Year of the X-Men: Uncanny X-Men with Kieron Gillen

Our week of X-rated press calls continues! Today, writer Kieron Gillen and editor Nick Lowe talk up Uncanny X-Men

"Look at any point in X-Men in the last forty years and they've always been feared." says, Gillen. They also experience a great deal of it themselves. It's all about prejudice and insecurity, so they're perfectly suited for an event called Fear Itself. But that's a little ways down the line. 

What's up in Utopia? Scott Summers has been fighting this war, and now that they've won, they're looking to achieve the peace. Gillen, an exceptionally well-spoken and insightful bloke, is captivated by the political ramifications of a modern civilization inhabited by humans and mutants. Look for generational and political themes to pervade these stories. Asked about the mutant metaphor (race, religion, sexual identity) that holds the most weight for him, Gillen emphasizes age and change. The evolution of a race of creatures, of a society. There's a bit of foreign policy, which Gillen admits sounds boring but hopes won't be. The big question is "How do you deal with people who aren't you?" 

We talk about this promo to the right. "Juggernaut," says, Gillen (pronouncing the name Germaniclaly) "is a disaster movie. An earthquake. A volcano. Absolutely a force of nature." Lowe likes this analogy.  "A very angry mobile volcano." Gillen is intent on making the character really, really scary. When asked about this seeming course change in Juggernaut's alignment, Gillen is tight-lipped. We should be asking that question, but he's unable to answer it at the moment. 

Moving on to Colossus, and his appearance in the promo, Gillen jokes about a discarded makeover issue where every character tries new hats. 

Lowe calls Colossus a character to watch in the next year. Gillen describes him as "emotional and stoic." and plays up his tendency for sacrifice. "The white knight personified." 

Lowe also emphasizes the importance of Gillen's other X-title, Generation Hope. It's going to play a more prominent role in this corner of the Marvel U as the story progresses. There's a new sort-of team and it plays to Gillen's interest in the philosophy of this genre. "A new look at what mutants and superheroes are. It will chill you to the bone."

How about individual story lines and the characters featured most prominently.? The first big story is "Breaking Point" (a play on "Breakworld") which focuses on Colossus and Kitty. There's also more Magneto than you might expect. Then we'll see a special one-off about Wolverine and Hope. Next up, "Fear Itself." All about triangles.  Namor/Emma/Scott. Kitty/Colossus/Illiana.  

I asked about Magneto and his role. Gillen says we're right to question his motivations and his inclusion in this society. He calls him Scott's most fanatical follower. As for the knowledge of his existence in the world, superheroes will know, regular people won't. He'll be involved with Kate Kildare and mutant PR. He helped save the world, but yes "There should be a question mark."

Asked about the narrowed focus of the title and its place in the X catalog, Lowe says, "Uncanny is and will always be the core X-Men book, period. The be-all end-all. One stop X-Men shopping."

Fans want to know about Jean. "Jean Grey is dead," Lowe declares. "Always has been dead. Hope is not Jean Grey." 

The concept of crossovers and continuity is brought up. "More than ever," Lowe promises. That Keiron writes two X-titles makes it relatively easy. There is continuity of character and interaction here. 

There's more talk of Juggernaut's scariness and Gillen's initiative to make villains feel like true threats. "Heroes are measured by the calibre of their opponents."

Because Ryan's been bugging me to ask about Gillen's biology degree and it's role in his approach to the X-Men, I finally relent. Gillen chuckles, and pauses to think about this one. He says he tries not to overdo it. It's a slippery slope. An awareness. "I try to know the difference between real Science and superhero science fiction. It amounts to a better class of technobabble, hopefully."  And it certainly helps in writing Beast. Not an enormous influence if he can help it. "All information is influence." Seems like politics will play the larger role as opposed to any further mutations. 

Let's wrap things up with some art teams. Carlos Pacheco is doing a .1 issue. Terry Dodson on "Breaking Point", Greg Land of "Fear Itself." Beyond that, Lowe doesn't want to say. But there's this. "Who knows if Uncanny will exist after this?" 


  1. Marvel, I hope you know the only reason why I’m not going to buy Uncanny X-men is still, and always will be Greg Land. Sorry.

  2. “Jean Grey . . .always has been dead.” 

    I am obviously not understanding one or more of the words in this sentence correctly.

  3. @ohcaroline She’s like Bruce Willis in the sixth sense.

  4. ” It will you to the bone.”


    (Already off the rails, sorry).

  6. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    God help me, this sounds interesting. Damn you, well-spoken and thoughtful Kieron Gillen! 

  7. Ha ha, I love how Paul is like “let me say something appreciative and thoughtful to make up for the rest of our commentators.”

    Yes yes, Kieron Gillen always has interesting things to say and this sounds intriguing.  Especially the hat-switching issue.

  8. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Barnabas  Fixed. I’m taking a correspondence course in shorthand but it’s taking forever!

  9. Oh, and also. . .this article forces me to infer that publicist Kate Kildare is considered a superhero and not a regular person.  I endorse this categorization fully.  She works very hard.

  10. Fans want to know about Jean. “Jean Grey is dead,” Lowe declares. “Always has been dead. Hope is not Jean Grey.” 

    I am not happy with this answer. i am dying to get my favorite character back its been to long. They need to address that Emma vision soon!

  11. I really hope they can turn this book around.  It should be the best of the X’s but I think it’s my least favorite at this point.

  12. Glad to see them doing something with Colossus. He is criminally underused. In fact if your name isn’t Scott, Emma, or Logan you are either fighting for attention or being killed off because writers are too bored to figure out how to use you (sorry, guess I am still pissed about Nightcrawler)

  13. Jean’s been dead since she was killed by Morrison. That’s all that means.

  14. I’ve recently been buying all the X-books and I was quite surprised with how good they are.  I’m even more surprised at how good Greg Land’s artwork is and all the hate he gets.  I do not get it at all.

  15. @lifesend- I was wondering about that too, I stopped reading X-Men books around 6 years ago and was thinking of maybe getting a trade or two but all the stuff I hear about Land has really turned me off…are his interiors really that bad?

  16. When X-Force goes to the Age of Apocalypse world, they will bring back that universes versions of all of our favorite dead characters.  Just joking….I hope.