By Ben Morse
Nick Lowe does ok for himself.
In addition to winning the prestigious 2007 Marvel Moustache Pageant, Lowe capped off last year as part of the editorial team led by X-Men Group Editor Axel Alonso that guided the X-Men books through the highly-successful and tremendously well-received "Messiah CompleX" event and has kept the momentum going, overseeing the "Divided We Stand" storyline in UNCANNY X-MEN. Lowe also oversees other titles scattered across the Marvel Universe including RUNAWAYS, but we'll get back to that tomorrow.
Today we cover the status quo-redefining book Lowe has been associated with for most of its history: ASTONISHING X-MEN. As writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday prepare to end their acclaimed run on the title with GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN #1, hitting stores April 9, and clear the deck for Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi to take over this summer, we spoke with Lowe about the odyssey that has been ASTONISHING X-MEN thus far as well as what comes next.
Marvel.com: When you came on ASTONISHING X-MEN, did you feel any pressure or "stage fright" stepping into the role given the big names involved and the early success of the book?
X-MEN art by
When [previous editor] Mike Marts left, I'd just started working with Joss on RUNAWAYS, so I knew him. As for John, I worked with him on CAPTAIN AMERICA for a few years, back with Marvel Knights, so it wasn't that
big of a change. It's a lot of pressure—no one likes the book more than me—and I desperately don't want to screw it up. But Joss and John operate with such little margin of error, they make my job easy.
Marvel.com: Looking back on your tenure editing the book to date, what are some of your proudest moments?
It's all [Joss and John] on this book. So…some of those recap pages were awesome
Marvel.com: Conversely, is there anything you'd go back and do differently?
I wish we could have planned it a little better so that there wasn't such truncated shipping, but sometimes it can't be helped.
Marvel.com: Give us a quick snapshot preview of what to expect with the big finish in GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN…
Sure thing: Cyclops and the rest of the crew have to save the world. Again. This time they have Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the rest of the X-Men at their side, but it all comes down to the seven X-Men you've been following this whole time: Cyclops, Emma, Kitty, Colossus, Wolverine, Beast and Armor—with Brand and Danger, of course.
Marvel.com: We already know from recent issues of UNCANNY X-MEN that something happens to Kitty Pryde in GIANT SIZE, but are people jumping the gun in assuming that her fate is death? Will there still be some surprises in store?
I knew that issue [of UNCANNY X-MEN] was going to shock people, but we have a lot
up our sleeves. You think you know a lot. You don't.
Marvel.com: Who do you feel became the breakout character(s) of ASTONISHING?
This might be weird to say, since he's been a main character in the X-books since the beginning, but I'd say Cyclops. No one does Cyclops better than Joss and John. Their treatment of him as a character changed the way the X-books are going to be done for years. He's strong. He has vision—puns! He's a bad ass. We're taking that and running. As for new characters, I have a very soft spot for Armor.
Marvel.com: How do you feel about some people holding these first 25 issues of ASTONISHING up there with X-Men runs like Chris Claremont and John Byrne on UNCANNY all those years ago? How does the creative team feel about it?
The creative team wants the work to stand for them. As for me, I think it's definitely
up there. It's my favorite X-Men story that I've read since I became an X-Fan in the 90's. I've read all the biggies, but this one had me twisting and turning, cheering and crying—it's true, I'm a big pansy. There were always parts, little bits, of those classic stories where I would say, "Okay, this is awesome, but that one part was weird
." I think this is the most consistently excellent X-story ever.
Marvel.com: What do you feel will the be the lasting changes and effects wrought by this run of ASTONISHING?
X-MEN art by
The only one I can talk about is the tone that they strike on this book I hope that's the most lasting effect. As for continuity things, you'll have to wait and see.
Marvel.com: What's next for ASTONISHING under Warren Ellis and Simone Bianchi—or at least what can you tell us?
Well, we launch in July with #25 and a story called "Ghost Box." I can't tell you much—I'd get killed—but it's a mystery. It involves a man on fire. It involves a place that we've never seen before, but I can tell is going to become a Marvel Universe touchstone. It involves a villain that you know in a way that you don't.
GIANT-SIZE ASTONISHING X-MEN #1 reaches stands April 9, but Nick will be back here with us tomorrow to talk RUNAWAYS. In the mean time, get caught up with ASTONISHING X-MEN over on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.