Since it was announced back in August that Mike Carey would be ending his five-plus year run on X-Men: Legacy, fans have wondered who might take his place on the book. Marvel's X-Men panel Sunday afternoon at New York Comic Con provided the answer: Avengers Academy writer Christos Gage, starting with January's X-Men: Legacy #260.1. Newsarama talked with Gage about joining the ongoing series, working with new series artist David Baldeón, and the near future of Rogue and the rest of the book's cast.
Newsarama: Christos, congratulations on the new gig as writer of X-Men: Legacy. It looks like though the book is going to be experiencing some significant changes, but keeping Rogue as the main focus. Was it important to you to have that consistency? And what's your personal view of the character?
Christos Gage: Thank you! For me what was important was having the strongest possible protagonist, and that’s definitely Rogue. Because of the nature of her powers, she gives you a window into so many other characters, which is great for a writer. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s one of the most well developed characters in comics, having grown and matured tremendously as a person as well as a hero. Plus my wife’s Southern, so if I need help with the accent, it’s easy to come by!
Nrama: Beyond Rogue, Gambit and Frenzy are both sticking around, joined by Rachel Grey, Cannonball, Husk and Iceman. What kind of insight can you share about how that cast came together? And with that lineup, will Legacy thus be more of a proper "team" book than it has been, at times, in the past?
Gage: The cast was kind of already in shape thanks to Mike Carey, Jason Aaron and the rest of the X-crew, but I was all for it. I think it’s an excellent cross-section of character types as well as chapters in X-Men history. I think Legacy was a pretty good team book, especially lately...for me it will be a team book, but one with a focus character...a main protagonist, who continues to be Rogue.
Nrama: Your most recent prior X-Men experience was in Astonishing X-Men, which was a very different cast, and, it appears, a very different kind of story. So as a writer, how appealing is it to get to play with completely different components within the X-Men world? And are there any common elements — be it explicit or perhaps just in your approach — between the two runs?
Gage: Oh, it’s great. With Astonishing, I got to play with a lot of the icons... Storm, Colossus, Kitty Pryde — but at the same time I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do much to their status quo. With Legacy, the characters are perhaps less high profile — though certainly Rogue, Iceman and Gambit are as iconic as you get — but I can make significant changes to them. So it’s almost a different experience in the same character universe, if you will.
Nrama: It looks like Rogue's connection to the "next generation" of mutants will continue — what can you say about how that relationship works in the "Regenesis" world? And what members of said next generation will be seen in the series?
Gage: For a full list of students, check out Wolverine and the X-Men #1! But yes, Rogue has been guiding the mutants of tomorrow for a while now, and that will absolutely continue. However, we’re going to explore her further evolution as an individual as well. Sometimes the two will weave together, sometimes not.
Nrama: We know at this point that Rogue and the X-Men: Legacy cast are on Wolverine's side post-Schism. How much of a role will Wolverine himself play in Legacy?
Gage: He’ll be around when it makes sense for the story, certainly, just as Cyclops was during Mike’s tenure when the characters were on Utopia. But Wolvie’s in plenty of other books, so we’re not going to overdo it.
Nrama: This is your first time working with artist David Baldeón. Though your first issue together is three months away, how's the collaboration been thus far?
Gage: Oh, he’s almost done with his first issue, and it’s gorgeous. He’s an amazing storyteller, great with character as well as action. His versatility is really impressive! I hope we have him for a long time to come!
Nrama: You can't talk about X-Men: Legacy without the contribution that Mike Carey made to the book, from, well, before it was even called X-Men: Legacy. Though obviously every writer makes a book his or her own, are you looking to employ a similar feel or approach to what Carey had established?
Gage: Obviously I’m not going to try to write like Mike, because that would be a disservice to both of us as well as the readers... and it would suck, since I’m not him! But in terms of the approach, I am definitely going to try to maintain the emphasis on character. I liked Mike’s take on this book because it reminds me of the X-Men titles I grew up on: plenty of action, but character is what makes it all count. I’m after the same thing... in my own way.
Nrama: And during Carey's run, the "Legacy" in the title referred to a couple of different things at different points. For you, at the beginning of your run, what's the significance of the word "Legacy"? Is it Rogue's guidance of the next mutant generation? Or perhaps also a connection to her past?
Gage: It’s got a number of interpretations. The next generation is certainly one, given that the characters are teaching young mutants. But to me it also reflects the rich history of the X-Men, seeing as the book is populated by Iceman, one of the original students, as well as characters from nearly every other point in X-Men mythology. And it’s Rogue’s recent past that I think will be haunting her, as she is going to have to face the ramifications of her decision to leave Utopia — and Magneto — pretty quickly. More than any other characters in the Marvel Universe, the X-Men’s actions shape the legacy of not just themselves as individuals, but their entire species. And that pressure will only intensify as we go along!