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Avengers VS X-Men

Tuesday Q&A: Nick Lowe

The X-Men editor digs into the third act of AvX, plus his first comments on Marvel NOW! and All-New X-Men!

By Ben Morse

Cyclops may be at the helm of the Phoenix Five, but throughout the Avengers Vs. X-Men event, nobody has been a bigger booster of Marvel’s mutants than Senior Editor Nick Lowe.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #8 cover by Jim Cheung

In addition to sparring with Senior VP – Executive Editor Tom Brevoort on special AvX editions of the This Week in Marvel podcast, Lowe has overseen all X-Men-related tie-ins to the epic storyline and spearheaded the action-packed AVX: VS.

Before he took off for Comic-Con International, we grabbed Nick to get the latest on AvX as it heads into act three, the big finish for VS, and his first public comments on Marvel NOW! and ALL-NEW X-MEN.

Marvel.com: As we come up on act three of Avengers Vs. X-Men, what have you learned along the way in working on this event?

Nick Lowe: Learned? I already know everything. I learned some new methods for mocking Tom Brevoort.

But it has been really interesting to see firsthand how much work goes into a major event. That cannot be understated. For real. Being in the industry gives you a lot of perspective, but even with that, I was blown away by the amount of insanity that comes with an event the size of AvX.

Marvel.com: What are the big beats coming in act three—that you can talk about—that you are most excited for?

Nick Lowe: So much of it. I’m excited for Iron Man’s plan to unfold. I’m excited for the K’un L’un stuff.

Marvel.com: Which characters have yet to get their chance to shine in AvX but have big moments coming up?

Nick Lowe: Let’s see—Professor X. Spider-Man. He hasn’t really had a ton to do and he has some amazing stuff coming up. Puntastic!

Marvel.com: You’ve been a staunch supporter of the X-Men side of the AvX argument throughout, are you still there? How do you back up Cyclops’ side?

Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 cover by Jim Cheung

Nick Lowe: AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #7 starts to show the kinks in the armor and the burden of the Phoenix Force. But I’ll also say this: the Avengers were jerks in AVX #6. Was the response from Cyclops merited? I’m going to say yes. They keep pushing and pushing and pushing. The X-Men are doing amazing things!

Marvel.com: What’s it been like working on AVX: VS? How has this book been different than other projects?

Nick Lowe: It has been crazy. It pretty much goes against everything I’ve been taught at Marvel. From my earliest days here 10 years ago, Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas drummed into us that the story is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter who punches who if the story isn’t sound. And Axel Alonso was a big part of that, too. But for VS it is pretty much the opposite. Just fight! And then you have pesky people trying to put stories into it, too. Like that Jason Aaron fellow. This is just fights!

Marvel.com: What’s ahead in the three remaining issues of VS? Which fights are you most excited for?

Nick Lowe: So #4 is incredible. You have the hottest writer in comics, Rick Remender, with legendary artist Brandon Peterson bringing Daredevil and Psylocke into fisticuffs and visionary writer/artist Kaare Andrews showing a Phoenixed-up Emma Frost vs. Thor that is nuts! And then in #5 is one of the stories I’m most excited about. Matt Fraction embraced the VS structure more than anyone to date—the match cards and fun facts and such—and put together such an awesome Archangel vs. Hawkeye fight that Leinil Yu is just rocking. Also in that issue is the fight that everyone will be talking about: Black Panther vs. Storm! Husband vs. Wife! King vs. Queen! Badass vs. Badass!

Marvel.com: In particular, what’s going down in the final issue of VS, where we’ve got not only the big Hope/Scarlet Witch fight, but also all the stuff you couldn’t cram in to date?

AvX: VS #4 cover by Brandon Peterson

Nick Lowe: As if a Kieron Gillen/Jim Cheung Hope/Scarlet Witch fight isn’t enough, there is an insane grab bag of stories in there the likes of which readers have never seen. For real. I am so excited for this, but the whole roll call of creators is still top secret. The only names we’ve shown so far are the Immonens coming back again for a great one-pager. And when I break the news of who else is doing this issue, people are going to go nuts.

Marvel.com: Switching gears, what can you say about Marvel NOW!?

Nick Lowe: I can say that it has made me more excited about Marvel Publishing than I’ve been in a while. This is not to say that I haven’t liked what we’ve been doing, because I have, but when you all get to see the whole picture? It’s fantastic. The energy of the last couple retreats has been infectious.

Marvel.com: How will the X-Men figure into Marvel NOW!?

Nick Lowe: In very large ways! Obviously, the only book I can talk about so far is ALL NEW X-MEN. Brian Bendis and Stuart Immonen—and Wade von Grawbadger and Marte Gracia—are coming together and bringing the original five X-Men with them. Young Jean, Scott, Henry, Bobby and Warren come and see the world post-AvX and it’s a nutty place. I can’t wait for people to see how they interact with what is, for them, the future. Stuart’s already done with the first issue and will be finishing the second soon. Brian is so energized with the book already.

Marvel.com: Where did the concept and creative team for ALL-NEW X-MEN come from?

Nick Lowe: It came up at a retreat. It was one of those ideas—like Spider-Man and Wolverine on the New Avengers—that came to life in the room and it’s hard to pinpoint the exact source. But Brian took the skeleton of the idea and actually brought it to life in such an interesting way.

Uncanny X-Men #294 cover by Brandon Peterson

Marvel.com: What’s the impetus to bring the original X-Men into the present day Marvel Universe?

Nick Lowe: You’ll have to wait and see on that, but I’ll tell you that someone in the present goes and gets them.

Marvel.com: Do you think people will finally stop bugging you about Jean Grey now?

Nick Lowe: Never. I love Jean Grey fans. I do. I’m a big one myself. I started reading X-Men comics in the early 90’s just after Jim Lee left and still love so much of that stuff. One of the first X-Men comics I read had a moment that just burned itself into my memories. Jean and Scott are sitting in Harry’s Hideaway and Psylocke walks by. Jean asks Scott if he developed a new power to drool whenever Psylocke enters the room and it just cracked me up and hit me as a totally human moment. I just got up and confirmed and I was pretty much on. It’s UNCANNY X-MEN #294 by Scott Lobdell and Brandon Peterson.

Anyway, I love Jean. Loved the wedding issue, all of that. Was heartbroken when she died. And to be honest, that’s been a big part of why we haven’t brought her back. It has to be so meaningful. And this new story, while isn’t bringing her back in the strictest sense, is really meaningful.

Wow! That was a long roundabout answer, huh? And now X-Cutioner’s Song is out on my desk and I’m totally bringing it with me to SDCC to reread.

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Any Ideas when an Age of Apocalypse or X-Tinction Agenda is coming to the screen.. Been long, long, long over due!!!!!!!!!!!