This February, the X-Men's "Dawn of X" status quo is reaching out into the broader Marvel Universe - beginning with the Fantastic Four.
As teased in House of X #1, the four-issue X-Men/Fantastic Four title will explore how the broader Marvel U takes to this revitalized and re-organized mutantkind - specifically dealing with Fantastic Four's Franklin Richards, considered one of the most powerful mutants of all time.
Marvel 2-in-One's Chip Zdarsky returns to the Richards family in this crucial moment, joined by long-time X-Men artists Terry and Rachel Dodson for a story described as having both "quiet family moments and giant explosive moments". Announced just now at London's MCM Comic Con, Zdarsky spoke with Newsarama about this new series scheduled to debut in February.
Newsarama: Chip, As a fan of your Marvel 2-in-One book, I'm glad to see you back with the Richardses - and now with some X-Men looped in. What can we expect in terms of tone for this book?
Chip Zdarsky: It’s a lot of quiet family moments and giant explosive moments! The FF and the X-Men, especially right now with Krakoa, are about the family you have and the family you choose, so I’m playing with that concept a lot here. I should also say that the original Fantastic Four vs. The X-Men mini-series from the late 80s is my absolute favourite Marvel mini (Claremont! Bogdanove! Austin!) and this is, at its heart, a conceptual sequel to that.
Nrama: So, Franklin is a mutant... but also a member of the FF family, obviously. His potential in joining his fellow mutants on Krakoa was teased early in House of X Is this picking up on that thread directly?
Zdarsky: Yeah, very directly. I loved that scene in House of X #1 and I knew it needed to be expanded upon, so when I saw the opportunity to pitch this mini, the Franklin question was the heart of it. Both Jonathan Hickman and Dan Slott have been very encouraging and gracious in allowing me to do what I’ve pitched. Which is surprising. I feel like I’m being punked on some level. You’d tell me if I was, yeah?
Nrama: Of course.
Where is Franklin's head at in all of this? Would you consider him the main character or just the launching pad for the main conflict?
Zdarsky: He’s our focus, for sure. The recent changes of him being aged up gives him more authority about his future, and I’m taking advantage of that with this story.
I never usually get to say this with my books, but this series will have repercussions for years to come in the Marvel universe, which is incredibly cool. Unless, again, I’m being punked by Hickman.
Nrama: Can we expect to see Valeria? Will she have an opinion on Franklin’s decision?
Zdarsky: Yes! Throughout this mini she’ll be Franklin’s confidant. Val has opinions. Oh, she has opinions.
Nrama: With this kind of title and superhero comics being superhero comics, we might presume this is X-Men vs. the FF – a hero versus hero event. Is that the case or is this something unique?
Zdarsky: To be honest, we toyed with calling it that. Because, sure, they have very different goals with regards to Franklin and there’s definitely conflict in the story. But there are other forces at play here which will test both the FF and the X-Men, so ultimately this is a story about the two teams and their outlooks, not just about them fighting each other.
Nrama: You're working with Terry and Rachel Dodson, who have a very established style. How are you trying to leverage that to tell the best comic story you can here?
Zdarsky: I’m doing a terrible job of it, to be honest. #1 is extra-sized and jam-packed, when all I want to do is give the Dodsons big character shots and splash pages! There’s so much going on in this series, and to see them illustrate it is going to be amazing for everyone. Wild battles and the coolest characters drawn by the best in the industry.
Nrama: And Lastly - this would seemingly allow you to use any FF member or any mutant (Hickman and Marvel editor Tom Brevoort willing), so can we expect some surprises? Can you name any favorite mutants you’re going to use or wish to use?
Zdarsky: Hmm, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I can definitely say that I love writing Xavier and Magneto with their current dynamic. I’m using as many of the X-Men as we can squeeze in here and it’s been a blast. Emma is everything. And coming back to write Ben Grimm is a delight!
These four issues are going to be the biggest bang for your buck in 2020. It’s wild.