By Tim Stevens
This July, writer Greg Pak and artist Stephen Segovia bring a brand new mutant team into existence. With more than just the universe under threat, Howlett, Kid Nightcrawler, and more will step forward in the ongoing series X-TREME X-MEN to ensure all realities remain safe and secure. But readers hoping for a tour of familiar alternate world should prepare to be surprised.
“We're going all new, all the time,” Pak promises, “The joy of a book like X-TREME X-MEN is that literally anything can happen—we're running wild, pressing all the danger buttons, and pushing our characters to their limits. So as much as I love so many of the existing alternate Marvel realities, we're going to cut loose as creators as well and dream up new worlds that feed our big storyline and create the right kind of crises for our characters' emotional arcs.”
Chief amongst those experiencing the emotional highs and lows of alternate universe travel will be the aforementioned Kid Nightcrawler and Howlett, introduced during Pak’s recent turn on ASTONISING X-MEN. The spirit of their interactions proved to be a compelling draw for the writer.
“There's always something fun about the curmudgeon and the smart alec running around together,” he offers. “And visually, the contrasts between the silhouettes just works—a bear and an elf, right?
|X-Treme X-Men #1 cover by Julian Totino Tedesco|
“With Howlett and Kid Kurt, we have the chance to explore that relationship and push those great visual and dramatic contrasts even more. Howlett's the old, experienced adventurer who's seen everything; Kid Kurt is the fresh-faced grade-schooler who's seeing everything for the first time.”
Two other familiar faces from the arc that introduced the duo will be part of the existence-protecting efforts.
“The alternate universe versions of Emma Frost and Armor whom we met in my ASTONISHING X-MEN run are on the team,” he reveals. “This Emma actually comes from Warren Ellis's brilliant GHOST BOXES short that took place in a pre-digital, almost steam-punk-esque world; she's Emmeline Frost of the New Albion X-Society, and she's awesome.”
The final member, however, seems to have the writer most excited: the disco mutant herself, Dazzler.
“Oh, man, Dazzler, I'm a believer, y'all,” Pak exclaims. “When I sat down with the X-Office editors to brainstorm ideas for the book, we all agreed that we wanted a big character from the mainstream Marvel Universe to play a key role. And our conversations kept circling back around to Dazzler. And the more I thought about it, the more sense it started to make. She's wry and tough and vulnerable and very, very funny. And she's a straight up hero who will save the world through rock and roll.”
While alternate universes can often dominate the stories that feature them, the writer remains dedicated to not letting that happen:
“Rest assured there's a strong through line to the story that makes each new world matter in terms of character, theme, and plot—and that ultimately ties everything back to the mainstream Marvel Universe, with some massive repercussions on some beloved heroes.”
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