Age of X

Age of X Assessment: Chapter 4

Mike Carey discusses a major shift for Magneto, the secrets of the Force Warriors, an incredible ending and much more

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By Ben Morse

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR NEW MUTANTS #23 AHEAD, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, GET TO IT!

We have entered the Age of X.

NEW MUTANTS #23 cover by Leinil Francis Yu

From now through April in the pages of X-MEN: LEGACY, NEW MUTANTS and beyond, a strange and exciting new reality known as the Age of X will be introduced, with mysteries unfolding and a world where the X-Men never existed coming to light. After each chapter, we’ll have the event’s writer and mastermind Mike Carey here with us to discuss the latest revelations and will also preview art from the next exciting installment!

It almost goes without saying, but clearly things aren’t always as they seem in the Age of X.

In the fourth chapter of this reality-changing epic, we saw a different side of Magneto, the Force Warriors seizing control of Fortress X and a startling secret uncovered by Legacy and Gambit. Even as all this palace intrigue unfolds and players continue to shift, the anti-mutant forces remain at the gates—but why don’t they seem to be advancing?

Once again, writer and mastermind Mike Carey joins us to unfurl the mysteries and discuss the characterization. Enjoy his insight as well as preview art by Clay Mann from the penultimate chapter of Age of X coming up in X-MEN: LEGACY #247.

Marvel.com: Much of this chapter is told from Magneto’s point-of-view for the first time; we’ve touched on it before, but as you open him up a little more here, how does the Age of X incarnation of this character contrast to the one we’re used to?

Mike Carey: I think we're playing it pretty close and pretty faithful, to be honest.  It's certainly faithful to the way I see Magneto.  He's someone who is utterly ruthless in pushing his own agenda, but that agenda has always been informed by a degree of idealism and even a concern for others.  That needs qualification, obviously.  He's heavy-handed, paternalistic, elitist and exclusionary, but he's not rabid. Everything he does is directed towards achieving specific and consistent goals, and when he's brought to see that his methods aren't working, he switches to other methods.  He's never doctrinaire, and although he's committed criminal acts on a colossal scale and been responsible, individually, for a large number of deaths, he's not morally blind.  He reacts, changes, re-invents himself.  And, it has to be admitted, creators re-invent him, too.  My Magneto is, I think, very true to the spirit of Chris Claremont's Magneto after UNCANNY X-MEN #200.  He's no saint, that's for sure, but he's not the devil incarnate.  What he has going for him is an immense intellect coupled to an immense force of will.  If you can harness that power for a cause, you're way ahead of the game.

X-MEN: LEGACY #247 preview art by Clay Mann

Marvel.com: Who is Revenant and what is going on with her in this chapter? Are there deeper clues to the things she’s saying or are these just the ramblings of a telepath who’s somewhat lost it?

Mike Carey: There's a clue, very definitely.  But there's a sense in which Revenant's mystery, after this, calves away from Age of X and cleaves to X-MEN: LEGACY.  The answer to what she is will come in LEGACY #248, which I'm writing in the spirit of an Age of X epilogue.

As to what's going on with her, well, she seems to have a very fragmentary or incomplete sense of herself—like partial amnesia, or at least a fragmentation of her memories and her personality.  So I guess the question is what could have caused that, and why is she the only one affected in this way.

Marvel.com: We see Legion as a revered hero here to a point he’s never come close to in the typical Marvel Universe; is this potential you see in the character? Why has he not achieved it?

Mike Carey: Well, we've recently had the [Marvel Universe] Legion referred to as "the god mutant," and that doesn't seem like an unreasonable description.  If he could somehow harness the powers of all his sub-personalities, he'd probably be the most powerful mutant in existence; maybe second after Proteus, but most likely eclipsing even him.  What we've done here, I think, is something different.  We're showing what David Haller could be—with far less than that stupendously full power set—if only his mind were fully integrated.  He seems to have earned the respect and adulation he gets here; it's not just a function of his powers.  So the second part of the question answers itself, I think: We've never seen Legion well, or whole, so we've never seen what he could be.

Marvel.com: Any more hints for us as to the significance and role of Moira MacTaggert?

Mike Carey: No!  No hints!  Well, maybe one.  She doesn't have a license to practice medicine...

X-MEN: LEGACY #247 preview art by Clay Mann

Marvel.com: While some of the other characters have come to a loose conclusion that something is wrong with the world mostly based on feelings, Magneto uses logic in his “Are all our enemies idiots, then?” argument. Why is he the first to realize this and what does it say about him that he makes the connection?

Mike Carey: I don't want to make too much of Magneto being the one with the clearest vision.  Let's not forget that he's also the person with the greatest freedom to act on his suspicions.  Basilisk, Jeffries, Wolverine—they're all triangulating on this from their different directions.  Jeffries at least has been investigating the nature of this reality for a while.  But yeah, having said all that, Magneto's mind is very sharp.  Questioning what's given and taken for granted is part of his default skill set, as it is for Scott Summers, too, I think.

Marvel.com: Any more hints on the identity of X?

Mike Carey: All I can say is that X is more than just a voice.  We'll meet the actual X in part five, and I think most people by that time will respond with an "of course" rather than an "oh what??"  The thing to bear in mind is that X is the ultimate defender of the status quo here; the one who tells Magneto he didn't go far enough when he killed Legacy and Gambit.

Marvel.com: Who is the man Gambit and Legacy find in the center of Fortress X?

Mike Carey: That's James Bradley, aka Doctor Nemesis.

Marvel.com: Why is Moonstar Cadre willing to listen to Magneto but the Force Warriors are not?

Mike Carey: It's a matter of the personalities involved, and what's gone before.  Obviously everyone in the Fortress is seriously perturbed by the apparent deaths of Gambit and Legacy.  But the additional factor in the mix here is Legion.  He thinks he's protecting everything that matters, and also addressing Moira's fears.  He's very driven at this point.

Marvel.com: So, how about that ending?

Mike Carey: I love what Steve [Kurth] did with the art both in that final splash and in the two pages that precede it. I hope people feel when they come out of this issue that the stakes are as high as they could possibly be.

The next chapter hits on April 13 with X-MEN: LEGACY #247, and we’ll be back to discuss it soon after!

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