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X-Men: ReGenesis

X-Club: Weird Science

Si Spurrier propels the dysfunctional geniuses of Utopia into Regenesis

By Jim Beard

Science means taking chances, and when you’re the mutant community’s top scientists, taking chances means a world of adventure.

This December, X-CLUB #1, under the tutelage of writer Si Spurrier, brings a new mission for four characters that stand, in the writer’s words, as “guardians of the mutant genepool and the X-Men’s last defense against all things uncanny, inexplicable or brain-melty.”

X-CLUB #1 preview art by Paul Davidson

“The difference is that right now they’ve been given a second task: to resuscitate the X-Men’s reputation as ‘friends of humanity,’ which has taken a few recent knocks,” Spurrier reports. “To that end they’re planning something big and flashy; something beneficial to the whole human race.

“A scientific PR Victory, basically.”

Kavita Rao, Madison Jeffries, Doctor Nemesis and Danger stood with mutant leader Cyclops after the events of Regenesis, a situation Spurrier feels stands as par-for-the-course with the members of the X-Club.

“My feeling is that they—with the arguable exception of Danger—are broadly beyond the politics and grudge-bearing of the schism,” he notes. “Kavita sees herself as a steward of mutantkind’s genetic legacy, so she doesn’t need to be partisan with internal divisions. Jeffries is pretty withdrawn at the best of times but, as we’ll see, he now has something even bigger on his mind. And Nemesis is, well, Nemesis. He’d scoff at the pettiness of taking sides, if only because he’d rather have the chance to be rude and condescending to everyone all the time, not just half of them. Utopia is simply where the team has established its labs, and where the best resources remain. Staying there is a pragmatic decision.

“That said, the events of Regenesis—especially the way it’s affected the reputations and public-relations of the X-Men—is central to launching the X-Club’s story.”

Each of the X-scientists brings their own history and issues to X-CLUB, all of which may impact the larger story of their shared work as it progresses.

X-CLUB #1 preview art by Paul Davidson

“Jeffries’ relationship with his teammates—and with the world in general—is one of the big plot-lines here,” says Spurrier. “We’ve seen him becoming ever spacier and more distant recently. Now we’re about to find out why.

“Danger’s obviously a world-class powerhouse, but as we’ll see she swiftly encounters a problem—a very personal problem—which may prove to be beyond even her. Kavita occupies a very interesting position in the team as on Utopia itself: she’s the only human on the island yet she’s also the world’s foremost expert of mutants. That’s a strange, and lonely, role. One of the fascinating things about writing stories around Kavita is to challenge her relationship with science and with the people she works beside. She’s a very soulful person, if only she knew it.

“As for Nemesis, he’s fairly unique in the X-Men pantheon in that his character-identity isn’t intrinsically bound-up with his mutant power. His X-gene has conferred on him a vaguely-defined suite of optical abilities and an even-more-vaguely-defined intellectual prowess, but his real talent, the reason he’s such amazing fun to write, is that he represents the perfect combination of misanthropy, grudging charm, good intentions, and sideways-thinking. Plus, y’know, epic razor-tongued snark.”

Expect wild flights of fantastical fancy in X-CLUB, centering around one of the Club’s most-ambitious projects to date; something Spurrier calls “a real cool idea.”

“A space elevator is one of those things we in the real world have been thinking about and wishing for decades: a space station tethered to the earth’s surface, allowing people and supplies to go up and down with ease, but our engineering isn’t quite up to scratch yet,” he says. “But in the Marvel Universe—in fact, in the X-verse alone—we’ve got a polymath ubergenius in a surgical mask who can design new nanotube tech, we’ve got an intuitive tech-savant who can build the whole, and we’ve got a former villain with a mastery over magnetism who can lift the whole damn thing into orbit. Hey presto: space elevator.

X-CLUB #1 preview art by Paul Davidson

“And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the mind-explodo science ideas we’ll be playing with. You want an equation for awesomeness? Speculative real-world science ideas + mutants with uncanny gifts = Kirby-krackly, cell-explodo, reality-warping fun. The most important thing to stress about X-CLUB is that all these amazing concepts aren’t the be-all and end-all of the story. At its core it’s a tale about these utterly unique characters having to contend with disasters, mysteries, inner-doubts and pernicious enemies—and boy are they pernicious. All the cosmic weirdness, mutagenic bio-disasters and quantum insanity, as pain-stakingly researched as it is, are just the context.”

And putting it all into context for Spurrier’s script comes X-CLUB artist Paul Davidson.

“Apart from the clarity of line and mischievous tone, Paul has a gift for drawing characters with the most expressive, emotive and dynamic faces, but avoids straying too far into the cartoony,” says the writer. “Better yet, he can reconcile the epic with the intimate, which in a story like this is a dream come true.”

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