Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are busy guys. They've currently got projects going on at four major publishers — Marvel, DC, IDW and BOOM! — which is a rather rare feat in the age of widespread exclusive contracts. Last week, their run on New Mutants started with #25, picking up where Mike Carey's "Age of X" and Zeb Wells, original writer of the book's current volume, left off. The team has been charged with the new mission of tracking down the X-Men's loose ends, and are starting off with a big one: the interdimensionally wayward X-Man, Nate Grey. Newsarama caught-up with the co-writers (answering collectively as "DnA") over email to talk about what they've got planned for the series, their favorite classic New Mutants stories, and the book's upcoming tie-in to Fear Itself, starting with August's issue #29. Newsarama: Dan, Andy, following the initial announcement back in February that you guys were taking over New Mutants, you both mentioned your admiration for the classic New Mutants title — which begs the question, what are some of your favorite arcs on the series that perhaps have inspired you a bit as you've started your run?
DnA: Anyone who’s familiar with the New Mutants has got to know and adore stories like the "Demon Bear Saga," with Claremont and Sienkiewicz firing on all cylinders, or the gorgeous Art Adams artwork on the Asgardian specials, but the series has also undergone a real renaissance recently under Zeb and the crew too, so we’ve got high standards to meet. Probably what’s most striking about NM is the sheer range and variety of the stories of the stories that can be regarded as "classic New Mutants."
Nrama: The first arc is called "Unfinished Business," and centers around the team searching for Nate Grey. Is this idea of the New Mutants taking on the task of tying up loose ends just the hook for your first arc, or is it the new direction of the team for the long haul?
DnA: It’s the direction for now, certainly. The New Mutants (not that they really refer to themselves as that) have graduated to become a fully-fledged X-Men team, and it’s nice that they get a specific remit to define them. It also allows us to play with some very, very cool stuff and interface them (perhaps more than any X character apart from Logan) with the wider Marvel Universe.
Nrama: Other than the fact that he's an alternate reality quasi-equivalent of Cable, X-Man doesn't seem to have a whole lot of connection to the main characters of New Mutants — so what makes them the right team to find him?
DnA: It’s their job. These days, there aren’t many mutants at all, so they all have to help out and take on roles. This kind of proactive housekeeping is what the New Mutants role has become, and Nate is top of the list. Besides, maybe Scott and the ‘seniors’ are too close to it.
Nrama: On the subject of the team, the preview pages released for #25 show Wolverine, Colossus and Kitty Pryde all operating with the regular cast. Given that you've made it clear that the New Mutants are a team of X-Men proper, can we expect to see characters from the other X-books drop in fairly regularly?
DnA: Absolutely. There is a sense that we’re just one book of several that are "watching" the lives of the mutants. We have pour particular character focus and so do the other books, but characters will walk in and out of all of them. It’s very cool.
Nrama: Looking further down the horizon a bit, New Mutants ties into Fear Itself starting in August, which sounds like an opportunity to do something unique with the characters that might not be possible otherwise. Since by August the main Fear Itself series will already be five issues in, how many issues is the New Mutants tie-in scheduled for?
DnA: Four, and they’re awesome. We really do get a chance to do things other books crossing into FI can’t do, because of the long-established New Mutants/Asgard connection. Plus, we throw something completely wild and unexpected into it.
Nrama: The Fear Itself tie-in be illustrated by David Lafuente, who brings something very different to the table than Leonardo Fernandez. What's it like working with two such diverse artists in consecutive arcs?
DnA: They are both great, and we’ve been very pleased with the artwork coming back. David’s designs for some of the things we’re putting into FI have to be seen to be believed! In the meantime, the Nate Grey storyline will be delivering some awesome and memorable visuals.
Nrama: Finally, with all the classic characters in the book's lineup, wanted to ask if there was any chance we might see a couple closely associated ones that haven't been seen in a while — James Proudstar and/or Tabitha Smith?
DnA: There’s a chance that all sorts of fun and much-missed characters will turn up. We have a wish list.Visit Newsarama on FACEBOOK and TWITTER and tell us what you think! More from Newsarama with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning: <li> Abnett and Lanning Round Up the ANNIHILATORS <li> Abnett and Lanning Place Their Bid on HEROES FOR HIRE <li> SDCC 2010: ABNETT and LANNING Team IRON MAN and THOR in Nov