To paraphrase a popular saying in the X-Men's corner of the Marvel Universe: “Welcome to the X-Men, Tempus—but how did you survive the experience?!”
The charmingly down-to-earth Eva Bell quickly became a fan favorite character after her introduction in 2012’s ALL-NEW X-MEN #1, and her popularity has followed her to UNCANNY X-MEN where she regularly appears alongside Cyclops’ ragtag team of revolutionaries. But all’s not well with the mutant codenamed Tempus.
During a training session in the man-eating jungles of Tabula Rasa, Tempus disappeared from the group. While it only appeared like a quick separation to her teammates, Eva’s powers had actually kicked-in, leaving her to fend for herself in a temporally frozen world for an undisclosed amount of time!
Now the truth will be revealed in UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #1, starring Tempus! Alongside artist Andrea Sorrentino, who makes his Marvel debut with this tell-all tale, writer Brian Michael Bendis will reveal just what Eva Bell saw and experienced during her time away. Will her relationship with the X-Men survive the experience?
Bendis and editor Mike Marts answer our questions about the revealing Annual.
Marvel.com: This annual focuses on Tempus and the time she spent trapped alone in her time bubble. Was this story in mind from the moment Eva stepped out of the woods back in UNCANNY X-MEN #17?
Brian Michael Bendis: It is of the utmost grandest X-Men tradition to have your mutant power be the coolest thing about you and the scariest thing about you. Eva has a very interesting and scary power set. It was only a matter of time before she was thrust into a situation that revealed the scary side of her time related powers. This was in my mind during the initial creation stage of the character, but it’s one of those ideas you have to hold onto because it only works if you know the character a little.
Marvel.com: Eva Bell has been a team player so far. What was it like treating her as a lead character? Did anything new about her reveal itself in the process of making the issue?
Brian Michael Bendis: Any writer will tell you that there is no such thing as a supporting or team player. When you’re writing them, they are all lead characters. They are all stars, all A list. You the writer always know things about the character that the audience doesn’t know yet, and moving the spotlight over like this gives me the chance to show these things. What I was happy about was that people really seem to like her, and I felt I had not even shown the cool things that I like about her yet.
Marvel.com: She was popular almost instantly. What do you think made the character click with audiences?
Brian Michael Bendis: She has a Peter Parker quality to her—an every woman. She was just a normal girl living in the Gold Coast of Australia; we get a sense that she had not come even close to coming into her own. So it’s not hard for some of us to imagine ourselves in her situation—not unlike when Kitty Pryde first joined the X-Men. But I was really happy people liked her because I really liked her.
Marvel.com: Something had to have happened to Eva while trapped in time to make her keep that secret from her teammates. Can you give us any clues as to what that incident might be?
Brian Michael Bendis: Well, I don’t think it’s hard to imagine that it’s time travel related. She used her powers wrong and ended up somewhere or some when she should not have been. All of this is going to reveal itself inside the body of the Annual. The cool thing is you are going to see some Marvel characters that you have never seen in an X-Men comic before.
Marvel.com: How will what Tempus went through while on her own affect her moving forward? Would you call this a definitive moment for her?
Brian Michael Bendis: It is absolutely 100% a defining moment for her. And the fallout of this defining moment will define who she is in relation to the X-Men going forward—and it wasn’t where she or us thought she was going.
Marvel.com: Andrea Sorrentino makes his Marvel debut with this issue. What made Andrea a perfect fit for this story?
Brian Michael Bendis: I was so excited when [editor] Michael Marts told me Andrea was available. I have been in awe of his work on Green Arrow—as people who follow my Tumblr know I often display his work. I would look at the art and wonder how I could write for it.
Mike Marts: Andrea is someone we’ve been dying to work with for some time. Fortunately his schedule opened up at the same time Brian was conceiving the idea for this awesome story featuring Eva Bell. It seemed like the perfect tale to capitalize on Andrea’s strengths as an artist, especially his talent of establishing expansive and panoramic settings—which this issue has plenty of!
Brian Michael Bendis: The different settings and different visual fabric needed for this story gives Andrea all the opportunity to express himself in his unique way. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make this the perfect vehicle for his very specific skills. What I love about him is that his design work makes it look like the comic page is almost too small for his ideas. I sincerely hope this is the beginning of a long creative collaboration. The first pages we got were so exciting that I immediately locked him down for his next gig.
Marvel.com: A lot of great characters have been introduced during this run. Do you see Hijack, Goldballs, or Christopher Muse getting the spotlight treatment anytime soon?
Brian Michael Bendis: Each of them has some very interesting and unique stories to tell and I hope that we can slow down a little bit and get to them as soon as possible.
Can’t make it to the convention? Follow along with our live coverage at marvel.com/sdcc2014 plus keep up on our social channels for the latest news, exclusive videos, real-time announcements, image galleries, up to date schedules and more!