In today’s edition of Marvel Comics’ press conferences, writer Brian Michael Bendis and editor Nick Lowe were on hand to discuss the upcoming All-New X-Men, which launches on November 7th, 2012. Bendis started the press conference by telling the press that anything goes and to ask whatever we like, and boy did we take him up on that…
Before taking questions Bendis talked about All-New X-Men, already revealed to feature the original five X-Men traveling from the past to the present and how the world around them is different than what they’re used to. Bendis explained his approach to the new book, “I come in with hopefully a new take, and something that is true to the core idea of the book, but is something new.” Bendis further explained that he had been offered the writing chores on X-Men previously but turned it down because he lacked that idea or concept, and it wasn’t until the planning discussions around Avengers Vs. X-Men that Bendis thought that he not only had an opportunity for a graceful exit from the Avengers, but he had come up with a good idea for the X-Men and AvX seemed like a good opportunity to pursue that.
Joining Bendis on the title is long time collaborator Stuart Immonen on art. Bendis and Immonen previously worked together on Ultimate Spider-Man and New Avengers, and they’re tapping into the same emotional core of both those titles when approaching this. While Bendis explains that this book is unlike anything they’ve ever done before, it’s similar in the approach of Ultimate Spider-Man where the story puts the characters through an emotional adventure. “To put them in the mos extreme situations to see how they respond and see where the heroism lies,” is how Bendis explained the approach. Bendis expressed how pleased he has been with Immonens work so far on the title, saying that every time they get art in, he wants to release it to the public immediately, which is no surprise given the wealth of art that was given to us by Marvel Comics and can be seen below.
The biggest take away from the press conference was the impression of confidence in the story Bendis has. He explained that since this direction has was established pre-Avengers Vs. X-Men, he’s been able to work on the concept, research the history and ultimately get a head of schedule on the book, which he referred to as a real gift to be able to do. It’s that lead time and confidence that allowed Bendis to speak candidly about the approach to the book and what fans may expect. Among the key things revealed on the call were:
- While the original 5 X-Men from the past is the hook of the book, the book is not just about them and will feature many of the other characters in the X-Men universe
- We will see the specific moment in an early issue of Uncanny X-Men where the original 5 transport from (and those using Marvel AR can see that moment in the old comics on their phone or tablets with the Marvel AR App)
- The title “All-New X-Men” is no accident, and there will be new mutants introduced, as early as the first issue
- The villain of the book will be Mystique. Bendis described her role as “a very big positioned antagonist…she’s going to be very interested in the past X-Men”
- There will be ramifications to the past X-Men coming to the future. Bendis cited that there is a “butterfly affect” but it may not occur on earth, rather somewhere in the galaxy, a thinly veiled hint to some sort paths being crossed with Guardians of the Galaxy, the other Marvel NOW! title Bendis is writing
With the past X-Men and the current X-Men in the mix, it appears that Bendis will have a lot in play in the pages of All-New X-Men. When asked about the approach of bringing characters from the past, he was firm in his decision not to make this a Back To the Future 2 type story, focusing less on the specific year they’re coming from and focusing more on the fact that these are 16 year old students who come to a future that to them, is like the X-Men story Days of Future Past, with Bendis explaining: “This is about where the characters are in their heart…it’s not a story about time travel” Rather, the idea of the seeing the characters again, filled with idealism and hope for the future is what will make the story compelling. Highlights to lookout for are the dynamic of Scott Summers, with young and present day Scott Summers in the mix; the budding romance between Jean Grey and Scott Summers; as well as the presence of Jean Grey, a beloved character that’s been absent for 10 years. Editor Nick Lowe specifically called out how delightful it has been to see Jean Grey back, stating “She leaps off the page in such a special way.”
It’s clear that Bendis, a long time X-Men fan and reader, has done his homework going into All-New X-Men, citing that the research for this book was much more elaborate than Avengers research, which was contained within the 500 back issues of Avengers. Bendis described having piles of papers on Onslaught, Apocalypse etc., not that he intends to use those characters, but rather did the research for himself in his approach. Again the confidence in the characters and the material was apparent as Bendis prepares to launch what promises to be a long run with a unique status quo for Marvels mutants as he continues to work laid out by Editor In Chief Axel Alonso and writer of Uncanny Avengers Rick Remender to bring the X-Men to the forefront of the Marvel Universe. Bendis explained, “One of my goals is to make sure the X-Men aren’t ghettoized” and cited the nature of the X-Men’s powers opens up the world to them to interact with Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and other beings from space, where the X-Men have traveled to in the past.
All-New X-Men #1 comes out on November 7, 2012 and you can see the cover and interiors, as well as covers and interiors (in various states) from the first 5 issues below: