For the opening arc of the recently relaunched adjectiveless X-Men, writer Victor Gischler and artist Paco Medina put the X-Men against vampires — a property fairly popular in the media these days — in "Curse of the Mutants," part of an effort to build up the vampiric side of the Marvel Universe.The second act is coming up starting with January's issue #7, with Gischler teaming this time with veteran artist Chris Bachalo, bringing the X-Men back to New York City and teamed up with Spider-Man for a four-issue arc called "Serve & Protect," announced Friday afternoon at New York Comic Con. Newsarama talked with Gischler about the X-Men/Spidey relationship and the X-Men's Big Apple homecoming. Newsarama: Victor, before delving into the new arc, let's reflect a bit on "Curse of the Mutants." It's been a sales success, and fan reaction seems strong other than some initial "What! X-Men shouldn't be fighting vampires!" skepticism. How pleased have you been with the reception thus far? Has it matched up with your expectations? Victor Gischler: I tried not to get to caught up in expectations. It was really important in the early stages to simply focus on the work and make each script the best it could be. But it was very gratifying to see smart, open-minded readers win through and really end up supporting this new X-Men book in a big way. Can't say enough about how cool X-Men fans are. Nrama: Since I know your run pulls whichever X-Men members are needed for each mission, who can we expect to see playing major parts in "Serve & Protect"? Gischler: I don't want to give too much away, but I will say we get a little bit more from Gambit. As a guy living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I really feel like this is a hometown pick. In "Curse of the Mutants" it was all hands on deck for the X-men, but in this next arc, Cyclops charges Storm with taking a tight, little team to Manhattan. So the team dynamic changes a little. An insertion unit rather than a full army. Nrama: The new arc brings the X-Men back to New York. Even though the X-Mansion hasn't been rebuilt from its latest demolishing, to what degree is this sort of a homecoming for them? Gischler: The "homecoming" aspect isn't really played up. This time. The X-men are focused like a laser beam on their mission. Nrama: To whatever extent you can answer this, what brings them over there? Obviously they're trying to act more like a proper superhero team, but I'm guessing it's a threat that the X-Men are uniquely equipped to handle. Gischler: Yes, as you say a proper super hero team. This means that Cyclops has devised a way to "be on the lookout" for missions worthy of the X-men's skills. When some trouble in Manhattan comes to Cyclops's attention, he realizes this is something beyond what the police could handle ... but on the other hand, the Avengers or Fantastic Four haven't noticed. Perfect job opportunity for the X-Men. Nrama: Speaking of the "threat" — the text released to press mentioned that the X-Men will be battling one of Spider-Man's enemies. At this point, are you at liberty to say who that is? Is it a character the X-Men have faced before? Gischler: Don't want to spoil anything. But web-head fans will definitely recognize this Spider-Man villain ... however. Will there be a bonus villain? Is all as it seems? Ahhhhhh. Wait and see, true believers. Nrama: How much are the after-effects of "Curse of the Mutants" going to affect the X-Men's ability to handle things in dealing with all this? Gischler: The first part of issue #7 (the first issue of the new arc) addresses this somewhat. Then we segue into the X-Men's Manhattan adventure. Nrama: Are vampires still going to have a presence in the comic? (Wait...is the Spider-Man villain Morbius?) Gischler: Well, in the final issue of the vampire arc, all the vamps are wiped out by the "vamp ray" invented by Dr. Nemesis. (No, not really.) But in the next arc we give vamps a break for a while. One never knows when these blood suckers might pop up again, but for the next arc we are vamp-free. And no Morbius. Nrama: The X-Men and Spider-Man teaming up is a classic Marvel U pairing. What do you like about the dynamic between them? Gischler: I think it's great. It fits right in with the tone we're trying to strike for this new X-Men book. And it's hard to think of a better guest star than Spidey himself. Nrama: What’s it been like shifting from Paco Medina on art duties to Chris Bachalo? Gischler: On the one hand, I've grown really comfortable with Paco. I picture in my head what he might do when I'm scripting. He's a top notch talent. On the other hand, it's always exciting and cool to start up with a new artist, and I loved Chris's work on the Storm & Gambit one-shot. I'm eager to see how he turns the script into visuals. It's gonna kick major butt. Who could this Spider-Man villain be?
NYCC 2010 - Marvel: X-Men LIVE!
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