As Marvel's Merry Mutants cross over into an alternate timeline thanks to Nate Grey in the upcoming "Age of X-Man," writer Ed Brisson and artist Marcus To will be focused on the younger generation of mutants in the alt-reality mutant utopia with NextGen.
With countless questions still lingering about "Age of X-Man" - including what it means and what's going on when we get there - Brisson and To's NextGen will dive into the question of what mutant teenage rebellion is like in a world where mutants are no longer hated and feared.
But all isn't exactly peachy for the young mutants of NextGen, and Newsarama spoke with Brisson and To to discover what's awaiting the next generation of mutants in the "Age of X-Man" and what kind of things teenagers rebel against in a utopia ahead of #1's February 13 release.
Newsarama: Ed, what can you tell us about the mutants of NextGen and their place in the “Age of X-Man"?
Ed Brisson: The mutants in NextGen are all students. But, instead of being trained in combat, like Xavier students normally are, these students are being trained in subjects that might be more beneficial to society: history, medicine, agriculture, and civil management. The crew that we're mostly focusing on in the book are Glob, Armor, Anole, Rockslide, Pixie, and Shark-Girl - a group of tenth-year students who are on the eve of graduation and about to set out into the "real" world, as it were.
Nrama: The solicitation for NextGen #1 mentions teen rebellion. We’ve seen that at the Xavier School before, but what does that look like in a world where mutants are no longer hated and feared?
Brisson: Teens are teens and no matter where they're living, they're going to find something to rebel against. One of the early inspirations for this story (though you'll find that the two have little in common) was the 1970s film Over The Edge, in which parents move their kids out of the dangerous city and into the safe suburbs. It all backfires when the kids, bored out of their minds, find escape in drugs and violence and eventually turn on their parents. All that said, none of that happens in NextGen, but the idea of moving teens (or a whole race of mutants) to a society that's safer for them and not expecting teens to push back is bonkers and in that way, they're similar - only in each, they're fighting something completely different.
Marcus To: I think that the kids in NextGen are taught to follow the rules and like all good teens, they do none of that.
Nrama: What are the teens of NextGen up against in this story?
Brisson: They're up against the world. Quite literally.
As belief structures start to crack, the teens set off on a dangerous mission to expose the truth, which pits them against one another when their ideologies no longer match up.
Nrama: You’ve both worked on teen heroes extensively. What sensibilities are you bringing to NextGen, Ed in your writing, and Marcus in your art?
Brisson: I'm really trying to capture what it's like to be a teen. To have questions, yet think you have all the answers. In high school and especially college, is when we really start to see the flaws in adults - the lies that they tell to us and to themselves. I'm really trying to delve into that time in most people's lives where they start to question and peel back the things they've been told and see what's really happening around them. Just in this case, it has much larger global implications.
To: I know nothing about being a teen other than the crippling anxiety towards responsibility so I would like to think that I try to add that into the book. But in all honesty I always try to make sure that I draw kids like kids, expressive faces, looser body language and so much more excitement, fear and anxiety to their actions.
Nrama: Is there a specific character either of you has connected with in NextGen so far?
Brisson: Anyone who's read any of my work knows of my love for Glob. He's sort of the driving factor in this story in a lot of ways and it's been a hell of a lot of fun to put the spotlight on him.
To: And for me, everyone except Glob [laughs]! Anole is my man but Shark Girl is really fun to draw.
Nrama: What’s it like being part of an X-Men event in the tradition of “Age of Apocalypse”?
Brisson: It's been a lot of fun. Setting characters in a new world like this is pretty freeing. You can tell stories that would never work in the main Marvel U and push the boundaries a little more.
To: Love it, being apart of a large all encompassing story is what I've always wanted to do. As many of us, I loved “AoA”. It really showcased a lot of great artists and I am very excited about carrying on the tradition.
Nrama: Marcus, what’s your favorite thing Ed’s thrown at you in a script so far?
Brisson: The chickens!
To: The chickens were pretty tough, as I have never drawn them before. Ed's scripts have been great. From beginning to climax of each issue, they have allowed me to try different things and stretch my wings to showcase what I can do.
Nrama: Ed, same question in reverse. What’s your favorite thing Marcus has drawn for NextGen so far?
Brisson: I don't know that it's one thing specifically, but more the tone. Marcus has such an incredible grasp on the characters and every scene that we have with all of them together - specifically the recurring cafeteria scenes - feels imbued with that chaos and camaraderie that you remember from high school. Those scenes feel real.
To: The chickens.
Nrama: What’s next for both of you following NextGen, in the world of the X-Men and beyond?
Brisson: I wish I could say, but there's nothing that's been announced just yet, so folks looking for more of my work may want to check out the currently ongoing Dead Man Logan and X-Force, both of which I'm incredibly proud of.
To: Sleep. But after that, I am working with my studio mates at RAID studio in Toronto on our third installment of the RAID anthology with my story, "The Brotherhood of the Iron Dragon." And I'm sure more books with Xs on them.
Nrama: Bottom line, what do you want readers to know going into NextGen?
Brisson: It's a story of teen rebellion in a world made perfect for them. It's a rare chance to see the younger X-Men take center stage and have a real impact on the world around them.
To: Ed has composed a fantastic teen thriller and I can't wait for the fans to read the exploits of Maggot, Glob, and other new X-kids.