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X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Comic Books

X-Men Monday #254 – Steve Foxe Talks ‘X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse’

Plus, eXclusive preview pages from ‘X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse’ #1!

Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!

It’s a bittersweet time around the X-Men Monday office (also known as my desk) as we prepare to say goodbye to the Krakoan Era this Wednesday in X-Men #35. But before we officially say hello to the “From the Ashes” era, we need to figure out who will succeed Apocalypse.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

Will it be Emma Frost? Maybe Cable or Rictor? And we can’t count out Tom! (Wambspocalypse?)

Anyway, I’m of course talking about the four-issue X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse mini-series, which kicks off June 12, 2024. After being a part of last week’s Blood Hunt edition, writer Steve Foxe agreed to stick around a bit longer and chat about the mini-series, answer a few X-Fan questions, and sing artist Netho Diaz’s praises. Let’s get started!

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of stevefoxe.com

AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Steve!

Steve: Thanks for having me! I was thrilled to get to squeeze in one last appearance before riding off into the X-sunset…

AIPT: I’m curious to learn a bit more about how X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse came to be. In March’s X-Men Monday #243, X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White mentioned it began in his X-Office before transitioning to Tom Brevoort’s, but was always meant to bridge the Krakoan Era and whatever came next. Was this next step in Apocalypse’s journey something you pitched… or maybe an opportunity you seized after a deadly tournament against 11 other X-Writers?

Steve Foxe: Both Tom and Jordan have been really honest about this transition period, so I don’t think I’m talking out of school here when I say that Heir originally started as an internal idea for a big, cool, bombastic series that could also help bridge the gap between eras, provide an epilogue for a key aspect of Krakoa, and set up a major antagonistic potential moving forward as Krakoa wrapped up and From the Ashes got going. I was asked to write it by Jordan when he was still overseeing the next steps, but Tom and Annalise Bissa, my direct editor on the project, were kind enough to keep me on when they stepped in.

So no tournament, and Annalise and I actually got a nice long time to develop this from the ground up. Beyond the title and broad mission statement, we had a lot of room to maneuver and figure out the best possible version of this event, and I’m pretty thrilled with where everything landed.

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: For readers learning about this mini-series for the first time, what’s your elevator pitch for X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse? Is this Succession, X-Men-style?

Steve: Never seen it — TV is stupid. Read more comics!

There’s a lot I can’t spoil until readers have picked up X-Men #35/Uncanny X-Men #700, which is a DOOZY of an issue. But the short version is that Apocalypse has good reason to believe that his vision of the future will no longer lead the mutants of Earth forward in the way they need to be led forward. Thus, he needs someone to follow in his (big blue) footsteps and hold the mutants of Earth to task and make sure they are fit for the trials ahead. But that doesn’t mean he wants a carbon copy — he needs someone with a different vision of “survival of the fittest,” a different angle, a different approach. And it has to be said loud and clear: there is no fake-out here. By the end of this event, one of these 12 mutants will have a new name, a new look, and a new mission as the Heir of Apocalypse.

AIPT: Damn, I’m sold! Before we dig into the story and character questions, X-Fan #KrakoaLives was wondering about the required reading list for this mini-series. What back issues should X-Fans check out before this? (And if there’s no required reading… any recommended reading to enrich the experience?)

Steve: There’s definitely no required reading, but I’d say X-Men #35/Uncanny X-Men #700 will greatly enrich your experience. Gerry Duggan, in particular, was extremely generous in helping to tee up this series. Beyond that, I was very informed by all the character work both Jonathan Hickman and Al Ewing did with Apocalypse throughout the Krakoan Era. You can draw an arrow straight from Hickman’s first panels of Apocalypse to how I tried to depict him here.

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

The cast of this book is also really reckoning with what it means to say goodbye to the promise of a mutant homeland, which drives a lot of their motivations. You can come to this without having read a single page of a Krakoan comic, but if you were a diehard fan of the era, I hope this serves as a sort of epilogue for you, as well.

If you want to dive deeper, the “Dark Angel Saga” in Uncanny X-Force and the subsequent Uncanny Avengers run is fantastic and helped inspire parts of this, but are by no means required to understand Heir. Just great comics!

AIPT: X-Fan Husnain wanted to know what the criteria for being an “Heir of Apocalypse” are. In Husnain’s opinion, Emma Frost’s ethos would be the antithesis of Apocalypse as shown in series like Generation X by offering refuge to weak mutants and trafficked humans.

Steve: You touched on something really relevant there, Husnain — some of the mutants on this list do have antithetical approaches to Apocalypse’s core drivers, which is exactly why he extended an invitation. Without giving too much away, he is seeking an heir precisely because he has reason to believe that his ways will no longer work for the mutants of Earth. The mutant that rises to take his place will need to come at his mission from a different angle. That doesn’t mean he will necessarily agree with all of their stances though, and the trials he puts them through will be about weeding out those who have the ruthlessness to hold onto the qualities he’s looking for while setting aside the qualities he will not tolerate. Perhaps Emma can do that — perhaps she can’t. Only one mutant will succeed, after all. And if he only had one candidate in mind from the start, there’d be no need for a tournament!

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: X-Fans Benjamin Barack and Jordan wanted to know how you picked the 12 mutants competing.

Steve: There are three levels to this answer. The most selfish level is that a few of these mutants are here because Heir may well be the last X-book I write for a while, since we’re in a changing-of-the-guard moment (and I say that with immense gratitude for the WILD amount of X-stories I got to write over the last few years — I can’t wait to read all the “From the Ashes” books as a fan!). So there were a few I never got to touch in any other project and reached for here. BUT I only included them if I could justify in-world reasons for why Apocalypse would consider them — and why they would hear out Apocalypse’s invitation. And you’ll learn more about their motivations in flashbacks scattered throughout the series, as we see Apocalypse approach each contender. And on top of both of those levels, Annalise and I tried to balance the cast across different eras of the X-Men, so aspects of the entire saga were represented here to the best of our ability.

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: And a related question from X-Fan Michael Seth (who’s also a huge fan). Michael noticed that all the mutants chosen as potential successors are from Earth and none of them seem to really have any connection with Arakko. Can you speak to why that is?

Steve: That will be readily apparent when you read X-Men #35/Uncanny X-Men #700 and Heir #1 — sorry for the copout answer! The only other way I can put this without out-and-out spoiling too much is that Apocalypse is searching for someone to follow in his footsteps ON EARTH. I love Arakko and would readily write any of those characters, but this just isn’t their home turf.

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: X-Fan Kasi asked, aren’t Cable and Apocalypse a yin-yang sort of deal? Does Apocalypse initially see him as worthy for that reason?

Steve: As with the Emma question above, you’re zeroing in on why Cable makes perfect sense as a contender here, even if there’s an initial feeling of “Cable — no way!” So much of Nathan’s life has been in opposition to Apocalypse, so there’s an element of fate here that was really fun to lean into. Cable’s also just one of my favorite characters and absolutely one of the “I never got to write ‘em so now’s the chance” characters I mentioned above.

AIPT: You famously blew up Warren in Dark X-Men (but it’s OK, he’s back already!). X-Fan Fábio Aquiles wanted to know what you can share about Archangel’s role in this mini-series, as he appears on issue 3’s cover.

Steve: Hey, that wasn’t me — that was Gambit. Blame the Cajun. Listen, I love Warren, and he’s always been my favorite member of the O5 besides Scott. I knew he’d have a big role to play in anything involving Apocalypse choosing an heir but I also felt that the “Dark Angel Saga” was the definitive last word on Warren as a potential successor to Apocalypse, which is why he’s not in the tournament itself. But he’s in every issue and is a primary member of the cast with VERY strong opinions on Apocalypse choosing to hold this tournament in the first place. So yes, while he didn’t have the best time in Dark X-Men, I’m really grateful to have these four issues with him alive and well and flying high as his best blue self.

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Artist Netho Diaz has been sharing sneak peeks from the mini-series on social media. What’s it been like collaborating with Netho and what can we expect from his visuals?

Steve: I truly can not say enough good about Netho’s work on this book. I wasn’t overly familiar with Netho before Annalise paired us up on this book, but he has just blown every single page of Heir out of the water. It’s easily the most action-forward book I’ve written and Netho keeps turning the dial up. Here’s the thing — team books are a challenge. We have a minimum of 15 primary characters plus cameos and detailed settings. And Netho kept doing more. He challenged me to step my game up issue by issue and deliver bigger scenes, bolder fights, and more intense character beats. I think Heir is going to be a big breakout moment for him, and readers are going to want to follow Netho wherever he goes after this.

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Netho Diaz’s X Page

AIPT: Finally — SURPRISE! The 10th question is 12 questions in one! (And by “Surprise” I of course mean “Sorry.”) For each of the 12 potential successors, give me anything from a single word to a sentence on what excites you about getting to write them.

Armageddon Girl.

Steve: An Earth crusader willing to stand up to Mother Earth herself. Who could be bolder?

AIPT: Cable.

Steve: Can you resist fate?

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Netho Diaz’s X Page

AIPT: Cypher.

Steve: Talk your way out of this one.

AIPT: Emma Frost.

Steve: Cares too much.

AIPT: Exodus.

Steve: What’s an apostle without a promised land?

AIPT: Forge.

Steve: The builder saw his greatest creation shattered.

AIPT: Gorgon.

Steve: Tomi Shishido died in Otherworld. He came back wrong. Now he’s fixed. That’s not good.

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Netho Diaz’s X Page

AIPT: Mirage.

Steve: If the upperclassmen never graduate, can you ever achieve your full potential?

AIPT: Mr. Sinister.

Steve: #$%^ this guy.

AIPT: Penance.

Steve: She is better than everyone else, and it’s time she acknowledged it.

AIPT: Rictor.

Steve: After all that training and devotion, he wasn’t on Arakko when Apocalypse needed him. What will he do now to make up for that? 

AIPT: And finally, Wolverine.

Steve: Why did she say yes? And when will she reveal her reasoning? 

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Netho Diaz’s X Page

AIPT: Alright, a lot to chew on there. But on that note, thanks for stopping by X-Men Monday, Steve! I have a feeling I’ll be welcoming you back sooner than later, but for now, enjoy playing with Marvel’s non-mutant toys.

X-Fans, you saw some pretty cool teases of Netho Diaz’s artwork above, but how about a few eXclusive, finished pages from X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse?

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Yeah, I figured you’d enjoy those.

Finally, to bring it back to those bittersweet vibes I mentioned at the top, I want to announce that next week’s edition of X-Men Monday will be outgoing X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White’s final interview. But you better believe we’re going to send him off in style. 

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

The call for questions for Jordan’s final X-Men Monday is now open — click here to access it. I’m accepting the following:

  • Questions about the final issues of the Krakoan Era, including X-Men Forever #4, Fall of the House of X #5, Rise of the Powers of X #5, X-Men #35.
  • Questions about anything from Jordan’s tenure as X-Men Senior Editor.
  • Any thank-yous or kind words for Jordan as he departs for the Venomverse.

Oh, and since Jordan will have no X-Men art to preview next time, here’s one final eXclusive image, courtesy of Jordan.

X-Men Monday #254 - Steve Foxe Talks 'X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

I mean, as far as final eXclusive preview images go, you can’t get more epic than a Luciano Vecchio X-Men team shot. Thank you, Jordan!

Until next time, X-Fans, stay eXceptional!

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