By Ben Morse
Many enemies have dogged the X-Men from their formation into the present day, from various Brotherhoods to countless Sentinels, but never any threat quite like the Evolutionaries.
On May 18 in X-MEN GIANT-SIZE #1, writer Chris Yost introduces this enigmatic group who will bedevil mutantkind through the summer in X-MEN as part of the generation-spanning “X-Men: First to Last” storyline. The arc will unfold both in the present day and in flashback to the days of Xavier’s First Class with art by Paco Medina and Dalibor Talajic distinguishing the respective eras.
As he prepares to delve into the X-Men’s history, Yost shed some light on the nature of the Evolutionaries, Professor X’s changing role, who from today’s team will leap into the fray and much more.
|X-MEN GIANT-SIZE #1 preview art by Paco Medina|
Marvel.com: What is the crux of what is going on in “X-Men: First to Last”?
Chris Yost: A new threat called the Evolutionaries has come to Utopia, not to destroy the X-Men but instead to save them. It just so happens that in order to save the X-Men, the Evolutionaries are prepared to do something unthinkable. And what's more, this isn't the first time the X-Men have met these entities. It's just the first time they remember.
Marvel.com: What kind of role does the "across the eras" element play?
Chris Yost: Over the course of the story, we'll see the first meeting of the X-Men and the Evolutionaries back in the “First Class” days, and how that meeting radically changed how the Evolutionaries are dealing with the X-Men today. We'll see how the X-Men have changed from those days in Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters to the small army that Cyclops has assembled on Utopia.
Marvel.com: In writing “First to Last,” did you discover any insights into how the X-Men of today operate significantly differently from the originals and how that evolution came about?
Chris Yost: Things are so much more desperate for the X-Men now. Even with Hope and her “Lights,” the X-Men are up against the wall. There are only 200 or so mutants left, and even with five or six more, [it’s] still pretty easy for someone to come in and wipe them out, as opposed to the First Class days, where the number of mutants was growing by the day; when Magneto was the threat, not extinction. The X-Men were trying to prevent a war, not survive one.
Marvel.com: What did you learn about the character arcs of Cyclops, Iceman and Angel in particular as you wrote both their young and current incarnations?
|X-MEN GIANT-SIZE #1 preview art by Dalibor Talajic|
Chris Yost: I think that in Cyclops, you see the seeds early on of what he'd become. In Angel, you see a bit of that edge that has become something much much darker. And Iceman is still Iceman, but he's grown up a bit, in his tone and in his power.
Marvel.com: How does the presence of Professor Xavier change the X-Men?
Chris Yost: Xavier was their teacher, but there comes a time when the students have to graduate. Everything he did, as harsh as it may have seemed at times, was all to prepare them for what could—and turned out to—be a very dark future. I think he'll always have a place with the X-Men, but for the First Class and the All-New, All-Different team, school's out forever. They've been dealing with the realities and consequences of Xavier's dream for a while now.
Marvel.com: Do Wolverine and Emma Frost slot into The Beast and Marvel Girl roles in some way as has been alluded to in the teaser art?
Chris Yost: They're the evolution of the First Class into today's darker, harder-edged X-Men. Cyclops has changed, Angel has changed, Iceman has changed, but the two characters that most represented the innocence, the hope, the optimism—it's pretty telling that they're gone and Emma Frost and Wolverine stand among the X-Men now. This is what the X-Men have to be to survive, it seems to be saying.
Marvel.com: Who are the Evolutionaries and why do they represent a new type of threat for the X-Men?
Chris Yost: The Evolutionaries are incredibly powerful, but the threat they represent is really a threat to the mission statement of the X-Men: To protect a world that hates and fears them. It'd be so much easier not to. This is what the Evolutionaries offer. You know those people that are hunting you down into extinction? We'll take care of them for you. All you have to do is let us.
|X-MEN #12 preview art by Paco Medina|
Marvel.com: Besides working in two different eras, you worked with two different artists in Dalibor Talajic and Paco Medina; how did this affect your approach to scripting?
Chris Yost: I'm a huge fan of both Paco and Dalibor, but they have different styles that complement the differences in the stories pretty well. There's action in both, of course, but Dalibor's First Class stuff is more mood, more character driven, while Paco's pages are more of the big, widescreen action.
Marvel.com: What is coming up following this initial chapter of “First to Last”?
Chris Yost: Fighting! Secrets! Twists and turns! And the question of who speaks for mutantkind takes the forefront.
Marvel.com: What sort of lasting effect will this story have on the X-Men?