One of the sleeper hits of Marvel's summer Secret Wars series was the digital-first title X-Men '92, and thanks to what the publisher has called "overwhelming support" from fans, it's back as a new ongoing series in early 2016 -- and its bringing even more from the 1990s with it.
Series writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers tell Newsarama that the new series will pull not only from the 1992 X-Men animated series, but also that era's comic books, toys, video games, coloring books, and even fast food giveaways. The first issue's cover shows quintessential 1990s X-Men villains such as Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse, Omega Red, and even Exodus, Trevor Fitzroy and Fabian Cortez, and the writers promise even deeper cuts from the X-Men back issue bins.
Including the one marked Generation X.
Newsarama: Chris, Chad, what can people expect with this new, ongoing X-Men ’92 series?
Chad Bowers: Not to sound flippant, but I'd say "expect the unexpected!" A lot of people had a very specific idea about what the Secret Wars mini was after Marvel announced it, and were then (mostly) pleasantly surprised to discover it was so much more! With the ongoing, Chris and I are looking to do the same, but on a larger scale. Post-Secret Wars, the world of X-Men ’92 has gotten a lot bigger, and we plan on showing as much of it as we can.
Chris Sims: One thing that we couldn't really do in the miniseries was take the story to different locations, since places like Madripoor and Genosha didn't exist on Battleworld. Now, we don't have that kind of restriction, so we're planning on going to some pretty fun locations - and throwing in some pretty fun villains, both new and old.
Nrama: What's the team line-up coming into the new series?
Sims: We're building off the way that we ended the mini-series, so we've got Storm as the team leader, Wolverine, Beast, Gambit, Rogue and Jubilee, plus Psylocke and Bishop joining up for good measure. Cyclops and Jean left for a well-deserved vacation, but, well, you probably already know peaceful those Summers family vacations can be. And then there's all the gifted youngsters at the school!
Bowers: Yeah, we're bringing in the kids from Generation X to keep Jubilee company, as well as some other mutant teens you've never seen at Xavier's before.
Nrama: And who are they up against?
Sims: I don't want to give too much away, but if you read the last issue of the miniseries, you'll know that we've got at least one heavy hitter waiting in the wings. In the meantime, I've always had a soft spot for Omega Red and his “Mutant Death Factor,” but I'm pretty sure you'll be seeing him in a way that you haven't before
Bowers: I'll go ahead and tell you, we've got a lot going on in the way of bad guys. Unlike the mini-series, where we had one villain (who was technically two) on Battleworld, we now have an open door to basically use whoever we want to use, which is incredible. That said, we're not immediately going to guys like Mr. Sinister or Magneto, because there's no shortage of stories with them. We're starting off with some really terrific, underused baddies, and making sure readers don't feel like they're just reading "X-Men, the Greatest Hits" every month.
Nrama: The previous miniseries pulled both from the 1990s cartoon series and also more modern continuity, such as Cassandra Nova. What other modern elements are you bringing in for the new series?
Sims: One of the most fun things about batting around plots for the miniseries was trying to think about all the stuff that came after the '90s, and trying to figure out what it would've looked like if they'd tried to do it with that team in that era. Pulling in Cassandra Nova and some of the elements of "E is for Extinction" was definitely the big one that we wanted to do, but there are a couple of others that you might see filtered through the '90s, too - I just can't tell you which ones just yet.
Nrama: David Nakayama has the likes of Trevor Fitzroy, Fabian Cortez and Exodus. Could you go for some deeper cuts even, like Reignfire, the X-Ternals, perhaps even Joseph?
Sims: I think we've read that "Mutant Genesis" paperback about a hundred times each, so that's probably the big Rosetta Stone for us. Beyond that, we got to put X-Force in the miniseries and we hinted at pieces of Generation X towards the end, but there are a few other corners of the X-Men universe of the '90s that we're definitely looking forward to bringing back.
Bowers: There's a couple of major story threads from the '90s that were either dropped or never fully expanded upon that I've always been curious about. So now, I get to tap into my inner 13 year old and answer some of those questions for myself, and that's been a blast!
Nrama: That being said, you really hit home with the classic X-Men cartoon from the 1990s -- especially with the spot on interpretation of the animated Gambit. What did you find the most fun digging into for that miniseries?
Sims: Believe it or not, my favorite characters to write were Gambit and Cyclops. I think everybody was fun, but the Gambit and Rogue stuff is just so dramatic that you can't help but lose yourself in those big moments, and Cyclops being the grump who doesn't want anybody to have fun is the best.
Bowers: Honestly, everything. We started with the comics, which led to us to take inspiration from the trading cards, toys, cartoons, video games, coloring books, fast food giveaways, you name it... nothing with "X-Men" on it was off limits, and that goes double for the ongoing series.
Nrama: And joining you for the ongoing series is artist Alti Firmansyah. What's Alti bring to the book, in your estimations?
Sims: Alti's stuff is amazing. When Gambit showed up in Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde, we knew she'd be a great fit - the acting in that book was way over the top in the best way possible, just big and bold and cartoony and funny and dynamic and action-packed, all at the same time. We've already thrown some pretty weird stuff at her, but I can't wait to see what she does with it.
Bowers: We're thrilled to have Alti join us for the ongoing. She's like a ball of energy on the page, and adds so much to the tone of the series. I can't wait for readers to see her take on the students, and the school.
Nrama: Let’s go back to square one now: what’s your secret origin with X-Men ’92. How’d you come to be involved with the original Secret Wars miniseries?
Sims: Our editor, Jordan D. White, knew that he wanted to do a '90s X-Men throwback, and I'd been working on an episode guide for the animated series for over a year when he first started talking to us about it, and I'd written a few things about how much I'd loved those comics when I was a kid - and how frustrated I could be with them when I looked back as an adult. That got us talking, and since we'd already done a graphic novel that some folks at Marvel had enjoyed, Down Set Fight, they decided to take a chance on us.
Bowers: Clearly, we're glad they did. Hopefully the X-Men feel the same way!
Nrama: Last question - what's one specific moment that you've been saving for some time that you might dust off to put into the first issue? I know you can't spoil it entirely, but can you give us a hint?
Sims: The first arc that we're doing in the ongoing is a story that I've wanted to do for such a long time. Chad and I had a conversation a while back about how we don't even think phrases like "Mutant Healing Factor" are even weird anymore, because we're so used to them, and how looking back, it's so obvious that Omega Red's "Mutant Death Factor" comes from Jim Lee sitting down and going "okay, well what's the opposite of a healing factor?" With that in mind, well, doesn't Omega Red himself mean that there should be something else out there, too?
Bowers: I've always wanted to see Wolverine fight a vampire bear!