Rob Liefeld has said that the recently-introduced Major X character at Marvel has been in his drawer for decades, and now that he has debuted - and his secret identity revealed - he returns this week with Major X #2 For those that missed it, Major X is Alexander Nathaniel Summers - the previously-unknown son of another Liefeld creation at Marvel, Cable.
"By the end of #1 you know who Major X is, you’ve seen what he’s capable of. But in#2 you go straight into 12 pages of his home, and you see why this mission matters so much to him," Liefeld told Newsarama. "We meet the X-istence, the realm that he comes from – the off shoot that was powered by, I’ll call it a battery at this point, that created a Shangri La, a mutant paradise, where mutants were finally able to be free to live amongst each other. Without being considered to be freaks or outcasts and being hunted by mankind. It turned out maybe too well."
As readers will see in this week's Major X #2, there is a looming force in the background that wasn't all to pleased with the inception and flourishing of X-istence - and causes its downfall, leading to Major X's quest in this series.
"We’ve done a really good job at hiding our antagonist. You don’t even meet him until #2," said Liefeld. "The realm collapses, and Major X loses his home. He is determined to restore it. He believes if he can find the antagonist and retrieve the battery then he can restore the home as he knew and loved it."
That sense of home will also be found by fans of Liefeld's previous Marvel work, as the writer/artist plans to pull from his 30-year history with the House of Ideas - including some characters that only appeared once and were forgotten about until now.
"I will say this has about five new major players in the story. One of my buddies I let him read all six scripts, and he’s like I like all the callbacks." Liefeld said. "It’s like Rob Liefeld’s greatest hits running through them. There are some familiar stories that they run through and some not so familiar stories."
That includes a group of Atlantean mutants known as S.U.R.F. whom Liefeld and writer Louise Simonson created for 1989's New Mutants Annual #5.
"There are three characters you meet in Major X #2, I co-created those characters. The first characters from Marvel that I had a chance to do was with Louise Simonson, who my first New Mutants was drawing an annual with her.” Liefeld continued. "My editor did not know this, he read them and he couldn’t wait to see the designs with them. I said you can they’re in the New Mutants Annual in 1989. You should go get that. You should go look at it. They are all over it."
"These characters were in over a dozen pages of this annual. So it wasn’t like they haven’t been featured, but they haven’t been scratched since," Liefeld explains. "I told fans that Wolverine #154, #155 are hugely important to the story and they are. There’s a character introduced not only there, but one in X-Force that I did in 2005. So I’m literally grabbing other elements. Why? Because I love those characters, I want to revisit them and give them a higher profile."
Liefeld drew Major X #1 and #6, with Brent Peeples and Whicle Portacio stepping in to draw #2 through #5 - which he calls their "career best work."
“But it’s just a thrill for everyone to see Whilce Portacio in #3. It’s like career, best work," Liefeld said. "Brent Peeples stepped up to not only do two but three issues of the series. I got a great crew, and I hand-picked all these guys. Brent was submitted by me to Marvel. He had never worked for Marvel. I called Will asked if he could rough up the place again with me like we did back in the 90’s. They approved."
Liefeld's next Marvel project is already approved - and in fact was approved before Major X, but put on hold. Deadpool: Bad Blood, the sequel to the recent OGN Deadpool: Bad Blood, is scheduled to resume production later this summer.
"I have about half of that done, but when Marvel's Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski called and asked me if I wanted to do something special being that it’s Marvel’s 80th anniversary, and having to be featured during that timeframe," said Liefeld. "He said Deadpool: Badder Blood is another 100-page graphic novel like the first one, and I feel like Major X has more urgency, but we’ll finish. I will jump right back into Badder Blood in the next few weeks.”
When asked about the broader state of X-Men now given the Walt Disney Company's acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Liefeld is excited about what comes next - but is a fan of what came before.
"It’s going to be very exciting. I’m not of the camp that subscribes to the idea that Fox didn’t make any good X-Men movies. I think they’ve made plenty," said Liefeld. "They just made a couple of clunkers that are sacrificed on the altar of bad taste, threatening to bring everything crashing down."
“It worked out well for me when two weeks ago a bunch of my family members called me, and said, “have you clicked on the Walt Disney home page?” There he is center page. There’s Deadpool right next to Mickey Mouse," said Liefeld. "Then you go, 'Oh crap this is real.' I am very proud that Deadpool and his family cleared the high hurtle."
After Liefeld finishes Major X6 and Deadpool: Badder Blood, he already has an idea of where he'd want to go next - but says its up to Marvel and the fans.
"Oh I have plans, but that is in the fans hands. I’m content that we got to tell this story," said the writer/artist. "There are at least two more big arcs. I think you’ll see them at the end everywhere this can go. I’m just really excited to get it out there."