Marvel Comics is getting ready to bring the sun up on a brand-new era for the X-Men.
Following the tragic events of Death of X, the dire standing of mutants in the "Extraordinary" era, and the war that takes place in Inhumans vs. X-Men, the X-Men will undergo a period of "ResurrXion" and return to their days as heroes fighting to protect the world that fears and hates them.
Announced last week, the flagship titles of ResurrXion will be X-Men: Gold from Marc Guggenheim and Ardian Syaf and X-Men: Blue by Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina. Other team books the dark and gritty Weapon X by Greg Pak and Greg Land and Generation X by Christina Strain and Amilcar Pinna. Original X-Men Jean Grey and Iceman will each headline a solo series for the first time ever, with Jean Grey being written by Dennis Hopeless and illustrated by Victor Ibanez and Iceman being written by Sina Grace and illustrated by Alessandro Vitti.
Marvel's Daniel Ketchum is one of the long-time Marvel editors responsible for shining the light on the ResurrXion era of the X-Men. ComicBook.com spoke to Ketchum about what fans should expect from ResurrXion.
Plus, Marvel has provided ComicBook.com with new IvX #2 artwork by Leinil Yu, as well as the Yu's stunning uncolored cover to IvX #6, the event's final chapter. The cover raises some significant questions about the fate of the Inhumans and the X-Men, so don't miss it in the gallery below!
After teasing it out for so long, how does it feel to have all of this ResurrXion info finally out in the open?
Daniel Ketchum: So great! It's funny because working at Marvel sometimes feels like working a government job. We have to work months ahead. Sometimes I'll be working on a project and it'll be like a year before I can actually talk to friends about it. It's terrible. Over Thanksgiving weekend, I was playing games with friends and those inevitable conversations came up: "Oh, I thought Marvel did this because of this" or "Oh, I bet they're going to do this next.” I'm just sitting there like, "Ugh I wish I could weigh in, but I can't." They're all scanning my face for answers or whatever, but you can't do it.
We’re wrapping up Death of X and Inhumans vs. X-Men now, two stories that we were and are very excited about, for the status quos they gave the X-Men. But we knew that, after all of that, we’d want to exhale and get back to what X-Men was when we—the editors and creators—started reading X-Men: they’re not fighting for their survival; they’re big, bright, colorful superheroes fighting for a world that hates and fears them. They’re trying to show humanity that they’re not these monster, but they’re here to walk alongside them. It’s been so, so great to dig in and tell those sorts of stories.
I'm happy that we're able to finally show the world what we're doing and also for all the creators involved. There are so many creators involved. There's something like eight or nine books. All the creative teams and all the writers and artists have also been working away, but they've all been dying to talk about what they've been working on, so it's nice to finally be able to do that.
What was the creative team search like?
DK: In a way, it was sort of an easy process, at least in terms of X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold. I think from the outset we had an idea of where we want to go. Cullen Bunn has been doing tremendous work on Uncanny X-Men. He gets it. He gets the balance of how to write a superhero book that's contemporary and has stakes that matter in the present and are clean, like you can just jump right in, but still with enough nods to continuity, pulling in enough X-Men history, that it's great for new fans and longtime fans. We knew we wanted him to continue to be involved in X-Men. That was a real easy decision to make, to say, "Hey, would you be interested in doing one of the flagship books?"
Marc Guggenheim is a writer that I've always really adored. It's weird, he's had turns on Spider-Man, and he did an arc of the all-female X-Men team for me. I just feel like, for whatever reason, he's never really caught on in the way that I think he deserves to. I think the world of him and his writing and what he brings to the table. When X-Men Gold came up, I just saw this as an opportunity for him to have that platform. He's turned in some scripts already that are exactly what I wanted for this book. It's again, big, bright, colorful, superhero tales, but it's really also X-Men. It feels like coming home in a lot of ways.
He has a deep, deep fondness for the characters. X-Men are the characters that got him into comics. That love shows, though. The nuances of the relationships, the interactions they have. He really, really demonstrates how he understands the characters and their histories and it's everything you want it to be. It's punching bad guys in the face, but also, you know, really funny, with heartfelt moments. It really comes together nicely.
The threat of the Terrigen Mist has been a unifying backdrop for the X-Men books since Secret Wars. Will there be a similar unifying theme in ResurrXion, or are book going to be going in more separate directions?
DK: We knew that we wanted to get back to the point of which the X-Men were free to be superheroes and go out and protect a world that hates and fears them, after going through this whole stint where they were once again fighting for their survival. It's fun to do those stories, but it can be exhausting for us and the creators to do that for too prolonged of a time. I think not only that but given the state of the real world, I think everyone was ready to get out from under that stress.
I think that everyone wants to get back to escapist X-Men stories, so we recognized that and that's one of the things we wanted to do with these books. Each one has a really bright, hopeful slant. With X-Men Gold, that's why we really wanted to go to Kitty Pryde as the team leader. It's really showing how Xavier's dream has come full circle. She was a student, probably his most memorable student in a lot of ways. The iconic Xavier student. We've seen her grow through the years and she's been all over the X-Men universe, but also the Marvel Universe, most recent in Guardians of the Galaxy, and has really proved her mettle and that she's a durable, charming, wonderful character. Her coming back to the X-Men embodies a lot of what we want to do where it's acknowledging the past legacy but then looking forward. She's going to come back to the X-Men and be their leader. In the wake of IvX, she's going to be the one to say, "Listen, the X-Men have a future. Now it's up to us to figure out what we want to do with it.”
That’s sort of what all the books are doing in a way. X-Men Blue, with the original five X-Men in the present, it's very much the same idea, where they decide, “We're here.” I think they're really coming to terms with the fact that they're here, and that may not change anytime soon. What sort of place are we going to carve out for ourselves in the Marvel Universe? Cullen’s got some great ideas. We talked about how they're going to be teaming up with Magneto, because it's a decision that the original five X-Men, at this point in their history, would never, ever have made. I think that more than a lot of things, really signals the fact that these characters are here, they're legit, they're planted in the Marvel Universe and they're now looking ahead. That's the move they're making, so there's some exciting stuff happening there.
It is the same all the way down. Generation X is the school book, so it's about bringing up the next generation of mutants. Weapon X sort of has its own thing going on, I guess that's hopeful in a different way, a "stabbier" way. Then certainly Iceman and Jean Grey also are very much looking toward their futures. Jean Grey will have to deal with the Phoenix Force and the fact that she doesn't want to fall prey to Phoenix the way that her counterpart did. It's about her deciding, "Instead of being taken by the Phoenix, I'm going to fight it."
Then there’s Iceman. He’s in a place where he’s always been known as the jokey X-Man. But now he’s in his thirties or whatever and he’s looking back and he’s like, “Damn, that’s all I’m known for.” Despite that he's been at it longer than most of the other X-Men--the hundreds and hundreds of X-Men--he doesn't have as much to show for it. I think he realizes that, especially seeing his younger counterpart come in knowing what kind of hero he wants to be, having his personal life way more together than adult Bobby ever did. So Iceman's like, "Okay, now's the time to get it together, be the hero that I'm meant to be, and also be the fully formed human that I want to be."
All of the books across the line, I think are very much looking toward the future and showing how these characters are proactively moving into who they want to be and to shape the world the way they want to see it.
You’ve mentioned wanting to get back to the spirit of classic X-Men for ResurrXion, and that’s evident in the lineups and premises. What makes those classic stories resonate still today, and how do you pay homage to those stories without these stories becoming retreads?
DK: Marc Guggenheim had a really smart answer to this question and I'm going to crib some of it. He said that for a reader, the X-Men are who the X-Men were when you entered into the story. To you, that's the X-Men team. I think very much that, over the years that I've worked on X-Men with a number of creators, I find that to be true. There are exceptions of course, but a lot the time, creators enter in with some idea of, "No, *these* are the X-Men.” For Guggenheim for example, Guggenheim pulling on that particular roster for X-Men: Gold, that's absolutely his love letter to the era of X-Men he enjoyed when he first started reading the comics.
I think that's why you see us returning to certain characters in the lineup, time and time again. It's because they have a certain fondness attached to them and they read as “these are the X-Men.” We were really leaning into that…we wanted a classic X-Men flavor here. We were very purposeful about calling the books Blue and Gold and Generation X, names that have not just legacy, in terms of what they mean in the universe, but all this emotion. They really resonate in a way. We haven't done a Generation X book since the original was launched 20 or 25 years ago. We knew that we wanted to lean into a lot of the classic flavor and have classic lineups.
And when I say that we want to deliver a “classic flavor,” I mean, when you think of an X-Men comic, what are the essential elements that you love and gravitate toward? You want to deliver on those things, but without necessarily doing the exact same version that readers have read once, twice, fifty times before.
That's the challenge and it's tough because all readers are different. Different readers have different gauges for what works and what's acceptable to them…how far you can drift from the familiar before it’s off-putting. Some people don't mind reading that classic Juggernaut story again. Some other reader might. It's always that challenge of giving a nod to what came before, delivering on what readers know, love and expect from this kind of story, but still doing something different with it, putting a twist on it, taking it somewhere new, all that.
There’s been a lot of tension and animosity between Storm’s Extraordinary X-Men team and Magneto’s Uncanny X-Men team. Will that continue between Kitty’s Gold team and Magneto’s Blue team?
DK: Read Inhumans vs X-Men [laughs].That’s very much addressed. I think it comes down to a very clear ideological difference. Frankly, Storm's a pacifist. It's only by nature of the fact that she doesn't always have the luxury of exercising that option that she will fight a fight. Magneto for a long time now, he's been on this mission where he will proactively do whatever it takes to safeguard the future of his species. I think just that ideological difference pits them against each other, because Magneto's very cool with fighting and killing if it means that it'll save the species and Storm isn’t. That's where that divide has been.
That will definitely come into play in Inhumans Vs. X-Men. We'll see Storm struggle with the fact that she's leading the X-Men to war. Extraordinary X-Men #17 is very much about that. Coming out of IvX, every character will have to take stock of where they now stand. What decisions did they make? And how did they compromise their beliefs? How were those beliefs questioned? It makes for fun conflict in the event, then it makes for great new territory to explore, coming out of the event. As Marc has sort of touched on, that's where it gives us room to explore the story where Kitty comes back. Storm is in a very different state than she was before and Kitty is the one to take up the mantle of leader.
What kind of villains will we see in ResurrXion? Will that also be a return to the classics, or will see some new threats?
DK: A lot of everything, which I think is for the best. In some of the solo stories, Iceman and Jean Grey, the conflicts that they face will be very personal to them. So while you will see a Juggernaut, for example, you will see classic villains showing up, a lot more of it's going to be character driven and the sorts of threats that they face will be unique to them and where they are in their own character arcs.
Jean is preparing to confront the Phoenix. This is what the book is about. She wants to avoid the state that her adult predecessor met and so she's going to prepare herself to fend off the Phoenix. It's not literally going to be an ongoing series where every issue she fights the Phoenix. She'll fight villains along the way, but they'll all be tailored to that conflict and that journey that she's undergoing.
On the flip side, we've got the team books. In X-Men Gold, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are the first ones that show up, some of whom are classic characters that you'll recognize, some of whom are new, some of whom are in between, which is a true fact but probably sounds crazy. It'll be a fun mix of new threats and familiar faces.
Can we expect to see some new mutants showing up on the X-Men’s side of things?
DK: Yes. Not a lot because we're just coming out of the stage where, during the Extraordinary era, the teams were pretty set. Every now and then we'd have room to have familiar faces show up, but for the most part, those creators had those rosters set.
One of the things we really want to do now is we're getting back to the school and we want to pull in a bunch of other familiar X-Men faces that fans have been pining for. We want them to show up in the pages of the books, so that doesn't leave a lot of room necessarily for new characters, but we'll definitely be trying to introduce new characters where it makes sense and when we can.
Where does that leave characters that had a prominent role in the Extraordinary era, but haven’t been seen in rosters for the ResurrXion books? Do characters like Magik, Forge, Oya, and Genesis appear?
DK: I would say 80 percent of the X-Men in the Extraordinary era have been accounted for. As always, as creators come in with a story they want to tell, they don't always have ideas for every single character, but I would say most are accounted for. When I say accounted for, of course, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to show up on the roster of a team, but there's a story idea in the making or in the works.
That's the thing, though, that's always a thing, where you only have so many pages in a comic, only so much screen time. It's tough. You can only get around to so many characters and with X-Men, where every single character is someone's favorite, you're always going to be left wishing, “Oh man, I wish we had room to get this person onto the team or into the book for a little bit.” We're going to do our best.
Is the X-Office already in the process of planning a ResurrXion era X-Men crossover?
DK: We are still a little bit of a ways off. We're more or less in the phase with all these books where we have the premises, and some of the first few story arcs worth of ideas. We want to get everyone situated. We want to get the creators to understand their books and to write their stories and especially for folks that have come in who've been really wanting to tell these specific stories, like Marc Guggenheim and Christina Strain or Cullen Bunn on Blue. We want to make sure that they have room to tell the stories they want to tell before we throw a curve ball at them and say, "We're doing a crossover.” But I think, in typical X-Men tradition, it's only a matter of time before we do a crossover.
In X-Men: Gold, Kitty Pryde is taking over leadership of a team with at least three other past X-Men leaders on it. Is there any tension there?
DK: Yes and no. I mean, it's X-Men. I think one of the trademark features of X-Men comics is the ability to delve into soap opera. I love it when whatever threat walks through the door rubs up against the exact internal emotional struggles the characters are having in themselves or amongst each other. That will definitely be the case.
That's certainly where a lot of it comes in, where they have the drama because they second guess each other or one person makes a decision that to them, is logical and makes sense intellectually and emotionally, but it conflicts with what their teammate would do or what their teammate would want. That's where a lot of the fun comes in.
Can you say anything about where Kitty’s relationship to the Guardians of the Galaxy stands as X-Men: Gold kicks off? Specifically with Star-Lord?
DK: I'm going to keep quiet about that at the moment, but I will say that when she returns to the X-Men, I think it's partially because there's something from the Guardians and Star-Lord that she's not getting…so it's a driving force for why she comes back, just as much as the X-Men need her to lead after what they've been through in IvX.
X-Men: Gold will be the first time that Kitty and Colossus have been on a team together in some time, and there’s a lot of history there. Could some old feelings awaken?
DK: Oh, absolutely. If you look at the romances that have driven the X-Men over the years, it’s Scott and Jean, Rogue and Gambit, and Kitty and Colossus. Now you’ve got Kitty and Colossus in the same room. How can you not go there? Marc has already gotten to acknowledging that with Colossus sort of being like, "What's the deal with you and Peter Quill?” It'll definitely be addressed.
On a scale of original New Mutants to Wolverine and the X-Men, where does Generation X land in terms of tone?
DK: Well, if you know Christina Strain, she is wonderful and bubbly and a delight to work with. I first worked with her when she was a colorist on Runaways. Our colorists, in general, are awesome, fantastic, terrific people and I love them so much, but Christina, she'd be the colorist that I'd be like, “Where are my pages?” and it would never be a chore to get on the phone while I was at home and talk with her for hours while she finished coloring my pages. She's just a delight. I think all of her humor, all of her quirkiness is going to translate into this Generation X book. What's nice is she's been working on Super Hero comics for so long in one way, shape or form that she gets all of it. She just understands how to do this from all angles.
Generation X is a little bit of everything. Wolverine and the X-Men is probably an apt comparison. I think Jason [Aaron] very much embodies the same thing, where he knows how to make a kick-ass superhero story as well as balancing his own sense of humor and quirkiness. I would also say though that there are nods to the original Generation X series and nods to the original New Mutants series.
One of the mandates that I gave Christina when I set out, one of the things I said she had to do, was, ideally, feature a character or characters from every iteration of our young mutants books. You'll get at least one New Mutants character, a New X-Men character, a Young X-Man, a Generation Hope character, a Generation X character, if not in the main cast, then as a supporting character. What often happens is we'll have our young kids roster and they'll have a team. They'll be the young kids for however long that creator writes them, like a year or two years, then they'll get scrapped and we'll move onto the next generation of young kids. It'll be a new roster and new characters. Those old characters sort of fall by the wayside. I didn't want this to be that.
She's been wonderful. She did a great job of delving into all the young characters that we have at our disposal and crafting a cast. There's a team, but it's not just a team. The book’s cast is really made up of characters across all these different ages and it's really, really cool. I'm really excited to see what she does with everything.
How do Jubilee’s vampirism and the fact she’s a mother now affect her role in Generation X?
DK: Jubilee, as Christina has written her in her pitch, is the den mother, or the R.A. She's an authority figure, but it's more sort of a suggestion of authority than it's necessarily like a crown. Jubilee is in a position of responsibility and I think that's very much informed by the fact that she's a mom and by the fact that she has this vampiric curse hanging over her. Even in the very first issue, she's chasing Shogo around Central Park and she catches him and then hands him a bottle and this other character is like, "Uh, dude, you just gave your baby a bottle of blood," and she's like, "Whoops! That's mine." Those aspects, the fact that she is a vampire, she is a mom, will definitely play into the book.
Just based on concept alone, Weapon X is bound to invite comparisons to past iterations of X-Force. How fair are those comparison? How is Weapon X different?
DK: It's tricky here because I don't want to delve too deep into X-Force because so much of the first issue sets up what that series is and the core mystery and the mission. I will say that in the same vein as an X-Force book, this is very much the ruthless, savage, characters in the X-Men lineup, the ones that fall on the side of, “Killing isn't a black and white issue, it's sort of a gray space.”
In that way, I guess it's very similar to X-Force. The way that it's different, I don't necessarily know that Storm or anyone else would be quick to slap an “X” on this team because of what they're going to do or what their mission is.
Old Man Logan and Sabretooth are both obvious choices for a book dealing with Weapon X. How were the remaining members of the team – Domino, Warpath, and Lady Deathstrike – chosen for the roster?
DK: I wish I could say that I had a hand in that, but that was really the folks working on that book: Mark Paniccia and Axel [Alonso] and Chris Robinson, working with Greg Pak to craft a lineup. I don't want to give too much away here. I will say that there was a logic. There's a reason as to why those characters are in this book.
Dennis Hopeless has been pretty public, in a tongue-in-cheek way, about his disappointment in not getting to write Jean Grey in All-New X-Men. How happy is he about getting to launch her first solo series?
DK: Oh my gosh, so happy. He has so many ideas for this book. I've been working with Dennis on All-New for a while now. Before that, I worked with him Cable and X-Force. Dennis is wonderful. He's thrilled to write this book, I'm thrilled to have him on it. He's doing some really cool work.
Jeff Lemire was previously writing Jean in the pages of Extraordinary X-Men. Now he’s on the Thanos series, which was announced with a teaser that seemed to show the Phoenix Force in Thanos’ eyes. Will there be some overlap between those two series?
DK: Potentially. Jordan White edits that book and I literally was just in conversation with him about the Phoenix Force and Thanos. There's a discussion happening. I will leave it at that for now.
We know that Jean will be seeking out tutors to help train her to face the Phoenix Force. What can say about who these teachers will be?
DK: Part of the trick of that is you don't want it to feel that it's just a guest star of the week, every week, like, “Let’s throw Jean Grey and Ant-Man together” or like, “Jean Grey and Tigra” and you give them a wacky adventure in the Savage Land just because we want something fun for her to do where there are dinosaurs.
Dennis and I are carefully crafting the team-ups if you will, and deciding what other characters in the Marvel U she should have adventures alongside. I think that's something that's going to come down to her internal story. Again, I like it when the threat knocking on the door speaks to the internal struggle of the character or characters.
I think as we go we'll map out more of her internal story and that's how we're going to figure out what guest star or what character speaks most to that. We talked about at one point that Doctor Strange is a gimme because Doctor Strange is very much someone who set out to study something completely outside of himself in order to solve a problem. Jean Grey is very much going to recognize that and go to Doctor Strange. We also talked about that, in a weird way, she'd go to Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider understands so much about possession and what it is to combat some other side of yourself. That's, I think, how we're going to do it. We're going to look for those thematic ties to characters than can build out her character arc, her character story, then bring them into the book.
What level of connectivity will there be between the ResurrXion books?
DK: Oddly enough, there are little touch points we've sprinkled throughout. For example, Christina Strain with Generation X wants to pick up on something from Weapon X of all places. That's one of the things we aim to do as well, to create the sense--and again it's a very much classic X-Men thing—that all the books feel interconnected, like they very much all exist in the same universe, but not to the extent people feel like they've got to read all nine or whatever, to get the full picture.
Finally, the one previously announced ResurrXion title we didn’t get any new information about this week is Cable. Is there anything you can tell me about that series?
DK: You’ll have to wait just a bit longer for information on Cable. We're still sort of toying with what readers will know up front, but there are some cool ideas cooking.
The X-Men ResurrXion titles begin rolling out in spring 2017.