I try to be an active comic book fan in the same way I try to be a competent drunk. That means I don't pass up opportunities to express my interest in the upcoming events of my favorite comics in the same way I don't pass up a chance to get shit faced on a Friday night. The Marvel big wigs (along with every competent comic writer for that matter) usually play their shit pretty tight to the chest. I'm convinced that they all go through torture endurance training in a Russian gulag to condition themselves to never give away spoilers until the time is right to generate sufficient internet buzz. This seems to happen every other Tuesday, but like the retarded lab rat on the exercise wheel we fanboys like to think we're getting somewhere.
The X-POSITION columns by Comic Book Resources are always a treat. They're like a box of imported Swiss chocolate for X-men fans. Every week or so the find folk at Marvel take time out of their busy schedule of crafting awesome comics and oogling pictures of sexy cosplayers to throw us fans a bone. Granted, that bone rarely has any meat on it, but it's better than being strangled with a choke chain and sold to Michael Vick's old dog fighting buddies. This time the top guns of the X-books saw fit to throw us feeble fans a bone. Nick Lowe, Daniel Ketchum, and Jordan White teamed up make X-men fans salivate like Eric Cartman outside a KFC. With the recent events of Schism and Wolverine and the X-men, they have a lot to work with.
CBR: X-POSITION - X-Editors
As always, I sent my share of questions to the fine folk at CBR in the vain hopes that the X-editors would cast pity on my drunken soul and answer them. They seemed to be in a good enough mood so they did so with their usual coyness and teasing. Now I may be a drunk, but I'm under no illusions. I know they're not going to give shit away before they have a chance to make big bucks and tempt more fans like a stripper offering discounts on a Dirty Diana. But I like to know that it's on their radar.
Next up, we've got a round of questions from MarvelMaster616:
1) Now that Wolverine is running a school, how will he still manage X-Force? Wouldn't running a team like that hurt his credibility as a leader like it did with Cyclops?
2) This may have been discussed elsewhere, but what role is Charles Xavier going to play in this new era of X-Men? We saw him make an appearance in “Wolverine and the X-Men” #1. Where else can we expect to see him?
3) It was recently revealed that the first arc of James Asmus' run on “Generation Hope” would involve Sebastian Shaw. Emma Frost went to great lengths to conceal Shaw, lying to both Namor and Cyclops. Can you talk about how this will or won't play into future stories in this book?
4) The "It's Coming" teaser features (what we assume is) a Phoenix. Given all the Phoenix hints we've seen from Hope Summers, what can we expect from the "city in Arizona" as Cyclops called it?
Lowe: YO YO YO, MarvelMaster616! Lots of questions, but then again, you always are quite inquisitive!
1) You will have to read UNCANNY X-FORCE #19 and WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #4 to answer the question as to how Wolverine justifies his two lives.
White: I would also argue that I am not sure running X-Force DID hurt Cyclops’ credibility as a leader. It seems to have CEMENTED it. Exactly ONE X-Man left the team over the subject, and none of the others even so much as called for his resignation as team leader. If anything, I would say it made him seem like a more serious leader who makes the hard choices that others are too weak to handle. Whether or not that is a GOOD thing…well, your mileage may vary.
Lowe: 2) Professor X still has his hands full with his son Legion, so he’s not going to have a big role on either side of the Schism.
3) The Emma/Shaw/Namor thing is a HUGE part of his upcoming role in GENERATION HOPE.
4) That teaser is going to be VERY important to our publishing of next year, but that’s about all I can say. Other than CHECK OUT THE "POINT ONE" ANTHOLOGY THIS WEEK!
The X-editors are as polite and delightfully demented as I expected. It doesn't bother me that I don't get a direct answer, but it certainly is a thrill when they give me something to look forward to. Lowe was actually specific this time, citing Uncanny X-Force #19 and Wolverine and the X-men #4. Now I was probably going to get those books anyways, but knowing that they can answer the burning question of how the fuck Wolverine can run a school by day and a kill squad by night makes them all the more awesome. So I'll etch another reminder in my forehead to remind me to get those books and read them with the same scrutiny that Thor fans give Natalie Portman's ass.
However, I do have to disagree with White. I think running X-Force did hurt Cyclops in a number of ways. The end of Second Coming showed this pretty clearly when Storm, Wolverine, and some of the New Mutants called bullshit. Yeah, they didn't leave him or ask him to step down, but seriously what the fuck was the alternative? Let Magneto or Emma Frost run things? They would elect Herman Cain before they let anyone else run Utopia. I think the case can be made that it helped sew the seeds of Schism because Wolverine openly defied Cyclops by reforming X-Force after he disbanded them. Now he's openly defying him again while naming a school after his dead wife. I would say that's excessive, but with Wolverine you can't expect anything less.
Glad to know that I'll have more reasons to read Generation Hope for the Shaw/Emma plot, but I'm more intrigued by yet another reminder that 2012 will be the year the Phoenix Force takes center stage. Lowe is hyping it up as if it's bigger than the Mayan Doomsday prophecy and he's not the first one. My local mall is already exploiting Christmas gimmicks for a sales boost so that means the year is almost over. 2012 is almost here and all the Phoenix teasers may finally pay off. Now I'm extremely dubious as Phoenix material has been loaded with cop-outs in recent years, dating back to before Second Coming. But Marvel has never been this vocal about it. They're not being coy anymore. They're yelling that the Phoenix is coming at the top of their lungs and with the fervor of a punch in the nuts. My balls are already deflated from Schism, but I'm sure they'll be back in time for the Phoenix!
It looks as though the Phoenix Force will be that proverbial carrot on a stick that all the X-books are running towards like rabbits on crack. Marvel has grown more and more fond of using Phoenix imagery since Second Coming and I like to think that means they'll actually be doing something with it. Then again, we've been mislead before. I'll keep my ass clenched until then. For now, the post-Schism world of the X-books should tide me over along with a nice bottle of premium vodka. Nuff said!