The House of Ideas’ “Marvel NOW!” initiatives have all been about new series and new beginnings, but this March they’re doing the opposite by celebrating the ending of an era: the end of X-Men Legacy. And to do it, they’ve invited the series’ two previous writers – Mike Carey and Christos Gage – to join current series writer Si Spurrier for a send-off to their runs and to the series itself.
The name X-Men Legacy was first used in 2008, taking over the numbering and the spirit of the long-running X-Men series first launched by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee back in 1991. But upon its renaming, X-Men Legacy became a showcase for a series of long runs by writers like Carey, Gage and Spurrier that focused on a central X-Men character as they undertook a journey mixing the present day with the vibrant history of Marvel’s various X-Men titles over the years. Spurrier’s current run focuses on Legion, the complex son of Professor Xavier, and is set to conclude with February’s X-Men Legacy #24 – but one month later he and the series’ previous writers will return to give a coda to the stories they’ve told over the years with the series.
“We wanted to tell a story that would tie together the different eras and aspects of the book – at least, from the point where it became X-Men Legacy,” says Carey, who wrote the series from 2006 to 20011. “The beauty of X-Men Legacy was that each writer on the book interpreted the title in a different way and through a different core cast. Our story weaves through all those incarnations of the book and the key events that characterized my own, Christos’s and Si’s runs on it.”
Each writer is doing a separate story centered around the primary characters of their respective runs, but the stories are designed to complement one another and connect back to their individual runs on X-Men Legacy. Spurrier says that X-Men Legacy #300 is both a celebration and distillation of the theme the series has had over the years.
“As the three writers who’ve collectively poured our hearts and souls into the book it felt fitting that Mike Carey, Christos Gage and I should each be represented in such a landmark issue,” says Spurrier, who began writing X-Men Legacy in 2012. “We all felt it would’ve been rather a missed opportunity if we simply treated it like any old anthology issue, with three completely disconnected short stories. Instead we grabbed the chance to bounce around some ideas and come up with something really special and – I think – truly evergreen.”
Christos Gage wrote X-Men Legacy for sixteen issues in 2012, and is using this opportunity to follow-up on two characters from his run who haven’t been seen much since he left: Mimic and Omega.
“When we last saw Omega, he was in a coma due to an overload of his powers,” Gage reveals. “But in my last issue, #275, Mimic told Rogue that he was improving and on the verge of recovering, and he asked her thoughts on what they should do - remain with the X-Men and try to be superheroes, or something else. We're going to check in on them and see what they chose, and what they're doing now,”
Although X-Men Legacy will see some returns of familiar characters to the book, Carey says that because of the nature of their overarching story it’s less about revisiting their characters than it is about revisiting “an entire world.”
“My story arises directly out of what I think was my best X-Men Legacy story arc – but at the same time it looks forward to things that were going to happen later,” Carey explains. “The three of us are mirroring and riffing off each other. If it works, it will be a unique story that reflects on the things the book has always been about.”
Although Marvel and the writers are being conspicuously tight-lipped about the events of the stories in X-Men Legacy #300, Spurrier did say they’ll be introducing a new character who “paradoxically has been there all along.”
“Readers are going to be dipping into some wonderfully familiar waters,” explains Spurrier,” seeing things in a whole new way, and coming up for air just in time for a lovely, bittersweet expression of what it is that has made the X-Men franchise in general, and X-Men Legacy in particular, such an important book.”
Although some creators might consider it an affront to share the pages of the comic series they’re on with the previous writers on the book, Spurrier says that the experience of doing X-Men Legacy #300 with Gage and Carey has been a thrill, an honor and “an overwhelming nerve-jangler.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to befriend those guys over the years, and I’m not exaggerating when I say they’re a couple of the smartest writers working in comics today,” says Spurrier. “Given their collective clout I was understandably nervous about mucking-in and chucking around ideas, but so far it’s been an eerily effortless process. We’ve all got things we wanted to say, we all believe in the overarching message of the piece, and we quickly lucked-out onto a way of arranging it all that gave us each exactly the right levels of autonomy and collaboration. I think it’s going to be something rather special, come the end.”