Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
OK, so this one’s more than just uncanny — it’s the first installment of X-Men Monday of 2022 and, dare I say, the most political edition yet. That’s because the second annual X-Men Election is officially underway!
Armor! Avalanche! Bling! Firestar! Gentle! Gorgon! Micromax! Penance! Siryn! Surge!
Who deserves the final spot on the neXt great X-Men team? An eXcellent question, X-Fans. Before you head to the polls, may I suggest seeing who your favorite X-Writers have decided to endorse? Let’s turn things over to X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White, who’s gathered a group of Destiny of X writers hoping to sway those oh-so valuable undecided voters.
Jordan D. White: Welcome everyone — and we are SO excited to be doing another X-Men Vote for 2022! Just like last year, we’re letting the fans vote on one member of the new X-Men team that gets announced at the Hellfire Gala. Last year, it was really exciting to see how spirited the debates got. Fans getting out there and campaigning for their nominee of choice… and even some dirty smear campaigns! It was a true thrill, and we’re hoping it’s just as much fun this time.
We know every single X-Character is someone’s all-time favorite, so with that in mind, we’ve dug a little deeper this year and settled on a list of characters that has some real curveballs and surprises in it. Like last year, we are fully committed to whoever wins the election serving on the team for the year… and if you take a look at the issues of X-Men since the last election, I think it’s clear that the fan choice of Polaris really did shape the direction of the book.
We in the X-Office decided that we didn’t want to let you guys have ALL the fun, so we’ve decided to do something a little different for this X-Men Monday. We couldn’t bring the actual characters here to speak today, so I’ve gathered up a bunch of the great writers who work in the X-Office and each of them is presenting one of the nominees for your consideration!
Please hold your applause until all nominees have been announced, and the floor will be opened for questions at the end. And now, presenting our first nominee…
Alyssa Wong: Folks, if your girlfriend has a heart of gold, family trauma, and floats inside a giant, impenetrable suit of psionic energy… then that’s not your girlfriend, that’s Armor! Clever and resilient, Hisako Ichiki keeps her friends close and her departed loved ones’ memories even closer. With Armor on the X-Men, you’ll always have someone to watch your back. (And you know you want to see a giant pink energy mech punch somebody through a wall.) Vote Armor 2022!
Jordan: Thank you so much, mysterious visitor. Before we let that sink in too much, let’s just move on to our next nominee!
Ben Percy: You want this new X-Men squad to have good, good, good, good vibrations, yeah? Then old tickle-fingers himself, Avalanche, is your man. He’s always ready to rumble.
Jordan: Short and sweet, neither of which describe the character. Still, if members of the Brotherhood can help run the country, why can’t they be X-Men, eh? Who’s up next?
Victor LaValle: BLING! Forget her famous parents. Forget that exclamation point. Don’t even trouble yourself that her diamond hard form can punch a hole through reinforced steel. Vote for Roxanne Washington because she’s a technological genius who can craft nearly anything the X-Men might need. Forge can’t go toe-to-toe with a tank, but Bling! can.
Jordan: I can already hear Forge-fans disagreeing with you on that, but settle down, Forgees — he means on a physical level. Let’s welcome the next representative to the stage.
Steve Orlando: I couldn’t be more excited to see Firestar get nominated! And not just for her power! Angelica’s lived as a mutant in such a wide variety of scenarios, on such a wide array of teams — she’s taken her place, and what she deserves, time and again, and overcome so much! She remains ever the individual, and would bring more than fire to the roster, she’d bring a passion that burns even hotter.
Gerry Duggan: Firestar’s a cop.
Jordan: Mister Duggan, please sit down! You will have your time to speak! And just because Firestar has, so far, been more interested in working for the U.S. Government than claiming Krakoan Citizenship does not mean she cannot change her mind.
Si Spurrier: Wakandan and Krakoan, a natural decency animates Nezhno Abidemi. Gentle endured nightmarish traumas for years whenever he used his powers, though it’s said he could go toe-to-toe with the Hulk if at full strength. Nowadays the pain is cured and his potential is limitless… but the pacifism remains. Wouldn’t that be a thing to behold? An X-Man who hesitates to fight, but can squish any foe who won’t take no for an answer. Never underestimate the quiet guy.
Jordan: A plain-spoken message for a plain-spoken nominee. Now, Mister Duggan, is your time to speak.
Gerry: The one known as The Gorgon walked a harrowing and evil path. In his wake, countless souls lay decimated. Even he wondered why he was born into this world… until he heard the words of Xavier, asking him to come to Krakoa. There he found purpose, and when Mutantdom was on its heels in the tournament of Otherworld, his deadly gifts helped turn the tide in their favor. He sacrificed his life for Krakoa, and like all mutant deaths in Otherworld, his resurrection forever changed him.
This Gorgon is a pacifist.
Does this mutant deserve a chance to serve on the X-Men?
Jordan: Oh my — splitting the influential pacifist vote! A dangerous tactic! Next up, a big deal of a nominee!
Al Ewing: Maybe you know Scott Wright as the jocular “disc jockey” of Radio Home Counties’ own Sunday Drive-Time Hour? Or maybe you know him best for his many column inches on the bureaucratic bully-boys of Brussels! But I’ll bet you didn’t know the one-time host of “The Snooker Maze” was also… a superhero? It’s true! When he’s not playing hits from the seventies, eighties, nineties and today, he’s using his mutant size-shifting abilities — matron! — to morph into the mighty MICROMAX! And now that his services are no longer required by Her Majesty’s Government for some reason, it’s time Krakoa’s mixed-up millennials got a dose of good old British common sense! Vote MICROMAX — back of the net!
Jordan: I am told those references make sense for our readers in the U.K., and we’re going to take that endorsement as done. Let’s turn now to a nominee who we’ve seen quite recently.
Tini Howard: The very name implies you’ll get what’s coming to you. Catch her in the boardroom and this CXO of X-CORP will cut your assets down to size. Catch her on the street and she’ll cut your head off. And don’t you dare make a comment about her bad side — this superior superhuman has no bad sides. Only question is — can the X-Men handle her without a hostile takeover? Not if they’re smart about it.
Bow down before her impressive oeuvre. You’re going to get what you deserve.
Jordan: Was that an endorsement or a threat? Never mind — two more nominees to go!
Kieron Gillen: I’m a formalist at heart, and I have to look not just at the X-Men as a device for adventure, drama and excitement — but also a chance to remake the form. Relevantly, they say comics is a silent medium and always will be. I wonder… is that true? Perhaps the truth is that we have simply not had a character make enough noise yet. Perhaps one day a sound effect will be created which has such formalist potency to burst from the page in a vibratory ascension? If that day is ever to come — and I believe it must — we have no other choice than Siryn. Prepare to honk your Siryn-sirens! Honk! Honk! Honk!
Also, how come we only ever have one redhead on the team at once? More redheads in the X-Men 2022.
Jordan: Two completely unrelated arguments for Siryn, but neither un-persuasive! And now, for our final nominee and presenter!
Leah Williams: You know who surged forward as a competent and shockingly fearless team leader whenever times were dark? Noriko Ashida, a.k.a. Surge — once a teenage runaway from Tokyo, and always a manic pixie nightmare with Manic Panic™ electric blue hair, Surge knows watts watt on current affairs. Classified Threat Level: High by Nimrod and Threat Level: Hottie by everyone else, Surge singlehandedly kicked Nimrod’s ass back to the past and put herself at risk to save her friends and peers. Out of everyone up for a vote, Surge is wired differently and cares the least about this kind of thing. What she cares about is responsibility, justice, and loyalty, and that’s exactly why you should vote for her. Vote Surge ’22, and sparks will fly.
Jordan: Thank you very much, and thank you to all our representatives for presenting their nominees so well. Unfortunately, writing these endorsements has made them all late on their scripts, so our writers must leave, but I will be happy to answer any questions.
AIPT: Oh, I’ve got questions, Jordan! Regarding this second X-Men Election, I’m curious, did you and the X-Office decide to do anything differently this time around based on how the last X-Men Vote went?
Jordan: Well, I think that we went a little deeper into X-Men obscurity to bring out some candidates because we do think it’s exciting. The idea of having someone a little bit more out of left field — nothing against Polaris. Polaris is wonderful and has absolutely shined in Gerry’s X-Men book. But that said, she’s obviously one of the earliest X-Men that exists. So we’ve got some more characters in here that are a little surprising and I’m hoping that someone really interesting will win. Realistically, one of these 10 will be a very neat addition to the team.
AIPT: And how did you decide on these 10 candidates? Was it a group effort?
Jordan: Yeah, that was very similar to last time. I think Gerry initially had a handful of names and then he was like, “Who else can we add to this?” And we all started throwing in folks that would sound interesting. And just like last time, the most important thing was that Gerry was into writing them. He was like, “Yeah, I’m on board for this. If this character wins, I’m ready.”
Last year, the biggest problem I had was that Gerry started coming up with too many ideas right away and I had to slow him down and say, “Only one of these people is getting onto the team — don’t think about them too hard. You’re getting too excited about things that might never happen.” He’s got that experience now, so he’s not writing up a pitch for every one of these guys just yet, but he’s got inklings already for sure of things that he would do with each of them. So that’ll grow into a whole storyline once we find out who it’s going to be.
AIPT: So, looking at the list of candidates, the first thing that stands out is Armor is in the running for the second year in a row. Can you explain why other fan-favorite X-Characters like, oh, I don’t know… MARROW… weren’t given a second chance to run?
Jordan: OK, OK, I see how it is, you just want Marrow…
AIPT: I did vote for her.
Jordan: Well, first of all, don’t forget that this is only a vote for one position on the team. So it’s possible someone else who was on the vote last time will already be on the team in one of the other positions. So just because they’re not on the list doesn’t mean they’re definitely not going to be on the team. Don’t rule them out — well, except for Armor. She’s not going to be on the team otherwise. So obviously, the fact that she’s on here means that.
But we also think she’s neat and she’s a neat character. She had some really big stories in the past and hasn’t really done a ton in recent history. So it seems like she deserves another shot. That said, it’s not in our hands. We’re giving her that second shot and we’ll see if she can make it happen.
AIPT: Now, in regard to the last X-Men Vote, I have you on record — in X-Men Monday #100 — saying, “The real disappointment for me was Micromax not even making the list of nominees.” It’s clear you placed Micromax in the running — how can we assume you won’t rig this election in his favor?
Jordan: OK, well I definitely suggested him for sure. Because listen, I love every character who ever appeared in the original Excalibur series. I mean, you’re lucky that the 10 aren’t like Micromax, Kylun, and so on. But also, Micromax has cool powers. Size-changing powers are fun and there aren’t any other X-Men who have them — depending on what you consider X-Men — but there’s not a ton of them. And he’s got a cool look. Is his personality the best? No, but sometimes that can make for good comics. Everybody loves Guy Gardner on JLI, right?
And how can you be sure I’m not going to rig it? Well, I think the main way is that there’s almost no chance he’s going to win. [Laughs] So in retrospect, if he wins, we should probably launch an investigation because it probably means I did rig it.
AIPT: X-Men Monday #200-250 will be dedicated to an ongoing X-Men Vote investigation. Now, another interesting candidate is Firestar, who transcends media and franchises and — dare I say — as a result, could be this election’s Polaris.
Jordan: So, she’s a controversial choice. Because you’re right in the sense that she has had the biggest mass media exposure. That said, Amazing Friends is a Spider-Man show. It’s not an X-Men show. I don’t know that X-Fans will vote for her because of that. And listen, I don’t know that Amazing Friends has an internet fan community the way that The Gifted does. So I don’t know that there will be a Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends campaign. And even if there is, do they want her on the X-Men or do they want her hanging out with Spider-Man?
AIPT: Well, she was in the Avengers and the New Warriors as well.
Jordan: And then it’s additionally complicated by the fact that, as I mentioned before, she’s not even a Krakoan citizen. The last time we saw her, she was working for the U.S. government helping to stop teen heroes from being teen heroes. She was more concerned with American politics than she was in claiming her Krakoan citizenship and becoming part of the island. Obviously, if she joins the X-Men, that will represent a huge change for her. That’s a huge change we’re open to, but are the X-Fans going to forgive her for turning her back on her people like that? I don’t know.
AIPT: Not going to lie… I think you just sold me on Angelica because I really want to read that story now. But speaking of teen heroes, there are also quite a few Academy X-era students: Bling!, Gentle and the notorious Surge. Those Academy X fans are very passionate…
Jordan: No, we know, and I think that’s part of why they’ve got a couple of slots on there. We’ve talked about this a bunch before, but the X-Men sliding timescale problem is that in real life, new generations of mutants come after a bunch of time has passed from the previous one. So for the Academy X folks, they’re the new generation. And it’s been a bit since the last one, but as the timeline keeps shrinking and getting condensed, unfortunately, some of those generations get lost. The Academy X folks for the most part have been neglected in recent years for that reason. People have been more interested in exploring the New Mutants and even sometimes Generation X and then even more recent characters like the Wolverine and the X-Men students.
So we know those characters haven’t had the spotlight, and I think that’s part of why we went, “Hold on, there are some great characters in there. Let’s give them a shot too.” Now I hope that doesn’t mean we’ve split the Academy X vote. I hope that they’re not going to just be in a bitter fight with each other. And who knows, if you remember last year, lots of political alliances happened. People who weren’t going to vote for Banshee banded together to try to vote for Banshee to save him. So maybe the Academy X people can put aside their differences and pick their candidate and decide who they’re going to back. Which one? I don’t know. We’ll find out.
AIPT: Jordan, I need to know what’s being done to ensure election security.
Jordan: We’ve got our top man on it. No, but seriously, there were security concerns last time and we worked them out and we’re doing more to ensure a safe and fair X-Men Election as much as humanly possible. They know the things to look for. They’re on top of it. It’s being monitored closely and we can say with 100% confidence that Polaris was the legitimate winner last time.
AIPT: And what about power dampeners for Jean so she doesn’t change any more thoughts?
Jordan: [Laughs] She was helping her friend out, making her say what she really wanted to say.
AIPT: Just kidding, Jean! Finally, will this election play out the same way as the last one, with a Hellfire Gala, or can we eXpect some surprises?
Jordan: Well, hopefully, there will always be surprises at a Hellfire Gala, right? I mean, it’s meant to be a place of excitement and shake things up. And also, the plans of the mutants rarely go exactly the way that they expect them to, right? So we’ll see what happens there. It won’t be exactly the same, but it will be the same in that that is where they will be announcing the new team.
Jordan: Yes, in-world, that is where we’ll be announcing their team. And in real life, that is where we’ll be announcing the team. And yeah, I think there should be some surprises in store as well. So definitely make sure you get out there and vote and may the best candidate win.
AIPT: Thanks, Jordan! And thanks to everybody in the X-Office who made the case for their preferred candidate! X-Fans, now that you have the facts, here are the most important details — how to vote!
Where do you vote? marvel.com/xmenvote
How long do you have to vote? Monday, January 10 through Thursday, January 13 until 11:59pmEST
Oh, and with all the election eXcitement, I almost forgot this week’s eXclusive preview images, courtesy of Jordan!
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional — and don’t forget to vote!
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