By Brett White
Just because the X-Men escaped the time-twisting climax of Battle of the Atom mostly intact doesn't mean that it's all smooth sailing from here. The schism between Cyclops and Wolverine has grown even wider thanks to the two figureheads’ deep disagreement over the final fate of the original teen X-Men over in ALL-NEW X-MEN. The ideological clash in the conclusion of this fall's big mutant crossover has now led to changes that will be felt across the entire line.
This shake-up can be seen in the pages of X-MEN, as the powerhouse heroes starring in Brian Wood's action-packed series try to adjust to post-Battle of the Atom life. They'll have to deal with a teammate’s surprise defection and the addition of a few new heroines to their number, all while going cape-to-claw with an all-new—and all-deadly—iteration of the evil Sisterhood! The next big battle starts in X-MEN #7, written by Wood with art by Terry Dodson, and Kris Anka on deck beginning in February.
We spoke with Wood about the team's changed status quo as the book exits Battle of the Atom and enters "All-New Marvel NOW!
|X-Men #7 preview art by Terry Dodson|
Marvel.com: How will the cast of X-MEN deal with the fallout of Battle of the Atom?
Brian Wood: I think the most profound change amongst my X-Men is the relationship Jubilee has with Shogo. Having seen him as an adult, still with the X-Men, and [knowing] that [she] raised him right puts a whole new perspective on their relationship now, on how Jubilee can look forward to her future. I think it adds a layer of adulthood and maturity to Jubilee. She won't lose her famous mall rat sass, but there's more to her now. I also think it’s a signal to the reader—and this was most important to me—that the addition of Shogo isn't a gimmick or a temporary plot point or something else in disguise. It's a real kid, and Jubilee's his mom.
There're other things too. Kitty is with another team now, for example, but we're moving full steam ahead into the next stage of the book, introducing Lady Deathstrike and a new Sisterhood. And we haven't forgotten some of the open story threads from our first arc, concerning Sublime and Arkea.
Marvel.com: As you mentioned, Kitty's defection to Cyclops' team marks a big status quo shift for X-MEN. How will this be dealt with in this title? Will we ever see a story about the women over at Cyclops' school?
|X-Men #8 cover by Terry Dodson|
Brian Wood: I'm not really sure I'm going to make that much of a focus on X-MEN. It really is Brian Bendis' story, and while my team will certainly suffer for the loss of Kitty, I think fallout or ramifications will be found mostly in the other books.
Marvel.com: Even though the team's losing Kitty, they're gaining Monet following the end of X-FACTOR. What made you want to work with the character again, and what lead you to add her to the team?
Brian Wood: I've always liked Monet, from back when I was writing GENERATION X. I loved her look, her wit, her power set, and her attitude; how she interacted and played off the others. It was always fun to write. She was always at the top of my list for this new iteration of X-MEN, and I finally got my chance. So I'm pretty happy about that.
Marvel.com: It's an understatement to say that Monet has a strong personality, and the current cast of X-MEN is not afraid to speak their minds as well. How will she fit into the team?
Brian Wood: Well, she comes to the Jean Grey School not at all looking to join a new team, but to lay low a bit and recover from her recent ordeals over on X-FACTOR. We have a scene of her arriving in #7—to [former Generation X teammate] Jubilee's initial dismay, I should note—and Monet assuring Storm that she'll stay out of the way. She meets Karima Shapandar, who is in physical rehab following the events of the first arc, and they hit it off. And then events spin up and Monet finds herself caught up in it all. So she is a somewhat reluctant addition to the group, in a way, but she's also not the type to hang back if there's work to be done.
|X-Men #7 preview art by Terry Dodson|
Marvel.com: So it looks like Karima will be stepping it up a bit more in the pages of X-MEN. How does she feel about fighting alongside the team she was manipulated into fighting?
Brian Wood: Well, without getting too much into it, what she went through in our first arc, “Primer,” has changed her. Rather profoundly. When we see her in #7, she's been given something of a second chance at life and she's determined to make the best of it, even if she doesn't yet know how to. This journey of hers will be a significant secondary storyline over the next six issues or so, maybe more. It's actually one of my favorite parts of writing this book.
Marvel.com: An all-new Sisterhood, one that includes characters that the X-Men have not been known to fight, plays a big role in this arc. What thought went into your selection process for Lady Deathstrike's team?
Brian Wood: Well, a few of the Sisterhood are yet to be revealed, and so I'll keep quiet on them for now. But so far, yeah, we were looking for villains who weren't the norm, who had ties to other parts of the Marvel Universe. I spent a lot of time just running down lists of villains on Wikipedia, asking the editors who might be available, and narrowing it down. I was looking not just at names and personalities, but power sets. Someone like Enchantress presents a threat that the X-Men maybe don't see every day. Typhoid Mary—who doesn't want to see her face off against Psylocke? Amora vs. Monet? It's pretty easy to imagine the villains winning those fights, just as easily as the X-Men prevailing.
|X-Men #10 cover by Terry Dodson|
Marvel.com: You initially touted X-MEN as the action book, and your first few arcs on the title have definitely proved that to be true. But now there are hints that Rachel Grey has feelings for John Sublime. How does romance—especially one with an on-again off-again X-villain—fit into the series?
Brian Wood: I think romance and the X-Men go hand in hand, always have, really. I'm always keeping my eyes peeled for opportunities to introduce it, and as far as Rachel and Sublime go, I never really got that much into it, mostly just hints and offhanded comments. But Sublime's not gone away quite yet, so we'll see more about that. And there's another situation brewing, too, picking up on stuff you saw way back in the first issue. I'm enjoying writing this series as one long narrative, and ongoing in the literal sense, as opposed to just a bunch of standalone stories stacked side by side.