By Ben Morse
United or divided, standing or fallen, nobody will be safe when the Secret Invasion comes, and that includes the X-Men.
It's a lesson the Children of the Atom will learn the hard way beginning in August when writer Mike Carey (X-MEN: LEGACY) and artist Cary Nord (ULTIMATE HUMAN) bring the mighty mutants into the Skrull conflict in the four issue SECRET INVASION: X-MEN limited series.
"The story takes place after the first shockwaves from the Skrulls' machinations have already hit," says Carey, setting the scene. "People are beginning to realize just how bad things are and just how much is at stake. But the Skrulls' [combat intelligence], while good, isn't perfect in every respect. They find themselves fighting the X-Men on a front they didn't expect, and in ways they wouldn't have anticipated."
While Carey couldn't delve too far into some of the story's specifics as far as the whereabouts and status of the X-Men team itself at the risk of spoiling major status quo changes on the way this summer, he could promise that fans of just about everybody to ever call themselves an X-Man would not be disappointed by who shows up to wage war.
"It's a huge core cast," assures the writer. "All the [characters from UNCANNY X-MEN and ASTONISHING X-MEN], all the students [from NEW X-MEN], and some mutants like Iceman and Cannonball who aren't on any team roster but [will be] at ground zero when this crisis [hits]. The only heavy hitter we won't get to use is Wolverine because he's busy elsewhere.
"In 'Messiah CompleX,' the X-Men were a tightly-knit team facing a small army," Carey continues. "Here the X-Men are a small army facing a full-sized invasion force, complete
with air support, heavy artillery and some of the dirtiest weapons you could hope never to see."
But despite the overwhelming odds stacked against them by the alien invaders, the X-Men have been through enough wars to know not to expect relief beyond their immediate "family."
"As [they] so often [do], the mutants of the Marvel Universe find themselves fighting in their own corner, to some extent divorced from the wider battle that the other heroes are fighting," notes Carey. "They're not expecting support or reinforcements from anyone else. They stand or fall by their own abilities."
Big action and epic slugfests will be the order of the day in SECRET INVASION: X-MEN, but Carey also assures that at least one more character-centric side thread will prove key both to the story and the big picture of Secret Invasion as far as mutants' role in it.
"There's a mutant angle on all this which is unexpectedly relevant and crucial," explains the scribe. "One of the subplots has Nightcrawler exploring Skrull philosophy and religion, not entirely of his own free will, and what he finds feeds back into the action in a way that invites...let's say a comparison between mutants and Skrulls-a disturbing comparison."
Joining Carey on this wild adventure will be another Cary: artist Cary Nord, who can currently be seen rendering the Ultimate battle between Iron Man and the Hulk in the ULTIMATE HUMAN limited series. His creative collaborator couldn't be more pleased to have the veteran Nord onboard.
"[Cary is] a major talent and I can't wait to see what he does with this story," enthuses Carey. "It really plays to his strengths. I know he's going to take the big battle set pieces and make them play like poetry. It's going to be fun."
Cary Nord on
So as the summer comes to a blazing conclusion, get ready for things to heat up in the X-Men's corner of the Marvel Universe, as Secret Invasion comes hot and heavy.
"[This series] is very much a showcase for Cyclops' new approach to leading the X-Men and an ultimate test of whether that that approach works," concludes Carey. "It's a story about the ugly, irredeemable things people sometimes have to do in a war."
Who do you trust? Learn more about Secret Invasion now at Marvel.com/SecretInvasion! And be sure to check out the exclusive SECRET INVASION PROLOGUE and more at Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited