The upcoming New Mutants/X-Men Legacy cross-over ‘Age of X’ is taking shape and gaining ground.
Set in a parallel universe rife with mutant hysteria the cross-over will follow the decimation of the mutant population through government-sponsored Sentinels. This series looks like it will bring in new readers and welcome back X-Men fans who may be turned off by the continuity catch-up needed to read the Uncanny X-Men monthly series. Details have been coming through via QR Codes set into promotional images showing Hank McCoy (AKA the Beast) being beaten by a mob, Jean Grey becoming the Phoenix and causing the death of 600,000 people in Albany, NY, the carnage of the mutant decimation by the Sentinels, the arrest of the Fantastic Four and of course the Avengers acting as mutant hunters.
Writer Mike Carey has been at the House of X for some time now and has operated as one of the architects of the Messiah CompleX and more. I have high hopes for this series and look forward to Age of X Alpha when it hits the stands later this month.
Writer Simon Spurrier met with CBR.com and gave a few details on the ‘heroes’ of the Age of X Universe, the Avengers. But not only is the lineup of this Avengers team different, they’re also mutant hunters.
(much more at CBR.com where more details and images can be found)
In “Age of X,” writer Mike Carey and a team of artists take readers to a universe where Marvel history has unfolded in a drastically different manner. In this world, a fierce anti-mutant coalition seized power early on and used their authority to prevent the X-Men from forming. In CBR’s current feature, THE AGE OF X COMMUNIQUES, Carey shows just how different certain X-characters have become. Marvel has also released “Historical Log” teaser images showing some of the pivotal events in this changed history. In the fifth and final log, readers were given a glimpse of what this alternate history has done to the Avengers. They’re still the group that comes together to face threats too large for any one hero, but in this reality, they’re only concerned with one threat. That’s because the “Age of X” Avengers are government sponsored mutant hunters.
This March, writer Simon Spurrier (“X-Men: Curse of the Mutants-Smoke and Blood,” “Gutsville”) and artist Khoi Pham send this decidedly different team of Avengers into action when they kick off the two issue “Age of X Universe” miniseries. CBR News spoke with Spurrier about his cast of characters and plans for the series.
A lot of your work with Britain’s “2000 AD” has involved stories set in dystopian future worlds. How much fun was it to help create a dystopian alternate Marvel Universe in “Age of X Universe?”
Huge fun! What’s fascinating (and already I’m picking my words with care!) is that in certain respects, the “Age of X” is absolutely not dystopian at all. It’s a world in which things have happened very differently than we’re used to in the mainstream Marvel U. For some of the characters — and I’m saying nothing about who or why — frankly, that’s made the world a better place. For others, most pointedly the mutant population, it’s a living nightmare.
As for the notion of world building, that’s also been a giggle. When I first started writing comics for “2000 AD,” I was convinced a lot of the joy of my job came from creating new worlds, original characters and novel situations, and I still think there’s something privileged about that level of unrestrained invention. But I’m learning there’s something equally as fun — moreso, in some cases — in concentrating one’s creativity under more delineated conditions.
After all, if the characters and places you’re playing with are already established, as they are in the mainstream Marvel U,then all your batshit inventive energy and narrative insight must by necessity be used in cleverer ways — more deliberately tailor-made, you know?
All of which means that something like the “Age of X” saga is basically the best of both worlds, recognizable characters who come fully-loaded with readers’ expectations and preconceptions, but twisted in completely unusual and utterly unrestrained ways. It has been, oh yes, wild.
One of the most interesting aspects of “Age of X Universe” has got to be your cast of characters, so let’s talk a little bit about them. Front and center in the historical log promo image, we have what appears to be this reality’s version of Captain America. What can you tell us about this Cap? Is this Steve Rogers? How does he reconcile being a Sentinel of Liberty and an enforcer for a police state style government?
I think I’m allowed to say: it is indeed Steve Rogers.
As for rationalizing why he does what he does, that’s something I’ll leave him to explain for himself. All I’d say is that history is littered with good people doing terrible things and terrible people doing good things. It’s very difficult, when you’re down on the front line, to make value judgments. Am I a force for good or for bad? Some people agonize over it and ultimately can’t handle the not knowing. They tend to make terrible soldiers. Others respond by surrendering all responsibility and saying “I just do what I’m told.” They’re the ones history tends to vilify. Steve is neither of those.
What he is, and how he deals with it, forms a key thread of this tale.
Standing next to Cap is a woman clad in black who looks to be this world’s Spider-Woman. Is that correct? And if so, how similar and how different is she to the Spider-Woman of the main Marvel Universe?
Her name is Redback. I’m saying nothing more, because neither would she.
On the other side of Cap in the promo image is the Invisible Woman. We know, thanks another “Age of X” Historical Log, that Sue Richards warned her husband against harboring a mutant, who would go on to harm Franklin and lead to the FF’s arrest. I imagine this incident is why Sue is on the Avengers. Is there anything else you can say about her motivations? Is she angry over what happened to her son and looking for payback? Is she hoping that working for the Avengers will get her family a lighter sentence?
Yeah, again — I have to remain annoyingly vague.
You’ve all seen the relevant Historical Log, so you know Sue is “responsible” for bringing about the arrest of the Fantastic Four. You also know what Sue’s like as a person, so you can imagine she’s tormented by what’s happened. For all that, she’s a smart woman. She knows, despite all the heartache, that she acted rationally. A mutant harmed her child, and even though it was just an accident, she couldn’t allow it to happen again.
Does that make her a good mother? A bad wife? A mutant-hater? A self-hater? All of the above? All these conflicts are churning around inside her, and if you go back to what I was saying earlier with regard to Cap — about soldiers rationalizing their actions — then Sue is very definitely in the first camp. She agonizes over everything.
Accordingly, she has a huge role to play in this version of the Avengers, both as its moral conscience, its engine of self control, and, well, as one of its most powerful members.
Standing next to Sue is a character you’ve written before — Ghost Rider. What’s it like coming back to him? Is this Dan Ketch or Johnny Blaze, and why is Ghost Rider, who normally handles mystical threats, concerned with the “Mutant Menace” of this world?
It’s Johnny. I can’t say much more than that for reasons which will become obvious quite early-on during issue one.
Next to Ghost Rider is a suit of Iron Man armor. Is there someone wearing the armor or is it a drone? What can you tell us about the person in control of the suit?
Here’s a teaser for ya — there is indeed a human being inside that suit. It’s not Rocky Rhodes, or anyone named Hammer or Stane or Osborne. It’s exactly who you’d expect.
Except, sorry. Tony Stark has been dead for years. [Laughs]
In the back, we have what looks to be a heavily scarred Incredible Hulk. I don’t know what’s more scary — the fact that something or someone was able to give the Hulk scars or how angry the Hulk might become because of an attack like that. What can you tell us about the physical and mental states of the Hulk in this series?
This is a case of parallel history, I suppose. This Hulk looks — and even acts — pretty familiar to all of us Marvel-U fans, but his origin story is slightly different. I can’t say more than that, but you can be sure of learning the truth, and you can be sure that Doctor Bruce Banner will play a very, very important role in the events of this story.
There’s a scene in issue one, for instance, in which he, um, makes friends with a character who’s very sadly missed from the pages of the X-Men.
More as it comes, Age of X Alpha has a Jan. 26th release date.