Revelation X: MATT FRACTION Talks UNCANNY & SECOND COMING
Marvel 1st Look: UNC X-MEN 522 Variant
The mutants of the Marvel Universe can’t seem to catch a break, can they? March 2010 marks the beginning of the third and final chapter of the X-line’s largest crossover ever - Second Coming! Cable has returned with the mutant savior and the game is about to completely change; but, that doesn’t mean the X-Men’s world hasn’t been turning since they left. Recent events in the Uncanny X-Men have started to already change the constant evolution of the title: Henry McCoy has decided to leave and the shock ending of Uncanny #521 has had fans of the popular Marvel series talking since last Wednesday with the return of Kitty Pryde.
Newsarama contacted Uncanny scribe Matt Fraction to talk about the return of Kitty; the departure of Hank; the Second Coming event and more.
Newsarama: First things first Matt, Magneto is pulling a pretty impressive stunt to get in the good graces of the X-Men; is he really going to pull this off? Or are you tugging at the heartstrings of Kitty Pryde fans across the world?
Matt Fraction: Oh no, she’s coming back; this is the real deal. It’s not a dream, it’s not a hoax. We’re bringing her home. That said, nothing ever happens neatly; her return isn’t going to be simple and clean. Just know that this isn’t some sort of fake-out; Kitty’s return to Earth starts here and carries through Second Coming and the storyline that follows it.
Fraction: I don’t want to say that Cyclops is going to become a “believer” per se; he’s definitely going to stop second-guessing everything that Magneto does now. He’s going to start valuing his advice, his presence and his perspective in a way that he couldn’t bring himself to in the past. That was why Magneto chose to put himself through the ordeal.
Nrama: Magneto’s decisions, over the course of the X-Men’s run, seem to directly affect Colossus a lot of times. Will Kitty’s imminent return bring a little more warmth back to everyone’s favorite metal mutant?
Nrama: Well, you did that arc last year, where Colossus kind of kicked his woes to the curb and he started kicking a lot more butt…
Fraction: It’s like I said earlier—nothing can be so simple. Peter gets Kitty back…but it’s definitely going to be complicated.
Nrama: Now, let’s take a step back; Hank McCoy has left the building; is he going to return or was this a necessary split? With the winds of change in the air, will other X-Men start to have a difference of opinion with the powers that be on the island?
Nrama: Will the X-Club carry on without McCoy’s guidance? Is Dr. Nemesis the natural leader of the X-Men’s think-tank?
Fraction: I think so, yeah. I think Nemesis is the crabbiest—and an aggressive-aggressive type in a room full of passive-aggressive types usually tends to take charge.
Fraction: Bedlam? I’m not sure if that’s quite the term I’d use right away—Hope is back and she’s what everyone has been hoping and waiting for…and everything suddenly happens. Just be careful what you wish for. Let me put it this way: Scott isn’t the only one who has been praying for Hope’s return.
Nrama: It seems as though Bastion seems to be pulling all the strings during Second Coming; will any of his group of mutant-hating baddies have the spotlight in your portion of the event? Do you have any personal favorites in this group of villains?
Fraction: I think Bastion is because he’s such a badass. He’s been a lot of fun to write because he’s this ultra uber-organized, calculating villain—and his plans are kind of multi-tendrilled. He’s all over the place and he’s a lot of fun.
Fraction: Yeah, we discussed who to kill at the last X-editorial summit, the Second Coming editorial retreat, last summer—and it was hard…really hard. This is a real character, a big character; there are several casualties over the course of Second Coming but this one is one of the biggest casualties to come along in a long time.
It was hard! It’s a fan-favorite character. It’s one of my favorite characters. It’s somebody I enjoy writing—it’s somebody I’d like to stick around so I can write them again; but I guess it’s time, you know? I saw how this character’s death could be such a big story; there’s a lot of weight and gravity to the loss—it’s going to make this book kind of enormous and very real. It wasn’t an easy task. I saw what was coming and it’s really become one of those “kill your darlings” kinds of moments.
Nrama: John Sublime’s presence has been felt in the book recently; how vital are characters like Sublime in their role as 21st century villains for the X-Men?
Fraction: I think you have to grow them out old ideas and when you can bring something forward—say from the legendary Claremont run, for instance—then it’s a really good thing. Sublime is a great character and an amazing idea. I wanted to explore it more.
Nrama: [laughs] Wow, that was fast! He seemed like much more of a team player recently…
Fraction: [laughs] Yeah, he’s around—he’s here. Yeah, he’s now one of the pieces on the table.
Nrama: Do the X-Men need a new “big bad”? There are the haters, the genetic supremacists, so on and so forth? What’s lurks beyond the periphery?
Fraction: Yeah, I think they do. There always needs to be fresh blood in this book, you know? This is a book about evolution and the constant state of flux it’s in. It’s really easy to get trapped into the repetitive nature of some of these stories so there’s always a need for more villains. You can always recalibrate, reintroduce, and revamp too, you know? I think that guys like Sublime and Bastion are kind of a part of that developing process; the mythology of these characters tends to consistently change the dynamic—whether it’s a new “big bad” or the return or redevelopment of an older character.
Fraction: Well, dream jobs can be hard sometimes-- for me, a dream job isn’t a dream job if it’s not challenging. So yes, it’s a dream job, but a lot of that is because it’s a challenge. Looking at what I’ve done so far, I’m at about the halfway point for the plans I had for this book and these characters; so, hopefully, I’ll be writing it for a while. That’s the plan as of today, right now.
You never know though, someone else might have other plans and things might change tomorrow. For now, however, I like where I’m at and I’d like to continue to write this book; I have a lot of stories I’d still like to tell—but I felt that way about The Order too! I’m not planning on going anywhere. [laughs]
Nrama: To close up, a couple of years ago, the creators of the X-books were saying that Messiah CompleX was the start of even darker times for the mutants on the Marvel Universe. Second Coming is the final act in the trilogy; are all gloves off this time? When the ashes settle, what will be left of mutantkind?
Fraction: Well, I can’t say that because it would ruin the end of the story; the current direction for the book is coming to an end—and it’s a big #$%ing deal. This is the biggest story I’ve ever been a part of and it offers more than just a superficial change. It’s bigger than, “Oh Cyclops is in charge now,” or some sort of superficial shift—this is a core change, it’s going to be a dramatic evolution for a book about evolution. Second Coming is the X-Men’s Book of Revelation.