Age of X

Age of X Assessment: Chapter 6

Mike Carey gives us his thoughts on the big conclusion and where the X-Men go from here

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By Ben Morse

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR NEW MUTANTS #24 AHEAD, SO IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT YET, GET TO IT!

We have entered the Age of X.

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!

The Age of X has come to an end.

A final battle raged between mutants and humans, but ultimately it mattered not at all as the figure around which the fantasy had been constructed, Legion, brought it all crashing down. Heroes showed their mettle, suffered loss and even died, but when the sun set on a restored Utopia, they all found themselves with more questions than anything else.

We’re joined once again by Mike Carey to put a bow on the main Age of X action and also have exclusive preview art from X-MEN: LEGACY #248, the epilogue, by Jorge Molina.

NEW MUTANTS #24 cover by Mico Suayan

Marvel.com: Why is Moira’s response to the truth being revealed to destroy the world she built? If she’s so powerful, why not just erase the memories of those she’s manipulating and start anew? Why the need for destruction?

Mike Carey: Bear in mind that this is an entity that was born out of fear and rage.  Moira was Legion’s response to the culling of his personas by Doctor Nemesis, but her first act seems to be to cannibalize some of those same personas in order to increase her own power base.  Then she attacks Professor X, who really isn’t the enemy, in a murderous frenzy.  She—or it, since this being is only wearing Moira’s face—is not stable in any respect, and here she seems to be driven by a sort of spite and resentment because the mutants have dared to question the world she made for them.  She actually says: “I’m doing this to you because you listened to Xavier.”

On another note, we don’t know how big a toll using her powers takes on her, and whether it’s as easy to dismantle and rebuild as it is to create a new reality from scratch.  Maybe this was the line of least resistance for her.

But mostly I’d say it’s about the way her mind works.  She’s driven by powerful and primal and at the same time very confused emotions.

Marvel.com: Would you call the beginning of this issue one of Cannonball’s finest moments in Age of X? What does your handling of Sam throughout say of the esteem in which you hold the character and his position within the X-Men hierarchy?

Mike Carey: I think we see him doing what he’s done every day for three years—or a week, if you prefer.  He steps up to the plate and does what has to be done to ensure the survival of the people he’s responsible for.  So it’s all of a piece, really, with his refusal to leave the battle lines in chapter five.  Back then, he didn’t have any proof that the threat of the Human Coalition had just gone away, so he stood his ground and held the line he’d been told to hold.  Now, the situation has changed out of all recognition but he’s still the field commander and he gets right down to the job.  He commands.

X-MEN: LEGACY #248 preview art by Jorge Molina

I have a huge respect for Sam, and for his leadership skills.  I think—given what he knew, and the responsibilities that were on him—he made the right call in both of those instances.

Marvel.com: Does Legion have a point in begrudging Xavier taking away the life he had in the Age of X or is he being selfish?

Mike Carey: That’s a call for readers to make for themselves.  My feeling?  Yeah, it is selfish, but it’s probably understandable, too.  Xavier’s revelations have taken everything from him, made him instantaneously into the problem rather than the solution; the villain rather than the hero.  That’s got to hurt, and because it hurts he lashes out.  But he still does the right thing.  He’s grieving for a life he’s about to dismantle.

Marvel.com: Why does Wolverine ultimately go into battle?

Mike Carey: I think for the same reason that he helps Legacy when she turns up wounded in his bar.  With or without powers, Wolverine isn’t a bystander.  He doesn’t have that in his skill set.  If this fight is going to determine the fate of his world, and of everyone he knows, he’s going to be a part of it.

Marvel.com: What does it mean that Sam calls Legacy by her name rather than Reaper when he thinks he’s dying? He was, after all, the first character we heard call her Reaper.

Mike Carey: I just threw that in to intensify the sense that this is a moment of real contact between the two of them.  Sam may have been hardened by the role he’s had to play in this reality, but it hasn’t made him small-minded, vindictive or selfish.  He gives his powers to Legacy without a second thought, and using her real name means he’s kind of giving her a blessing to go with them.

X-MEN: LEGACY #248 preview art by Jorge Molina

Marvel.com: What changes Legion’s mind as far as motivating him to absorb Moira and revert the universe?

Mike Carey: I’m not sure he changes his mind.  I think he already knows, when he’s raging at Professor X, that this is how it has to go.  The only other option is to betray the trust of every mutant in the fortress, and become the monster that Moira is—let her selfishness and her ruthlessness dictate terms to his entire personality.

Marvel.com: Should we read anything more sinister into Legion’s “You’re nothing but a pack of cards” line?

Mike Carey: No, that was just a nod to “Alice in Wonderland.”

Marvel.com: What can you tease as far as what’s up with Chamber and Revenant?

Mike Carey: Just that there are reasons, in each case, why they haven’t changed back.  And as Revenant warns us, they’re not the only ones who’ll be affected in this way.  Revenant’s secrets—or some of them, anyway—are revealed in X-MEN: LEGACY #248 and revisited in #250.  Chamber remains a question mark for now.

Marvel.com: What can you say about the consequences of Frenzy and Cyclops’ Age of X affair?

Mike Carey: Just that we haven’t heard the end of this.  It’s going to affect each of them differently, and I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that it’s going to affect Frenzy more profoundly.  Cyclops returns to a stable relationship with another woman; moreover, with a powerful telepath who knows his mind inside and out and can help him cope with the psychological fall-out as it comes up.  Frenzy is sort of bereaved, but at the same time watching the man she lost in Age of X living a life which never included her and doesn’t have any room for her now.  We’ll see what that means for her, and what she decides to do coming out of it.

X-MEN: LEGACY #248 preview art by Jorge Molina

Marvel.com: What do Blindfold’s words to Xavier mean? Will she be going after Legion?

Mike Carey: That’s a long-term wait and see.  But she certainly seemed to be pretty serious.

Marvel.com: How would you characterize the changes Legion has gone through as a result of all this? Is he more mentally together now or more unstable than ever?

He’s certainly not any more stable.  His sub-personas were separated out from him in the Age of X bubble, and had an existence there as independent entities, as we saw: that was a temporary cure, and he seemed to thrive there.  But with the collapse of Moira’s alternative reality, we have to assume that he’s gone back to being as psychologically fractured as he was before.  Maybe what he did to Moira—taking her back into his own mind so he could access her powers—represents a better way forward than what Doctor Nemesis was doing to him, but that kind of remains to be seen.

Marvel.com: What is coming next?

Mike Carey: Consequences!  Lots of them.  And the new team.  And a new enemy, named Styx.  And a European tour that includes mayhem in Tenerife, London and Paris.  And then a trip to a space station that’s a very long way from anywhere else.  All kinds of good stuff.

Mike will join us once again to cover the Age of X epilogue in X-MEN: LEGACY #248, which hits stands May 11!

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