X-Graduation? Parker on X-Men: First Class Finals

Parker on X-Men: First Class Finals

This week, the first batch of Marvel’s X-Men are graduating again for the first time in

X-Men: First Class Finals #1

X-Men: First Class Finals #1. Both Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz are returning to bring X-fans an updated, modern take on what happened when the original five X-Men graduated from Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. The first issue of this four issue mini-series also boasts a back-up story by Colleen Coover that explores Scott Summers and Jean Grey going on their first date.

Newsarama spoke with Jeff Parker about the premise of the four issue mini-series and how the lives of the original X-Men changed after they were no longer students of Charles Xaver. Parker explained, “We've hovered around the early semesters of the X-Men with the series, and now we're jumping all the way to the end point—the final days of the ‘Original Five.’ In the original series, the book stopped and then picked back up with Giant Size X-Men, and the version 2 team being assembled by Professor X (my favorite moment being him finding Banshee at the Grand Ole Opry). But we never got a proper wrap up before that, and that's what Finals aims to do.” He added, “If you read all of the series (and the mini before that) you'll notice us coming back to some themes we touched on there. In many ways it's cyclical.”

With the new miniseries exploiting remaining plot threads for the previous books; readers can deduce that some of the threats that the X-Men have faced as students previously would be returning as well. Parker, when asked about returning foes, remarked, “Some creepiness from the team's past, and some classic villains return in a very weird manner. And Professor X is nowhere around for his sage advice, they have to deal with this mostly on their own.”

Remarking on the solicited material for the cover of the first issue, it’s noticeable that the graduates are wearing their student uniforms. In response, Parker elaborated, “Yes, we open with them in their individual duds. But don't worry, we find a way to get them back in black and yellow during the series.”

In terms of ‘life after Xavier’s,’ Parker stated, “Like any graduating Senior, the kids—well, adults now—are anxious about what's to come at them in the 'real world'. Though really, academia seemed pretty dangerous for them, I think. You'll notice shifts in their maturity, like Bobby isn't the complete spaz he always was in the First Class series. But they're still all young, and do things that people in their mid-twenties do. Like referring to a running joke that no one remembers how it started but keeps being used. And Scott and Jean are dating now!”

X-Men: First Class Finals #2

Using Bobby Drake’s desire to become an accountant in classic X-Men continuity as an example, Newsarama spoke with Parker about the working within the confines of previously created characters and the subtle changes that occur in any sort of re-imagining. “Bobby is not yearning to become an accountant, but he's still going to do it because...his dad was one,” Parker said. “That's generally the path to becoming an accountant, and we deal with things like that here. Like Warren's family expects him to learn all about Worthington Enterprises so he can one day run it.”

But those are the characters with definitive stories, what about Scott Summers? Traditionally, Scott did not find a vocation in the early stories. When asked about the leader of the X-Men, Parked said, “The biggest question mark hangs over Scott Summers, who doesn't really aspire to anything after school—he likes fighting evil, it's what he's best at. He's not really qualified for anything else.”

Asked about the challenges of “rewriting” comics from the past and how the nature of these revisionist books acted to streamline old or dated material, Parker responded, “It’s all about not contradicting continuity—and I mean that in a ‘profound’ sense—I don't have a problem revising something that never quite worked, I feel I'm just building towards what would have been done if there had been more time.” In regards to the hindrances in a pre-determined lineage such as the X-Men’s Parker added, “But a lot of times you can't have them meet a character that they're going to meet for the first time later, things like that. It can be a bit stifling.”

X-Men: First Class Finals #3

When asked about writing engaging material for an “all-ages” book so that both adults and children could enjoy them, Parker joked, “Oh, like I'm going to just give that away. You have to pay for that kind of sweet info. That's my way of saying, ‘I don't know.’ But I guess, I generally write anything to please myself first, and I probably put away my tendency to start weaving thick plots for all-ages books, and instead aim for more direct character interaction, and lots of it.”

Asked who he thought was the most viable of the original five X-Men; and which of them would be best served by a solo First Class title, Parker was quick to respond, “Marvel Girl! I think our biggest achievement with the series was giving her an identity separate of ‘I will one day be Evil,’ and it deserves to get some more page time. Especially if Colleen Coover can draw her.”

Wrapping up Parker gave a quick tease about upcoming projects he’s working on with Marvel Comics, saying, “Yes, I'll be in a super-secret book that you'll learn more about this spring. And X-readers are going to want it, I'm pretty sure.”

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