It’s been several months since Jean Grey returned from the dead, and she’s got her greatest challenges ahead of her with growing anti-mutant sentiment setting the stage for what X-Men Red writer Tom Taylor promises could be the series’ very own “extermination.”
Since launching X-Men Red with artist Mahmud Asrar back in February, Taylor has brought back Cassandra Nova, sent the X-Men under the sea, and according to the writer himself, he’s just getting started.
Newsarama spoke with Taylor ahead of the release of X-Men Red #6 this week to discuss the threats that may follow the X-Men into the ocean as they retreat to their Atlantis-adjacent base, the anti-mutant sentiment that is brewing in the Marvel Universe, incoming artist Carmen Carnero, and even the very future of the title.
Newsarama: Tom, these next few issues of X-Men Red take place in and around Atlantis. What led to the decision to make the undersea city the X-Men’s latest locale?
Tom Taylor: Their new home is a sunken city away from Atlantis - a reminder of mighty civilizations being nothing in the face of the seas and of time. But having Atlantis as a supporter of Jean's vision just felt right, particularly given their king is a mutant. Jean needs nations on her side for her vision to come true. Also, I do tend to think of the ocean quite a bit - as the co-creator and exec producer of the Netflix TV show The Deep I spend a lot of time writing and researching the underwater world.
Nrama: Jean’s team has been together for a little while now. How have they adjusted to being X-Men?
Taylor: With everything they've been hit with, I don't think they've really had time to think about being X-Men. The entire world needs them and they've simply had to step up.
Nrama: X-Men Red #6 marks the beginning of Carmen Carnero's run on the book. What would you say to Mahmud Asrar's run from #1 to #5?
Taylor: No. I'm very sorry to lose Mahmud from this series, and I'm very proud of the stories we've told together, but he has a big adventure ahead of him. Once it's announced, I think everyone will understand. As soon I heard what he was working on, I completely got it. I'll be one of the first people picking it up.
Nrama: Artist Carmen Carnero is taking over with this week's X-Men Red #6. What makes Carmen the right artist to join the X-Men Red team?
Taylor: Just look at her art. Look at it!. Carmen is just fantastic. Her body language. Her characterization. Every page I receive in my inbox makes me happy. Carmen hasn't missed a beat coming onto this book, and I feel very lucky to have her join our team. The same can be said of our new cover artist Jenny Frison.
Nrama: Solicitations for future issues of X-Men Red mention a growing surge of hatred for mutants in the Marvel Universe. What’s driving that renewed disdain for mutantkind?
Taylor: A mixture of sentinels inside people's brains, manipulation of people's fears via social media and mass media, world leaders being hijacked and, at the top of it all, Cassandra Nova.
Nrama: The X-Men event Extermination is on the horizon. Is that going to touch X-Men Red?
Taylor: Not in the story we're telling now. But I'm not promising we won't have our own exterminations here. I have a pretty bad history when it comes to keeping characters alive.
Nrama: Speaking of which, X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold are both coming to an end. Will your “color” book be sticking around?
Taylor: We will. I can't guarantee it will go forever, but we still have a very big story to tell. We're having too good a time to call it a day any time soon, and we want to thank all of the fans who have embraced what we're doing in