Marvel Noir

X Men Noir: All-New, All-Different

Fred Van Lente re-invents fan-favorite characters for X MEN NOIR: MARK OF CAIN #3



By Marc Strom

The X-Men have become all-new and all-different all over again.

Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Dennis Calero continue to roll out their reinterpretations of Marvel's Not-So-Merry-Anymore Mutants in X MEN NOIR: MARK OF CAIN #3 on February 3, with Charles Xavier assembling a second team while the Angel continues to delve into Emma Frost's plans for Genosha Bay.

Van Lente remarks that the process of putting many of the X-Men into a noir setting has proven fairly effortless.

"Emma is British and seems to be into S&M, given the way she dresses; Cain Marko, is a mercenary in the South Seas; Nightcrawler used to be a circus performer, et cetera," lists the writer. "One of the nice things about

X MEN NOIR: MARK OF CAIN #3 preview art by Dennis Calero
the Marvel characters, the good ones, at least, is that just as much thought is put into them as people in addition to their costumes and powers. So when you take those away, you're still left with a vibrant, useful character."

While readers already know that Xavier has formed a new group of X Men, Van Lente couldn't reveal too many details about the motivations for the so-called "Professor of Crime" bringing them together.

"Well, the first group of noir X Men were simply a bunch of juvenile delinquents who banded together when Xavier went to prison," he reminds. "Now that he's out and conducting research on older sociopaths, he's organized the group for a much more specific purpose, and perhaps he's not even the one pulling the strings."

Genosha Bay remains equally shrouded in mystery, though Warden Emma Frost's philosophies appear evident.

"Again, that's a little hard to explain without ruining the mystery," forewarns Van Lente. "While she studied under Xavier, Emma Frost has developed some unique theories of her own. The most unique idea she has is that mental illness is communicable-[i.e.], that a crazy person can

X MEN NOIR: MARK OF CAIN #3 preview art by Dennis Calero
drive you crazy if you spend enough time around them. Some of us may have family members that put that theory to the test. Hence the need for Genosha Bay: a prison to segregate the worst sociopaths away from the rest of the population."

When deciding on what aspects of the X-Men's decades-long history to bring into this second NOIR series, Van Lente chose Genosha largely for the modern-day relevance it would bring to the story.

"Replace 'sociopath' with 'terrorist' in the statements above and you'll see we're drawing some parallels between a real-life situation in Cuba here," he remarks. "Even though noir is a period genre, we can still comment of contemporary issues with it, I think."

Fans haven't seen all the characters Van Lente plans to introduce just yet, however.

"We have more X-characters to roll out noir versions of, and one character I wrote for over a year [that] I'm looking forward to introducing. 'Walking through walls' is a useful skill to have in a thief character, even if in the Noirverse it's a metaphorical feat."


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