It's been nearly exactly a year since the initial announcement that long-running writing duo Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning were taking over New Mutants. In that time, the X-Men squad has investigated some "Unfinished Business," tied into Fear Itself and landed on the side of Cyclops in the post-X-Men: Schism "Regenesis" split.On the horizon is "Exiled," a five-part story running through the month of May and crossing over with Journey Into Mystery. Unlike past New Mutants/Asgardian stories where the mutants are in Asgard, this brings a slew of Asgardians to San Francisco, dealing with the always formidable threat of undead cannibals. On Wednesday, Newsarama talked with Journey Into Mystery writer Kieron Gillen about the "Exiled" story from his perspective, and here we bring you a chat conducted via email with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning — answering, as they often do, collectively as "DnA" — to hear about their contributions to the story, what's coming up in New Mutants before and after that, and where and when to expect the Guardians of the Galaxy writing team's next cosmic project.
#39 cover.Newsarama: Dan, Andy, "Exiled" has been said to be an "inversion" of past New Mutants stories in Asgard, this time with the Asgardians in San Francisco. From your perspectives, what makes the pairing between the New Mutants and Asgardians a compelling enough one that it's been revisited multiple times over the years?
DnA: It’s because it’s part of the New Mutants mythos that it’s interesting to us. We’re big fans of the Mutants/Asgardian crossovers of the past and wanted to see if we could come up with something that took that concept and gave it a twist. With Kieron’s help, we think we’ve cooked up a unique take on the concept which has all the elements of the previous crossovers in the mix — Asgardian mythos, Norse Gods, teen mutant angst, the stranger in a strange land theme and legendary monsters — but mixed up and inverted from the way it’s been done in the past.
Nrama: For the story, you're working with Journey Into Mystery writer Kieron Gillen. How has that collaboration been? It seems that your sensibilities would all match up pretty well.
DnA: From the moment the crossover was suggested we were eager to meet up with Kieron and brainstorm ideas; we’re both fans of JIM and love the off-beat, kooky way he’s telling those stories, and found it quite easy to get into the same mindset as we share his skewed sense of humor.
The whole crossover story was thrashed out in a coffee house in New York with the three of us throwing ideas around and riffing off each other. The structure hasn’t changed much from that initial session; we’ve just added detail and fleshed out the issue-by-issue plots back and forth since then. It’s been a very natural fit and a fun process. Kieron’s now an honorary member of DnA — we’re DnAnK!
#40 cover.Nrama: Without getting into spoiler territory, which New Mutants/Asgardians interactions in "Exiled" have either of you found particularly fun to write?
DnA: We’ve had a blast writing Loki, especially Kieron’s version of him and what we have him doing in this story. He’s a very enjoyable character to write and a natural fit, as he’s now a kid, with the New Mutants, who find themselves in the bizarre position of "babysitting" him as events unfold.
Nrama: Speaking of "fun," one thing that was emphasized in the original announcement of "Exiled" was the tone of the story. How much of a treat is it to get to write more lighthearted tales? And how important do you think these types of stories are in the world of Marvel superheroes, when things can often get pretty grim?
DnA: We love this type of story; something that’s fun and adventurous and harkens back to the comics we read as kids. There’s should be room for all types of story: from grim and gritty to fun and frivolous — it’s good to be able to write the type of story we enjoyed reading in the past.
Nrama: Before "Exiled" is a three-part arc starting with issue #39 with the New Mutants trapped on an island. What can you tease at this point about the story?
"Exiled" promo art
by Stephanie Hans.DnA: The team returns to Paradise Island, drawn there by Cypher’s nightmares. It’s the place he died and he has unfinished business there, which reflects the team’s current remit. But, when they get there, they find themselves in the middle of a terrifying outbreak of a mutagenic virus that has ravaged the island and its Ani-Mate inhabitants, including the team’s old friend, Bird Brain. It falls to Warlock and Doug to save their friends before they succumb to the virus that threatens to kill them all, but only after it absorbs and warps them beyond recognition. During the course of the story Doug will have to confront the nightmare of his death and resurrection and the lingering trauma it has left him struggling with.
Nrama: Looking a bit more in the future now, "Exiled" starts and finishes in one month — can we expect some amount of tie-in to Avengers vs. X-Men in New Mutants starting in June?
DnA: AvX is pretty much a contained event so whilst the X-books get caught up in it, the New Mutants, whilst reflecting the events and impact AvX has, does not cross over directly. We’ve got our own thing going on in "Exiled," which we are referring to as a "palate cleaning sorbet" between the heavy, meat and potatoes of the AvX event.
Nrama: To wrap up, what other upcoming projects — either individually or as a duo — do the two of you have going on that readers should know about? Of course, there's Resurrection Man at DC — anything else?
DnA: It’s just been trailed that we’re doing a new original series with BOOM! Studios. It’s called The Hypernaturals and will be their Free Comic Book Day issue, with the series launching in the summer. We can’t reveal much more than that other than to say it’s a cosmic adventure set in a far-flung future where the galaxy is protected by the Hypernaturals, a universal superhero team. The story starts when the current iteration of the team mysteriously vanishes and it’s up to former members, retired or decommissioned, to re-assemble and discover what has happened to them. At the same time an ancient enemy reawakens to threaten the entire universe!
It’s the sort of book that if you like our run on Legion and Guardians of the Galaxy, you should enjoy Hypernaturals as you get your fix of DnA Cosmic goodness!Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!