torsdag den 29. marts 2012

The all-different X-Men went to Australia

And encountered some unresolved mysteries, as well as some unpublished adventures of Longshot.

When asked in Comics Interview #11 in 1984 if there were any new characters coming up in X-Men, artist John Romita, Jr. replied: “There’s a character called Vanity whose powers are connected with a mirror and other dimensions.”

Such a character never appeared in the X-Men, though.

In Uncanny X-Men # 184, the inventor Forge used a scanner that could tell mutants and aliens from humans, but it mysteriously failed to register Mystique as a mutant. An explanation was never given.

“The X-Men show up around page 5 of issue 200 (1985), and Cyclops joins Xavier a few pages later with the line, “Professor, we’ve had an adventure you will not believe, and Paris is not likely to forget anytime soon,”” writer Chris Claremont told Marvel Age #32. “What adventure is that, True Believers? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned for future announcements from Marvel.”

Claremont was hoping to do a one-shot or a limited series about what happened to the X-Men in Paris in the space of those few pages, but that adventure never appeared either.

Following the 1986-1987 Mutant Massacre story in Uncanny X-Men #210-213, the X-Men’s roster was changed to: Storm (Ororo Munroe), Wolverine (Logan), Rogue (real name unknown), Psylocke (Elisabeth Braddock), Dazzler (Alison Blaire), Havok (Alex Summers) and Longshot.

“When Havok went back into the X-Men, that sort of took care of the Havok And Polaris series we’d planned,” X-Factor artist Walter Simonson told Marvel Age #68. “Some of the ideas for that will in fact be turning up in the Avengers (which I’m writing).”

The Longshot graphic novel

In the 1985-1986 Longshot mini-series written by Ann Nocenti, Longshot was a genetically created human with the specific purpose of being Mojo’s slave-star in the entertaiment business. Before escaping from Mojo’s dimension to Earth, Longshot had supposedly had a relationship with another of Mojo’s slave-stars, Spiral, who now hated him. The mini-series ended with Longshot going back to Mojo’s dimension along with stuntwoman Ricochet Rita and Quark to rebel against Mojo’s slavery.

In Marvel Age Annual #3, 1987, a Longshot graphic novel by Ann Nocenti and Art Adams was announced: “Longshot will return to his home world where he will start a rebellion to free his people. All his nemeses from his Limited Series, including Mojo and Spiral, will counter-attack. Longshot will discover just how brutal a rebellion can be – and how merciless the forces bent on the rebellion’s destruction truly are.”

However, the graphic novel never appeared. “Chris (Claremont) kept running in, saying, “Can Athur do this?” Adams revealed in Back Issue #29. “Chris basically stole him from me and made sure I could never see him again,” Nocenti added.

Claremont stole both Art Adams and Longshot for X-Men Annual #10, 1987, where the rebellion on Mojo World had failed, and Mojo sent Longshot to the X-Men on Earth as part of a plan to enslave them, too. The plan didn’t succeed, but Mojo decided to leave Longshot with the X-Men to annoy Spiral. However, Longshot suffered from amnesia during his entire time with the X-Men and didn’t even recognize Ricochet Rita when he saw one of her movies in Uncanny X-Men #224 in 1987.

In X-Men Annual #12, 1988, it was revealed that Rita had become one of Mojo’s slaves, and she was last seen as guardian for Mojo’s X-Babies in the 1989 Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem special edition.

In X-Factor Annual #7, 1992, writer Fabian Nicieza revealed that Spiral was actually Ricochet Rita who had been transformed and sent back in time by Mojo.

Dead to the world

Following a televised battle against evil forces in Uncanny X-Men #227 from 1988, the world assumed that the X-Men had died – an assumption which the X-Men wanted to use for their own benefit for a while. In Uncanny X-Men #229, also from 1988, the wizard Merlin’s daughter, Roma, ensured that the X-Men would only be visible to the naked eye and to the computer at their new headquarters in the Australian outback to help them keep their being alive a secret from the world.

However, at some point in 1991,between Uncanny X-Men #279, page 12, and X-Men vol.2 #1, the X-Men became visible to all scanners once again. X-Men vol.2 #1 started with the X-Men being scanned by computers at the Xavier Institute. It is possible that if Chris Claremont hadn’t resigned as X-Men writer and had written the stories in between those issues, there would have been an explanation of how the X-Men became visible again, but the subsequent writers either ignored or forgot about the X-Men having been “invisible” at all. In Excalibur #41 from 1991, writer Scott Lobdell referred to television footage of the X-Men from as far back as the 1990-1991 X-Tinction Agenda crossover in Uncanny X-Men #270-272, creating quite the unexplained conundrum.

Apparently, Roma’s spell simply ceased working and none of the characters felt the need to comment on the loss.

The mysterious mutant Gateway, who had the convenient ability to transport people from place to place, came along with the X-Men’s new Australian headquarters. He had served the villainous Reavers under threat of desecration of his people’s holy place, so they’d never know peace, wandering the dreamlands as slaves to outsign spirits forever.

In Uncanny X-Men #269 from 1990, Rogue absorbed Gateway’s ability and memories and learned that he had a debt and a task binding him to both the place and to the Reavers’ service. The nature of Gateway’s debt and the secret of his task remain unrevealed, as does the fate of his people.


Dazzler: Death’s handmaiden

In Uncanny X-Men #246 from 1989, Dazzler looked into the Siege Perilous and saw that all her possible life choices led to her death. By denying her fate, Death took her on her word and said, “The life thou hast chosen hath made thee my beloved handmaiden” – a destiny which was sealed in blood. Dazzler was reminded of the “deal” in Uncanny X-Men #247, but Chris Claremont didn’t touch on the subject again before Dazzler made her last X-Men appearance in Uncanny X-Men #260 in 1990, and subsequent writers didn’t touch the subject either.

Then, many years later, in 2006, Chris Claremont returned to the character in the pages of New Excalibur, and in issue #1 Dazzler died, but mysteriously returned to life. The Marvel Previews solicitation for New Excalibur #8 said: “Dazzler died. But for some reason, it didn’t stick? How is this possible? Dazzler and the New Excalibur team attempt to find out what has happened to her. The answer will shock you! “So Why Is It I’m Not Dead?” Part 1 (of 2)!”

The story title was instead used in New Excalibur #6 in 2006, where Dazzler died again. She came back to life in New Excalibur #7, but New Excalibur #8 offered no explanation. Instead it featured a set-up for Psylocke’s appearance in Exiles. Then Chris Claremont took a break from writing the series while recuperating from a stroke. When he returned, Dazzler died and came back to life again in New Excalibur #16 in 2007, but no reason for her inability to die was given before the series got cancelled with issue #24 the same year.

In X-Men: Die By The Sword #2 from 2007, also written by Chris Claremont, Dazzler stated, “Whatever way I manage to get myself killed, I always seem to get better,” and once again she got killed in X-Men: Die By The Sword #4 in 2008, and miraculously returned to life in #5. Since then, Dazzler has rejoined the X-Men, but nothing has developed further on her inability to die. The mystery remains unresolved.

The Longshot series
Longshot left the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #248 in 1989 to go on a search for his identity in an ongoing series of his own written by Ann Nocenti and pencilled by Art Adams. “Originally Ann had written a plot for Longshot Graphic Novel,” Adams explained in Marvel Age #71. “But Ann decided she’d just as soon not do the graphic novel, and just go ahead and do something else. I think, since she had written the graphic novel plot, and she had gotten better as a writer, she looked at it and didn’t feel very good about it.”

“I think all we’ve decided so far is that Longshot’s going to travel around and have adventures,” Adams continued. “We’ve talked a little bit about it, mostly about various characters we’d both like to have something to do with, so we’ll probably be guest-starring lots and lots of Marvel characters. I think we have plans so far for the Hulk and Thor.”

“I think when we get to the series I’m going to have Mojo in some sort of exoskeleton, that we really don’t see but that’ll be under clothes or something, so he can walk around. (…) I’m hoping that in some issue of Longshot I can bring back one of those old Kirby monsters. (…) I expect there’ll be quite a supporting cast. Ann’s already mentioned that in the first issue Longshot’s supposed to meet some kind of zombie guy who’s a humorous zombie. I figure he’s going to stay around for a few issues.”

In Marvel Age #67, it was announced: “We’ve got definite plans for a new series guest-starring Mephisto. It’ll be called Longshot, and if you think that means it’s going to pit the master of evil against everybody’s favorite incredibly lucky X-Man, well, give yourself a gold star! And just for good measure, we’re throwing in lots of other familiar faces from around the Marvel Universe too! Stay tuned to future issues of Marvel Age Magazine for more details.”

However, for reasons unknown the Longshot series never appeared.

The Dane sisters
In Uncanny X-Men #249 from 1989, the villain Zaladane surprised Lorna Dane (Polaris) by calling her sister. It appeared as if their family relation would never be explained following the death of Zaladane in Uncanny X-Men #275 in 1991, but it is possible that Chris Claremont had intended to revive Zaladane and resolve the issue. Certainly, Amazing Heroes #192 featured a design sketch by Jim Lee of Zaladane along with some for Omega Red, who at the time was set to debut in X-Men vol.2 #3 in 1991. With Claremont’s departure, the resurrection of Zaladane just ended up not happening.

Ten years later, in 2001, when Claremont left Uncanny X-Men for the second time to write X-Treme X-Men, Zaladane’s resurrection ended up not happening again: “Also lost in the shuffle: (…) a story in the Savage Land reintroducing Zaladane as a vengeful earth-oriented character, who manipulates tectonic plates the way her sister, Lorna, does magnetism, and her desire to avenge herself against Magneto (who “killed” her in Uncanny X-Men #275) by destroying Genosha (an island nation which Magneto ruled at the time),” Claremont revealed to

At the time, Marvel instituted an editorial policy against resurrecting dead characters, which may explain why Zaladane’s resurrection didn’t happen in the 2001-2002 X-Treme X-Men: Savage Land mini-series either, but Genosha did end up getting destroyed, although by Sentinels, in New X-Men #115 in 2001, written by Grant Morrison.

The computer and the sword
Meanwhile, a mystery was building surrounding the computer at the X-Men’s Australian headquarters. In Uncanny X-Men #249 from 1989, it seemed capable of self-repair, and when the Reavers reclaimed the compound, the computer surprised and amazed even them. In Uncanny X-Men #252 from the same year, Bonebreaker noticed that the computer was evolving – almost as if it was growing like a living organism. Neither Claremont, nor any other writer, ever followed up on this development.

In the 1982 Wolverine Limited Series, Wolverine’s girlfriend Mariko had become head of the Yashida clan, and she gave the clan’s honor sword to Wolverine in issue #4. In Uncanny X-Men #252 in 1989, where the Reavers had reclaimed the X-Men’s Australian headquarters, Lady Deathstrike left the sword there to be reclaimed by the winner of the final battle between her and Wolverine. However, that battle didn’t take place before Chris Claremont left the series, and the whereabouts of the sword was forgotten about by Wolverine writer Larry Hama, who showed it back in Mariko’s possession without explanation in Wolverine vol.2 #57, 1992.

Then, following Mariko’s death, the sword was back in Wolverine’s possession without explanation in Wolverine vol.2 #75 in 1993, also written by Larry Hama, and in Wolverine vol.2 #82 from 1994, he passed it on to the Silver Samurai.

Amazing Heroes #192, July 1991
Roger Ash: Ann Nocenti And Arthur Adams Bet On A Longshot, Back Issue #29, August 2008
Marvel Age #67, October 1988
Marvel Age Annual #3, 1987
Eric J. Moreels: Claremont Reflects On Core X-Book Return,, 26 March 2001
Peter Sanderson: 200 Issues Of Mutants!, Marvel Age #32, November 1985
Peter Sanderson: Art Adams Interview, Marvel Age #71, February 1989
Peter Sanderson: Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown 1, Marvel Age #68, November 1988
Brian Talley: John Romita, Jr, Comics Interview #11, 1984

torsdag den 22. marts 2012

Jean Grey’s return in X-Factor

Resulting in the destruction of Cyclops’ character, the death of Madelyne Pryor and… a premature wedding? 

“Well, X-Factor really came about in a kind of a strange fashion,” artist Jackson Guice recalled in Comics Interview #28. “It was an idea that Bob Layton and I pitched to (Editor-In-Chief) Jim Shooter (in 1985) about putting together a title, but neither one of us was really volunteering to work on it. It was just an idea that sparked in our heads.”

“We were staying at Jim’s place in New York one weekend and we were looking through the make-readies of that month’s issues from Marvel - Jim was away – and we were discussing the various titles and everything. Defenders and X-Men were two of the titles. We looked at them and got to talking about here were these great old X-Men characters, the original X-Men, and – not to belittle the work anyone was doing on Defenders – but we really felt like they should be in a title of their own. We both had an extreme fondness for the original X-Men.”

“And Jim came back and we said, “Jim, THIS is what you ought to do…” Telling the Editor-In-Chief what to do. “You take these original X-Men and you put them together in a new book; and you go back to the original premise of the first run of X-Men – which was when Professor X said that the purpose of the team and the school and everything was to seek out and find mutants and help them cope, to eliminate mutant threats, to basically be the bridge between mutantkind and humanity.” And we said, “These guys are like the oldest mutants walking around, as far as trained mutants, in the Marvel Universe. They’ve got the most experience. They’ve been dealing with this kind of thing for years in comparison to most of the other mutants. Take this experience and have ‘em put it to good use.””

“We weren’t really thinking about the fact that we were pitching this book for ourselves. We were just thinking, “Here’s an idea,” you know? “Do with it as you wish.” And Jim looked at us and said, “Well, when do you want to start?” And we sort of looked at each other and it was the first time it really dawned on us that, you know, we could do this. And the more we talked about it the more excited we got about it, and it went from there.”

“We talked to Mike Carlin (…) and he agreed to be editor for X-Factor. As a matter of fact he came up with the name. He went to lunch and came back and said, “We’ll call it X-Factor.””

The resurrection of Jean Grey

“When X-Factor was created, the original premise was that it would be the four surviving members of the original X-Men: Cyclops, Beast, Angel, and Iceman, plus a fifth female to be named later,” X-Men writer Chris Claremont recalled in Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty. “It was then proposed to Jim (Shooter) that if you are going to create the original four, bring Jean back from the dead. A way was given to him that plausibly explained her resurrection. Jim thought it would be a spectacular marketing ploy for the book, and decided that the benefit to the new series outweighed any potential damage done to the old series.”

The idea to resurrect Jean came from a disenchanted fan, Kurt Busiek, who had a letter printed in Uncanny X-Men #143 in 1981, which stated that following the Dark Phoenix story, he had decided to quit reading the X-Men.

“It spun off of an idea that Marvel Age Assistant Editor Kurt Busiek mentioned to me about two or three years ago,” Roger Stern told Marvel Age #33. “I later mentioned this to John Byrne and we kicked it around a few times. Then when we heard that Bob Layton was doing X-Factor, John told the idea to Bob and everything started to move.”

“Kurt Busiek suggested that the Phoenix force was a separate entity,” John Byrne revealed in Comics Creators On X-Men. “Kurt had this idea that it had actually duplicated Jean and left her in a pod on the bottom of Jamaica Bay. I loved that, and we ultimately did it in Avengers, which led into the first issue of X-Factor.”

“That was not in the original idea when Bob (Layton) and I presented the series,” Jackson Guice stated in Comics Interview #28. “That was brought to us and it was put in simply because it worked as such a good story.”

“We had had the fist five or six stories worked out already, verbally plotted, when John (Byrne) and Roger Stern approached Jim (Shooter) with this idea, and then we were called in because suddenly it was like if there was anyplace they were going to have this event it was gonna be in X-Factor. But other than it was presented to us and worked into the storyline, we really had no part of bringing that character back.”

“Originally Bob and I thought about doing that in the 10th or 12th issue,” Guice told Marvel Age #33. “But the decision soon evolved into opening the series with that bombshell.”

According to Back Issue #29, Bob Layton and Jackson Guice had intended for Dazzler to be the fifth X-Factor member.

Chris Claremont’s reaction

“Oh, God! Barry Windsor-Smith and I were coming into the office to plot X-Men #198 (in 1985),” Claremont recalled in Comics Creators On X-Men. “It was a Friday night and (editor) Ann (Nocenti) took us out to dinner and didn’t tell us about X-Factor until it was, like, 6:30-7:00 at night and the office switchboard was already closed. I wanted to call Shooter, but I couldn’t remember his direct line. Ann knew his number, but she wouldn’t tell me. She told me to just sit down, have another drink and relax. I mean, she played me beautifully. Since it was Friday, I had the whole weekend to go berserk.”

“I spent the weekend coming up with a whole new set of characters that they could use for X-Factor. I came in Monday morning and pitched the idea of using Jean’s sister Sara and making her a living Cerebro. She not only senses mutants, but has the power to work out what they’ll become. Shooter sat there and said, “That’s a great concept. I think it’s wonderful. If you want to go with it, go with it, but we’re bringing back Jean Grey.””

“The fact is, Ann did a smart thing. If I had actually gone in to see Shooter on Friday night, I would have quit. I was so pissed off. I couldn’t believe what they did to Cyclops (Scott Summers). He was supposed to be a hero and they had him walking out on his wife and newborn child and not even thinking twice about it.”

According to Back Issue #29, Chris Claremont and Jackson Guice made some uncredited changes to John Byrne’s Fantastic Four #286 in 1986, in which Jean Grey returned in a prelude to X-Factor. In Byrne’s original version, the Phoenix entity was malevolent and it was Jean’s humanity that triumphed. In the reworked story, Phoenix was essentially a benign entity that got tainted by Jean’s human fallibility.

The fate of Cyclops’ wife

“The original Madelyne (Pryor) storyline was that – at its simplest level – she was that one-in-a-million that just happened to look like Jean (Grey),” Claremont told “And the relationship (between her and Scott Summers) was summed up by the moment (in Uncanny X-Men #174, 1983) when Scott says, “Are you Jean?” and she punches him! Because her whole desire was to be loved for herself – not to be loved as the evocation of her boyfriend’s dead sweetheart. (…) But it all got invalidated by the resurrection of Jean Grey in X-Factor #1 (1986).”

“The original plotline was that Scott marries Madelyne - they have their child, they go off to Alaska. He goes to work for his grandparents. He retires from the X-Men. He’s a reserve member. He’s available for emergencies. He comes back on special occasions – for special fights, but he has a life. He has grown up. (…) Scott was going to move on. Jean was dead, “Get on with your life.” And it was close to being a happy ending. They lived happily ever after – and it was to create the impression that maybe if you come back in ten years other X-Men would have grown up, too. Would Kitty (Pryde) stay with the team forever? Would Nightcrawler? Would any of them? Because that way we could evolve them into new directions - we could bring in new characters. There would be an ongoing sense of renewal and growth and change – in a positive sense.”

“Then, unfortunately, Jean was resurrected, Scott dumps his wife and kid and goes back to the old girlfriend, so it not only destroys Scott’s character as a hero and as a decent human being – it creates an untenable structural situation: What do we do with Madelyne and the kid?”

“So ultimately the resolution was: Turn her into the Goblin Queen and kill her off.”

This happened in the 1989 Inferno crossover, which was originally titled Hell On Earth, in X-Factor #36-38 and Uncanny X-Men #240-242.

Years later, in 2005, Claremont got the opportunity to redeem Scott’s character a little in X-Men: The End - Book Two: Heroes & Martyrs #4 by having him confess to feeling guilty about how he treated Madelyne Pryor.

Apocalypse for Doppelganger, the Owl and Madrox

In Marvel Age #39, upcoming storylines for X-Factor were announced: ”A coming of age story is in the works for Iceman that will explore his relationship with Darkstar. His Russian teammate from his days with the now defunct Champions will involve him in an adventure that will introduce a villain who just may become X-Factor’s major adversary. His name is Doppelganger and he is incredibly evil!”

“We will also be introduced to the new Owl. This high flying bad guy will be more evil than the original Owl, and will also have a new look.”

The new Owl was supposed to be introduced in X-Factor #6 in 1986, about which Marvel Age #39 said: “Who is the mastermind behind the Evil Mutants? Find out the shocking answer as he tries to x-out X-Factor! “The Magic Machine” is written by Bob Layton, pencilled by Jackson Guice and inked by Joe Rubinstein.”

But when X-Factor #6 appeared, it was written by Louise Simonson and featured the debut of Apocalypse instead of the new Owl. “Layton decided to leave the book and I honestly do not know why,” Louise Simonson told Comics Creators On X-Men. “I don’t know if it was his, Shooter’s, or (new editor Bob) Harras’ choice. Bob (Harras) asked me to take over the book and I think it was partly because (…) Chris (Claremont) was my friend. I think someone finally realised that splitting up the X-Men and fostering a hostile relationship between the creators was a really bad idea. I believe I was brought on, at least in part, because everyone knew that I could and WOULD work with Chris.”

“When (X-Factor) first came out I couldn’t read it, I couldn’t stand it,” Claremont told Comics Interview #56. “It was like, “Ooo, who are these people masquerading as the original X-Men?””

“It wasn’t until Louise and Walter Simonson were on the book that we actually managed to massage the characters back to the way they should have been,” Claremont added in Comics Creators On X-Men.

“My feeling was that the Owl didn’t have the stature to be a major foe for a major team,” Louise Simonson reasoned in Comics Creators On X-Men. “There was a set-up panel at the end of X-Factor #5 (1986) and we needed to show a villain in it. I tried to think really fast – what kind of character would be an appropriate foe? (…) I wanted a character who would try to force mutants and humanity to the next level. I thought Apocalypse was a good name for a character. Jackson Guice designed him and he did a really good job. It was just a throwaway thing for him because I think he had also been planning on getting off the book, if I remember right.”

“The only thing I even vaguely remember,” Guice revealed in Back Issue #29, “are the bare bones of a story Bob (Layton) and I intended to do involving (Jamie) Madrox (the Multiple Man) being hunted by his own multiple clones on some remote island off the coast of Ireland – the gist of the thing being all that splitting had ultimately fractured Jamie’s personality to the point he could no longer exert control over his duplicates and now they were running amok killing each other – each convinced he was the original Madrox.”

The twelve strong mutants

Following his defeat in X-Men #100 in 1976, it was revealed in Hulk Annual #7, 1978, that the mutant-hating Steven Lang had uploaded his consciousness into the mutant-hunting Sentinel robot, Master Mold. Lang’s braindead body ended up in a nursing home, as revealed in Uncanny X-Men #291 in 1992, and was later absorbed by the techno-organic alien race, the Phalanx.

In X-Factor #14 from 1987, written by Louise Simonson, it was revealed that Lang had discovered the twelve mutants who would lead – around whom others would gather. Also referred to as the Strong, the Twelve were shown to include Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Franklin Richards and Apocalypse, and Master Mold intended to destroy them.

Cyclops managed to defeat the Master Mold Sentinel, but it reappeared in Power Pack #36 written by Jon Bogdanove in 1988, where the Twelve were shown to also include Professor X, Psylocke, Cannonball and Danielle Moonstar.

In Uncanny X-Men #246 in 1989, written by Chris Claremont, the Master Mold Sentinel merged with Nimrod, a mutant-killer robot from the future of Rachel Summers. Once again, The Twelve were mentioned before the Nimrod/Master Mold amalgam was defeated. In Machine Man & Bastion Annual 1998, written by Mike Higgins and Karl Bollers, it was revealed that it went through the magical Siege Perilous and became the mutant-hating Bastion, who first appeared in X-Men vol.2 #52 in 1996, written by Mark Waid. However, neither Bastion nor the Phalanx-version of Steven Lang ever made any mention of the Twelve.

In X-Factor #68, 1991, written by Chris Claremont, Apocalypse mentioned “the fabled Twelve,” a dozen key mutants, who would prove instrumental to the survival of mutants, and in Uncanny X-Men #-1 in 1997, writer Scott Lobdell revealed how the Master Mold came to know about the Twelve, whom a character from the future was disappointed in after having waited so long for them.

Finally, in 2000, artist Alan Davis plotted a crossover between the X-Men books entitled Apocalypse: The Twelve (Uncanny X-Men #376-377 and X-Men vol.2 #96-97) in which Apocalypse captured twelve powerful alpha-level mutants in order to recreate the world in his image by using their combined power. Although that was supposed to wrap up the Twelve subplot, Apocalypse’s Twelve weren’t all strong leaders others would gather around. Leaving out himself and Franklin Richards, Apocalypse captured Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm, as well as Professor X, Cable, Magneto, Polaris, Iceman, Sunfire, Bishop, Mikhail Rasputin and the Living Monolith.

The secret of Mr. Sinister

In Classic X-Men #41-42 from 1989, written by Chris Claremont, Scott Summers’ childhood friend, Nathan, seemed to be more than just another boy at the orphanage where Scott grew up. Orphanage-employee Dr. Robyn Hanover suspected that something was wrong with Nathan and her suspicions got her brainwashed by Mr. Sinister.

“Sinister was Scott’s boyhood friend (Nathan) in the orphanage,” Claremont revealed to “He’s an eight-year old kid – he’s always been an eight-year old kid. He ages one year for every 10 of everybody else. So, he’s a 50-year old guy in a 10-year old’s body – and boy, is he pissed! That’s why he works with clones. It’s the only way he can deal with the adult world – because he is not gonna be an adult for another 50 years, at the earliest! And that’s why he takes a long view of things because he’s going to be around for a 1000 years – give or take a few – at least!”

Louise Simonson maintained Claremont’s idea in X-Factor #35 from 1988, where Scott Summers visited the orphanage, discovered Mr. Sinister’s laboratory underneath it and recalled his fights with Nathan, as well as in X-Factor #37 in 1989, where poor Madelyne Pryor, who ended up being nothing but a clone of Jean Grey created by Mr. Sinister, insisted on calling her and Scott’s son Nathan. (Scott called the boy Christopher.) In X-Factor #39 from 1989, Scott’s fight with Mr. Sinister subconsciously reminded him about his fights with Nathan.

Subsequent writers either hadn’t picked up on the hints about Mr. Sinister being Nathan, or simply chose to ignore them. In the 1996 Further Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix mini-series, writer Peter Milligan instead had Mr. Sinister be a mad scientist from the 1800s who had powers bestowed upon him by Apocalypse. When Chris Claremont returned to Marvel, he merged his and Milligan’s ideas in X-Men: The End - Book Two: Heroes & Martyrs #5 in 2005, by establishing that Mr. Sinister wasn’t immortal, but had lived through the centuries by cloning himself and transferring his consciousness from clone to clone. Instead of being a 50-year old in a 10-year old body, Nathan was instead suggested as being a clone of Mr. Sinister in the process of growing up, while Mr. Sinister stayed in the laboratory underneath the orphanage.

The postponed wedding

According to an article in Marvel Vision, Scott Summers and Jean Grey were supposed to get married in X-Factor #66 in 1991, and artist Whilce Portacio drew a cover depicting the event, including Apocalypse crashing the wedding and using X-Factor’s sentient ship against them. However, Marvel’s new Editor-In Chief, Tom DeFalco, felt that a wedding of that magnitude was an event better suited for the pages of Uncanny X-Men.

While the wedding got postponed, the attack by Apocalypse did not. Before Ship got destroyed, it managed to suggest that Archangel’s girlfriend, police detective Charlotte Jones, was actually a mutant by letting her pass through a barrier that kept normal humans from entering the ship. However, this surprising development in X-Factor #66, scripted by Chris Claremont, was never followed up on, although Claremont used Charlotte Jones frequently upon returning to Marvel years later.

The wedding between Scott and Jean ended up taking place in X-Men vol.2 #30 in 1994, and was written by Fabian Nicieza. “Having just gotten married myself,” editor Bob Harras told Marvel Age #133, “I’d been trying to get them married for a couple of years, and after that, Tom (DeFalco) relented.”

“The current issue of the X-Men is where Scott and Jean get married,” Claremont commented in an Internet interview. “I gotta tell you, if I had stayed on the book – not a chance. Because everyone would be sitting around waiting for it. Everyone was waiting around for Wolverine to marry Mariko, but it’s like, “No.” You screw it up, but you screw it up in a way that is consistent to the character and leaves the reader going, “What happens next? Where is this going to go?””

Back to Cyclops being a cad

“Jean is marrying Scott, so what’s Scott’s track record to date?” Claremont asked in the Internet interview. “Well, he had a wife. He got married in the mansion, everybody was there, he said, “Till death do you part,” they had a kid, and he walked out on them without a second thought and went to X-Factor. And then for various stupid – and I confess, I had my part in this as well as anyone else – plot reasons didn’t deal with it for a long time. The reason he didn’t deal with it was because he didn’t have a clue what to do with it. I mean, the guy was a cad and a bounder, no ifs, no ands, no buts.”

“In one fell swoop, he was destroyed as a character, as a heroic. He made a commitment to people and then walked out on them. And for various reasons, not Weezie (Louise Simonson), not me, we never dealt with that. We seem to take what seemed at the time to be the only sensible way out, which was we made Madelyne into the bad – you know, we set up a situation where rather than have Scott face the consequences of his actions, we’d just sort of like kill them all. And everyone forgave Scott, because Madelyne was a bitch anyway. And then they gave the kid away. “Don’t deal with the fact that you have a child, Scott, we’ll just send him away to the future” and - shit happens.”

“All of this should be an element in the mix. Mistakes or otherwise, this is Scott’s character, this is Jean’s character. (…) There must be a moment where the two of them sit down and address this. “Jean, marry me.” “Why?” “I love you.” “You loved Madelyne.” Pause. “Yeah, well…” “You walked out on her, Scott. You going to walk out on me? Suppose we discover in a year that Madelyne isn’t dead? Suppose I’m Madelyne. Suppose I’m Phoenix. How are you going to deal with that? How am I to trust you? You made a commitment. You did not fulfil it. You abandoned a child.””

“The onus is not on Jean to prove herself to Scott. She was dead. She got better. He made a commitment to someone. He had to prove that he could make a commitment to her. You can’t just say, “None of this existed, none of this happened, it all goes away.” You have to think, “How does this character deal with it? How does the story deal with it?” Because, by answering those questions, you might find the story going off in a totally different direction that may bring vitality and richness of concept that you never even dreamed of was coming in the door.”

?: Chris Claremont, Internet interview, 1994
Timothy Callahan: The Owl That Could Have Been, Back Issue #29, August 2008
William Christensen and Mark Seifert: From Gofer To Comic Great, Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty, August 1993
Tom DeFalco: Comics Creators On X-Men, April 2006
Allan Harvey: The Birth Of X-Factor, Back Issue #29, August 2008
Marvel Age #39, June 1986
Patrick Daniel O’Neill: Chris Claremont, Comics Interview #56, 1988
Tom Russo: Dearly Beloved…, Marvel Age #133, February 1994
Peter Sanderson: High Caliber, Amazing Heroes #134, February 1988
Tue Sørensen and Ulrik Kristiansen: Chris Claremont Interview,, 1995
Dwight Jon Zimmerman: X-Factor, Comics Interview #28, 1985
Dwight Jon Zimmerman: X-Factor, Marvel Age #33, December 1985

torsdag den 15. marts 2012

The New Mutants averted X-Men West

But ushered in the nullification of the redeemed Magneto and quite a few unresolved plots.

“Since the spring of ’81 Weezie (X-Men Editor Louise Jones) and I have on various occasions kicked around the idea of doing a second (X-Men) book,” writer Chris Claremont revealed in The X-Men Companion. “We decided to wait until we found someone (to draw the book) and then think seriously about putting it together.”

“We were afraid that we would go to (Marvel) and say, “Hey, let’s do an X-Men book,” and they would say, “Yes, but the only person available is…” somebody that we wouldn’t be interested in using,” Louise Jones added. “So we were going to keep our mouths shut until the spring. We were going to pick our people and then we were going to say, “Hey, we’ve got a book for you.””

“Right. With three issues in the drawer,” Claremont continued. “And what happened was that while we were pretty much solidifying the concept or at least getting it as much into focus as we felt we needed, Mark Gruenwald went into (Editor-In-Chief) Jim (Shooter)’s office with a proposal for an alternative X-Men book involving the “loose” members of the original team – Angel, Iceman, Beast, Havok, Polaris – and I suppose any other extraneous mutants that happened to be around, and setting them up on the West Coast as a kind of a…”

“X-Men West,” Louise Jones cut in.

“And regardless of the individual merits of the concept, it was way different from what we had in mind,” Claremont continued. “Jim quite properly went to Weezie and said that this proposal had been made to him, and asked if we had any problems with it… or suggestions, or comments. Weezie pointed out, well, we had our own concept in the works, and we’d had it for quite some time. And Jim said, “Oh, okay, well, let’s hear it.” So then we had to put up or shut up.”

“And luckily at about the same time (artist) Bob McLeod had just surfaced (…) and the pieces all meshed together.”

The fate of Sara Grey and her children

“There are lots of characters on tap,” Claremont revealed in The X-Men Companion. “We’ve got Jean (Grey)’s sister’s children to think of. (…) She knows about the X-Men and she knows that the kids may be mutants.”

“We’re sure that they’ll be showing up,” Louise Jones added. “We think maybe they’re twins, but we’re not sure.”

“Maybe a girl and a boy,” Claremont continued. “Tentatively we’re dealing with one as a projecting and one as a receiving empath.”

In Bizarre Adventures #27 from 1981, Jean Grey’s sister, Sara Grey, was wondering if her 11-year old son, Tommy, would become a mutant. However, Tommy never appeared in the New Mutants or anywhere else, but the twins, Gailyn and Joey, ended up appearing in the pages of X-Factor instead. In Uncanny X-Men #215 from 1987, Wolverine and Storm visited the ruins of Sara’s home, which had been blown up by mutant haters in X-Factor #12 the same year. Sara and her children had disappeared before the explosion, however. The twins appeared in X-Factor #35 in 1988, written by Louise Simonson (formerly Louise Jones), as part of the villain Nanny’s group of orphaned mutants. They were liberated from Nanny in X-Factor #40 in 1989. Sara’s fate remained unresolved, so the twins were placed in the care of their grand parents.

“What about Jean Grey’s sister?” subsequent editor Bob Harras asked in X-Men Anniversary Magazine 1993. “Peter David was originally going to do a bookshelf which would have handled that question, but he never got around to it.”

In X-Men vol.2 #36 from 1994, written by Fabian Nicieza, the villain Stephen Lang revealed that Sara had been absorbed by the techno-organic Phalanx race. In X-Man #30 from 1997, written by Terry Kavanagh, Sara had been declared dead. The father of the twins, whose name was revealed to be Paul in Bizarre Adventures #27, 1981, only appeared once in X-Men #138 in 1980, and in X-Man #30 in 1997 the last name of the twins was revealed to be Bailey, although they were still living with the Greys.

Then, in Uncanny X-Men #466-468, 2006, written by Claremont, the entire Grey family, including the twins, were killed off.

A.I.M.’s mysterious Matrix project

“Hopefully, the second book will allow us to better utilize a number of supporting characters who are more noticeable in The X-Men by their absence, such as Moira (MacTaggert),” Claremont told The X-Men Companion. “Karl Lykos gets reformed in Marvel Fanfare #4 (1982). Once he’s cured, he’ll come into the series as the in-house physician.”

However, Karl Lykos never appeared in the New Mutants. Instead, the part of in-house physician went to a new character, Sharon Friedlander.

According to The X-Men Companion, Wolfsbane was originally intended to be a fundamentalist Moslem from Iran. However, there was already a darkhaired female, Psyche, in the group, and rather than remove or change her, it was decided to change Wolfsbane’s nationality and appearance into the redhaired Scott and fundamentalist Christian, Rahne Sinclair.

In Amazing Heroes #16, Claremont related an untold tale from Psyche’s past: “She was in school. A teacher came over whom she respected and liked. Without meaning to do so, she reached into his head and pulled out a subconscious image of him hacking her to pieces with an axe. And of course, it later turned out that the man was a notorious axe murderer who had killed two or three kids in that part of the state. And that revelation so rattled him that he came after her, and tried to hack her up, and that’s how they caught him.”

In New Mutants #5-6 from 1983, the villain Viper forced the motorcycle riding heroes Team America to break into the A.I.M. organization’s Matrix project to steal a crystal for her. It was never revealed what she wanted the crystal for or what the Matrix project was about.

When the Matrix project blew up, Professor Xavier was overwhelmed by the birth of a powerful new mutant. It is possible that it was actually the rebirth of the villain Shadow King following his demise in X-Men #117 in 1979, as he possessed Karma at the story’s climax. However, this has never been confirmed. Claremont never wrapped up the loose ends and subsequent writers didn’t follow up on the story, either.

Karma’s missing siblings

In New Mutants #46 from 1986, Karma’s two smaller siblings, Leong and Nga Coy Manh, disappeared in the same manner as Sara Grey and her children had, suggesting a connection. Karma left the New Mutants in #54 in 1987 to find Leong and Nga and reappeared in Wolverine vol.2 #4 in 1989, where she served her uncle, General Nguyen Ngoc Coy, hoping to use his contacts in the criminal underworld to find the children. Unfortunately, Claremont only wrote nine issues of Wolverine, and of the subsequent writers only Jo Duffy used Karma, in Wolverine vol.2 #27-30 in 1990, wherein Karma left her uncle’s employ.

It would be years until the storyline was touched upon again. Leong and Nga didn’t reappear until X-Force #62 in 1997, written by John Dokes. They were being held prisoners by an unnamed organisation that was using them in experiments to remove the mutant gene. Before X-Force were able to free them, the children were given to the villain Spiral, but in the 1997 Beast mini-series, written by Keith Giffen and Terry Kavanagh, Karma was finally reunited with them, although Spiral had made them into mature and fully developed mutants.

In X-Force #75, 1998, Karma had found a doctor who thought he could undo the damage Spiral inflicted upon Leong and Nga, and when Claremont returned to Marvel, he wrote the 2002-2003 Mekanix mini-series in which Leong and Nga had become children again.

Magneto development nullified

In New Mutants #35 from 1986, the X-Men’s former archenemy, Magneto, became the new Headmaster at Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters. In Marvel Age #33, it said: “The young students get a new teacher… and not one they like or trust. In fact, one of the New Mutants is going to quit and join the Hellions.”

But as it turned out, nobody ended up quitting and joining the Hellions at this point.

In New Mutants # 54 from 1987, it was announced that Chris Claremont would take a six-month break from writing the title. “It was originally only going to be for six months until we got Excalibur out of the way,” Claremont told Comics Interview #56. “Then once Excalibur got out of the way suddenly we had like four or five more titles on the horizon, and (fill-in writer) Weezie (Louise Simonson) was having so much fun with (New Mutants) and was doing such a good job that it seemed pointless to take it back.”

Unfortunately for fans of the New Mutants and their teacher Magneto, the change in writer meant an immediate change in character portrayal. For instance, Claremont had spent a handful of years developing Magneto from a simple, powerhungry lunatic into the noble Headmaster of Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, but it only took Louise Simonsen about two years to reduce him to once again being a powerhungry villain. In New Mutants #75 from 1989, she wrote that Magneto had just been playing the X-Men and the New Mutants for fools in a bid to gain power over all mutants.

“The reason I brought Magneto in as Headmaster was that I wanted to change the dynamics of the school, and I wanted to change the dynamic of Magneto,” Claremont told “I wanted to redeem him and I wanted a new brand of villains for the ‘80s and ‘90s. That ran into a lot of opposition and was ultimately nullified.”

“A lot of people didn’t like - and don’t like - what I did with Magneto from the perspective that they felt it emasculated what they thought was a great villain,” Claremont added in Back Issue #4.

”I planned to keep him at the school, as Headmaster of The New Mutants, at least through (Uncanny X-Men) #300 (in 1993) when I thought to confront him with consequences of his former life as a super-villain and force him to make a choice on which side of the line he stood,” Claremont wrote in his Cordially Chris online forum.

Mysterious plans for Nova Roma
In New Mutants Annual #4 from 1988 and in New Mutants #75 from 1989, both written by Louise Simonson, Magneto and the White Queen of the Hellfire Club harbored mysterious plans involving New Mutant Magma (Amara Aquilla), the city of Nova Roma and their colleague in the Hellfire Club, the Black Queen (Selene).

“There will be a story in the New Mutants involving Amara’s country, Nova Roma, and the Hellfire Club will be involved with that,” X-Men Editor Bob Harras revealed in Marvel Age #78, but such a story never appeared and Magneto and the White Queen’s plans were never revealed.

“The problem was that for me putting an ancient Roman city (Nova Roma) in the jungle was Edgar Rice Burroughs meets Arthur Conan Doyle,” Claremont told “This is fun!”

“Actually it was a Roman Incan city, so you had mixed elements. That didn’t sit well with the new writers on the book, so they blew it up.”

Nova Roma was nullified in New Warriors #31 in 1993, written by Fabian Nicieza. When Claremont returned years later, he brought Nova Roma back without explanation in X-Treme X-Men #34 in 2004.

Marvel Age #79 from 1989 had a mention of New Mutants #81 that promised: “What if the prince of your dreams turned out to be a nightmare? For Amara, that’s exactly what she faces – for the prince she’s being forced to marry is a vampire! Will the New Mutants be able to rescue her from an undead fate worse than death? Written by Louise Simonson, pencilled by Bret Blevins, and inked by Al Williamson.”

In Marvel Age #80, it said about New Mutants #82: “Is Amara falling in love with the vampire she’s being forced to marry? Her change of heart makes matters worse for everyone! In fact, the New Mutants may not survive the latest challenge to the wedding! Written by Louise Simonson and pencilled by Rob Liefeld.”

However, that storyline never appeared either. Instead, New Mutants #81 featured a story by guest-writer Chris Claremont, and New Mutants #82 continued the New Mutants in Asgard storyline from New Mutants #80 drawn by Bret Blevins. Rob Liefeld didn’t start drawing New Mutants until #86 in 1990.

In Marvel Age #78 Bob Harras also talked about a second Fallen Angels Limited Series written by Jo Duffy, pencilled by Colleen Doran, and inked by Terry Austin, but that never appeared. The first Fallen Angels series from 1987 had originally been advertised as Misfits in New Mutants #36 in 1986 before it was changed to Fallen Angels.

The 13 Inferno babies, Cougar and Cable
Following the 1989 Inferno crossover, Freedom Force, Mystique’s team of government sanctioned mutants, got the task of returning 13 stolen babies to their parents, and in X-Factor #40 from 1989, written by Louise Simonson, they also got tasked with returning home some of the child mutants which X-Factor had liberated from the villain Nanny.

In New Mutants #78 from 1989, also written by Louise Simonson, Blob of Freedom Force said that the government had big plans for the babies and the mutant children. Freedom Force stopped two of the New Mutants, Rusty Collins and Skids, from telling the story to the media in New Mutants #86 in 1990, but since New Mutants #87, where Rusty and Skids joined the Mutant Liberation Front, nothing further was mentioned about the fates of the babies and the mutant children.

Then, 20 years later in 2010, New Mutants vol.3 #16 written by Zeb Wells revealed that the military had aquired the babies and experimented on them until they were ready to be used as “mutant weapons.”

Meanwhile, New Mutants #87 from 1990 heralded the first appearance of a new character, Cable. “(Editor) Bob (Harras) wanted the New Mutants to have an adult leader, because Professor X was gone,” Louise Simonson recalled in Comics Creators On X-Men. “I had thought that the New Mutants would be perfectly fine without an adult around, but Bob wanted one.”

In Marvel Age Preview #1 for 1991, it said about the New Mutants: “Romance continues to bloom for Wolfsbane and Rictor, but the Mutants’ new member, Cougar, adds confusion to the budding relationship.”

However, Cougar never appeared in the New Mutants, although a cover for New Mutants #87 featuring Cougar was made. Instead New Mutants #87 from 1990 came to feature the first appearance of Cable. “(Editor) Bob (Harras) wanted the New Mutants to have an adult leader, because Professor X was gone,” Louise Simonson recalled in Comics Creators On X-Men. “I had thought that the New Mutants would be perfectly fine without an adult around, but Bob wanted one.”

“I came up with the character and what his motivation was. (Artist) Rob (Liefeld) came up with the character design. Actually, his original character design was supposed to be for Stryfe, but Bob and I thought it would be better for Cable. I thought about calling him Commander X at one point, but Rob wanted to call the guy Cable and I said, “You know what? Sure, Cable is a fine name.” Anything to get Rob interested in the stories.”

“It took me about six months to figure out that Rob really wasn’t interested in the stories at all. He just wanted to do what he wanted to do, which was cool drawings of people posing in their costumes that would then sell for lots of money.”

Cable became Ahab
In Uncanny X-Men Annual #14, 1990, written by Chris Claremont, it was implied that Ahab, the mutant hunter from the future of Rachel Summers, was that timeline’s version of Cable. Rictor also noticed Cable’s likeness to Ahab in New Mutants Annual #6, 1990, written by Louise Simonson. However, subsequent writer, Scott Lobdell, made a new character, Rory Campbell, into the person with the potential to become Ahab in Excalibur #75 in 1994.

With New Mutants #98 in 1991 writer Louise Simonson was replaced with Fabian Nicieza and shortly thereafter the New Mutants became X-Force.

“Rob (Liefeld) was unhappy with the way the stories were going and wanted someone else to write them,” Louise Simonson recalled in Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty. “I think that at that point anyone who looked like they could produce lots of instant cash for Marvel was likened to a god, and Rob Liefeld looked like he could do just that.”

Services no longer required
 “Although I wasn’t fired, I think I was being shoved out the door with both hands by (editor) Bob Harras,” Louise Simonson recalled in Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty. “Bob was only doing what he had to do, I expect, which was make Rob Liefeld happy. (…) My problems were not so much with Liefeld, because all freelancers are greedy and like to grab what they can, and that’s fine. I was an editor for a long time, and I know how that works.”

“My problems were really with the editor, who was not handling things well at all. It’s up to an editor to choose the people who will work on any given project, and to let them know when their services are no longer needed. I think that Bob was not willing to make those decisions. What he did to me, to Chris Claremont, to Peter David, and to Jo Duffy, was to nickel-and-dime us to death. He would change plots and blame it on the artists. He would change dialogue, and then say, “I’m sorry, but I tried to call you and you weren’t home” or “I’ll be sure and tell you the next time.” He would change some of the dialogue, but not other parts, so the things people said wouldn’t make sense. It was his way of letting you know he was wishing you’d go away. Maybe it was time to say good-bye to mutants anyway.”

 “I had and have a very fundamental vision of who (Dani Moonstar) is and where I wanted to go with her and what I wanted to do with her,” Chris Claremont recalled in Uncanny X Cast Episode 77. “I’d like to think if I’d stuck around it would’ve come to pass. We were setting all this stuff up how she was relating to Asgard and to the Valkyries and especially the relationship between her and Ororo (Storm) and Loki. I had ideas and plans galore for that and I wasn’t done with that at all, but that’s the nature of the biz.”

Back Issue #4, June 2004
Cordially Chris,, 16 June 2003
Tom DeFalco: Comics Creators On X-Men, April 2006
Eric Fein: Bob Harras Interview, Marvel Age #78, September 1989
Paul J. Grant: Poor Dead Doug, And Other Mutant Memories, Wizard: X-Men Turn Thirty, August 1993
Marvel Age #33, December 1985
Marvel Age #79, October 1989
Marvel Age #80, November 1989
Marvel Age Preview #1, 1990
Patrick Daniel O’Neill: Chris Claremont, Comics Interview #56, 1988
Peter Sanderson: The X-Men Companion II, September 1982
Peter Sanderson: The New Mutants - Professor Xavier’s New Freshman Class, Amazing Heroes #16, October 1982
Tue Sørensen and Ulrik Kristiansen: Chris Claremont Interview,, 1995
Uncanny X Cast Episode 77, pod-cast, 2009
X-Men Anniversary Magazine, September 1993