X-Men: Legacy #220
Wrapping up the current arc of Marvel’s current “Original Sin” arc in X-Men: Legacy and Wolverine: Origins,
Marvel Comics and Mike Carey are moving forward with more exploration
of the life and times of Professor Charles Xavier in January in a new
arc titled ‘Salvage’. With Scot Eaton handling the artwork, the
upcoming arc, which kicks off with issue #220, focuses on Rogue,
Gambit, and a mysterious villain with a big settle to score with
Xavier. However, in December, X-Men: Legacy #219, featuring the
artwork of Phil Briones, acts as bridge between the two arcs with a
standalone story featuring Xavier and his indomitable step-brother,
Cain Marko—the Unstoppable Juggernaut.
Newsarama contacted Mike Carey to discuss the finer points of ‘Salvage’ and its key players.
Newsarama: Rogue takes center stage in the next arc of Legacy—what can you tell us about ‘Salvage’, Mike?
Mike Carey: Well, I don’t want to spoil any of the big
reveals—but, basically, Rogue has gone back to Maynards Plains – to the
Outback town that the X-Men once used as a base of operations in the
mid-200’s of Uncanny X-Men - you know, the town they took over from the Reavers.
There are two reasons she’s gone back there; one is just to be away
from people because she wants to get her power under control. She wants
to do what Professor X has failed to do; what Mystique and Destiny had
failed to do; what no one has been able to help her with. She’s working
through her problem on her own; she feels like she has to be by herself
in order to do it—because of the nature of her powers and the fact that
coming into contact with other humans is only going to exacerbate the
problem. The other reason why she’s gone back to that one place is of
course that that was the place where she finally drove Carol Danvers
out of her psyche.
Professor X is looking for her because he wants to make good on that
promise he made her all those years ago when she approached the X-Men
for help in controlling her abilities. We’ve seen in an earlier arcs
how Xavier claimed that he’d eventually help Rogue deal with her
problem with her powers. But he was effectively lying because he really
had no idea how to help her—and that sort of defines the burden of
guilt that he carries. He made a promise in bad faith and now he wants
to see if he can finally keep that promise and help Rogue to get out of
Charles recruits Gambit—and so far so good—but they aren’t the only
ones there. There’s another person looking to make contact with Rogue
for very different reasons; there are also some outsiders who are
dragged into the mix through a mistake of their own. This story has a
very rich mix of new and old characters which results in a situation
that spirals very quickly and spectacularly out of control.
X-Men: Legacy #219, page 2
NRAMA: So Xavier considers Rogue to be one of his failings—he’s
already disappointed Cyclops and failed to help Wolverine—are there
going to be more casualties added to this list?
MC: I think we’ve now identified them—not that I necessarily
endorse Xavier’s opinions on this subject —but I think we’ve seen all
the people that he feels he owes the biggest debts to; those three you
mentioned…and Cain Marko, the Juggernaut. The Rogue arc is a sort of
culmination of everything that has happened to him since he recovered –
or partially recovered – from Bishop’s bullet. In #224, all that stuff
comes to a head and, at that point, the odyssey that Professor X has
been on – and that aspect of X-Men Legacy – will finally be over and the book will take a different direction.
NRAMA: Going back to the Australian base of operations—which was used nearly 20 years ago in Uncanny X-Men
as you said - what really drew you back to that location? Are the
Reavers going to be making an appearance as well? Gateway, perhaps?
MC: Only in flashbacks. Gateway, as far as we know, is dead
because he was one of the people that the Marauders targeted in
‘Blinded by the Light’
NRAMA: Right—but how can anyone trust something that they didn’t actually see…
MC: (laughs) Yeah, you’ve got a point – but those characters
aren’t a part of this arc. The Reavers are seen—but only through the
perspective of Rogue’s memory—as she’s thinking back to the events that
first brought her to this place.
NRAMA: Will Rogue be making her way to San Francisco after this storyline ends?
MC: Rogue will be interacting with the other X-Men soon, if
that’s what you mean…Rogue, Gambit, and Professor X are going to be
coming back into the mainstream of what’s happening in the X-verse. But
nothing in that first meeting is going to go quite how anyone would
want it to go, let’s just say.
NRAMA: Well, let’s switch gears and talk about Gambit. He’s
already helped Charles earlier in the series—what keeps bringing Remy
LeBeau back? Is Rogue his primary concern?
MC: I don’t think it’s possible to draw a comparison between the
two situations. In the first arc, where they were fighting Sinister—it
was Gambit learning about the contract that had been taken out on
Professor X. Gambit basically stepped in to sabotage that process; he
came to Professor X in order to help. This is different. This is Xavier
going to Gambit and saying, “Hey, look, I’m going to try and find
Rogue. I’m going to try and help her.” If you want to put a cynical
spin on that, Xavier knows that having Gambit there makes it easier to
get in the front door so to speak. If Rogue is going to talk to anyone
it’s going to be Gambit.
X-Men: Legacy #219, page 15
NRAMA: Is Gambit’s presence going to aid Rogue or make things worse?
MC: I don’t think I want to answer that question. What they find
when they make contact with Rogue is a million miles away from what
they were expecting to find. Rogue isn’t in the same situation that we
left her in, and the new situation raises a new set of problems.
NRAMA: Do you want to explore Gambit’s background more down the road; or is that a story for someone else to do?
MC: I am going to be exploring Gambit’s background but not in Legacy—there’s another story that I’m working on which goes a bit more into Gambit’s past. In Legacy,
the upcoming exploration is all from Rogue’s perspective and,
obviously, Gambit is a part of that but it’s her story primarily.
NRAMA: In your mind, what makes Gambit such a big draw for these books?
MC: I think Gambit stands in a long lineage of charming, rakish
gentlemen adventurer-thieves, you know? He’s like Robin Hood; he’s like
Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman—he’s like a lot of characters in that
literary tradition. I guess it’s the combination of the charming
manners and the amoral lifestyle; it’s an easy kind of character to
make attractive and charismatic—he’s a fun character to play with.
NRAMA: Are there any challenges to writing characters like Rogue and Gambit?
MC: (laughs) With Gambit, I always have a problem with his
accent—because Cajun French is very different from French-French; it’s
a different kind of register and I’m never sure I’m getting it right.
In terms of the other aspect of his “voice”, I think I know what he’s
like and where he’s coming from so I think I can do the voice
convincingly in terms of the attitudes that come through: the
superficial jokiness and the very keen intelligence behind that.
NRAMA: Let’s talk about Charles Xavier now—he seems to be
changing from arc to arc his idealistic dream is sort of crumbling
before his very eyes and he’s becoming this creature of necessity; he’s
mind controlling people a lot more, he’s willing to do all of these
sorts of questionable things. Is there a new Charles Xavier on the
horizon for 2009?
MC: Well, I don’t know if he’s going to be any different—he’s
always used his powers in very pragmatic ways when the need arose. I
think that’s one of the more interesting things about Charles; he’s an
idealist who is capable of startling, and sometimes ruthless, displays
of pragmatism when he’s in a situation that calls for it. Some of the
things he’s done over the years have been disturbing, quite frankly.
X-Men: Legacy #219-#221 full cover image
At the same time, though, Charles is someone who is always agonizing
about the morality or what he does—and I think what we have now is a
Professor X who has sort of newly experienced, or experienced again,
all the things both for good and for evil that he’s done. He’s coming
out of this experience with a new perspective on what his role ought to
be going forward.
NRAMA: You mentioned earlier that there is going to be a
Juggernaut story connected to Charles’ exploration of his past. Are
readers going to be re-visiting their childhood together again or will
there be more exploration of their exploits together in the military?
Or will this be a deconstruction of their terribly dysfunctional
relationship as a whole?
MC: It’s more of the latter. It definitely touches on their
childhood a little and on their service in the military together and
how Cain became the Juggernaut. But ultimately, it’s going to be a
restatement of their core relationship; and even more than that, it’s
going to be a restatement of the Juggernaut as a character.
NRAMA: The Juggernaut had seemed to change his ways for a little
bit—and then there was this regression recently when Marko had to
reclaim the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak…
MC: I guess, for me, there are some characters who can be
redeemed, can change, and then there are characters who can’t—I’ve
always been most comfortable with Juggernaut when he was completely
irreconcilable. The wellspring of his motivation has always centered on
something very personal—this animosity he has for Professor X and what
he has achieved. He is psychologically what he is physically –
unstoppable, obsessed, and totally focused.
NRAMA: Are there any other villains returning to cause Xavier
any grief in the near future? Will any less reputable characters
trigger more of his introspection? Is he going to be on the run or is
he relatively safe now?
MC: In the upcoming Rogue arc, there’s going to be a big
confrontation with a character who has reason to hate Xavier; someone
who’s had unfinished business with Xavier for a long time. After
that…I’m not sure—the book itself is going to be going in a completely
NRAMA: With this change in the dynamic after #224, can you mention anything about what’s in store for 2009?
MC: I can say that it’s not going to go back to being a classic
team book; it’s not a step backwards in that direction. Just as Legacy
grew out of “Adjectiveless” at quite an unexpected vector—the next
incarnation of the book will develop in an unexpected way and will
focus on another set of relationships. It’s not something that’s never
been done before in X-Men but it’s a different way of doing something
that has been done before. I think it’s very cool and I’m very excited