By Jason Juniewicz
With X-MEN #200 kicking off the 17-part "Endangered Species" crossover, some would think that Marvel's hard working X-office editors would take a breather while that storyline panned out. Not a chance. X-editors Nick Lowe and Axel Alonso already have the X-Men's next big story lined up--"Messiah CompleX"--a giant, 13-part event running through UNCANNY X-MEN, X-FACTOR, NEW X-MEN and X-MEN and kicking off with October's X-MEN: MESSIAH COMPLEX one-shot by Ed Brubaker and Marc Silvestri.
"This is the first big X-crossover in years," says Lowe, noting that while "Endangered Species" criss-crosses the X-line, "Messiah CompleX" truly follows the tradition that classic tales such as "Inferno" and "Fall of the Mutants" established years ago. "We've been holding off. Now that this story came around, we had to do it. It's everything an X-Fan wants," adds Lowe.
Lowe and Alonso are being tight-lipped about "Messiah CompleX," but do offer some clues and hints that will make longtime fans, as well as newbies, rabid for the X-event. "First, 'Messiah CompleX' is the biggest X-Event in ten years!" exclaims Lowe. "It is the climax of all the events that HOUSE OF M kicked into motion. Basically, it's the big explosion everyone has been waiting for. The explosion that will change everything."
"Coming in as X-Men
Group Editor, I knew the story I wanted us to tell," says Alonso. "It was rooted in an inciting incident we'd been discussing for some time and the scope of that story was perfect for an old-school crossover--a linear story told across several titles."
While still keeping the secrets of "Endangered Species" intact, Lowe explains how the stories will link up. "Without giving too much away, 'Endangered Species' will crystallize the atmosphere for the X-Men side of the universe right now," says the intrepid editor. "It's not a happy place. Mutants lost more than 90 percent of their population. There are no new mutants being manifested. They are still hated and feared. So, 'Endangered Species' tees up the massive crescendo that begins in X-MEN: MESSIAH COMPLEX."
Many fans are probably wondering what characters will play he biggest part in Messiah CompleX. Lowe and Alonso promise that everyone will get their turn in the spotlight and some long-lost adversaries will re-take their places as heavy hitters in the X-Books. "There are a few key characters, at least two of which we can't discuss at this point since they are story reveals," teases Alonso. "But the biggest character out the gate is Cyclops
. He's the first and best X-Man. He will take his place as the alpha-dog we all know he can be and lead the X-Men into the future."
"Other than Cyke, several characters from each of the books will take a big step into the spotlight," adds Lowe. "On the hero side, look for big things from Archangel
amongst others. Oh, and that Wolverine
fellow will be prominent. On the villain side, get ready to see Mister Sinister
retake his place as one of the big dogs. Mystique
also plays a huge role as Sinister's second-in-command. And Gambit
. WHAT? GAMBIT IS A VILLAIN?! Also, a villain from the last year of NEW X-MEN will make a big splash in this event. And a major character from the past emerges in a big new way."
Alonso promises that this will be the event that once and for all shows where--and with whom--everyone stands. "As Group Editor, it was very important to me to simplify the X-Men Universe, to clarify the sides and the stakes for readers new and old," says Alonso. This event will do that. In the course of this story, new leaders will emerge, new alliances will be forged, and it will be very, very clear what everyone is fighting for, and who stands by their side. This is not a time for X-Men to split hairs and form splinter groups. The stakes are too high. It's get on board, or go over there."
And what kind of crossover would it be without some classic knock-down-drag-out battles? "There will be at least four MAJOR brawls," says the ever-excited Lowe. "And by major, I mean involving at least a team of X-Men verses HUGE opposition. And it will all culminate in the biggest X-Men fight ever. Yes, ever. It'll make CIVIL WAR's last battle look like a cotillion."
"There will also be a couple of very personal one-on-one fights that will raise eyebrows," says Alonso.
What else can be left to say? Alonso and Lowe give fans some teasers to wet their pallets while they wait for X-MEN: MESSIAH COMPLEX to hit in October. "An event in Alaska sets the whole thing going," hints Alonso. "Things will burn. This sets up a battle royale that will force mutants to choose sides. What you're going to see is a new chain of command, new alliances (with some surprises) and the creation of some new teams--including one we're very, very excited about."
"Don't forget that there's betrayal, too," promises Lowe. "You'll see a few characters show their true colors."
Need to brush up on your X-Men crossover knowledge? Stay tuned to Marvel.com for new Visual Guides based on some of the X-Men's biggest and baddest crossovers ever.
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