By Matt Powell
YOUNG X-MEN #1
Beaten, betrayed, and besieged everywhere you turn, it sucks to be an X-Man-and it's even worse when you're young.
"X-Men: Divided We Stand" rolls on this April, as writer Marc Guggenheim (WOLVERINE) and artist Yanick Paquette (ULTIMATE X-MEN) become the first creative team for what may be the last group of X-Men-ever.
Picking up the pieces from the explosive Messiah Complex, YOUNG X-MEN thrusts the former students of the Xavier Institute into the big leagues with no safety net beneath them.
"There's no more X-Mansion, no more school and, most importantly, no more X-Men," recaps Guggenheim. "This team doesn't have the luxury of thinking, 'Well, I won't have to be an X-Man for another few years or so.' The time for them is now."
X-Men leader Cyclops assembles a team of Rockslide, Dust, Blindfold, Wolfcub and newcomer Ink for a very singular and pro-active purpose:
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"There's a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants that's been formed," reveals the writer. "Cyclops puts together a new team of X-Men to take them out."
If the adjective 'young' in the group's codename has you concerned as to whether or not this team of teens can handle the Brotherhood, you can bet Cyclops feels the same; but in the wake of "Messiah Complex" the X-leader doesn't have much choice.
"He needs new X-Men," puts Guggenheim succinctly. "That's why these kids were his students in the first place: To one day be able to take over for the previous teams. Because of the events of House of M and Messiah Complex, [Cyclops] knows this is the last group of X-Men there will ever be."
The writer's first arc, entitled "Final Genesis," kicks off with emphasis on the word 'final.'
"Issue #1 begins with a flash-forward to some point in the future and we learn that at least one of the team's members is going to be killed," warns the scribe. "The watchword of this series is to 'expect the unexpected,' so the roster we start out with isn't necessarily going to be the roster we finish with."
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Since the X-Mansion's been reduced to a pile of bricks, for shelter, the current residents take a page out of the Morlocks' book and journey beneath the surface.
"There was an awful lot of infrastructure underground [beneath the Xavier Institute]," notes Guggenheim. "It's not in the greatest shape, but it's livable down there. That's where the Young X-Men will have their headquarters, at least initially."
With their lives literally in shambles, the Young X-Men will find themselves on the road in search of vengeance, but not without running into a few familiar faces along the way.
"We will definitely be seeing a lot of the original New Mutants," enthuses the writer about the original teenage mutant X-team. "Specifically: Cannonball, Sunspot, Magma, Karma and Dani Moonstar. I think the role they play in the series-which is huge-will surprise a lot of people."
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Although the writer openly admits the list of friends set to appear, he's holding the line-up of the Brotherhood close to his vest, but admits, "every member is a very familiar face."
Guggenheim will disclose one sinister face that should be especially familiar to fans: former Hellfire Club member Donald Pierce.
"He looms very large," teases Guggenheim of the long-standing X-Men foe. "He's the guy who kills the aforementioned Young X-Men team member. So we'll always be on alert for when he might show up."
Even though the Young X-Men might be fighting in the name of those who've come before them, Guggenheim assures that once his first arc concludes, the teens won't see eye-to-eye with their adult counterparts for too much longer.
"The Young X-men won't be very trusting of anyone-particularly other mutants, particularly other X-Men," promises the writer. "So when the Young X-Men cross paths with any of their X-elders, it's going to get very nasty very quickly."
BONUS! Check out our video interview with Guggenheim on the next generation of X-Men!
YOUNG X-MEN #1 goes on sale April 2, but you can read the adventures of the original New Mutants on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.