X-Men: Legacy #225, due in June
Mike Carey’s journey into Charles Xavier’s mindscape has been quite the
tumultuous journey—but of course, exploring the mind of one of the most
powerful mutants in the Marvel Universe is never easy. But as the solicitation for X-Men Legacy #225
reveals, Xavier parts ways with the book and a transition starts which
will lead to a cast-change for the book. Fans don’t have to worry—Carey
will still be helming the title. The cover to July’s issue features
Gambit, Rogue, and Danger, with #226 and #227 acting as a bridge for
the upcoming status quo change for the title.
Charles Xavier’s past isn’t all that Carey is exploring either. In June, Marvel releases a new one-shot, X-Men Origins: Gambit,
which teams Carey with artist David Yardin. The story covers an expanse
of time in the Ragin’ Cajun’s life from his marriage to Bella Donna
Boudreaux to his time spent with the Marauders up until the moment he
initially met Storm in the pages of Uncanny X-Men #266.
Newsarama sat down with Mike Carey to discuss the future of the X-Men Legacy and his absolute take on the life and times of the founder of Marvel’s X-Men.Newsarama: Things are coming to a close for Xavier’s run on X-Men Legacy in #225; do you think that Charles’ journey, this stage of growth for the character, is complete?
Mike Carey: Complete in the sense—in two senses really—in one
sense he is now able to build up a picture of his past; all the holes
in his memories, resulting from Bishop’s bullet to his head and Exodus’
rather drastic cure, have been filled. He knows he was and he knows who
he is. Also, in the other sense, I think he’s come to a decision now
regarding where is he going and what is he going to do next—which is
not simply to repeat the mistakes of the past—to go back to the
start—so his redemptive journey reaches a conclusion in #225.
NRAMA: So, how has Xavier changed? He’s grown—he’s looked back
at the breadth of his life and experiences with the X-Men; how is this
insight going to affect ‘the dream’ he started out with versus the ‘the
dream’ he has today?
MC: I think one of the things we’ve seen happening is that he,
quite simply, went out to make amends, to pay his debts, and put right
the things he had done wrong over the years. He’s had to accept that
some things just cannot be amended—that some actions remain too
complicated and/ or ambiguous to be conveniently labeled sins or
virtues; some bad things have good outcomes and vice versa. He feels
like he’s paid some of his debts from his past—but he’s also reclaimed
his past. He is in a position now where he can look at the totality of
what he has done and who he has been and now he can say, “Okay, that’s
He gives a speech in #225 where he basically says, “It’s time to stop
living in the past,” and that he indicates that it is time to move
forward; and, at the same time, that’s not a flipped comment—he’s not
saying, “I’m off the hook now.” He’s just reached a point now—where you
can’t tinker with your own past actions, you can’t spend the whole of
your life endlessly finessing your past decisions. You have to make an
impact on the present.NRAMA: That’s an interesting character to have coming to that revelation—considering that Exodus is several hundred years old…
MC: (laughs) Yes, indeed. And therefore, you’d think he would be
the one doling out the sermons. There are things that happen in #225
which sort of push Exodus in a new direction as well.
NRAMA: In the past, the character’s debut was very villainous—he
was a very ominous villain; but, via the Age of Apocalypse, readers
were given a different way to look at his character—someone was able to
reach out to him, show him the error of his ways, and put him on the
right path…is Charles going to be the one to break-through to Exodus?
MC: Charles will certainly be giving him things to think
about—important things to think about. In fact, that’s one of the
reasons why Charles goes back and seeks out the Acolytes—and, because
in the overall structure of the story, it’s very satisfying to have
Charles return to the point where his odyssey began. There are a number
of very important character beats, relationship beats, in this
issue—Professor X and Exodus; Professor X and Amelia Voght—there are
some pay-offs here to a number of things we’ve set up when
“adjective-less” became Legacy.
NRAMA: The teaser image has been out for several weeks now—and
there seems to be a bald guy allying himself with a new group,
including Namor, Cloak and Dagger…
MC: Are you talking about the Dark X-Men?
NRAMA: (laughs) Yes, are you working on the title?
X-Men: Legacy #226, due in July
MC: Tangentially—because you can see from the cover of #226—I
have some of my core characters turning up in the middle of those
events; so this is the place where Legacy becomes a continuity book
again. Inevitably, yes, there are things going on in Dark Reign and
Dark X-Men is going to be referenced here.
NRAMA: Who is writing Dark X-Men?
MC: I don’t think it’s been announced yet—so I can’t say—but
it’s somebody very exciting actually; and I was talking to him last
week about what his plans are. They’re very cool.
NRAMA: Okay, let’s talk about post-Xavier Legacy; with the cover
of #226 sporting Gambit, Rogue, and Danger—are readers getting a first
look at the new cast of the series? Are there going to be other
characters in focus?
MC: They’re certainly the core characters for #226 and #227;
which is a 2-part story currently called, “Suppressing Fire”. This is
the transition period between Professor X-centered legacy and the new
legacy—so this introduces the new concept. It’s not going to be a team
book. The rationale for the new version of Legacy will continue to be
centered on a single character—but they will be centered around a very
interesting, very satisfying supporting cast of characters who will
come in on a regular basis.
NRAMA: A singular character? Or an interchanging solo focus?
MC: No—a steady solo focus. And the logic of the next focus will
be played out during #226 and #227—at the end of the story, you’ll
finally see where we’re going and why.
NRAMA: Will there be thematic changes or will Legacy still be a
book looks at various times and aspects of X-related past continuity?
MC: No, it’s also a change in thematic focus as well—we’re not
going to be exploring the X-Men’s past in the same way; in fact, if
anything, we’re sort of aggressively focusing on the present and the
near-er future without any kind of time travel. (laughs)
NRAMA: Does this “aggressive focus on the present” begin any
sort of build-up toward an X-Office event this summer or later this
MC: You mean something that will feed across all the other titles?
NRAMA: Right. Are the X-books building towards a significant
event this year? Or is this year going to be an individually focused,
MC: There is going to be a gathering of momentum towards another
event; yes. If you think Messiah Complex as being the first act of a
three-act drama and Messiah War as being the second act—the climax, the
culmination of that is coming and the stories that we’re telling are
going to come to a head and it’s going to tie into all the major
books—the ramifications of this event are huge and are going to be felt
across the entire X-verse, so to speak.
NRAMA: How dire are things going to be getting for Children of the Atom?
MC: It will be pretty bad—in some ways, this event will recall a previous crisis very closely but with a devastating new twist.
X-Men Origins: Gambit
NRAMA: Changing gears, let’s discuss X-Men Origins: Gambit; you’re working with David Yardin on the book—how excited were you to be offered this opportunity to explore Gambit’s past?
MC: It was very, very cool to be offered it because—obviously— of using Gambit in Legacy
as I have been; I’ve been looking at lot at his past, I’ve been
examining a lot of my favorite moments in his story and, because of the
way Gambit was introduced, his story was fed to the audience in
bite-sized pieces. At first, there was the big mystery of who the
character was and where he was from…
NRAMA: There’s still a lot of that.
MC: Oh yes! There are still a number of unanswered questions;
the biggest unanswered questions are not going to be answered in our
origin story because they are things that would have a bearing on the
future or the past. There are some things that Sinister has said to him
that are not going to be explained here.
So what I’ve done here is I’ve pieced together several beats—from
Gambit being a thief in New Orleans to being an X-Man—so we start on
the day of his marriage to Bella Donna Boudreaux and we finish with his
meeting with Storm…
NRAMA: In Uncanny X-Men #266…
MC: Correct and we draw a through-line through these events and connect them together.
NRAMA: What is it about Remy LeBeau, as a character, that makes him so prolific?
MC: Well, I think that “thieves with honor” or “rogues with
honor” are fascinating characters—they’re easy to love. There’s a long
tradition of villain-heroes in that sense—of thief heroes—or even
I love his background; I love all the business between the guilds in
New Orleans and the internal politicking between the rivaling families.
I really enjoyed reading Gambit’s story the first time around; the
incredible revelation that he had been involved with the Marauders
during the Mutant Massacre which rocked my world at the time when I was
a reader—so there is this fascination, again, because he’s someone who
has done this terrible, terrible sin in his past that has stayed on his
conscience that still feels the need to atone for. I think his
relationship with Rogue over the years has been very cool—and having
said that, there have been times where their relationship has settled
into too firm and fixed a mold, and it’s always been a strong aspect of
their pairing that writers have changed things around and explored
their relationship from a number of angles to keep things fresh.
There’s an awful lot to like about this character really.
I like that he’s very different from the rest of the X-Men. Having said
that, a lot of the characters in the X-Men books have become darker in
the last 15-20 years and the status quo has changed quite a bit—but
he’s a character that has stood out in the X-line up as having a
different mindset and a different modus operandi even.
NRAMA: Do you think there is a tragic underpinning to the charming, energetic nature of this figure?
MC: Yeah, I think there is; I think he’s haunted. By his past,
certainly; there is all sorts of emotional baggage that he’s lugging
around with him relating to—most obviously—the mutant massacre, his
failed marriage, and some of the events in his solo series. Tragic is a
good term—it’s not overstated here like it is with other characters.
NRAMA: Would you want to explore his past further on down the road?
MC: I feel that this origin story is doing what I wanted to do.
What I would like to do, I think, in the future, would be to flesh out
some of the suggestions—some of things that have been hinted at in the
past—but have never been fully revealed. We obviously don’t know who
Gambit’s parents were and where he originally came from in terms of his
literal origin. And then there are those things that Sinister knows
about him which Miss Sinister may also know…possibly.
NRAMA: Is she going to be turning up in X-Men Origins: Gambit or in upcoming issues of Legacy?
MC: Not in the near future—but somewhere down the line she will be, yes.
NRAMA: Would you like to continue doing X-Men Origins projects?
MC: The Origins books are a blast to do—I had a really
fun time do Beast’s book as well. There are still a number of mysteries
to be expounded upon.
NRAMA: Does X-Men Origins: Gambit aid in segueing the transition going on in X-Men Legacy?
X-Men: Legacy #224
MC: No, not really. It’s just the beats in the story of how Gambit became the guy we know now.
NRAMA: Are there any plans for more X-Men Origins stories written by Mike Carey?
MC: At the moment, there’s nothing else on my card—but if I was
offered the opportunity, I would definitely say ‘yes’. It’s a great
opportunity to remind readers of some of the cooler aspects of the
characters’ pasts and to have fun revisiting those past stories
yourself—it’s very similar to Legacy but on a much larger scale.
NRAMA: Out of all the other guys handling X-books at the moment,
if you could force someone to trade projects with you—who would it be?
MC: Who would I steal from? Hmm, I’d have to say I’d steal Uncanny
from Matt Fraction. (laughs) I’ve had a really good time on Legacy but
there is a part of me that still misses doing an X-team book. Back when
the book was “adjective-less”—that was sort of the best years of my
life, I really enjoyed putting that team through their paces.