Marc Guggenheim sets up the next step in mutant killer robot technology!

Whenever Sentinels show up in the lives of the X-Men, things get bad in a hurry.

Consider that as X-MEN: GOLD writer Marc Guggenheim and artist RB Silva reveal the latest version of the Sentinel this June 21 with issue #6. A Sentinel made of nanites, capable of being whatever size and/or shape it needs to be to get the job of mutant extermination done.

Guggenheim took a few minutes away from his evil scientist’s lab to fill us in on what the Merry Mutants prepare to face head-on.

Marvel.com: I’m curious, as we start, what your history with the Sentinels is and how that informed your use of this iteration in this arc?

Marc Guggenheim: That’s a good question, a really great place to start. I think, as with a lot of fans, my first encounter with the Sentinels is the kind of classic giant purple robot version. But I’ve followed it through all its iterations, whether [it’s] Nimrod, Bastion, the Wild Sentinels or Trask’s Bio-Sentinels. It’s always been interesting to see how the Sentinels change with the times, the eras.

It’s funny, the thing is this story didn’t start as a Sentinel arc. I had this idea I wanted to do about a nanite threat, nanotechnology. Then my editor, Dan Ketchum [saw that] we needed a sort of [AI] to be in control of it and it was [he] that suggested the Sentinels. When he suggested [I thought] that’s a great idea.

Marvel.com: Speaking of your history, is there a particular Sentinel incarnation that you really love.

Marc Guggenheim: Oh, it is definitely the giant purple robots for me. It’s my first connection to them, it’s such the iconic version.

Marvel.com: In doing the research for the book, for this arc, did you encounter any Sentinels that surprised you or you were like, “Oh that’s an interesting take I didn’t know.”?

Marc Guggenheim: Unfortunately, there’s not really much new for me to read. I’ve followed the X-Men close enough that I’ve encountered all the Sentinels in sort of real time as they came into the books.

Marvel.com: I suppose that’s not such a bad thing if you are going to write the X-Men.

Marc Guggenheim: That is probably true.

Marvel.com: Although each of these X-Men have encountered Sentinels, they’ve all had different experiences with different versions of them. How do these various experiences inform the team’s reaction to this newest iteration? What kind of ripples does it cause?

Marc Guggenheim: This arc, in several ways, is about pushing the X-Men as far as they can go; pushing them towards their breaking points. For Gambit, who is sort of responsible for this new Sentinel—not on purpose, just through something that had unintended consequences—this is going to be a hard arc for him.

It’s really especially a Rachel story though. This is just an arc that’s going to really shape her. We get to see some characters from her past—or is it her future? When it comes to Rachel talking in tenses is really hard, but I think you know what I mean.

For instance, there’s a scene with her and Franklin Richards that was really interesting and really a lot of fun to right that I’m excited to have in the book.

Marvel.com: Speaking of Rachel, I know that’s something you said before issue #1 was out, that part of your goal for this book was to give her her own place, her own characterization? Now a few issues in, how is that going? How is she evolving for you?

Marc Guggenheim: I suppose that is really more for the readers to decide. That said, for me, it is going really well. You’re right that has been one of my missions with this book and I am proud of what we are doing with Rachel.

Marvel.com: I know an important theme of X-MEN: GOLD for you was how the X-Men, and more preciously, how mutantkind fits into the Marvel Universe. How does this arc figure into that?

Marc Guggenheim: Definitely one of the things I set out to do in X-MEN: GOLD was explore the idea of the X-Men as this sort of catch-all for any minority that might find themselves targeted for discrimination now.

X-Men: Gold #6 cover by Ardian Syaf

There is a Star Trek episode, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” I think that tells this story about [these] two groups of aliens that are just fighting one another to try to brutally oppress the other. But the only difference between [them] is one group has black on the right sides of their faces and white on the left and the other group has the reverse of that. White on one side, black on the other. I try to use [X-MEN: GOLD] in that same kind of way.

I think it is good and interesting to take those chances to hold up a mirror in fiction and reflect on what is happening around us and [the] X-Men have always been a great way to do that.

That said I want to be clever about it. I don’t want to say too much about how this arc does that, where it goes. Maybe I’ve said too much already.

Marvel.com: With RB Silva coming on as the new artist, how has the collaboration been? How does his work help capture your script ideas?

Marc Guggenheim: RB is just great. And he’s getting better too. The growth you can see from [his first issue to the end of the arc] is so impressive. He started good but some of the stuff he is doing [later on] is just awesome.

In terms of my scripts, he’s a great collaborator. He has a good feel for what I’m trying to accomplish and knows how to do it; sometimes he gives me something a little different than I expected but then I see it and [it] just makes perfect sense.

Marvel.com: Speaking of art, every wave of Sentinels is an opportunity for not just the writer to make their mark, but also the artist to offer up the newest vision of these machines. How did Silva’s design reflect and capture this era’s Sentinel?

Marc Guggenheim: I think he’s done just an excellent job with it. [He] really created this version that is its own thing but also recognizable as being a Sentinel.

And the colorist Frank Martin too. My initial idea was what if Apple made one of these Sentinels so it was just sleek and white. He took that and just added in these slight purple elements that made it clear its legacy and connection to the Sentinels while maintaining the overall design.

Marvel.com: Considering your love of the iconic big purple robot design, what made you decide not just to have this edition sport that look? How did the changes help fit it to the story.

Marc Guggenheim: The size is…well, it isn’t just a robot, right? This is a different kind of thing. But the size is important as well. In the story you will realize because it is made of nanites it can be anything, any shape. So its size is intentional.

In fact, at one point in the story you will see it has gotten smaller and soon you will realize that’s because it is spreading itself throughout the city, covering as much ground as it can.

Marvel.com: What else do you say to readers about why they can’t miss this latest arc of X-MEN: GOLD?

Marc Guggenheim: It’s a few things. First of all, the big return of Gambit who we haven’t seen in the pages of X-Men in a while. He’s just a blast. He’s fun to write and I think he’s fun to read. A lot of the story gets kicked off because of his involvement.

The second is RB Silva is just crushing it. Just doing such a fantastic job. As I said, there’s even growth from the start of the arc to [the conclusion].

That actually really points out the other thing with the book that I’ve been doing which is—because we’re double shipping—I’m trying to keep the arcs of a pretty short length. So the stories are coming at you in a sort of [a more] fast and furious way than we typically see in comic books these days.

We’re certainly not doing an decompression here. I’m going for a narrative pace that is a little more similar to the comics of old.

Witness a new breed of Sentinel in X-MEN: GOLD #6 by Marc Guggenheim and RB Silva, coming your way on June 21!

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Cullen Bunn digs up his favorite stories starring the killer robots!

Ever since they first debuted back in the mid-1960s, the Sentinels have become an indelible part of X-Men mythology. Created by the dynamite duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby—and by Bolivar Trask in the comics—they’ve taken different forms and served several masters over the years, but one thing remains constant about the purpose of their existence when it comes to the X-Men: Detecting and destroying mutants.

“Sentinels are so iconic,” says Cullen Bunn, author of the currently running X-MEN: BLUE, which will host the return of the malevolent mechanical menaces this May. “I can barely imagine the X-Men without them. They’re terrific adversaries, because—in most cases—they simply have no human personalities. They exist for one purpose—to destroy mutants—and they follow that directive with cold mercilessness.”

Since “[X-MEN: BLUE] issues #2 and #3 are loaded with Sentinels,” according to Cullen, we asked him to recount his favorite Sentinel stories from over the years.

Read on for some rock em’ sock em’ robot mayhem!

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #98

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #98

What is Marvel Unlimited?
“Merry Christmas, X-Men–The Sentinels Have Returned!,” “Deathstar Rising,” and “Greater Love Hath No X-Man” in UNCANNY X-MEN #98, #99, and #100:

“Sentinels know no holidays. They attack the X-Men…on Christmas! That’s just eeeeeeevil! And then, we get some crazy Sentinel versus mutant action…in space!”

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #142

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #142

What is Marvel Unlimited?
“Days of Future Past” in UNCANNY X-MEN #141 and #142:

“I remember picking up [UNCANNY X-MEN] #142—I read them out of order back in the day—and thinking that the image on the cover could not possibly be reflective of the contents. But it was. I can barely think of a scarier representation of the lethal capabilities of the Sentinels.”

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #194

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #194

What is Marvel Unlimited?
The Nimrod stories in UNCANNY X-MEN #194, #209, and #210:

“Nimrod—and later Bastion—has always been a favorite character of mine. He had all the cold mercilessness of the Sentinels, but he also had a bit of personality, too. And I loved that he had these automatic countermeasures for anything his mutant prey [threw] at him.”

New X-Men (2001) #114

New X-Men (2001) #114

What is Marvel Unlimited?
“E Is for Extinction” in NEW X-MEN #114-#116:

“Not only did this story give us Casandra Nova, but it provided one of the most chilling examples of Sentinel power. 16 million mutants killed in the blink of an eye. It was terrifying and grim and awful. After so many years as X-Villains, the Sentinels get a big shot of nastiness in the arm.”

See the Sentinels back in action with X-MEN: BLUE issues #2 and #3, available April 26 and May 10 respectively from Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina!

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X-Men Senior Editor Nick Lowe previews upcoming art from Alan Davis and Adam Kubert

By Ben Morse

We’re still two weeks away from X-MEN: SCHISM #1 by writer Jason Aaron and artist Carlos Pacheco hitting the stands on July 13. But as pages continue to flow fast and furious into the X-Office here at Marvel HQ, it’s tough not to already be looking ahead, particularly when each installment of the mutant mega event features art by a different A-list superstar, including the legendary Alan Davis on issue #4, coming September 21.

X-MEN: SCHISM #4 preview pencils by Alan Davis

“Alan drew some of my favorite X-Men moments of all time,” shares Senior Editor Nick Lowe. “From UNCANNY X-MEN #213 and UNCANNY X-MEN ANNUAL #11 to NEW MUTANTS ANNUAL #2 and—wait, I want to just list every X-Men comic he’s done and we’d be here all day. The guy is one of the X-Men artists. So when it seemed possible to get Alan here? I jumped at it and begged and pleaded and bribed to get him on board.”

While X-MEN: SCHISM tells one cohesive story over five issues, Lowe and Aaron certainly took each artist’s particular strengths into account to make sure each had a chance to fully show off their talent, Davis being no exception.

“Once we sent him the script I wanted to get out of the way,” says Lowe of his approach to working with Davis. “The guy is one of the best storytellers to ever draw comics. He brings scope, awesome characterization and brutal fighting. He’s amazing.”

Speaking of that “brutal fighting,” much of the conflict in SCHISM will come from the explosive falling out between Cyclops and Wolverine, but also menacing our heroes will be the return of their terrifying mechanical foes, the Sentinels. As you can see in the preview pages throughout this article, Davis—no stranger to Sentinels—has a new approach to the killer robots.

“SCHISM #1 takes the next step for Sentinels in the greater X-Men story,” reveals Lowe. “But the Sentinel pictured here is a very different Sentinel than any we’ve seen. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s the creation of an incredible new villain who debuts in SCHISM.”

X-MEN: SCHISM #5 preview pencils by Adam Kubert

You’ll want to be sure to be the first of your friends to grab SCHISM #1 on July 13, then snap up the subsequent issues all the way through #4 on September 21, but it’s still not over there, as this thrill ride keeps coming strong all the way through to the finish.

“People are going to lose their [expletive],” exclaims Lowe. “The X-Men are fighting amongst themselves when they really need to band together. They’re screwed. And one of the best things about the fact that we’ve already told people about the split in the X-Men is that I can actually tell people that the X-Men don’t come out of this winners.

“And I know people love these pencil previews so much, I wanted to add one page of #5 by Adam Kubert that is amazing. Can’t show too much, but it’s awesome.”

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Can Cyclops and Wolverine work together against the Sentinels?

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at X-MEN: SCHISM #2, from Marvel Architect Jason Aaron and artist Frank Cho. The blockbuster X-Event of the summer continues as Sentinels threaten to wipe out all of Mutantkind! It’s up to Wolverine and Cyclops to band the X-Men together and tackle the threat head-on, and with tensions boiling one of them will go too far. Find out this July why the fate of mutantkind remains unclear in X-MEN: SCHISM #2!

X-MEN: SCHISM #2 (MAY110679)
Written by JASON AARON
Art and Cover by FRANK CHO
Variant Cover by FRANK CHO
Rated T+ …$3.99
FOC – 07/04/11, ON SALE – 07/27/11

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