Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
Unless you’ve been living in Otherworld, you know there’s an all-new, all-different Marauders crew with writer Steve Orlando and artist Eleonora Carlini at the helm. We here at X-Men Monday were so eXcited about it, we organized a Marauders Monday event this past January, featuring three separate Steve interviews (here are parts 1, 2, and 3 in case you missed them). Now that everybody’s had a chance to read Marauders #1, it’s the perfect time for Steve to address X-Fans’ burning questions.
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Steve, and congratulations on Marauders #1! Our first X-Fan question comes from Khaliden Nas, who loved how Marauders #1 showed the horrors that a smaller character like Fever Pitch experienced away from readers. I know you love your deep cuts — will we continue to see obscure characters on missions?
Steve: I think that’s a sure bet! The Marauders always come first — they’re the main event! But with a world as rich and intricate as the Marvel Universe, in general, and as Krakoa specifically, there’s always an opportunity to celebrate something little known and great from the past. It’s those brief but potent appearances that interested me in comics lore back in the ancient times when I was buying my first books at flea markets and off spinner racks. Every character’s got potential, and when we can drop these hidden gems in as fascinators, when we intrigue and include, I think it only enriches the story.
AIPT: For sure — one of the great treats of the Krakoa era. NeXt, X-Fan Dafey the Destroyer asked if you received any pushback from Marvel/X-Office Editorial over wanting Cassandra Nova on the Marauders roster?
Steve: Not at all! I think my work with Cassandra in Magneto & The Mutant Force helped. But even without it — what editorial is interested in is a great story, above all. And with Cassandra, you’ve always got story dynamite. If anything, the pushback was internal on my part, to be reintroducing a character of such an incredible pedigree. Morrison and Quitely are comics pillars for me, and Cassandra was the first X-Villain I had followed from first appearance, page one, panel one. So personally, yes! I was intimidated. But editorially? They were excited! To paraphrase a groundbreaker, I think the message was “Good Luck, and Don’t [shock] it up.”
AIPT: That’s great to hear, but X-Fans had concerns about Cassandra Nova cutting out Krakoa’s organs. X-Fans AdamTheUncaring and Ellis Marley were both wondering — isn’t Cassandra breaking the third law of Krakoa? To respect this sacred land?
Steve: She absolutely is! This wouldn’t be the first time characters have broken Krakoan laws and dared someone to hold them accountable. For more on that, check out X-Men Green from Gerry Duggan, Karla Pacheco, and Emilio Laiso. The circumstances differ, but the message is the same. Just because laws exist doesn’t mean everyone follows them, and the decision of whether or not to hold them accountable speaks to both the fear and intimidation they engender, and the perspective of those that might otherwise enforce the laws. Cassandra is one of the most feared people on Krakoa, and she knows she’s needed. She has Xavier’s power, along with many others he might’ve had. So yes, of course, she’s testing… and daring others to say anything against her.
AIPT: One more Cassandra question before we move on. You know your X-Continuity, Steve — so here’s a continuity question from X-Fan Aaron. In Aaron’s opinion, Cassandra Nova is a character who has a lot of continuity goofs associated with her. Grant Morrison’s run implies that she’s possessing or was regenerated into Ernst, Chuck Austen’s run implies that she’s possessing Carter Ghazikhanian, Joss Whedon’s run implies that she’s possessing Armor, and sometimes she just shows up as herself. Will your Marauders run attempt to smooth out her history, as Vita Ayala did with the Shadow King and his exact relationship to Farouk?
Steve: We’ll absolutely be focused on what’s ahead, especially after covering the question of her mutant status in issue one. That said, if it fits for a character such as Cassandra to reflect, there could be references to moments like these when and if they fit. Though with a psychic entity as powerful as Cassandra, there isn’t much of a contradiction in the situations where she possesses people. Cassandra’s telepathic might is such that she could easily pull that off while also appearing as herself.
As far as Ernst, a lot of the expectation there comes from information that exists outside of canon — as great as “Here Comes Tomorrow“ is, it’s an alternate future, so its course isn’t a mandate for the flow of the main present timeline. And for better or worse, while Grant may have intended the Ernst track, the work that followed them didn’t seem to support that. Our job now is to forge ahead, respecting and folding in the work of all creators before us in the best way possible. Morrison also had said they intended to see Cassandra reform, and while we’re not softening or forgiving her, we’re taking every story she’s appeared in into account and giving Nova a unique place among mutantkind.
AIPT: Thanks for clarifying. Now, X-Fan Jim Burdo has a storytelling question. If any mutant who dies during a failed rescue can be brought back to life, do the Resurrection Protocols at all take away the stakes for a mutant rescue squad? What are your thoughts there?
Steve: I don’t think the stakes are removed, but they’re changed. For example — we’ve already seen not every mutant wants resurrection. And beyond that, there’s also the question of how recent their backup is, and the question of the resurrection queue. Especially with the near countless mutants in the Waiting Room, dying could still mean falling out of society for months or years for a mutant. And that’s assuming the Resurrection Protocols last forever, which is a challenging assumption based on how often Krakoa is under threat. That’s not even engaging the most basic of stakes — just because a mutant can be resurrected doesn’t mean dying isn’t extremely painful, horrific, and traumatizing.
AIPT: I’ve never died before, but those are all valid points. Moving on, I’m confident we’ll continue to learn more about Somnus’ powers in the Marauders issues to come, but X-Fan philosopop was wondering how Somnus’ powers can be used offensively. Any details you can share for philosopop?
Steve: Not every power is offensive in nature! But keep an eye on Somnus. There are already hints at the growing complexity of his gifts in issue one, and it’ll continue. Now that he’s back, he’s beginning to realize also that while he spent a lifetime in one night living and loving with Daken, he could use that time for all sorts of things. One night with anyone could be the key to new knowledge and skills, and from those skills, we could see his offensive abilities grow.
AIPT: In just one issue you already have Majestrix Xandra making very hard decisions — much like her famous parents have had to make. As a character, do you think Xandra shares many of Charles and Lilandra’s traits or is she very much her own person carving out her own path on the throne?
Steve: I think Xandra is very much like most children or young adults, albeit filtered through the lens of being Shi’ar Majestrix. Yes, she shares many of Charles and Lilandra’s traits. She’s a synthesis of those two people, but that’s not all. Growing up in a different time and place, with different pressures and responsibilities, means she has no choice but to become her own person.
Her genetic recipe might be part Charles and part Lilandra, but the way those traits mature and cook is wholly different. She is by design her own person because the universe isn’t the same as it was when Charles and Lilandra were her age. The challenges are different, so her responses must be different, and those experiences cache into wisdom, into a personality and person, who is Xandra alone.
AIPT: X-Fan Glob squad was curious to learn what exactly Aurora and Tempo were doing with their powers to move the New Marauder at “mutant warp?”
Steve: Tempo is a chronokinetic, and Aurora is able to move at lightspeed, among other things. But at a baseline, those are their gifts. Obviously, any type of hyper speed or warp speed is largely a science-fiction convention, but generally, they’re ways to move at faster than usual speeds in the void of space. Here, Tempo and Aurora are affecting both the literal speed at which the New Marauder is traveling by allowing it to approach lightspeed and also bending time around the ship so that that lightspeed gets the ship somewhere even faster. These two effects create this book’s version of Warp Speed, so named Mutant Warp because it’s derived from mutant technology — the combined powers of Aurora and Tempo.
Issue One establishes that the team’s boost fruits have a similar effect on mutants as Fabian Cortez, Hope Summers, or Khora the Burning Heart — they temporarily push a mutant’s power beyond its normal boundaries. So while Tempo and Aurora’s sphere of influence may usually be smaller, while using a boost fruit, the physical contact you see with the ship, while they’re both inside it, is enough for them to affect it while traveling in the zero resistance vacuum of space.
AIPT: My diet is severely lacking in boost fruits. As we wrap up, X-Fans Legacy3000 and William Rose were wondering if you’ll follow up on the deal between Kate Pryde and Reed Richards featured at the end of Marauders #27, or is it possible that plot will be explored outside of the Marauders title?
Steve: If I was going to, I, unfortunately, couldn’t spoil it here! But I’ll say this, this plot point is on our minds, and it will certainly be followed up on within the office. But as to exactly where, well… we can’t just give up the game before the book comes out!
AIPT: Finally, the mystery ninth Marauder you teased back in X-Men Monday #140. X-Fans guessed and guessed and continue to guess. Have you seen any correct guesses out in the wild? What can you tell us before you get back to work, Steve?
Steve: Not yet! But as for what I can tell you, I’ll say the biggest clue is one I’ve given before: I’m a huge fan of Morrison and Porter’s 13-member JLA roster expansion.
AIPT: Hm… that tease makes me think of Zauriel… who was a guardian angel… and the X-Men have an Angel… it’s Warren Worthington III. #NailedIt, X-Fans. Please redirect all your gratitude money to AIPT’s Patreon.
But on that note — Steve, thanks as always for taking the time to visit X-Men Monday! X-Fans, for a peek at things to come in future Marauders comics, look no further than these eXclusive preview images courtesy of X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White!
And speaking of Jordan — neXt week, our favorite Weezer-loving X-Men Senior Editor makes his triumphant return to X-Men Monday! You have until Wednesday, April 27 at 5 PM EST to get your questions in about all things X-Men.
Until neXt time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!
Join the AIPT Patreon
Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:
- ❌ Remove all ads on the website
- 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
- 📗 Access to our monthly book club
- 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
- 💥 And more!