, as well as Xavier and Magneto, work to rally Council members to their cause. What do you think made Mystique’s approach so much more successful?
Jordan: Oh, that’s a good question. I think the answer to that, though, is for all the nefarious things we’ve kind of seen Xavier do over the years or for all of the, you know, politicking we’ve seen him do — at the end of the day, he’s still at his core an idealist, right? He still believes that they’re doing what’s right. And I think he relies a little more on, “We need to do this because it’s what needs to be done” rather than “We need to do this because here’s a present.” [Laughs] Or something like that.
Whereas Mystique only cares about her own outcome. She would say or do whatever she needed to do to get Destiny back and into power and get revenge. So yeah, I think that she doesn’t care. There’s no line, she wouldn’t cross — all means are justified for her ends. Whereas in Xavier, even though he has made some questionable decisions, he has lines he won’t cross and things he won’t do and counts on people to understand their responsibility, which Mystique couldn’t care less about.
AIPT: And you see that when Xavier and Magneto are talking to Moira in this issue.
Jordan: I mean, she just tells Magneto, “Just kill her, you can kill her, right?” And he’s like, “No, it’s a council, we have rules, it’s a society.” Which is amazing to see Magneto say.
AIPT: Magneto is really growing up. So, Nightcrawler and Mystique have never been as close as Rogue and Mystique. I thought it was interesting to see Kurt vote “yes” to please his mother. Are we to assume Krakoa has allowed Mystique and Nightcrawler to heal old wounds on some level? Or is this just Kurt being Kurt?
Jordan: I think it’s more likely it’s just Kurt being Kurt. He wants to see the best in people, he wants the best for people and he believes in Krakoa. And he believes in second chances and he believes that, like you said, that it does bring out the best in people and we’ve all forgiven. They put Mystique on the Council. So as a society, they’ve kind of said she has this opportunity to do what’s right. So I think he’s giving her that chance more than maybe it was advisable.
AIPT: OK, onto Inferno #2’s shock ending. Colossus has a complex publishing history, loaded with questionable moments. Yet, the former X-Men on the Council happily vote for him to take a seat at the table. In-world, why do you think characters like Nightcrawler, Storm and Kate would happily vote for Peter?
Jordan: Honestly, I am shocked at this question. I am scandalized by this question because we’re talking about in-world. Now in our world, I still judge him harshly for breaking Kate’s heart because of Zsaji, I have lots of reasons to not elect him. Well, that’s the main one. But in-world, I feel like every character has their struggles. Every character has their moments of failure. Every character has their times when they let people and the world down. But I think that generally speaking, he is portrayed in-world as a gentle and considerate soul, you know? If anything, my anger toward him in Secret Wars is because he’s too sensitive, he’s too given over to his emotions, let’s say. His emotions that happened very quickly in that comic.
But yeah, he’s an artist, he’s sensitive, he thinks about things, he feels things. Even Kitty, who decided she didn’t want to marry him, still thinks he’s a good guy. And I understand why I liked him in the first place and what everybody likes about him and why they trust him. They think he’s a good person who will do what’s right.
Who was it in X-Force that was like “Put Colossus on the team?” Was that Jean?
AIPT: Yeah, that was Jean.
Jordan: When Jean left, she was like, “Let him be there because he’ll at least try to be the best of you in the way that I was until I couldn’t bear it anymore.” I think that in-world, he is thought of as a really good guy with a kind heart and a good soul.
AIPT: So that’s what his peers think. But with Xavier, Magneto and Moira, it’s more like, “He’s a good guy… and we can use him.”
Jordan: I think it’s a little bit of both. Yeah. I mean, because it’s notable that they didn’t bring him in. When they go to Emma, they brought her in on the secrets. When they go to him, they just put him on the Council because they’re like, “He’s somebody who’s going to vote the way we want.”
I mean, I think that to talk about it in slightly more political terms, I think they think of him as like a solid backbencher. Like, he’s not going to stir up problems. He’s going to vote the way we expect him to vote. And that’s what we need. When I propose something, someone will say yes, and he’s going to do that. They have no idea what they’re doing.
AIPT: [Laughs] Clearly. X-Fan ChangoATX wanted to know why Colossus such a good punching bag.
Jordan: He deserves it, first of all. [Laughs] I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
AIPT: I mean, he did just murder somebody.
Jordan: Well, yeah. But they’re asking, why did we do that to him? I think the answer actually is, now that you’ve said that, is pretty similar to the answer I gave on the last one — because he’s a good guy at heart. That’s the stuff that makes good drama — people going through difficult times and coming out the other side. A lot of the time, not always, but much of stories. And I think that’s the story that seems to resonate with him.
Back when I was in the X-Office the first time, as an assistant editor a little while back, the story of him being the Juggernaut was very similar. Again, he was a good guy who was burdened with this thing and then it got really bad on him [Laughs] and it really weighed on him until he couldn’t take anymore. And I think it was pretty well done back then. Kieron Gillen did a great job on that. So yeah, I think that that editors and writers put him through so many paces because he is a character who is sensitive and we want to see him come out the other side, one way or another.
AIPT: And an X-Force question from X-Fan AdamTheUncaring: Could you explain how the Chronicler’s powers work? Adam said the ending of X-Force #24 was a gut punch.
Jordan: I’ll do my best. My caveat there is while I oversee the X-Line and do read the scripts and the issues for this book, I don’t edit X-Force. I don’t spend as much time thinking about this book as I do the books I directly edit. So I haven’t meditated on the Chronicler. I’m sure Mark Basso and especially Ben Percy can give you a better, more in-depth and accurate version of his powers.
But the way I understand it is that his powers have to have a focus. I don’t think he can write things that are completely impossible. I don’t think he can just write like, “And then Colossus exploded and all of Krakoa died and Russia was happy — the end.” I think he has to be grounded. So I think the idea that he can do this through and revolving around Peter, but also has to keep it within the realm of possibility, is a lot of it. Also, what is interesting about it is that his power is obviously based on writing, like a writer. But it also raises the same questions that you get in a slightly more philosophical way with a writer. Like, does his power answer to him or does he answer to it in some ways? Mikhail is talking to him and says, “Why did you have her take out the paintings?” And he’s like, “Well, because that’s just how it happened.”
So now, is that is power going, “This is how it has to happen” and making it so that’s what he has to write or is it that he’s just a writer and that’s the way he thinks the story is better? He wrote it that way, but you know how writers will talk about how that’s the way the character wanted to do it. And I don’t know — I don’t know the answer. I think honestly, it’s probably more interesting if it’s a little bit of both.
Another thing to not forget, and I don’t know how this plays into it exactly, because again, I don’t know the exact details of how this character’s powers work, but people should not forget what happened in the first issue of X-Force and how Colossus entered into the comic. I believe the way he entered into the comic was he had been on some sort of special mission to retrieve mutants from Russia and save them, I believe. We know it was difficult and hard, but I don’t know how much more we know about what happened to him there. So it’s an important thing I think to remember. I think it’s just not something to forget about.
AIPT: As we wrap up, X-Fan Emmanuel said the major architects of Krakoa were fearful of precogs, and asked why they didn’t feel the same way about time travelers like Cable, Bishop and Tempus? Is this something that was discussed during the development of this era?
Jordan: Yeah, and we made a concerted effort not to really do time travel stories in the beginning of the era. It’s one of those things that complicates the story, to really dig into it in-world. First of all, because we want Cable and we want these characters in the books, but second of all — listen, time travel is messy. I love time travel stories, but the reason I love time travel stories is because at the end of the day, the good ones are like interesting logic puzzles, and I really like interesting logic puzzles. The problem with them, though, is that they are interesting logic puzzles and logic puzzles only work if they are all logically sound. And sometimes they don’t. So I get frustrated with time travel stories because I feel like a lot of times there are pieces that don’t fit. It has to work, just so.
Writers who write time-travel stories for me get very agitated because I am very much like, “No, it doesn’t work because, blah, blah.” So to get to the heart of the question, I think that the answer would hide somewhere in how does time travel actually work? And the answer in real life is it doesn’t, it’s all fake. There is no real time travel as far as we can tell. And in-world, in Marvel, there isn’t a consistent answer for how it works either. There was a time 20, 25 years ago when they had very strict rules that every time a time traveler time travels, it creates branching timelines. That has not continued to be a hard and fast rule, as you have seen from time travel that has changed timelines and changed the outcome of things since then.
So I think if we wanted to have it an in-world explanation, there are not a lot of good ways to do it. But the best I could give you is, well, at the end of the day, the timeline that Cable comes from probably isn’t this one, you know? The timeline where he spent his future has probably already been avoided, except for the fact that at some point, we’ll want him to travel back to it, and then it will still be this one. That’s why all of that gets so messy. Bishop has changed stuff a ton since he left his timeline. But when they want to do a story where he goes back to it, they just do it. Same with Cable, same with any future time traveler, when it should be that they can never go back to that timeline again because they’ve changed it.
Sorry, last thing about this — because that’s the one thing I don’t like — the branching timeline version is like logically sound and makes sense most of the time when people use it. The reason I don’t gravitate toward that as the ideal outcome for a time-travel story is that it’s very messy, by which I mean, you have “Days of Future Past” where Kate’s mind comes back in time to try to prevent this future from happening. And I guess that she does, except also she doesn’t because all she really did was go to a neighboring reality and go, “Guys, don’t turn out as badly as we did. Anyway, bye. I’m going to go back to the terrible reality where everything still sucks and I didn’t actually change anything.” And that’s what happened. She didn’t actually change anything.
Spoilers — don’t worry about it, Excalibur went to that reality later and saved them. They’re fine. But they had to do that story to make everything OK. In that reality, the original “Days of Future Past” didn’t fix things when you want it to happen. And it’s like, yeah, but because we do branching timelines, they didn’t. All they did was create a place where everyone’s happy and there’s still an equal number of unhappy people in the other place. [Laughs]
Anyway, so the reason that they weren’t concerned about it was because it’s too complicated. You’re right. You’re right. It does seem like Cable should go, “Do you guys know about Moira yet? You don’t? OK, sorry, I’ll shut up.” That should have happened, but it didn’t.
AIPT: [Laughs] OK, finally, what can you tease about Inferno #3?
Jordan: Oh man, things are going to keep burning. So let’s see, where did we end the issue?
AIPT: With Colossus coming in.
Jordan: Oh man, there’s so many things you don’t know yet. OK. Oh, the cover! Let’s talk about the cover.
The cover features the other big player in this series who hasn’t really had their presence felt yet, which is our buddy Nimrod. He’s on that cover for a reason. Let’s say stuff starts to happen with Nimrod in that issue. Let’s confirm that. But even while that’s happening, it’s not like the other stuff is done. It’s not like Mystique’s done. The plan’s not over, the plan’s not over. And it’s not good to piss off Emma, let’s say that too.
AIPT: And it’s been delayed too, right?
Jordan: Yes, it’s been slightly delayed. There are industry-wide problems right now that are delaying a lot of books. I’m pretty sure every X-Book over the next month has been delayed a little bit, which is unfortunate. But I will just say, it’s not a delay in the process of making the book, the book’s actually done. Inferno #3 is done and ready to go. There’s a lot going on in the industry right now that’s causing some problems. But it will be out there for everybody and I think you’re going to love it.
AIPT: I’m going to hold you to that, Jordan. But on that note, thanks for taking the time to dig into Inferno #2! And X-Fans, hopefully these eXclusive Inferno #3 preview images — courtesy of Jordan — will tide you over while we wait a little longer for the neXt chapter of this modern X-Men epic!
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
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