In the previous installment of Review Fix’s exclusive Q & A with comic book legend Chris Claremont, he alerted our readers of the thought behind the mighty pen responsible for some of the greatest storylines in the medium’s history, including the “Phoenix Saga.”
This time, the astounding author dishes on the fates of two fan favorites, Storm and Shadowcat, in his current title “X-Men Forever,” whose first issue takes place immediately after 1991’s “X-Men” no. 3.
RF: Can you tell us any more about “X-Men Forever?”
CC: It’s every other week and we’re literally screwing around with the reality as fundamentally as possible. The fact is that the first six issues occur within roughly 36 hours of time. The first five issues occur in less than 12. So, a lot of happening all at once for the characters and now that it has happened – or, as of Wednesday will have happened, when Paul Smith’s issue comes out –they have to take a breath and deal with the consequences.
And they’ve had a lot of body blows – I mean, Logan is dead, Storm has turned out to be a villain, there has suddenly popped up – out of nowhere – a barely-adolescent iteration of her who knows herself only as ‘Ro, or Ororo and whose memories are those of Storm. She grew up in Cairo – except that the Storm we knew grew up in Cairo, Egypt; ‘Ro grew up in Cairo, Illinois. I mean, all the pieces are there. Storm grew up on the Nile; ‘Ro grew up on the Mississippi – two big rivers. It all fits. The two of them are remarkably consistent in their pasts. The question now becomes for the X-Men: which one is legit? Conceivably, they both might be lies. They don’t know – because even Charlie, probing as intensely as he can telepathically, which is difficult, given their powers as elementals create interference for a telepath. They’re both legit, as far as he can figure. Genetically, from what the Beast can determine, they’re both legit. It is, as they say, a mystery.
So, the X-Men have to figure it out. Logan’s dead. They’ve got to figure that out. Who killed him? Who’s this mysterious consortium that the X-Men have never heard of but seem to be a significant adversary that is able to hijack villains from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody and strike out at the X-Men from every which way. They’ve got to deal with the fact that Sabretooth has inserted himself a member of the team. Perfect Storm has burned out his eyes, he’s even more dangerous than before because he may be blind, but he can still kill you – with enthusiasm.
And of course Kitty has now got to deal with the fact that Wolverine left her a parting gift – a claw.
CC: Oh yeah – she’s got one of his claws. And the frightening thing for her is that half of her is pissed and the other half of her really digs it. And what’s even more terrifying is that even though readers have speculated, “Well, why can’t they just take it out?” Well, as Beast is about to discover: whatever the process was that transferred from A to B when she and Logan momentarily merged and were caught up in Fabian Cortez’ power and Jean’s power as Phoenix – what happened was the claw became part of her, whereas in Logan it was a bionic structure that was built into his arm that held all three claws. In her, it’s an adamantium claw, but the housing for it is bone – maybe a little laced with adamantium, but it’s bone. It’s her. It’s as if she was naturally born with an adamantium claw. Which is, for her, totally creepy because the other frightening thing for her is: is this the tip of the iceberg? Is there more coming down the line? “Aah!” So, she has a lot of conflicts going on.
And in an upcoming issue, we’re discovering what happened to Colossus, which is he got a call from Moscow saying, “What are you doing in New York? It’s not like we’re Communists or anything. This is the Russian Republic. Come back and be a hero of the Russian Republic.” So he’s now one of the leading heroes of a team of heroes called the Winter Solders – and wait to see who his boss is.
RF: Any spoilers?
CC: You’ll find out on the second Wednesday in November.
RF: My question for you is about Kitty, though. Kitty doesn’t have a healing factor. How would that work?
CC: Very painfully.
RF: Oh, it hurts her every single time?
CC:Well, it hurt Logan every single time. For me, one of the primal moments in “X-Men” one – one of my lines (playfully) – was when Rogue looks at him across the front seat of his truck and says, “Does it hurt?” And he says, “Every time.” That’s the guiding force with Logan in my “X-Men” is that when those claws come out each time, it hurts. It hurts like hell. There have been a lot of other writers and artists who have handled his character who have dealt far more casually with the whole healing process. He gets incinerated down to the bones in one panel and he’s back together in the next. In the movie – especially in “X-Men 3” – it was presented at that dramatic a level, but you always had a much more primal presentation sense from Hugh Jackman that hurt – that this was not easy; that this was not an easy experience; that there was a cost. And I’ve always tried to make that true in “Uncanny”: that Wolverine can heal, but the more severe the wound, the harder the experience and more arduous and more painful. So, there was a cost.
In Kitty’s case, the cost is greater. She may heal a tad faster than a normal person, but she doesn’t get a pass, no. And that, in turn, is something she has to deal with over time – with the claw. And it will be interesting to see how we handle it as we go. And even more complicated in “Forever” since it’s 24 issues a year, we have to balance between artists, so every clutch of issues, we’re introducing a new artist into the mix and some of them may be less familiar the character – less familiar with the tropes – than others. So have to, “no, no, no, you can’t just keep popping it out and doing stuff. You’ve got to be aware of what’s going on here.”
Additional installments of the Q&A will be posted within days, with the following focusing on his plans for Gambit, Sabretooth and other fan favorites.
Complete video footage of the interview can be accessed here.
Photo by Patrick Hickey Jr.