If you had one chance to write your favorite comic book, what would you do? That’s the question Batman Eternal co-writer James Tynion had to answer when he was offered a one-off issue of Amazing X-Men this year, and his answer might surprise you.
In this month’s Amazing X-Men #13, Tynion and artist Jorge Jimenez guest-star as creators while regular writer Christopher Yost takes a break and deals with a unique trio of X-Men who, while very different, find something in common. This “done-in-one” issue features X-Men student Anole as he tries to combat one of his worst fears, and finds conflicting advice between Northstar and Nightcrawler. Tynion is keeping his cards very close to his vest in terms of story, but says these personal fears of Anole will become literal and the two veteran X-Men will disagree on how they can help.
Newsarama: James, what can you tell us about your Amazing X-Men story?
James Tynion IV: How it happened basically was that my former Bat editor, Mike Marts, reached out to me when he got his new position at Marvel and asked if I would be interested in writing an issue. We had talked on several occasions previously about my feelings regarding the X-Men and how they spoke to me.
I was very much an X-kid growing up, so I jumped at the chance to finally have my name on a comic book that has an “X” in the title. So yeah, I was given the opportunity to do what I want with characters both from the main cast and also deeper in the X-Men mythology. I had the idea for this one issue to do a story with a smaller focus that could deal with the relationship between Nightcrawler and Northstar, along with one of my favorite side characters who hasn’t gotten much to date – Anole. He’s from the New X-Men: Academy X series and all of those connected young X-Men books.
Nrama: What can you tell us about this story between the three of them?
Tynion: Since it’s a shorter story, I don’t want to give away too much. The core idea of it is that Anole sneaks out of school in order to meet up with someone in the city without telling people, and it deals with Anole’s inner fears as he stumbles across something in the city that’s very dangerous. Because of this, he has to work back and forth between the city and the school and he’s forced to attempt to conquer the things he’s most terrified of in himself. Northstar and Nightcrawler get involved, but they disagree about how to help him together.
Nrama: Anole was recently made CEO of Angel’s company, Worthington Industries. What drew you to feature him in this story to begin with?
Tynion: Part of it was because the cast of Amazing X-Men is so big, I knew I wanted to do something a little smaller; something that was a little more emotionally driven than big and plot-driven. I’ve always wanted to play around with Anole, and he seemed like an ideal central figure. There are definitely others I’m interested in and wished I could have included, but I’ve always had ideas for how I’d write Anole if I had the chance; so the second I had a chance, I started.
I think that’s the funny think about the X-books; everyone has their own favorite cast members they want to use. There are so many X-Men characters, that you can tell who a writer’s favorite is just by who they chose to write in their early stories.
Nrama: You’ve also got longtime X-Man Northstar in this, who has been a mentor of sorts for Anole from time to time. What’s Northstar doing here?
Tynion: He will definitely be mentoring Anole here. That being said, Northstar is a really interesting character, and he’s kind of a dick. [laughs]
He’s very standoff-ish, and full of himself… but he does care about the people around him. He’s not always the nicest person, but he cares. I always like that about him, as it somehow makes him more relatable in the fact that he doesn’t necessarily seem like a fun guy to grab a drink with. That being said, he’s still this guy who stands up and does what’s right.
On the other hand, Nightcrawler is someone you’d definitely want to grab a drink with. Kurt is one of the nicest, most caring people around in the X-Books, but at the same time comes from a place religiously that Jean-Paul would find very threatened and put off by. That’s something I wanted to touch on here, as this issue plays into the fears of all of the characters; some fears that will become literal and they’ll have to overcome.
Nrama: This is a one-off story before Christopher Yost returns to Amazing X-Men, but given your professed love of the X-Books could you see yourself doing more with the mutants down the road?
Tynion: Someday, definitely… I’m just not sure how soon it will be. At some point in my life, I definitely want to tell more X-stories. I have a lot brewing back in my head from when I was a kid; some which still might work. I wouldn’t be surprised to see me back on an X-title someday, but right now I’m having a lot of fun over in DC’s Gotham. This issue of Amazing X-Men is a field trip for me.