Writer Jonathan Hickman’s double-barrel House of X/Powers of X relaunch underwent a major twist this week that calls into question much of what we think we know of the title’s future. Aside from Hickman himself, few have the precognitive powers to see what’s coming next – but Newsarama spoke with one of those privileged few who are in on the ground floor of the X-Men relaunch: line editor Jordan D. White.
Since taking over on the X-Men line in early 2018, White has worked alongside Hickman to develop the story unfolding now, as well as the “Dawn of X” relaunch that will follow the conclusion of HoX and PoX.
Newsarama spoke with White in the midst of the two weekly series to find out how the plans for “Dawn of X” came together, what’s going on with Moira X’s many timelines, and how we’re all playing right into Jonathan Hickman’s storytelling hands.
Newsarama: Jordan, we’re right in the middle of this big X-Men relaunch in which Jonathan Hickman is pulling dozens of moving pieces from X-Men lore into a bigger picture. What’s it like seeing those clues start to make it into the world, knowing the full scope of what’s coming?
Jordan D. White: It’s really awesome. I’ve been living with this story Jonathan is telling, with this new vision of the X-Men that he is setting up, for so long… it’s been almost torture not sharing it with everyone. Watching it all come together in people’s minds one issue at a time, one week at a time, is such a thrill. I couldn’t ask for a better response.
Nrama: How has the reaction to the mystery and the story been received at Marvel? Are we all playing right into your hands?
White: Jonathan is a master storyteller, so… yeah. He did a really great job of portioning out the information bit by bit so that the readers are all right where he wants them at every step. It’s quite impressive.
Nrama: Speaking of those mysteries, we’ve seen bits and pieces of Moira X’s lives that seem to include plot threads which may be taken directly from stories we know. Others seem to be totally unrelated to the X-Men and Moira we’ve been reading all this time. Do Moira’s separate lives correspond with stories and timelines we’ve seen previously?
White: I guess that’s really up to the reader’s interpretation. I think, though, that the events we see in her other lives are all logical possibilities based on the stories we’ve seen in the comics over the years, so it makes sense to me that we would see familiar ideas and events happening in those versions of her life. They are all rooted in the same base-world, so they could well go to the same or similar places.
Nrama: Related to that, what’s with Moira X’s missing sixth timeline?
White: What? Did we miss one? Oh, man - we make a lot of mistakes, I guess.
Nrama: Jonathan’s tying so much deep X-Men lore into this relaunch - was there anything that you really scratched your head at, or that you had to say no to?
White: I don’t think I said “No” to anything, but some things were definitely more of a negotiation than others. Things that, in order for him to use them the way he wants to, he had to make such and such connections or work out how this and that would work, logistically. Most of those things have not come into the book yet, so I cannot say what I am referring to.
Nrama: After HoX/PoX, you’re moving into “Dawn of X”. Can you let us in on the process of how the six launch titles for the line were chosen and put together?
White: We knew Jonathan would be writing the main X-book, and that seemed obviously to be called X-Men. He also had a New Mutants story he needed to tell, so we knew that would be a book. From there, we actually reached out to writers first and worked out what they wanted to do. Gerry Duggan, Ben Percy, Tini Howard, and Bryan Hill were all writers on my and Jonathan’s radar who we thought would be a good fit for the line.
We looped them in on the plans he was cooking up and what we saw the line looking like in the broadest terms going forward, and then we had an X-Men summit where they all came pitching ideas for books. Gerry had actually been talking to me about an idea for an X-Pirate book since he first heard Jonathan’s pitch at a big Marvel summit quite some time ago, Tini came with an idea about mutants and magic that became the basis of the Excalibur series, etc.
We ended up with a really solid group of books to lay out this new X-world.
Nrama: There are some eclectic titles among those six books. Is there one that most scratches your X-fan itch?
White: The book I am most excited about is definitely Marauders. Such a great cast, and a lot of exciting plans there. Keep an eye on it.
Nrama: We also know there are some more “Dawn of X” titles coming down the pike. Can you give us any hints as to what we’ll see when they roll out?
White: Not too much I can say yet! But we have already revealed that Leah Williams and Vita Ayala are wrenching on books for them, as are some of the folks from the first wave…
Nrama: Will the design pages and backmatter pages of HoX and PoX be an ongoing part of the X-Men line, even in titles Jonathan isn’t writing?
White: Maybe not quite to the degree they are in HoX and PoX, but I think they will, yes.
Nrama: Are there any X-characters that haven’t popped up yet that you’re excited to see as the relaunch rolls on?
White: Yes. But I don’t want to spoil things!
Nrama: The X-Men are carving out a new physical place for themselves in the Marvel Universe with Krakoa. What do you see as their philosophical place in the Marvel Universe in 2019? What sets them apart from everything else at Marvel?
White: I think answering that very question is what Jonathan has set out to do with his series… and it will be up to the readers to really decide in the end.
Nrama: Bottom line, what do you have to say to X-fans who haven’t jumped in yet? What makes this relaunch a must-read for X-Men die-hards?
White: When we started talking about these books, the idea was thrown out that it was the next seminal moment for the X-Men, and I really believe that to be true. This is the story and setup that is going to define what they X-Men is for the foreseeable future. If you’re planning to read any of the “Dawn of X” books, if you think you’re gonna be reading X-Men of any sort in the next few years at least… this is the foundation of what you’re going to be reading. It’s the new essential X-Men read.