Tuesday, October 7, 2014

CBR: X-POSITION With Brian Michael Bendis - My Questions Asked (And Then Some)

I'm at that point in my life where I've learned not to ask too many questions. I don't ask where McDonald's gets its beef. I don't ask how much money I spend at Taco Bell during drinking benders. And I certainly don't ask how many incriminating pictures of my dick the NSA probably has on file. But every now and then, I do have some burning questions that need asking.

Most of those questions involve comic books so I think my status with the NSA is safe. I used to ask numerous questions on Comic Book Resource's weekly X-POSITION column. More often than not, they didn't get posted. I suspected I might have asked too many questions about Emma Frost's bra size. But sometimes I manage to ask something intelligent. Needless to say, I had more than a few when Brian Michael Bendis stepped up to the plate this past week. Not saying I follow All-New X-men and Uncanny X-men closely, but I have reviewed every fucking issue to date. I think that shows I'm thorough with my questions. And for whatever reason, the comic book gods looked favorably upon me and let them get asked. I'll remember to sacrifice a goat and a rabbit at the alter I built in my bathroom.

MarvelMaster616 wants to know more about Iceman's current attitude toward Scott Summers and the recent conversation between present-day Cyclops and young Jean.

Some X-Men in the Jean Grey Institute seem willing to forgive Cyclops for what he did to Xavier. Others, namely Iceman, are still willing to hate him. Why is it that there's such a divide between these characters? How will it change as Cyclops continues with his revolution?

Well that's the thing. I'm going to jump ahead to what other people ask -- and they ask on my Tumblr, too -- "Why is Iceman being such a pill when he himself--?" I think there's an element when they're responding to Cyclops, and I'm talking about real world stuff too, when you see people responding strongly, they're really talking about themselves. They're mad at Cyclops, but really they're mad at themselves. Iceman is mad at himself for other things. Cyclops is going to take the hit. You see people do this all the time; projecting their blame and guilt onto other people. Some of it is that.

Other things -- this goes back to "Civil War" -- we like when you can place a question in the minds of the reader and you guys can have fun on the message board and yell at each other about it. I love it! That was the best part of "Civil War" -- Jeph Loeb saying, "Whose side are you on?" Oh my God! People are still yelling about it ten years later!

It's the same thing with this. When Cyclops is talked about amongst creators, a version of the argument people have online or a version of the argument the X-Men have goes on. That's just good drama. I like when you have the good guy and a bad guy stories and we don't even know if he's a good guy or a bad guy. There's a Walter White element here that's fun to explore . There is throughout literature, a history of characters where you don't know if you're supposed to be rooting for them or not, or if you're supposed to feel dirty for rooting for them. When it's there, you're a fool not to explore it to its full potential.

After The Trial of Jean Grey, Jean had a pretty emotional conversation with adult Cyclops. She said he became the man she hoped to be. Yet earlier in the series, she was horrified when she read his mind and confirmed that he killed Charles Xavier. Could you explain this change in perspective? Have events like Battle of the Atom reshaped her understanding of the man Cyclops became?
Yes. When you first get there you hear -- I'll tell you a story: that guy murdered another guy. You go, "Oh my God! That guy murdered another guy?" and then you find out all the details of it, like a murder trial. You start seeing things in context and you start understanding things more. There's also an element of -- she's very young. People forget that. You're not fully formed in what you want out of people. They're both children and you grow up to see, "Wow, you became this powerful leader," it's enticing. There are things about Cyclops that are very captivating, and she already liked him. So how would she not like that as well?

I wanted to talk about that. There was a lot of talk amongst us about the weird psycho-sexuality about there being the 16-year-old version of the love of his life out there. I was just so uncomfortable with all of it, and I liked the idea that Jean wouldn't have a problem expressing some feeling like that because she's young and doesn't know any better. There are no consequences for her, but I thought Scott's "Absolutely not." answer to her was heroic and the right thing to do, and shows us that Scott is still there. I also think Kitty observing this was on purpose, too. "I'm mad at Cyclops, but he's not a bad guy."

There were some people asking, "Will they or won't they" between young Jean and Old Scott. No! They're not! But there are some people who ask that and I just wanted to -- I don't want that to be a part of the conversation. I'm not interested in it, at all, on any level. So, I put an end to it. The young, dumb kid said something stupid and the adult said, "Absolutely not."

Also, people would say to me, "Isn't he just completely head over heels in love with young Jean Grey? Look at her and say, 'It's everything I've ever wanted, she's so young and pure.'" I was like, "Wow, no." In fact, I think older Scott Summers wouldn't be that interested in her at all. He's a completely different person than he was back then. That's my opinion and I just wanted to put it there. He's not interested in her like that.

It comes up a lot, and it's more or less people projecting their weirdness and their failed high school relationships on Scott Summers, but it was funny when for years they'd come up to me and say, "You know, if you want to be really ballsy, you should have them do it." I was like, "Wow, that's the opposite of ballsy to me." It's the dumbest, most salacious thing you could do and it says nothing. It means nothing. Sure, the Internet would be in my face for an hour, but I could do that any day. That is not the story I want to tell at all.

So not only did my questions get answered, I even prompted Brian Michael Bendis to go on an extended rant about the bullshit idea of O5 Jean hooking up with Adult Cyclops. I know I make a lot of shitty jokes that piss off feminists, but even have lines I won't cross. I know Marvel is okay with shit like cannibalism, spousal abuse, child abuse, and making deals with the devil. But an adult hooking up with a teenage version of his wife? That's just too creepy. Thanks for setting them straight and reminding us of our failed high school romances, Mr. Bendis.

But he didn't just stop with answering questions. Mr. Bendis decided to go even further to bitch slap the waterfall of bullshit that is the internet. That includes rumors of the X-men being canceled, which wouldn't be taken seriously were it not for the internet. But the internet also gives us porn so it balances out.

Just so we say it on the record -- it's coming from my mouth to the pages of Comic Book Resources -- the X-Men line is not cancelled. It is not near cancelled, no book that I'm writing is cancelled. We are planning, in fact, the day before New York Comic Con, I am going into Marvel -- just myself -- to sit and lock down all the things we have planned. That includes four or five big questions we're just going to lock down. That's going to happen.

The following Saturday, there's an X-Men panel! It is focused on "Death of Wolverine" because that is the X-Men event, and we do -- even when I was on "Avengers," we had a "Secret Invasion" panel, not an Avengers panel. It doesn't mean that Marvel hates the Avengers, it's the subject that will get people in. We will be covering and showing stuff, but Wolverine is an X-Man and it's an X-Men panel!

I feel bad that some people online are making other people online nervous or feel bad with half-truths or just misreading, "Oh my God! There's no X-Men on the cover of this book, Marvel hates the X-Men!" There are characters that Disney has an investment in their future. But the X-Men are a very vital part of publishing and are treated so all the way through. There's no one working on this book that isn't an A-List talent. The art is amazing top to bottom. The best artist that was working on DC that wasn't working at Marvel was Andrea Sorrentino. The minute they became available, I was offered him. To me, that says everything! They didn't say put him on "Guardians," which is obviously the book. They said, "How about him and you doing an X-Men project?" and I said, "I know which one to do where he can do everything that he does!"

He also addressed one of my chief concerns from as far back as X-men: Battle of Atom. It involves whether or not the shit the O5 X-men do in the future actually means anything in the long run. Some have theorized that the moment they came to the future, they created a divergent timeline. Yes, another divergent timeline because that's exactly what Marvel needs. Marvel needs another timeline the same way I need another DUI. Thankfully, that's not the case here.

Yes, and I'll further the mind-blowing with the following -- I know that some people have just decided, flat-out, no matter what we say, that this is a splinter timeline or this is a separate timeline. They are not. They are from issue #8 of "Uncanny X-Men," the end. Not from a different line of X-Men, not from a separate universe. There was no splintering. This is the Marvel Universe, they've traveled to the future in linear fashion, but time is not linear.

Most people get their time travel logic from "Back to the Future." That is good. That is great, I love that. But there are other philosophies of time travel that we are hinting at from "Age of Ultron" all the way through that are worth exploring, that bring us much more interesting storytelling; scarier storytelling. Some of it will be revealed in the "All-New X-Men" and "Uncanny X-Men" Annuals with Eva, who -- as you see from the solicitations -- will be traveling through the Marvel Universe, both past and future. She will see things and find things out about time travel, about herself, about the Marvel Universe that will affect her personally and reveal things about the nature of the world that will frustrate the hell out of or excite many readers.

I normally don't read these X-Positions expecting to get more than just a little extra insight into the comics that make being stoned so enjoyable. But somehow, Brian Michael Bendis found a way to make it more awesome without the aid of weed. I never thought I would be able to type those words with a straight face. So from the bottom of my heart and on behalf of my sperm count, thank you, Mr. Bendis! Now please continue making awesome comics. Nuff said!


  1. That incompetent idiot Bendis should be keept from X-men and anything related to them (from another comics too). Loocking to all that damage that moroon alredy did, he should also get life-sentence in mental assylum, with extra security.

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