Nation X: Birth of a Nation

The four writers responsible for building Utopia discuss NATION X #1

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NATION X #1 preview art by David Lopez
By Jim Beard

Crafting a new nation won't be the easiest task the Marvel's mutants have ever faced, but luckily they've got four of Marvel's most uncanny writers on their side.

NATION X, a four-part limited series beginning this December 9, explores Utopia's amazing architects: the X-Men themselves. Each issue of the series features solo stories spotlighting your favorite mutants as they, in the words of writer Scott Snyder, "struggle to come to terms with Utopia as a home."

"I think he's a guy at a bit of a cross-roads," says Snyder of Colossus, the focus of his NATION X #1 story. "He's not young; he isn't some wide-eyed kid who's going to be optimistic about establishing a mutant nation. On the other hand, he's taken a lot of hits and he's still standing-the guy came back from the dead, after all-so there has to be some small part of him that's at least a little bit of a believer in rebirth, right? He's a statesman, but he's dealing with a lot of internal issues, too.

"[There's] this moment [in the story] when he reminisces about being back on the collective in Siberia. Piotr's remembering a time before the X-Men, before even Colossus, and it just felt like that's him, that's the guy beneath the steel."

NATION X #1 preview art by Mike Allred
James Asmus tackles two merry mutants in this inaugural issue: Wolverine and Nightcrawler. The writer sees his tale as something of a spiritual follow up to Civil War.

"My story is a contrast to the new claustrophobic X-Men status quo, as Wolverine and Nightcrawler trip through the expansive American southwest one last time with a cargo to help fortify Nation X for the long haul," he explains. "It's a whole exploration of contrasts, actually, especially considering the differing reactions core X-Men have to the move. And these two old friends have a great relationship that can bring out different sides of their personalities. Even when people are friends, one or the other always seems to be dead, hiding a secret, under the control of someone evil, or trying to steal the other guy's girlfriend. So I always love their 'bromance'."

Iceman gets the Chris Yost treatment in NATION X #1, in a story the writer promises will illuminate the "harsh realities" of the Utopia situation.

"Iceman finds himself in a unique position in this story, one that he may not be comfortable with: that of leader," Yost says. "[He's] keeping everyone alive, to a certain extent-he's making fresh water for the island's population. To the X-Men, Bobby is the irresponsible joker, the kid who

NATION X #1 preview art by Michele Bertilorenzi
never grew up. But other mutants might see him in a different light; he's one of the original five X-Men. They're icon status, and he may be the only one that people can actually approach now. By the time you get to the last page, you'll have a new perspective on Iceman's cavalier attitude."

Perhaps Simon Spurrier's part in the proceedings carries the most weight of the stories in NATION X #1; after all, his assignment covers a towering figure in the X-Men's lives: Magneto.

"Politics are bloody tricky when it comes to short stories," notes Spurrier. "So I just thought about which of Utopia's residents wouldn't be preoccupied with politics at a time like this. The first candidates were the younger generation: all the youths and former students. How are they spending their time, while their mentors play at Statehood? And the second candidate, oh-ho-ho, yes yes yes, was Magneto. 

"As he puts it at the start of this story, 'Negotiation was never my forte.' This story is all about reconciling the past with the present, as represented by Magneto on one hand, and the kids on the other. I just brought the two together and stood back to see what would happen."

NATION X #1 preview art by Leonard Kirk
Who and what Magneto represents to the X-Men also represents what Spurrier calls "the crux of the story."

"Magneto comes complete with an enormous, unavoidable, colossal reputation," he says. "The X-youth have spent the entirety of their short lives hearing about this deadly, misguided, 100% baaaaad dude, and now-ping-here he is living among them. And they're expected to be cool with that. Magneto's utterly opposed to the notion of integration between humans and mutants, but amazingly, despite all their differences in the past, right now the X-Men share that ideal. Thus Utopia. So it's natural for Magneto to be among them, without enmity or ulterior motive, because for the first time ever their goals are aligned."

The writer's quick to point out the moment in his tale that revealed to him the true character of the X-Men's most tireless opponent:

"[It's] the chance to-literally-make Magneto confront the past. There's a moment in this story where he's forced to compare the angry, uncompromising ideologue that he once was with the older and more cerebral person he's become. His conclusions are, I think, beautifully unexpected."

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      Comments

      6 comments
      sir-rusty82
      sir-rusty82

      Hi does anyone know were to get the checklists for Nation X & Realm Of Kings. Thanks guys i cant find them anywhere on the internet

      greendart
      greendart

      [quote@stabulate [quote@KiplingKat ...Is Marvel Editorial doing this on purpose?First it was "Manifest Destiny", the socio-political ideal that led to the expansion of Euro-America and the wiping out of the Native American tribes/forcing them onto reservations.Now it's "Birth of a Nation", which is the infamous movie promoting white supremacy and the KKK. Are they trying for some weird irony here, or do they just not know what these phrases mean?[/quote] You make a great point. It seems that a book once renowned as a metaphor for tolerance of ethnic, gender and sexual diversity has backslided into the promotion of segregation. Perhaps the writers think we don't notice, perhaps they don't care if we do. The white, heteronormative men are still in power and we'll keep buying the books they print.[/quote] I reaaallly dont think thats whats going on here.... I see it more like the Jews getting Israel

      bensiegel
      bensiegel

      [quote@KiplingKat ...Is Marvel Editorial doing this on purpose?First it was "Manifest Destiny", the socio-political ideal that led to the expansion of Euro-America and the wiping out of the Native American tribes/forcing them onto reservations.Now it's "Birth of a Nation", which is the infamous movie promoting white supremacy and the KKK. Are they trying for some weird irony here, or do they just not know what these phrases mean?[/quote] You make a great point. It seems that a book once renowned as a metaphor for tolerance of ethnic, gender and sexual diversity has backslided into the promotion of segregation. Perhaps the writers think we don't notice, perhaps they don't care if we do. The white, heteronormative men are still in power and we'll keep buying the books they print.

      LETHAL_JUSTICE
      LETHAL_JUSTICE

      i cant wait for #2 (jubilee :D) but this isnt an ongoing is it? im guessing its gonna be like another x-men unlimited

      ZeitgeistV
      ZeitgeistV

      I hope they change the title, too. It wouldn't be the first time Asmus has been put on something that had been work on a story with a title so atrocious it had to be changed. The story turned out to be quite good, though, so I'm kind of optimistic.

      KiplingKat
      KiplingKat

      ,"...Is Marvel Editorial doing this on purpose?First it was "Manifest Destiny", the socio-political ideal that led to the expansion of Euro-America and the wiping out of the Native American tribes/forcing them onto reservations.Now it's "Birth of a Nation", which is the infamous movie promoting white supremacy and the KKK. Are they trying for some weird irony here, or do they just not know what these phrases mean?The series itself looks great, I am very encouraged by what the writer had to say about how Magneto is going to fit into all this, but the marketing department needs to watch the phrases they throw around.