Last weekend, at their X-Men Panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego, Marvel announced the release of Necrosha, a thematic three-title event featuring X-Force, New Mutants, and X-Men Legacy slated for the fall. Building on plot seeds planted in the pages of X-Force, the villainous Selene and her minion Eli Bard, are creating an army of undead mutants, all of whom are infected with the Transmode Virus or possibly something worse.
The crossover storyline will feature a number of characters who have a running history of enmity with the mysterious Selene, a character whose villainous origins are just now coming into focus after nearly 25 years of existence in Marvel’s X-books.
Newsarama sat down with several of the X-creators involved: Chris Yost, Mike Carey, Zeb Wells, and X-Editor Nick Lowe, to discuss details about the upcoming undead uprising during the Necrosha event.
Newsarama: Chris, the seeds for this storyline have been planted for nearly a year now; Selene and Eli Bard have been gathering forces ... nasty, techno-undead forces ... and readers can only guess that they're now heading for one of the biggest burial ground on the Earth, Genosha. Who are some of the more noteworthy 'resurrectables' readers may see? Is this army undead or something worse?
Chris Yost: You’ll see some familiar (and dead) faces start to show up in X-Force issue #18 through 20, leading up to the big kick-off in the X-Force: Necrosha one-shot. And while Selene will be using some of her new followers to exact some sweet revenge on all those who have crossed her…she has a much bigger endgame in mind.
Nrama: How do each of your individual books tie-in to Necrosha? And which characters (in your respective titles) will you focus on during the arc?
Nick Lowe: I can jump in and answer this… This isn’t the same kind of structure as “Messiah War” or some of the other crossovers we’ve done recently. The story that Craig and Chris have been building in X-Force kicks into high gear in the Necrosha one-shot. But Selene’s plan is so big it can’t be contained in one title. So while the main Selene-centered story is contained in X-Force, two other stories spin out in New Mutants and X-Men Legacy. You can follow each story by just reading that book, but if you want the full, rich tapestry, you can pick up all three. So it’s more of a “Fall of the Mutants”-style story than an “X-Tinction Agenda”-style story.
Mike Carey: The story in Legacy shows us some of the shockwaves emanating from Necrosha. It's like Pandora's Box has been opened, and there are huge implications even for people who seem at first to be far removed from these events. Rogue is going to get a visitation from someone who she never expected to see again — and it's going to bring truth and consequences both for her and for one of the former Xavier students — and in the longer term, for the X-Men as a whole.
Nrama: Zeb, there seems to be a huge status-quo changing moment on the horizon; how will your characters — the next generation of X-Men — be stepping up during Necrosha?
Zeb Wells: It’s go time for them. They have to step up if they’re going to survive the onslaught of old enemies, and the old friends that show up aren’t going to be a cakewalk either.
Nrama: Mike, what sort of situation are Rogue and company going to be put into that teams them up with X-Force? Will Rogue see Scott's necessity for the black-bag tactics of X-Force?
Carey: It's not a team-up in that sense: it's a story that weaves its way through the lives of the X-Men in a number of unpredictable and sometimes catastrophic ways. Some will be drawn to Necrosha itself — others, like Rogue, will fly off on different trajectories. That's one of the coolest things about this story: it impacts on everyone, but not in the same way either psychologically or in story terms. So Rogue will quite likely never interact directly with X-Force in this arc, but what she's doing is entirely a consequence of what's happening in X-Force, and readers will see those connections as the story unfolds.
Nrama: There are quite a few mutants being brought into the mix here; are there any foreseeable casualties? If so, did you guys have to draw straws to see who had to severely injure or kill of a cast member?
Yost: Oh, there's plenty of death and misery to go around. Craig and I are sharers. But X-Force isn't getting out of this unscathed, that's for certain. Wolfsbane may be rejoining the team at a really, really bad time.
Wells: I offered to kill Wolverine in my book, but Nick Lowe wouldn’t let me. He actually got kind of angry. The words “cash-grab” and “delusional hack” were used.
Our relationship is abusive.
Carey: It wasn't straws, was it? Nick made me buy lottery tickets...
Yeah, there will be casualties — and not just in the obvious sense. People's lives will be changed by this, and again, it won't be limited to the people who are most obviously involved.
Nrama: This story provides a unique look at wide range of X-Men with varying levels of experience; what was the biggest challenge of coordinating this story and these particular characters?
Carey: I'm going to duck this one, because I think all the burden of coordinating fell on Craig and Chris. I just said, “I'd like to have this nice piece over here...”
You know, all crossovers should be like this [laughs].
Wells: I think these are the challenges of writing any X-book. We’ve all had to develop these “muscles.”
Yost: From a work standpoint, it was incredibly smooth. X-Force editor John Barber and Nick Lowe put us all in contact, and Craig and I have been talking to Zeb and Mike…it’s been great.
The story has come really naturally, I think; especially given the history of all three titles. X-Force has always been about the X-Men’s ghosts coming back to haunt them, and in this case, it happens quite literally.
Nrama: Could this story possibly lead to some roster changes for any of these books? I'll play Devil's Advocate here. With all these characters on the table — each one of you pick another's cast member and discuss how they could enhance your book. Who would you want?
Carey: I'd swipe Cannonball in an instant. I really like the way Sam and Rogue play off each other. Having said that, I really like Sam in New Mutants, too. Maybe it's time we started bringing the other Guthries on-stream...
Wells: Wolverine. So I can kill him. Oh, god...Nick heard me...he looks angry...I didn’t mean it, Nick, how ‘bout I just take Rahne? [WHAP!] [sob]
Yost: As I mentioned, yes…roster change is a-coming. But New Mutants characters historically haven’t done well in our run of X-Force. Poor Rahne.
I wouldn’t want to poach any of the others’ characters…I like them too much.
Nrama: Chris, what can you tell us about Selene's agenda in all of this? Is she serving herself or a higher power?
Yost: In X-Force #11, we saw a tale of Selene in ancient Rome. She was attempting to sacrifice every soul in Rome for power…power enough to become a God. She hasn’t given up.
Carey: Well, it's always darkest before the dawn. Of course, it's also darkest when you're entombed for all eternity and there isn't going to be any dawn. Hmm...
Yost: That's the thing, it always comes off as silly when a book does a massive, massive story like this and it never gets mentioned anywhere else. So we were so happy that Zeb and Mike agreed to jump on.
For mutant-kind, things are bad. The species is hanging on by a fraying thread. This doesn't help. Oh, and one of X-Force's enemies certainly takes note.
Nrama: To close, give readers one buzz word that will prove important to the role of your book in the Necrosha storyline.
Wells: NecrOLVERINE. Please, Nick?