(CBR) Although Jason Aaron's run on “Wolverine and the X-Men” came to a close earlier this year, the creative team of Jason Latour and Mahmud Asrar took over stewardship of the Jean Grey School for a brand new volume of the fan-favorite series with an opening issue that took the cast into a new semester following graduation. As the series continues its first arc, new mysteries have popped up — like the enigmatic Phoenix Corporation — as well as some old, familiar faces — like Quentin Quire, Oya, Eye Boy, Fantomex and more.
To shed some light on the new semester of “Wolverine and the X-Men,” Jason Latour joined X-Position to answer your questions about the Jean Grey School's star pupils, Storm coming into her role as headmistress, the changes in administration with Wolverine stepping down, Quentin Quire's motivations and more.
Windrider is up first with a few questions about Storm and her powers.
1) I am a huge Storm fan (if my username wasn't a dead giveaway ;-)) and I am really enjoying your refreshingly entertaining run on Wolverine & the X-Men. Thinking back to your interview with USAToday.com you made an interesting point about reminding readers of Storm's importance to the X-Men and the untapped uses of her powers. If possible can you explain how this will be addressed in your run?
Well, with Storm more so than most characters there's always been a bit of a battle between the version of herself that's presented and what's kept hidden. She spent years as field leader of the team, many of them without her powers. She's been a thief, a warrior, a goddess– even the queen of the Morlocks. Really there are just tons of examples of how unafraid she is at getting her hands dirty. Yet there's also the very moral, almost Teflon version of her that is the backbone of Xavier's dream.
That dichotomy is a really interesting thing in a school setting. To a lot of these kids, the X-Men are aging rockstars, they've never seen Storm in her prime and in many ways she feels a bit disconnected with that period herself. Storm really has a lot she can offer these children, but are they things they're willing to listen to? And what can they teach her about herself? If there's one thing I hear again and again from teachers, it's that their students continually push them to expand their horizons. So with Storm we'll likely see that filter into her personality and even her power set. Is her power really as simple as making clouds and lightning? Sure, that's how it's manifested, but I definitely don't think so. The physics in doing something like that alone are very intriguing, very powerful — it really opens up a lot of interesting ideas that I'd like to explore over time.
2) With so much falling on to her shoulders in what way(s) will we see these experiences affect Storm?
As we begin this story Storm's in a very tough spot. With Xavier gone, she's seen the core values of the X-Men really shift under her feet. She looks around at the JGS and most of the time the school is seemingly unrecognizable from the home she grew up in, it's a bit of a madhouse obviously. But with Logan's condition — it seems now more than ever that this is where she's needed.
So that's really going to make her question her role. She's always been an effective leader of her peers, but the children are not that. In many ways she's at square one with them. It's really going to challenge her to look at her past honestly and to decide how much of Xavier's X-Men was rose colored glasses and how much of it is applicable to the situation they now find themselves in.
The Weather God is up next with one more question about Storm's role in the series.
I've enjoyed the first two issues of your book, especially with your portrayal of Storm as Headmistress. How do you plan to incorporate her new role with the other aspects of her duties/character? Will she shift between this position or will we mostly see her as Headmistress?
Logan's presence is still very, very crucial to the core of the book, but at the school itself Storm's definitely now the de facto figurehead. That said, in the field they have a different relationship. When they want to she and Logan work very, very well together. Most of Logan's partners stand in his shadow in someway, be it age, experience or power set, etc. But Storm is very much is equal, if not the rock he leans on. That's something we'll see more of in coming issues.
mr_infinite has a query about writing a book with a large cast of both students and teachers.
What's the experience been like for you writing a book with such a massive cast? So far, you've done a great job balancing the cast panel time.
It's definitely challenging, but also in it's way it's very natural. It's unfortunate and at times heart breaking to me that characters who don't play a specific role have to sit things out, but that's just the nature of it. I want to write Broo and Iceman and Rachel Summers as much as anyone but there just isn't always the space to do that and tell the story that needs to be told. I'm hoping a little restraint in regards to the size of the cast goes a long way towards deepening the characters we are dealing with.
We should also probably remember that comic book time is a funny thing. This first arc is really only a couple of days long in the lives of the X-Men, scenes that would be 5 minutes to the characters are paused between the months it takes us to get back into the comic shop for the next chapter. So many of the characters people love really haven't gone that far away. They're just not present on the day this first story is taking place.
With Wolverine undergoing so many changes, when will we get to see the effects of him leaving the X-Men and the school?
A great deal of that is being handled over in Paul Cornell's solo “Wolverine” book. One thing that probably hasn't been addressed enough is that this series takes place over the span of a couple of days and will eventually catch up with the events of the solo book. But as this story goes on we'll see what the effects of his physical condition mean to his school. Especially when it's clear he's not nearly the threat he once was.
riteuhereto has a trio of questions about some of the School's students.
Hi, Mr. Latour, I originally had no plans on continuing with WATXM after Jason Aaron's run, not a big fan of Q.Quire but I'm intrigued with the core cast you have assembled.
1) Is Nature Girl mute? (2 issues and not a peep out of her)
2) Do you have any plans for Eye-Boy? Are you going to explain his powers set?
3) Where is Broo?
1) That's an answer we'll get to. Is she just biding her time? Is English a language she even speaks? I know I sound coy but we'll be learning a lot about her over time and she has a very key role in this first arc.
2) Eyeboy has been the most pleasantly surprising experience. The world of the X-Men is such a harsh place that I feel like characters like say Eyeboy or even Gold Balls over in “Uncanny” do really have a place because they remind us of how innocent this all was when it began. I'm really interested in how living in this world effects characters like that. Especially when their teachers are people like Wolverine.
As for Eyeboy's powers, yes I do hope to explore some of that. There's a lot of potential there. With all those points of view, his mind has to be an interesting landscape.
3) Broo is currently on a field trip in space with Beast and Warbird and the other kids. But he'll be back soon, and in a very big and important way. I love and miss that little guy as much as anyone.
cora reef wants to know more about the book's association with the Phoenix.
Dear Mr. Latour, your first arc has a lot to do with the Phoenix, a concept that's pretty key to the lore of not just the X-Men, but the Marvel Universe. What kind of pressure did you feel when handling such an important piece of the Marvel mythology?
Dealing with the Phoenix is actually freeing in a way. People have expectations, sure. But there's still a lot to explore — A big question that's never really been explained is “why is this force connected to mutants?” and as we'll see the Phoenix Corporation seems to think they have that answer. But even if they don't it's important to understand what searching for those answers means. There are forces at work in our own lives that we'll never fully comprehend, but the attempt to understand them is something that changes us. That's something we'll see with the Phoenix moving forward.
It's been really cool seeing Idie develop from “Generation Hope” into “Wolverine and the X-Men” volume one. What aspects of the character do you hope to explore in your run and how will she continue to evolve?
Idie's an interesting character in that she's both very young and very worldly. For even the smartest young people it's emotional intelligence that is the last thing to develop. The swing back and forth between what they know and what they want is often very dramatic, and that's for kids who aren't being threatened by death at every turn. Idie's got very real experience with those things, and though they've granted her a certain level of peace, and appreciation for the things she does have — I think some of her experiences, like, say, Broo's injury in volume 1, have also made her a bit scared that she'll lose what she has. Expectations, both good and bad, are hard to let go of. As Idie grows and changes it'll be interesting to see how she either embraces or lets go of the ones she holds.
Wrapping up, ConternallyEfused continues the Phoenix-slant questions as well as some villainous inquiries.
Hi Jason, you get to pick up on one of my favorite concepts from “Battle of the Atom,” the future Phoenix-possed Quentin Quire. What is it about Quentin that you're most excited to explore?
It's been cool to see you develop the Phoenix Corporation so far, but are there some classic X-Men villains that you've got coming down the line in the book?
What I like about Quentin is how he struggles with the both the expectations he has for the world, and the ones it places upon him. The first time we meet him way back in “Riot at Xavier's,” it's Professor X himself that tells Quentin of his potential and if you really think about what being knighted like that could do to a person, it's not all good to say the least. I think with people who possess a facility or an ability, or have been marked as someone special, it can be very hard for them to actually find their place in the world or to feel like anyone can really understand them.
Of course in Quentin's case he's largely tried to pretend like he doesn't need the world, but all the times he was mischievously poking at it — I think it was pretty clear that he was really just looking for a way in. For his place. What I'm really interested in is how, now that he's finally found or chosen some kind of life, how does that life affect who Quentin becomes. If he really isn't alone anymore, then what does that mean?
As for villains — right now I'm circling some plans that I hope will include Magneto, the Hellfire Club, Mojo and maybe even some more obscure X-Characters that I'd prefer not to tip my hand on. Change, in all its forms, is a really important part of the X-Men and as vital as I think new villains are — the greatest change is sometimes found by revisiting the old standards with new eyes.
Special thanks to Jason Latour for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, it's a journey to explore Serval Industries' resident superhero team on retainer, “All-New X-Factor,” with scribe Peter David. Have a question for Peter? Go ahead and send 'em in an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!