In the mutant utopia of the "Age of X-Man" mutants are no longer hated and feared - but there are other obstacles that face homo superior, even in a seemingly perfect world.
As writer Vita Ayala puts it, "There's no place for most people in a utopia" - a paradox Ayala and artist Germán Peralta will address in their "Age of X-Man" limited series Prisoner X.
Prisoner X focuses on mutants who have been locked up in the mysterious "Danger Room" prison for infractions against the ideals of the "Age of X-Man". But how does that fit with the idea of a "perfect world" for mutants?
Newsarama takes up this question and more with Ayala as we delve into what's in store in Prisoner X #1 ahead of its March 6 release.
Newsarama: Vita, let’s start with the basics – who is Prisoner X and how do they fit into “Age of X-Man”?
Vita Ayala: The title Prisoner X can refer to a few things – a few characters and concepts – but the simplest answer is that Prisoner X is Bishop, and that Bishop is all of us. Not only is his perspective the one we mostly follow, but his understanding of the larger Marvel Universe – and his journey trying to contextualize it in this strange “utopia” - is our own.
This series directly spins out of the Age of X-Man: Alpha one-shot. In that issue, there is a sort of fall from “grace” and this is where Bishop finds himself.
Nrama: What can you tell us about the mutant prison where Prisoner X takes place?
Ayala: The prison – called the Danger Room – holds an assortment of mutants. Their “crimes” against the utopia are as varied as they are.
It is very hard not to give too much away here, so what I will say is that, things are not at all what they initially seem (literally – don’t trust your eyes)!
Nrama: Who rounds out the cast of Prisoner X? Did you manage to squeeze in any of your favorite mutants?
Ayala: Though Bishop is largely the perspective character, Gabby, Polaris, Dani, Beast, and Forge are part of the prominent cast. There is one more very recognizable mutant, but I want to save them for when people read the book!
The team was suggested to me as is, and I was happy to be able to get the chance to write them. Bishop and Storm where originally what drew me to Marvel comics, and being able to work on a book with him was a dream come true.
We (Germán Peralta and I) also got to create a great cast of background mutants, which is a huge thrill!
Nrama: What’s the threat at hand for Bishop?
I think the most readily understandable and relateable threat to Bishop is disappearing into this place – into the system. Here he is, his only “infraction” one of connecting with another human being on an emotional level, and remembering/knowing things he “shouldn’t,” and he has been criminalized for it.
But there are more specific threats too. There are the other prisoners, who seem to have been twisted and warped by being in the Danger Room. There is some larger, almost omniscient being messing literally with his head. And then, there are his memories themselves, which will put him directly in opposition to the world he is in.
Nrama: How does the idea of a mutant prison square with the idea of a mutant utopia?
Ayala: Zac and Lonnie wanted to explore the idea of just how flawed our traditional Western notion of a “perfect world” would be in this event. One of the things that appealed to me about the project as a whole is that they very much seemed to want to hack away at the way that we (as Westerners and as North Americans especially) think of utopias, by showing across the board that they are incredibly exclusive, restrictive, and incomparable with the real happiness of people.
There is no place for most people in a utopia, so, what happens when everyone is forced into that world?
Nrama: You’re working with Germán Peralta on Prisoner X. What’s Germán bring to the table?
Ayala: I came up with the outline before we had spoken, but I can promise you that as soon as we started communicating, I reworked the whole thing again because his art and his ideas are so amazing!
He’s the real dynamic force behind the book. His enthusiasm and skill make me want to get up and write it every day.
Nrama: What’s your favorite thing Germán’s drawn for Prisoner X so far?
Ayala: It’s hard to pick! But, if I had to, I think it’s a hard tie between the flash back sequences (he absolutely nails them, they are so incredible), and the last action sequence in the second issue. I was laughing and clapping my hands as the roughs came in, that’s how great they are!
Nrama: What’s coming up for you following Prisoner X? Any plans to hang around in the X-Men’s corner of the Marvel Universe?
Ayala: I am a freelancer, so I go where there is need, but I will always have a huge love in my heart for the X-Men, and the amazing people I got to work with during this event!
I think they have the X-Books well in hand coming up (so excited for this year!), but I would definitely come back if they ever had a place for me to play!
Nrama: Bottom line, what do readers need to know about Prisoner X?
Ayala: Everything readers will need to know was covered in the Alpha issue of the event! Beyond that, just know that the main cast – Bishop, Dani, Forge, Polaris, Beast, and Gabby – are incredible characters that have plenty of stories to catch up on once readers check out Prisoner X!