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By Marc Strom
The X-Men have no shortage of women troubles heading their way in the months ahead.
The Sisterhood of Evil Mutants make their proper debut this month with a double-dose of Marvel's Merry Mutants as writer Matt Fraction and artist Greg Land bring you both UNCANNY X-MEN #508 on April 15 and #509 on April 29!
While Fraction couldn't tell us too much about the Sisterhood before their first issue ships, he could fill us in on some of the general things they hope to accomplish.
"They're group of powerful psychics, mostly, who have been brought together by the Red Queen for a very specific purpose," Fraction notes. "The Red Queen's magic, plus the psychic abilities of the gathered women, will be combined to execute-well, I suppose it's a kind of heist. A test run, if you will, and then a heist. Sort of. A major magical working is behind the Sisterhood and the Red Queen has been planning it for an awfully long time."
Some readers may remember the Red Queen as Madelyne Pryor, Cyclops' former wife and mother of Nathan Summers, aka Cable. But Fraction quickly points out that "we're not bringing Maddie back into the fold, we're bringing the Red Queen back.
"To me there's a very distinctive difference," the writer elaborates. "This was one of the last ideas [former UNCANNY writer] Ed Brubaker and I had together, the Sisterhood and the Red Queen and what she in particular is up to and why. The non-spoiler
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version is she's a fun villain with a strange objective I don't know we've seen before. Her mission, and the mission of the Sisterhood, is very, very specific and, I think, very twisted and a lot of fun."
As for what makes the Red Queen the perfect choice for the Sisterhood's leader, Fraction again could only hint at the true reason.
"I can't answer this without giving away the story," the writer coyly responds. "But whatever the reason, it absolutely tortures Scott, which is always good for a laugh."
The Sisterhood marks the second all-new threat in Fraction's run as writer, along with the Hellfire Cult, who hearken back to the X-Men's history with both the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the Hellfire Club. For Fraction, establishing that link to our heroes' past fulfills some of his own personal requirements for what he expects in new X-villains.
"I guess as an X-fan myself I always like seeing new takes on old favorites and new twists on that kind of stuff," Fraction remarks. "We wanted to push things forward but still hold a link to the past, to still in some kind of way honor the history of the book, or at least acknowledge it."
Both in UNCANNY X-MEN and in INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, Fraction has set out to prominently establish or flesh out more female characters, and this upcoming storyline will only serve to further that goal.
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"Yeah, at the end of 'Sisterhood' there are more women on the board on either side of the equation," the writer relates. "And I don't know if it's up to me to gauge the success [of achieving that goal]. All I can do is try [and] write the best books I can, and I really feel those have strong women as an essential part of their DNA."
Though the X-Men have their hands full with the Sisterhood, Beast and Angel's X-Club-a group of scientists determined to figure out a way to keep mutants from extinction-have only begun their mission. But don't expect them to play too prominent a role in the immediate future.
"[They'll be sitting] around, drinking coffee and thinking during 'Sisterhood,'" according to Fraction. "After eating up so much real estate in our last arc, they recede a bit here. Not to worry, though, UNCANNY X-MEN #512 sees them front and center in an adventure through time itself."
As they continue to delve into the mysteries of M-Day, though, Fraction warns that everything may not turn out roses.
"They're here to unravel the mystery of the M-Day working, and what they find will explain everything," he elucidates. "Or kill everyone. I always get those two confused."
When the X-Club returns to the spotlight, Fraction teases it will make for a change of pace from what X-fans usually find in the pages of UNCANNY.
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"[Next is] me and [artists] Yanick Paquette and Karl Story on UNCANNY X-MEN #512, which is called 'The X-Club in: The Origins of the Species.' That's a biggie-sized issue with, I think, the career best stuff for Yanick. Just amazing. He's a big steampunk fan, so the opportunity to explore the early days of mass mutantdom and weird turn-of-the-century meta-science is bringing out totally stunning results. And then we're off to 'Utopia.'
"Sisterhood" begins in UNCANNY X-MEN #508, on sale this week! You can also read more excitement with the X-Men on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
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