By Brett White
The first comic to bear the adjective "uncanny" surges back from extinction with a new mission, new mutants and a creative team ready to take the X-Men into uncharted territory.
|Uncanny X-Men #1 cover by Chris Bachalo|
Premiering in February 2013, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Chris Bachalo give the X-Men's fallen leader, Cyclops, a status-quo shattering mission in UNCANNY X-MEN. With new mutants appearing at an exponential rate, Cyclops, Magneto, Magik and Emma Frost will stop at nothing to recruit them to their cause, ensuring the future of the once near-extinct mutant race.
We spoke with Bendis about the classic Marvel title's new beginning and the future of this dysfunctional mutant family.
Marvel.com: In relation to WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN and ALL-NEW X-MEN, where does UNCANNY X-MEN fit in? Is it still the flagship title?
Brian Michael Bendis: I feel the audience decides what is or is not a flagship title, but I will say that UNCANNY X-MEN will be the one-stop shop for these very important characters in the mutant [corner of the] Marvel Universe and the Marvel Universe proper. I'm very lucky that I get to write ALL NEW X-MEN and UNCANNY X-MEN at the same time. I can examine this fascinating part of the Marvel Universe from vastly different angles.
I can't think of a time where the mutant part of the Marvel Universe has been more exciting. Every character is so complex and there are so many characters interacting. Literally anything could happen.
It is not unlike the job I had writing NEW AVENGERS and DARK AVENGERS at the same time, even though this is not DARK X-MEN.
Marvel.com: ALL-NEW X-MEN was an idea that had been floating around the Marvel offices for some time. Where did the idea of re-launching UNCANNY X-MEN come from?
Brian Michael Bendis: Everything in UNCANNY X-MEN came right out of our story planning for Avengers Vs. X-Men. There was a great deal of time where Marvel had asked Jason Aaron and [me] to bring all the elements of the story together. It was during this process that both of us came up with a lot of ideas for the mutants going forward. By this time I knew that I was taking over the X-Men and that allowed me freedom to take his [X-Men] characters into places I probably wouldn't have the guts to [in AVENGERS VS. X-MEN] if it wasn't my job to clean up the mess so to speak.
While we were discussing whether or not it was time for Charles Xavier to die, one of the reasons I was all for it was because it made all of my books so much more interesting.
|Cyclops & Emma Frost|
Marvel.com: You emphasized the friendship and family aspects of the Avengers during your run on those books. With the darker state of mutant affairs, is that possible with UNCANNY?
Brian Michael Bendis: Absolutely. If the Avengers are a family, then UNCANNY X-MEN is a very, very, very dysfunctional family. But these characters really do need each other. And some of them love each other. And some of them don't.
Marvel.com: Speaking of love, Cyclops and Emma Frost went through some rough times during Avengers Vs. X-Men. How does the fallout affect their relationship?
Brian Michael Bendis: The romance is done. They are not together anymore romantically. It's pretty hard to come back from what they went through in Avengers Vs. X-Men.
And because they are Scott and Emma, this breakup is going to take a while. And it's not going to be pretty, but fun to write.
Marvel.com: Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto and Magik are all characters that have either been flat out evil or perceived as it. What challenges come from writing a super hero book where the leads veer away from super heroics?
Brian Michael Bendis: Although their actions, sometimes, may not have seemed heroic, their actions were always about trying to make the world better than it is. Whether or not we thought it was for a better world is another question. Magneto, when written well, is trying to make the world better for mutantkind. He just doesn't think, or [didn’t think], that humans and mutants can or should get along.
Marvel.com: Magneto has been with the X-Men for a while now. Has he truly reformed, and what does he now think of his past clashes with the X-Men?
Brian Michael Bendis: What you are going to see with Magneto is a very specific new chapter in his life. At the last Marvel [creative summit] we were talking about the fact that we often break our heroes but never do much to our villains. We would put the Fantastic Four through the ringer but Doctor Doom is always Doctor Doom. I gave that conversation a lot of thought.
What happens in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN will establish a very bold, new chapter for Magneto.
Marvel.com: Previously the X-Men fought for mutant acceptance by saving humanity. Now with mutants popping up again, is recruiting them Cyclops' only goal? Or does he still have his mind set on saving the world if needed?
Brian Michael Bendis: You will discover in the very first issue of ALL-NEW X-MEN exactly where Scott Summers’ head is at. Of all the X-Men that feel it is their job to further the legacy of Charles Xavier, no one feels it more strongly than Scott Summers.
Scott Summers himself is not only trying to save these kids but he is trying to train them and get them ready for what he feels is coming mutant revolution These new students represent his only hope for true redemption. And his only hope to make the world the way he really thinks it should be.
Marvel.com: You're now in the position to create new mutants for the first time in almost a decade. What goes into coming up with a mutant power?
Brian Michael Bendis: First of all, character. I find myself much more interested in meeting new people, people we haven't seen in the Marvel Universe before. This job allows me to travel all around the world and meet all kinds of people and hear all kinds of stories, and I have been writing them down for years, waiting for the moment to unleash them. Then I try to find a new or interesting power set, something I haven't seen done to death, whether it's a visual for a unique power.
Marvel.com: How big a role will new mutants play? Will they be getting equal page time?
|All-New X-Men #1 cover by Stuart Immonen|
Brian Michael Bendis: Absolutely. They are front and center. They will be interacting with our main cast. Time will show that some might become characters that people grow to love and some may interact with the Marvel Universe in surprising ways.
Marvel.com: The last time a writer wrote two main X-Books simultaneously was in the 1990’s. Back then both UNCANNY X-MEN and X-MEN were very entwined. Will that be the case for the two you're writing?
Brian Michael Bendis: At least initially my goal is to do exactly what I did [with] AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS. The books will connect thematically and sometimes even story-wise, but you don't have to buy both books to enjoy them. Hopefully I will make you want to buy and read both books with our stories and our characters.
But these books are both looking at mutants and Marvel from their unique point of view. Both of these books' points of view are, in my opinion, very legitimate and very much a concern.
Marvel.com: You previously worked with artist Chris Bachalo on AVENGERS. He also has a long history with the X-Men family of books. What makes him the ideal artist for this new iteration of UNCANNY X-MEN?
Brian Michael Bendis: One of my favorite books that I have put out during my entire time at Marvel was the DARK AVENGERS ANNUAL with Chris. Anyone who wants to get a feel for what we can accomplish together, please go check out that book. I was very excited to work with Chris on a longer form project because I have been a fan of his for years. He is one of the artists that I buy anything with his name on it.
|Dark Avengers Annual #1 cover by Chris Bachalo|
Marvel.com: With Bachalo on UNCANNY and Stuart Immonen on ALL-NEW X-MEN, you're working with two of the most versatile and dynamic artists in comics. How different are they to write for, and is there anything you do specifically for Bachalo when writing for him?
Brian Michael Bendis: Absolutely. But I do it for everyone I work with. I try to give them a script written specifically for the way I think they see the world and the freedom to interpret that script anyway they see fit. Chris is a very specific talent with a very unique look at the comic book page and I would be a fool not to do everything I can to help him take that as far as he can.
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