Comics Official YOUNG X-MEN Discussion Thread


Ghost of all things X
Sep 2, 2005
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Young X-Men

Marc Guggenheim(writer) & Yanick Paquette (artist)


Characters: Dust, Blindfold, Rockslide, Wolfcub, Ink, Greymalkin

Storyline Info: In the wake of Messiah CompleX, there are no X-Men and young mutants Rockslide, Blindfold and Dust are alone and directionless. Until the day Cyclops recruits them to hunt the new incarnation of the Brotherhood – and kill them. Joined by a pair of new recruits, the young X-Men learn a hard truth about the world post-Messiah CompleX: sometimes old allies make for deadly enemies.
By popular demand, the New X-Men are dead, so the Young X-Men thread rises to replace it. Here is the first solicit info:


Variant Cover by MARC SILVESTRI
In the wake of Messiah CompleX, there are no X-Men and young mutants Rockslide, Blindfold and Dust are alone and directionless. Until the day Cyclops recruits them to hunt the new incarnation of the Brotherhood – and kill them. Joined by a pair of new recruits, the young X-Men learn a hard truth about the world post-Messiah CompleX: sometimes old allies make for deadly enemies.
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99
...kill them? wow. Cyclops has a BLOODLUST all of a sudden...but WTF is blindfold gonna do?
No. Where's Surge, Pixie, Elixir, Wind Dancer, Anole, Wallflower, Hellion, Wither, Mercury, Hisako, Stepford Three-In-One, Wolfclub, Indra, and everyone else who's INTERESTING?!?! Yeah, I know Sofia and Laurie are dead, but still, what about all the INTERESTING characters. This looks like it'll blow. Plus, how boring could they be? Oh, lets all just be brown and tan and grey cause we're BORING.
The cover is by Terry Dodson... it's right there under the wolf guy's arm.
Wolfcub is RIGHT there in the pic...yet no mention. i guess cuz he didnt figure prominently in the New X-Men...therefore gets no do Pixie, Anole and Gentle graduate to the big leagues?

That leaves Surge, Mercury, Hellion, Elixir, Wind Dancer, Wallflower, Wither, Hisako, Stepford Three-In-One, and Indra, out to wander off into limbo..only to be brought back briefly in the newest incarnation of X-Corp/Weapon X to be killed off panel
It doesn't look very Wolfcub-y, but it's probably him.

The black dude is most likely Nehzno. He featured on a few Messiah Complex covers.
The solicit says that the two characters we don't know about are two brand new recruits.
Yes, but that doesn't mean they're new characters. Neither Wolfcub or Nehzno were New X-Men. They were just students.
Neither was Blindfold, yet she's still mentioned. If they were someone we'd known, they'd either said their names or they would have called them fellow students.
Blindfold featured heavily in the Magik arc, right? I think she counts.
I like Elixir, Wind Dancer and Cuckoos. Although that Warsong thing was crap but I still think they're awesome and borderline crazy.
The events of the recent Messiah Complex crossover have rocked the vast corner of the Marvel Universe of the X-family, and in the wake of that there is quest for revenge, for remorse and for rebuilding. With Cyclops taking the reigns of the work that Charles Xavier, Cyclops looks to carry on the legacy. Just as Professor X formed the X-men out of five young and impressionable mutants, Cyclops reaches out to promising young men and women to undertake a special assignment.

Built upon the spiritual foundations of both the original X-Men title and the classic New Mutants issues, there comes Young X-Men. Scheduled to debut on April 2nd, the recently announced title will be by writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Yanick Paquette. To this date, the only details on the series released have been the title, the first cover, and a solicitation that gives you more questions than answers:

In the wake of Messiah CompleX, there are no X-Men and young mutants Rockslide, Blindfold and Dust are alone and directionless. Until the day Cyclops recruits them to hunt the new incarnation of the Brotherhood – and kill them. Joined by a pair of new recruits, the young X-Men learn a hard truth about the world post-Messiah CompleX: sometimes old allies make for deadly enemies.

Writer Marc Guggenheim is no stranger to comics, but Young X-Men marks his first major foray into the world of the X-men, and his first ensemble title. But he is no stranger to large casts, writing such television shows as The Practice, Law & Order, CSI: Miami and the upcoming Eli Stone which he also co-created (and debuts January 31st at 10pm on ABC). But he wears his comics credentials proudly, having spent time in the House of Ideas as an intern in 1990 and, as this interview reveals, holds two classic runs by Chris Claremont in high regard.

The question today is "Who are the Young X-Men?", and for that we interviewed Guggenheim by phone .

Newsarama: To start off Marc, the cover reveals a couple members of the roster, but some aren't recognizable. What can you tell us about the team roster?

Marc Guggenheim: If there's a tagline for this book, it would be "don't assume anything".

In the first two issues alone, I've seeded so many plot twists and surprises that I'm not even going to be able to get to them all until the second year of the book.

I'll tell you that the roster of the team is formed by the end of the first issue. This inaugural issue is a tip of the hat to Giant Size X-Men #1, when Professor Xavier meets each team member individually and brings them into the fold.

Here' the roster, but I wouldn't get too attached. One will die at some point in the series, but we're not saying who just yet. The first issue begins with a flash forward to the future with one of the team members holding another as they die – but the identity is kept off-camera for a bit. People will read the book wondering when the present will catch up to that glimpse of the future the leads off the first issue.

The team is Cyclops, Wolf Cub, Rockslide, Dust, Blindfold and a new character named Ink. Ink is a character who has a pretty cool power – every time he gets a new tattoo, he acquires the ability of that tattoo. For example, if he were to get wings tattooed on his back then he could use them to fly. In Ink, we have a character who can change visually as the series progresses.

We'll also be glimpsing at another new character, albeit in the shadows for now, called Greymalkin. I don't want to spoil to much of what he does, but I can say he'll make a important cameo.

NRAMA:That word – 'Greymalkin' – was also the name for Cable's giant space station he had several years back. Is there any connection there?

MG: It's also the name of the road the X-Mansion is on, Greymalkin Lane. There's a very cool explanation of why this character is called Greymalkin. The answer lies more in the name of the street than Cable's Greymalkin.

NRAMA: So our first guess that Greymalkin is Cable would be far off?

MG: It's definitely not Cable. It's a great theory, but no it's not. After the events of Messiah Complex, Cable is off on his own. At some point I'd love to bring him into play with Young X-Men, though – with the history Cable has with the New Mutants, that interaction would be great to write.

One of the things I do want to say in terms of the cast and who's appearing is that the original New Mutants – Cannonball, Karma, Sunspot, Magma, Dani, Karma – all loom very large in this book.

NRAMA: With that being said… would you say that Young X-Men is a spiritual descendant of the original New Mutants series?

MG: The original title carved out this particular corner of the X-Men universe – a group of young trainee X-Men – and that sort of legacy casts a shadow over this series. The big difference is that the world was different than it is now – back then it was a very innocent, coddled world with school, classes and just being the ‘80s… a much simpler time.

This book comes out in the aftershocks of Messiah Complex and House of M and is a much darker, grim and gritty world. Circumstances are completely different.

NRAMA: Let's give some more backstage talk -- how did the Young X-men project originally come to you?

MG: I was in New York City last year for a Marvel writing summit, and I swung by the Marvel offices to meet with several editors. I met with X-office editor Axel Alonso to talk about doing a book spinning out of Messiah Complex. We'd been talking about one book, and he showed me a publishing chart of what the X-franchise line-up would look like out of Messiah Complex. Looking at the titles, one jumped out – "The New Mutants, written by TBD". I pointed at that project and said "forget the other project, I want to be TBD!". I did an off-the-cuff pitch and Axel and I talked. The New Mutants became The Young X-Men and it turned out to be a really fun project.

At the end of our conversation that day, Axel asked, "are you sure you want to do this"? I have such love for old school issues of Uncanny X-Men and The New Mutants. I told him: "I have to work on this project".

NRAMA:Although they're not part of the roster, the cover hints to an influence on this team by the full-fledged X-Men. You've said Cyclops is part of the roster, but how does this team interact in the larger X-Men framework?

MG: One of the things that I wanted to do with the book is to hearken back to the old crème de la crème of Chris Claremont's The New Mutants and classic Uncanny X-Men runs and try to figure out what made them so special and dynamic – to crack that code.

One of the things that I've found, and it's by no means a revelation, is that he built in all this great conflict - particularly with the New Mutants and X-men, whose first meeting turns into a fight. I want to follow in that tradition – when this team finally meets the X-Men, there will be a lot of distrust and conflict. It will not be an easy ride for the characters.

There's going to be a lot of disagreement, second guessing and hostility because of what happens in the first story-arc. That will fuel a lot of interactions to come.

NRAMA:In the aftermath of the Messiah Complex, the X-Men as a team are disbanded by Cyclops. Story-wise, how did we get from that to the Young X-Men coming into being?

MG: Well, like I said… the formation of the team here is by Cyclops and very much in the vein of Giant-Size X-Men #1, where we get to each Young X-men individually. Ours doesn't go quite as smoothly as Cyclops had planned, but in the end we have a team that is formed.

Their goal is to go after a new third version of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants – the first being Magneto's, the second being Mystique's.

NRAMA: Can you tell us anything about this new iteration of the Brotherhood, who they are and what they're doing?

MG: I really can't without spoiling the end of the first issue, but I can say that everyone will be a little surprised at who is on the team.

NRAMA: Let's turn now to focus on your collaborator on the series, artist Yanick Paquette. In your experience writing comics can you tell us in general how the artist to draw the script affects how you write the scripts?

MG: I always try to do a scouting report on each artist I work with, to get their strengths and weaknesses and then tailor the scenes I write to those strengths. One of the things I've discovered in writing comics is that the way I write with plot beats and develop the story, I have a lot of flexibility in terms of how those elements come together. I try to leverage that flexibility to the artist's strength.

In the case of Yanick, I wanted to be inspired by the old school X-men. One of the things I like about his style is that it's very modern, and it's distinctly his own. There's a cleanliness to his storytelling, layouts and panel composition that reminds me of the Uncanny X-men runs of John Byrne, Paul Smith and Dave Cockrum that I really like.

I've had a lot of phone conversations with Yanick, asking him "what do you want to draw? What do you like? How do you work" and whenever I can I try to craft pieces that will satisfy Yanick's interest.

NRAMA: With your experience in writing television such as the upcoming TV show Eli Stone, would you characterize this approach as similar to what you do when writing with specific actors in mind?

MG: It's very similar to writing to actors, who has their own strengths and weaknesses; identifying things they have in their wheelhouse and within reach. But it's a delicate balance; you don't want to write for the actor (or artist in this case) too much. You want just enough in the comfort zone to give solid scenes, and then push them a bit out of their comfort zone to get something new and unexpected.

Collaboration is really important, and I make that clear to the artist. Even though I write full script, I want them to feel that they have a voice – they can change the number of panels, or what's happening on the page. I want them to draw the best version of the book that they can; I can always go back an re-dialogue something to fit what they've drawn.
I've always tried to write with the fact that my scripts will be drawn. I'm not saying I get it right all the time, but whatever method I'm doing seems to be working.





Marc Guggenheim says he has read X-Men titles since Kitty Pryde joined “Uncanny X-Men” back in 1980 in #129. And no one could be more excited to helm the newest X-team post-Messiah CompleX than he.
The team is “Young X-Men,” from the keyboard of Guggenheim and the drawing board of Yanick Paquette, with the new series debuting in April.

In a candid interview, the Marvel exclusive writer revealed to CBR News his lineup (Cyclops, Dust, Rockslide, Blindfold, Wolf Cub and two new characters named Ink and Greymalkin), the focus of his first arc being the formation of a new Brotherhood of Evils Mutant, the fact that up until he started writing #2, the book was slated to be called “New Mutants” and that his team would be “the last group of X-Men.”

“I was in New York for a Spidey summit and I swung by the Marvel office and made all of my little stops,” explained Guggenheim, who is also a co-writer on “Amazing Spider-Man.”

“[X-Men editor] Axel [Alonso] and I also had to talk about an X-project that he wanted me to do that was going to spin out of ‘Messiah Complex,’ not really spin out, but something to launch out off ‘Messiah Complex.’ And we were discussing it and he is showing the master launch schedule and there was a title on the chart that immediately jumped out at me that said, ‘Writer, TBD’ and the title was ‘New Mutants.’ And I’m like, ‘I want to be TBD.’ And he said, ‘Don’t you want to talk about the thing that I want to talk you about?’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s not like I’m not intrigued by that, but you know, this is ‘New Mutants,’ man.

“We started talking about and I sort of pitched something to Axel of the top of my head and he liked it and then I got in touch with Nick Lowe, who is the editor for the book, and he really liked it. And I came up with a couple of other concepts. It sort of just kept developing and eventually, it evolved into what we are calling ‘Young X-Men.’”

For those who have yet to read “X-Men” #207 and the conclusion of the “Messiah CompleX” storyline you may want to skip ahead because Guggenheim set up “Young X-Men” based on the knowledge gained by following the 13-issue X-book crossover.

“After ‘Messiah Complex,’ there are no X-Men. The X-Men have disbanded and there is no new generation of mutants coming,” said Guggenheim. “So Cyclops basically takes it upon himself to rebuild the X-Men for the final time, this is the last group of X-Men. The title of first arc will be ‘Final Genesis,’ sort of a tip of the hat to ‘Giant Size X-Men’ #1, which was ‘Second Genesis,’ even the title of ‘X-Factor’ Vol. 1, #1, which was ‘Third Genesis.’ So this is ‘Final Genesis’ and what’s cool about it is you will be seeing a lot of familiar faces but I will also sprinkle in a couple of new faces, as well.”

Asked how he would introduce his roster for “Young X-Men,” Guggenheim cited two writers he worked with closely over at DC during the death of Bart Allen storyline in “The Flash: Fastest Man Alive” that tied into “Lightning Saga” in the pages of “Justice League of America” and “Justice Society of America.”

“The first issue actually begins with a flash-forward. ‘Young X-Men’ #1 is intended to be a tip of a hat to the first half of ‘Giant Size X-Men’ #1, where Professor X is going around, rounding people up, I also wanted there to be a heavy dose of action right out the gate. So, the only way to do that was to start off with the team fully formed,” explained Guggenheim. “The team is fully formed by the end of #1 however, à la Brad Meltzer, the team will evolve and change. One of things that we reveal in the flash-forward is that one of the Young X-Men is going to be killed. So we end the flash-forward with someone being killed but you don’t know who it is. So as you meet all the team members, you have to think, is this the person who is going to die? When are we going to catch up with the future essentially?”

He continued, “The approach I am taking, because the book started out as ‘New Mutants,’ is to take a page out of Geoff Johns’ play book in that he re-launched ‘Teen Titans’ and did an amazing job with that by combining the New Teen Titans with the old school Teen Titans. I wanted to do the same thing with ‘New Mutants’ so we will be getting Cannonball, Magma, Karma, Sunspot and Dani Moonstar all playing pivotal roles in the first arc.“

Those names we know, but what about the new guys?

“The lineup we see at the end of the first issue is Cyclops, Dust from New X-Men, Rockslide, Blindfold, Wolf Cub and a new character named Ink,” revealed Guggenheim.

“Greymalkin makes an appearance in the first issue but doesn’t become a part of the team until later in the arc,” he teased.

In describing the team’s makeup, Guggenheim said it starts at the top with its leader, Cyclops.

And despite the optic-blasting Scott Summers being viewed in many ways as the quintessential X-Man – having been a mainstay in the X-books since the launch of the concept in 1963 with “The X-Men” #1 – Guggenheim said you may not even recognize this version of him.

“I don’t want to reveal some of the surprises that I have for Cyclops,” said Guggenheim. “But you have never seen this version of Cyclops before. You have never seen this side of him.

“I’ll tell you at the end of the first issue, Cyclops reveals that he is not just forming this new group of X-Men because that is what he does. He is forming it because there is a new Brotherhood of Evils Mutants. And so there whole mission is to take down the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.”

“Here’s the big difference between the book I am writing now and the [Chris] Claremont days. Back in the Claremont days, the mutants were hunted and feared but generally speaking, they enjoyed being the X-Men,” continued Guggenheim. “There was baseball games and handball in the Danger Room. It was a much lighter time. Coming out of ‘Messiah CompleX,’ things are much, much, much darker.

“Like I said, Cyclops isn’t forming this group of ‘X-Men’ because that’s what he does. It’s coming out of this new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants so, it’s very serious. One of the things that Axel and I originally talked about is that this should be a battle-hardened group of kids. This not your father’s New Mutants. It’s a much darker world that they live in.”

Beyond Cyclops, the team is made up four recruits who are known, if not yet overly used, commodities in the X-books and two newcomers. Guggenheim also wanted to ensure balance, not only in gender, but in race and ethnicity too.

“In trying to come up with the team line-up you want a good mix of things,” explained Guggenheim. “I had my pick of a lot of different mutants. For one thing, I wanted to keep the team small and manageable. That was a big priority of mine. I didn’t want so many characters that you couldn’t keep track of them.

“I also wanted, in keeping with the traditions of ‘Giant Size X-Men,’ wanted to keep the group diverse, both racially and ethnically. I also wanted a good variety in terms of gender. I didn’t want an old boys’ club.

“One of the first characters I picked was Rockslide because I love having a big bruiser on the team but I also love the character of Santo. His sense of humor really meshes with the stuff that is in my wheelhouse as a writer. So he was one of my first picks.

“Blindfold is a character, who, well, I wanted a strong estrogen representation on the team and I thought she was the most interesting in terms of a completely unexplored background. So there’s a cool, blank canvas with her. There are some plans for revelations in future arcs that will make you re-think her completely. It will get everybody going into their back issue bins and pulling out all of her other appearances. I have this really cool idea that will leave you completely re-interpreting everything she has ever said since her introduction.

“Wolf Cub poses the most unique challenge. I really believe that there are no bad characters just ineffectual execution and I think Wolf Cub hasn’t always been the coolest character but has a chance to be the coolest character. So I am trying to re-invent Wolf Cub as a really young Wolverine. We meet him and he has a new sense of purpose. And he’s got a new forward momentum, so that’s pretty exciting. Trying to take this character and make him a fan favorite.

“And there’s Dust. Wanted a female character but again, in keeping with the ethnic diversity and the racial diversity and the cultural diversity, I really wanted a Muslim character on the team. In today’s political climate, that’s really, really interesting. In today’s political climate, it’s an exciting and cool thing to do.

“There’s a new character named Ink. First of all, I want to clarify for people who will scratch their heads and go, wait a second, how can there be a new mutant, I thought since M Day there are none. I just want to point out that for the purposes of the message boards that the rule is there are no new mutants, who manifest their powers. There are no new mutants that are being born. Ink is someone whose powers pre-existed M Day whether or not it was publicly known.

“When Ink gets a new tattoo, he gets a new power. If he gets a bio-hazard symbol on his palm, when he touches you with that palm, he makes you sick. If he gets wings tattooed on his back, he can fly. What’s cool about him, from a visual standpoint, is he’s constantly evolving as we give him more and more tattoos. But as a result, his powers are also constantly evolving. He’s a lot of fun. I am really proud of him as a character. He really comes from a shady background. When we meet him, he’s getting into trouble with the law. He’s not exactly a guy you would expect to have on a team and certainly not on a team of superheroes. He is very corruptible.

“There’s also a mysterious figure, who appears on the cover named Greymalkin. And I can’t talk too much about him because I want to preserve the mystery of that character for a bit. He is a mutant too but he is not exactly all what he seems.

Guggenheim said for the first arc, anyways, as far as his team is concerned, they are the X-Men.

“Marvel will still be publishing adjectiveless ‘X-Men’ and ‘Uncanny X-Men’ and there is going to be teams in there, so I can’t say too much on who’s ending up where but all I can say, for the first arc, as far as these characters are concerned, they are the X-Men,” said Guggenheim.

While the X-Men, in any form or title, are a well-established Marvel franchise, Guggenheim said a reader doesn’t need to know 45 years of the team’s lore to enjoy the book. And that’s the beauty of a new title with a new #1.

“Absolutely, there is less baggage and less continuity,“ said Guggenheim. “I think Joss Whedon really hit the sweet spot in terms of he wrote an X-Men book that was very new-reader accessible. It wasn’t bogged down in continuity, but at the same time, in every issue had tips of the hat to long-standing X-Men continuity. It just wasn’t continuity that was dependent on reading 20 years worth of comics. I am sort of trying to do the same thing where. I have been reading the X-titles since the early 1980s. My first issue was when Kitty Pryde joined the X-Men. So I have been with the X-Men as long as Kitty has.

“And I copy from the best. I take a play out of Joss’ playbook in the form off, I come to the project with a wealth of knowledge about the history of the X-Men but I am trying not to cram that down people’s throats. Or at the least, I am not trying to make that required reading. It’s meant to be new-reader friendly. I don’t want it to feel like a spin-off title. I want to it to stand on its own. ‘Young Avengers’ is the inspiration there. You don’t feel like you are reading an ‘Avengers’ spin-off title, you feel like you are reading a title that stands on its own merits.”

Guggenheim has big plans for “Young X-Men.” Not to mention long-term plans.

And he warns readers to follow the book closely from the outset because some breadcrumbs left as early as #1 won’t be enjoyed until his second-year of story telling.

“There are seeds sewn in the first issue, certainly the first two issues that I won’t get a chance to pay off until the book’s second year,” teased Guggenheim. “I am really taking a long-term approach to plotting out the book. Creating the long-running storylines that kept me coming back month after month after month as a kid.”

Guggenheim is also keeping busy at Marvel as one of four writers sharing the duties on “Amazing Spider-Man,” the others being Dan Slott, Bob Gale and Zeb Wells.

“I am very, very happy with the two books that I am doing on a regular basis for Marvel right now. I couldn’t have planned it out better if I tried,” said Guggenheim. “I’ve got Spider-Man and I’ve got the X-Men. I have been reading ‘X-Men’ for 20 years now. It’s a different fanboy wish fulfillment than writing ‘Amazing Spider-Man.’ In some ways, it’s bigger. It’s great. I am trying to write the best tribute I can to all the ‘X-Men’ books I read that really made me love comics. And that’s really exciting. “

If the two Marvel books aren’t enough, check out the Guggenheim co-created TV series, “Eli Stone,” which debuts on ABC on Thursday, January 31 right after the “Lost” Season 4 premiere.

And once the writers’ strike ends, Guggenheim will recommence his work on the “Green Lantern” screenplay he is writing with Greg Berlanti (“Dirty Sexy Money”) and Michael Green (“Heroes”).
I am very skeptical about picking this up. Hate the roster, hate the art and hate the costumes. his powers depend on his tattoo artist?

or can he just draw something on his skin and use its attributes?
New characters? New Mutants? Wasn't there just 198... oh I see, it's like "now that the baby is born we're finding mutants again! Everything is just like it ever was, except for you Dani Moonstar, you will rot in hell before your powers return or anyone can give you a proper thing to do" :whatever:
Ink sounds cool but unnecessary. The old teenage mutants were barely developed, no need for more
I am very skeptical about picking this up. Hate the roster, hate the art and hate the costumes.
What a surprise. You hate just about everything that has any sort of change in it.

I think Young X-Men comes off as being fairly strong right now. While Guggenheim can go over the top - and that'll probably serve to Paquette's strengths, actually - he has an obvious respect for the franchise, and that's important. Not to mention that he writes some entertaining stuff.

Characters, eh. I suppose if you want to think of them as static things, you can pick a nice list of who you hate and who you don't. And then not read the books that have characters supposedly hated.

That said, characters are not static things. They are ever-changing and developing, hence the term, you know, character development.
No dude, I could not be more firm on my dislike for the direction this book is taking.

I dislike Blindfold, Dust, and Wolfcub. Ink sounds pretty cool but they could have filled his spot with any of the other mutants in the mansion. And that other guy is new.

Paquette is horrible every day of the week

Those costumes are boring as hell.

If you could point out which parts of that are me resisting change, I'd much appreciate it.

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