Marvel announced this weekend the upcoming release of an X-Men Legacy Annual later this year—and that the book will indeed feature Rogue as the star of the book after the current storyline featuring Professor Xavier concludes this month. Rogue’s role in the X-universe is still slightly unclear but it seems that she may have a role as a mentor to younger mutants or the legacy of what’s left of the nearly extinct race. This year’s Annual will also feature the return of the villainous Emplate—a vampiric mutant who is also the brother of X-Factor’s Monet St. Croix.
Newsarama contacted Mike Carey to discuss Rogue’s return to the X-Men and the finer points of the X-Men Legacy Annual for 2009
Newsarama: X-Men Legacy Annual #1 features Rogue and a cast of young mutants; who will Rogue be interacting with in the Annual? Does this mean that Legacy is becoming a Rogue-focused title?
Mike Carey: Yeah, it does. We planned out the Xavier arc so that it would end with him coming back to Rogue and finally helping her to gain control of her powers—one of the biggest and most significant bits of unfinished business he had on his conscience. Now it's Rogue's turn to take centre stage.
In the annual we see her—having come back into the orbit of the X-Men - being offered a new job description by Cyclops. But she's not sure yet if she wants to sign up for it. In this first arc, we'll see her interacting with former Xavier Academy students such as Bling and Trance, and also with Danger, who gets to prove her usefulness in a pretty categorical way.
NRAMA: How does the new direction for your X-title start with the Annual? Does this mean that the title is still going to be called 'X-Men Legacy' or is it becoming something new?
MC: It will still be Legacy. We talked about other titles, but the truth is that Legacy is still a hundred per cent relevant—it's just applied in a different way. When it was Professor X's book, it was partly a reflection on the X-Men's past: now it's all about how that legacy is going to be carried forward into the future.
NRAMA: Mutantkind is on the verge of being "altered forever"; how so? What's the worst thing that can happen to mutantkind since it's already on the brink of extinction?
MC: Well, I think extinction is the fate that's implied. We're on the cusp, really: this is the last generation of mutants, and it's too small really to sustain and reproduce itself. So either some outside force intervenes, or the mutants find some strategy as yet unthought-of, or this is where it ends.
NRAMA: Can you provide us with any clues as to Rogue will be facing off against in the Annual?
MC: I was going to be coy and drop some clues, but I think he's mentioned in the solicitation copy—and he certainly will be in the solicit for #228. It's Emplate.
NRAMA: Emplate? As in Monet St. Croix' s brother, Marius—he's been out of sight and mind for a while? What inspired you to use this character in particular?
MC: It occurred to me a while back that Emplate is a parasitic life form—and since he's parasitic on mutants, that means that he's been effectively on a starvation diet since the Decimation. So at first I thought we could do a story where he's the fox creeping round the chicken coop. But then I thought no, he's smarter than that. He wouldn't be looking for a few more big feeds before the extinction event - he'd be looking for a way to guarantee his own survival after the last mutant leaves the building. So that's our starting point, really: Emplate trying to solve this big problem of diminishing resources.
NRAMA: Will Gambit and Danger be joining Rogue in the Annual?
MC: We don't see Gambit, although he's emphatically still around. They're fighting side by side in #226 and #227, but in the Giant-Sized the context is different for all sorts of reasons. We do see Danger, though, and actually she has an important part to play in this arc.
NRAMA: Is Legacy remaining focused on a singular mutant? You've mentioned in the past that you would like to return to writing a team book—could Rogue and Gambit form their own band of merry mutants?
MC: Maybe somewhere down the line, but that's not what we're doing here. This is very much Rogue's book now. We'll see her interacting with the other X-Men a lot: her new role more or less requires it. But they'll weave in and out: she's not being asked to lead a team. I think Cyclops still feels that was an experiment that didn't pan out too well.
NRAMA: How satisfying is it to plan out such an extensive project like Legacy has become and have it embraced so fully by the fans?
MC: If I'm being embraced, that's great! I know I have some solid supporters in the X-fraternity, and it's very cool. I also know that when you have a body of stories that's as diverse as the X-Men continuity, and has been going for as long as the X-Men have, every decision is controversial: you'll always please some people and leave others ambivalent, or dismayed, or outraged. But I've been lucky: Legacy found its audience, mostly among hardcore fans who could see what we were trying to do and who shared our interest in drawing connections between the great stories of the past, using Prof X as the unifying factor.
But now Legacy is going to be a very different kind of animal: the detailed reference to past arcs and eras will be gone, and the pacing of the stories will be more like what I was doing in X-Men before Messiah Complex. I'm looking forward—with some trepidation—to seeing how people react to that.
NRAMA: Are there any specific mutant foes that you'd like to tackle in the near future? If so, why?
MC: I'd like to revisit the Children of the Vault. We left them in a very interesting place, taking refuge in the Master Mold in the South American jungle, with Cadena taking over as leader. I'm itching to take that story further. And there's another old villain—arguably a villain—who I'm aiming to use probably even before that, but I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.
NRAMA: Will there be any teases or plots seeded into the Annual for readers to keep watch of in the months to come?
MC: A little in the Giant-Sized; more in the rest of the arc. The aim in the Giant-Sized was primarily to get this big ball rolling…