Marvel’s Next Big Thing: Brian Michael Bendis Wants YOU to Join the UNCANNY X-MEN

Uncanny X-Men #3 cover

On today’s Next Big Thing call with Marvel Comics we spoke to writer Brian Michael Bendis and editor Nick Lowe about the upcoming relaunch of Uncanny X-Men.

Cyclops and company believe that children are the future, and that core belief is the thrust of this slightly darker cousin to Bendis’ concurrent All-New X-Men. Based out of a renovated Weapon X facility with an all new Danger Room and Cerebro apparatus (look for an old-school cutaway diagram of the facility very soon) Cyclops, Emma Frost, Magneto, Magik and other militant mutants will seek out and foster young mutants from around the globe. It’s a more covert operation than what they’re doing down at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, making it that eastern European magic academy with the submarine viking ship to Wolverine’s Hogwarts.

Expect a bit of a scuffle between the two caps around March with Uncanny X-Men #3 and All-New X-Men #10. We’ll witness a clash at the Jean Grey School through the unique perspective of either book, Rashomon style.

“Thanks to the daily shipping of All-New X-Men we’ve been able to lay out exactly what the X-Universe will look like,” said Bendis. With this second ongoing, Bendis hopes to capture some of the magic of Chris Claremont’s storied run, examining how the landscape has changed, or in some cases remains the same, since the X-Men were positioned as an allegory for various groups all those years ago. What might mutants represent in the modern world and in the Marvel Universe.  “[The X-Men] reach across the world to rescue, save, and train the new mutants that are popping up all over the place. It gives us a fantastic opportunity to re-establish what mutants mean in this new world.”

“When people go through a large change in life, whether consciously or not, they often alter their appearance,” said Bendis of the dramatic new costume designs. Of particular interest are his comments on Cyclops and his new attire. Scott’s aggressive new look is a deliberate decision on the part of the public face for the Mutant Revolution. There is an emphasis on Cyclops’ concerted efforts to present himself and this movement in a certain light. Whether that facade is artifice or sincerely felt, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Uncanny X-Men #2

Villains? Oh, most definitely. Bendis teases that he and Lowe are pretty excited to introduce a Doctor Doom level villain from the larger Marvel U into the X-Men universe. It’s a character who’s never been associated with the X-Men before, but Bendis promises that once introduced, the juxtaposition will elicit an “Of course!” slap to the forehead.

The real drama though seems to be in the struggle for young hearts and minds. Bendis will introduce several new mutants, but not all of them will take to their new tutors. We asked the writer about the process of creating new mutant characters, whether he planned to continue the tradition of pairing power-sets with personalities and backgrounds in order to generate allegorical characters. Rogue’s inability to touch a loved one, for example. Or, as Bendis himself offered, Johnny Storm’s flighty hot-head persona mirroring his own special abilities. He mentioned the numerous possibilities, introducing a characters whose powers were directly tied to their behavior or even their fears. Or, the alternative, a character whose powers or appearance seem at odds with their temperament. We’ll likely see a combination of these two in Uncanny. Bendis seemed especially enthusiastic about the challenge, saying he’ll finally be using a number of characters he’s filed away over the years.

The real fun seems to be in the depiction of new powers and how they’re used.

“For mutants, you like to do powers where after training it becomes something else,” Bendis said. “We debuted Eva Bell in the first issue of All-New X-Men. She has that time-stopping power. That was the first time she used it. What are the extreme limits of that power?”

How dark is the book? Not quite as sinister as Dark Avengers, but there are a lot of skeletons in those closets. “Having Magneto around, it’s this constant reminder of the ghost of Christmas past or future. If Cyclops makes the wrong decision one more time, he’s Magneto. The end. There’s no redeeming it.”

Uncanny X-Men #1

We asked Bendis if his recent experiences as a university professor has informed the way he depicts student/teacher interactions, something that will obviously come to play in this title. He joked about the hassle of paperwork and red tape being far worse for teachers than it is even for college students, but his new role has given him greater insights as well.  “Watching someone succeed and knowing you don’t have to do much but to nudge them in a direction they were already going is such a great moment,” he explained. “At the same time, watching someone not live up to their potential, just knowing from life lessons that they’re going to look back on this and be embarrassed…you live vicariously through your students’ successes and failures. At the same time, there’s only so much you can do because they have to learn.”

Some of it is by accident or at least not intentional, but Bendis says every experience he gains in the classroom goes right into the writing. “Everything.”

So, where are Cyclops and Wolverine at this stage in their stormy relationship? We’ll learn more as the series progresses, but Bendis believes Logan is far angrier at Scott than the other way around. He intended no animosity by installing the Uncanny team at Weapon X. That’s not a dig. “Unless,” says Bendis, “Cyclops finds Wolverine’s diary with all the information that would’ve helped him sort things out over the years, and just tosses it out in the trash. That’d be a dick move.”

Look for the first two issues of Uncanny X-Men in February.



  1. So, Conor, I guess this costume represents Emma’s Boston roots? 😉

  2. Schism: Round 2 Can’t come quick enough!!!

  3. Bad joke. I was one of the loudest people bitching about her characterization on the issue’s thread, and although I knew she wasn’t English, I had no idea she was from Boston. Shows how much I know.

  4. Love it

  5. Hmmm… There are ‘a lot of skeletons in those closets’ says Bendis… A clue to what Wanda was hiding?!?

  6. The mysterious villain… Could he be the High Evolutionary?

    • He’s been associated with the X-Men before, I believe, especially through Quicksilver. We can also rule out Red Skull. I’m guessing Kang.

    • Yep I’m pretty sure the X-men have run into him before…at least in an Annual drawn by Art Adams? I seem to remember that…

  7. I cannot wait for this comic! It cannot get here soon enough! Bendis is the man!

  8. Wish at least one of these titles wasn’t double-shipped.

    • It’s the only way Marvel can keep up with DC.

    • Yes. Its the only way that Marvel can keep up with DC lmao.

    • illmatic, I have to agree with Scarlet-Batman on that one. No over-priced double shipping books. If I have a $3.99 book from DC, I know I’m getting more pages. Usually 40. You don’t feel even a little ripped off buying marvel books?

    • How can you be ripped off when it’s the NEXT BIG THING!

    • While I really like that DC is still holding the line at $2.99 (or adding pages to justify a higher price), on average, I think Marvel’s creative talent is stronger than DCs. And so far, all the Marvel Now books I’ve sampled have really delivered. In many cases, I think the writers are adapting to the pacing of the 20 page format, so a less-than-spectacular $3.99 book doesn’t sting as much as it did 12-18 months ago.

      But let’s not pretend $3.99 is an inherently evil price point. Because even at $2.99, I’ve dropped most of my DC books over the past year because they just weren’t good enough to justify the expense (it was usually the stories I found lacking).

  9. Three things I’d love to see:
    1. for the mutant set
    2. A costume for Magneto that isn’t ridiculous.
    3. Latverian mutants, and what Doom would do with them.

    Looking forward to this run!

  10. I’ll take something better than Uncanny Avengers

    • That book was sooooo over-hyped. Seriously, it was good but definitely not flagship material.

    • I love Remender but the only characters i have any relationship with in that book are Cap and Logan. It’s just not hitting me right when it comes to everyone else

    • Yeah Uncanny Avengers isn’t doing it for me. The concept is kind of bland, the art is so-so and the roster is kind of boring. I’m with RoiVampire in that the only characters I give a damn about are Cap and Wolverine. But on the other hand Remender is awesome. Plus Acuna’s taking over so I might pick it up then.

  11. Id love to see more of how the normal citizens of the world are reacting to the return of the mutants, in an Astro City/Gotham Central kinda way. I mean, the whole globe was recently under control of the Phoenix 5, how does Joe Plumber feel about that? Throw in some kind of fictional FOX news to stir the pot.

  12. All I’m saying is they better not de-power Magneto. It seems like that’s the direction they’re taking it from the last issue of All-New X-Men. It’s ridiculous, Emma has no psychic powers etc… Exactly what they did with Nate Grey. Why can Thor, Iron Man, Wolverine and Hulk be ‘all powerful ‘ but to keep other powerful characters interesting you have to power them down.

    • Thor is so powerful that he gets smacked around every time.
      Wolverine hasn’t been interesting for (too) many years now.
      Iron Man has no actual powers.
      Hulk has the Jekyll/Hyde or misunderstood monster thing going for him. Or at least he did when he was worth reading about. Haven’t checked for a while.

      I’m perfectly fine with Bendis de-powering Magneto and the others. Should be an opportunity to explore some new territory with them.

    • I’m with nikbackm.

      Magneto’s powers are often used inconsistently (sometimes as a deus ex machina) — can he only control metal, or all the forces of electromagnetism? The former is pretty significant power, but the latter gives him nearly godlike powers over nearly everything!

      So I wouldn’t mind some “Magneto rules” being put in place so that he can’t just put on his helmet, reverse the earth’s polarity and call it a day whenever he gets indignant at someone calling him a filthy mutie.

  13. ”Having Magneto around, it’s this constant reminder of the ghost of Christmas past or future. If Cyclops makes the wrong decision one more time, he’s Magneto. The end. There’s no redeeming it.” WTF, honestly, their is! like Scott can be like magneto and want to attone for his Sins and Join the X-Men, oh wait why would they do that only to retcon it. Like i hate when MARVEL sets up a new status que but only deals with it for a year or two

  14. Straight up… When DOESN’T Bendis do something Rashamon style?

  15. I am fucking EXCITED! Seriously; I haven’t been this thrilled about the X-Men since Cassaday & Whedon’s run on Astonishing. FUCK. YES!

  16. All New X-Men has been pretty great so far. Bendis has managed to actually get me interested in Cyclops and his team, which I have always hated. Can’t wait for this to come out.