Uncanny X-Men Writer Matthew Rosenberg is no stranger to X-Men events – and when Marvel’s War of the Realms kicks off, he’ll bring the mutant team into the Asgardian conflict, drawing on some classic X-Men stories in the process.
On top of that, Rosenberg and artist Peré Perez will return classic X-foe Sabretooth to out-and-out villainy following a period as a redemptive hero – focusing on the savage berseker as he joins up with Malekith’s forces.
Newsarama spoke with Rosenberg ahead of War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men’s April 24 debut to discover how this limited series ties into Rosenberg’s core Uncanny title – and into the legacy of X-Men series Rosenberg has penned before.
Newsarama: Matthew, you’re currently writing the main Uncanny X-Men title, and now you’re taking the team into War of the Realms with this limited series focused on Sabretooth. What’s going on with the villain-turned-hero-turned maybe villain again here?
Matthew Rosenberg: There's no maybe. Sabretooth is a villain again. His time trying to make right has come to an end. He went down a path and it didn't turn out better for himself so now he's back to doing what he does best. Being bad.
Nrama: The solicitation for War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men #2 mentions Sabretooth teaming up with Malekith’s forces. What can you tell us about that?
Rosenberg: The events of War of the Realms feel like the end of the world in a lot of ways, or at least the world as we know it. And Sabretooth is nothing if not a survivor. So when he gets the chance to join the winning side he'll take it. He is throwing in with some very bad folks who are not his usual crowd, but he has a plan to get something for himself beyond just survival and he'll do whatever he needs to in order to get there.
Nrama: Over in Uncanny, the X-Men team is a work in progress. Which mutants are taking the stage here alongside Sabretooth?
Rosenberg: It's a snapshot of the Uncanny team at the moment War of the Realms hits Earth. So the team has Cyclops, Havok, Madrox, and Chamber, but a few characters really push to the forefront here. With their heavy connections to Asgard and Norse mythology, the New Mutants - Dani Moonstar, Wolfsbane, Magik, and Karma - are a little more front and center in this series. Everyone gets their moment to shine, but these four are leading the charge as it were.
Oh, and there are a few surprise teammates here.
Nrama: You brought up the history some of the X-Men have with Asgard. How does that play in to this War of the Realms tie-in?
Rosenberg: There are a lot of little ways this plays out, but the biggest is obviously Dani. She became a Valkyrie. She is an honorary Asgardian warrior. So when the Asgardians go to war, Dani has no choice but to join the fight. It tears her away from the X-Men in some ways, but they understand her calling and they want to support her. Dani's dual nature will be a major element in the book.
Nrama: Speaking of which, Cyclops is part of War of the Realms over in Champions. How does this War affect his mission with the X-Men, who are currently missing and presumed dead?
Rosenberg: Cyclops wants the X-Men to be taking care of "X-Men problems." He has a list of things that he feels like either come from the X-Men, or they are uniquely equipped to speak on it, and that has been his focus. But the end of the world has a way of upending people's plans. For Cyclops this is a good opportunity to throw his list out and do some other stuff like save the world or, in the case of Champions, catch up with your childhood friends who are still children even though you went back in time, came back from the dead, and inherited your memories and emotional connections to those children even though you are now a different person and a grown up.
Nrama: Peré Perez is drawing this limited series. What does he bring to a mutant fantasy epic like War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men?
Rosenberg: Peré is a genius. I could go on and on about the acting he puts on the page, the energy, the ease of his storytelling. But for something like this, I think the thing that folks are going to take away from this book more than anything else is the scope and scale. Pere is filling armies of giants and trolls and wolves and elves, and you really get the sense of how much danger the X-Men are in. This feels like the end of the world because it's so big.
Nrama: With a tie-in story like this, what benefits does presenting it as its own limited series convey? How will these events loop back to Uncanny?
Rosenberg: The thing that is always fun about building things like this is trying to make it work in different ways to different people. Are you reading War Of The Realms? Awesome. Here's another angle on the war, more stories from the frontlines. Are you just reading Uncanny X-Men? First of all, shame on you. War Of The Realms is awesome and you should read it. But getting past that, we're giving you more X-Men stories that are a part of the bigger story we're telling in the main Uncanny X-Men series. Not reading any of it? Fine, I guess. I'm not happy with that, but everything you need to know to understand this book is in these pages.
Nrama: Bottom line, what makes War of the Realms: Uncanny X-Men a can’t-miss component of this crossover?
Rosenberg: I will say that, for X-Men fans, I hope they know me well enough by now to know that when I do a mini-series I do my best to make sure it has a big impact. As with Phoenix Resurrection, Astonishing X-Men, Multiple Man, and New Mutants: Dead Souls, I try to make these shorter series count. And Uncanny X-Men: War of the Realms is no different. For quite a few characters the events of this series will change things for them for a long time to come.