Spoiler Sport: JEPH LOEB on Bridging X-SANCTION & AvX

[Warning: As the headline suggests, this article contains spoilers for all four issues of Avengers: X-Sanction.]


The four-issue series Avengers: X-Sanction brought Cable back in a big way following his apparent death in 2010’s X-Men crossover "Second Coming," sending Cyclops' time-displaced son on a mission to take out the Avengers by any means necessary, due to his understanding that they presented a threat to his daughter, Hope Summers. The series also reunited writer Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness, who worked together in the past on Hulk DC’s Superman/Batman.

After dispatching quite a few of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the techno-organic virus that’s plagued the character finally caught up with him in last month’s X-Sanction #4— until Hope, imbued with the power of the Phoenix, was able to purge the virus from his system. This event — and the impending full-fledged arrival of the Phoenix — leads directly into 12-part biweekly Marvel event Avengers vs. X-Men, with the first issue out this week.

Newsarama talked to Loeb via email about the end of X-Sanction, how the story’s close ties to AvX developed and what the future might have in store for Cable. Loeb, the head of Marvel’s TV division, also gives us an update on his comic book projects, including confirmation that the long-percolating Captain America: White is indeed still in the works.

Newsarama: Jeph, the end of X-Sanction led very directly to Avengers vs. X-Men. Was the series always planned as an AvX tie-in back when it was announced last year as "Cable Reborn," or did it just kind of evolve naturally as the story was developing?


Jeph Loeb: It was a combination of luck, good timing and where the story took us. It was always intended to end the way it did — with what Cable knew about Hope and how he would share that with Cyclops. Cable’s final fate was in the original pitch as well. How directly it tied to AvX had more to do with whether or not Ed and I could hit the deadline that would lead into AvX #0 and, to be honest, the success of the series. When the first issue blew out, and brought about a second printing, it became apparent that there was enough interest in the story to have it be the lead off.

I’m very grateful to Brian Bendis who really championed this from the start and worked with us to make the hook up possible.

Nrama: The end of the story also sees Hope healing Cable of the techno-organic virus, seemingly definitively. What prompted that decision? Is it s a way of essentially "moving on" from that particular aspect, since X-Sanction seemingly pushed it as far as it could go?

Loeb: Spoiler alert, Albert! Jeeez! [Laughs.] From the very start of talking to Axel [Alonso] and Tom [Brevoort] about this story, we wanted it to "matter." I’d started my career at Marvel telling stories about how the techno-virus had affected Cable and making it clear — and yes, there’s folks out there who still think so — that he wasn’t a cyborg! X-Sanction enabled us to bring about a new change. But, as I’ve written about back years ago, the TK virus is exactly that — a virus. So, having Cable healed and seeing what his world is like (and his power level) is an opportunity for more storytelling; however, like any virus or cancer, are you ever really cured?


X-Sanction #3 cover.

Nrama: You've written a lot of Cable in the past, but before his paternal relationship with Hope was established. From your perspective, how valuable has that addition been to Cable as a character?

Loeb: I loved what had been done in "Messiah Complex" and "Second Coming." The relationship was different and new and as a father of an amazing daughter (Note: Jeph’s daughter Audrey writes the adventures of the Mini-Hulks, which appeared in Hulk for two years and returns in the new Marvel Universe line of comics featuring stories based on the Ultimate Spider-Man animated series) it struck a chord with me.  My first Cable story dealt with Cable’s son, Tyler, who he lost — and it seemed only fitting that coming back to the character and dealing with his need to protect his daughter.

Nrama: Now that Cable is back to life, rejuvenated, and established as someone who can take out pretty much the entire Avengers roster, where do you see his "place" in the current Marvel Universe? Where would you like to see the character going next?

Loeb: Well, he’s got a ways to go before he’s healthy — but as the story promises, he’ll be back when Cyclops needs him most. And with what’s coming up in AvX that might be sooner than anyone suspects!


Nrama: Clearly, being the head of Marvel TV keeps you busy, and I know you and Ed have an AvX: VS story out in June, but can we expect to see more comic book work from you as time allows, in the relatively near future?

Loeb: Yes!  As time allows!  I’m having so much fun with Simone Bianchi telling the rest of the Sabretooth Death and Rebirth from almost 5 years ago — his artwork is jawdroppingly great. McGuiness and I have a major thing that hasn’t been announced yet — but again, so lucky to be working with him. And while it may seem like an impossible dream, Tim Sale continues to work slowly and diligently on Captain America: White which looks astonishing! 

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