Cullen Bunn previews the squad’s meetup with the X-Men 2099!

Stranded 82 years in the future, the X-MEN: BLUE squad needs to figure out what’s gone wrong with the timestream in order to return to their own era. And when Jean Grey and her comrades call for help, the X-Men 2099 answer.

On December 13, writer Cullen Bunn and R.B. Silva put this mutant group to the test with “Cross-Time Capers Part 2” in X-MEN: BLUE #17!

Since we don’t have a time machine to jump to December now, we asked Bunn to give us a few hints on the future of X-MEN: BLUE!

Marvel.com: Catch us up on how the team got lost in time!

Cullen Bunn: The big question for the X-MEN: BLUE team is…do they really come from the past or do they come from some alternate reality? They don’t know the answer themselves.

They went back in time (during the ALL-NEW X-MEN run by Skrull-masquerading-as-a-comic-writer Dennis Hopeless) and they saw themselves right where they should have been! For a New York minute, they thought they had gotten some “Get Out of Paradox Free” card. But they came from somewhere, right?

In this arc, they’ll learn that their presence in this timeline has severe repercussions. To put a fine point on it, reality starts breaking down around them and they’re the only people who can set things straight. They receive a summons—a “To me, my X-Men!”—from none other than Professor Xavier himself, only this time he’s calling them from the past.

Luckily for them, Magneto has been building a time machine. Unluckily for them, the time machine has a few bugs in it…

Marvel.com: For readers who may not be super familiar, explain the ‘90s phenomenon of X-MEN 2099.

Cullen Bunn: X-MEN 2099 was the ambitious endeavor to introduce the merry mutants of the future to the world at-large. Just like SPIDER-MAN 2099, this gave readers a look into the heroes of tomorrow. Unlike SPIDER-MAN 2099, the characters were completely new. Other than the fact that they were mutants and X-Men, they had little connection to any characters from the “main” Marvel Universe.

We got introduced to some really strange and wonderful mutants—Skullfire, La Lunatica, Meanstreak, Metalhead, Bloodhawk! Bizarre characters and an equally strange world; a wild endeavor that really took the notion of super heroic world-building in some fun directions.

Marvel.com: What made you choose 2099 as the destination for this story?

Cullen Bunn: I chose 2099 for the weirdness of it all. When I set out to write X-MEN: BLUE, I wanted to embrace the “uncanny” side of the X-Men and put our team in some strange situations.

The 2099 mutant universe might be as weird as they come, and it gets even stranger in this arc. I like how these X-Men from the past encounter the X-Men from the future. I only have a little time to spend there, but I’m introducing a lot of little nods to the 2099 series, like the House of Pain. I’m also throwing some new twists into the mix, like Onslaught 2099 and AlchemaX (and, yes, that “X” is important).

Marvel.com: How have these young X-Men stepped up to this harrowing mission?

Cullen Bunn: The X-Men have a unique position to solve this problem. Reality has started crumbling. The past and the future have started resetting all around them. However, they all exist “outside” of this time and reality—even Jimmy and Bloodstorm hail from a step or two outside of our world. So, as these reality ripples pass them, they remain unchanged…for now. They must act fast, though, because the clock is quite literally against them.

Marvel.com: How do different members of the team feel about the damage done to the timeline? Do they enjoy time travel or do they see it as a living nightmare?

Cullen Bunn: We tackle this throughout the arc. You’ll see that Iceman gets little more excited by this adventure. Maybe he’s hopeful that they can set things right. That’s at first…but he doesn’t seem as thrilled with the idea that they may have to return home permanently to fix the problem.

Cyclops, on the other hand, sees the future of 2099 as a nightmare. It doesn’t surprise him, though, it’s a nightmare he’s been expecting. He has a little more trouble when he encounters the White Queen of the Generation X era. She confuses him a little, because she’s not the woman he thinks he knows. It’ll leave some questions for him in upcoming issues.

Marvel.com: Did you and artist R.B. Silva research old time travel X-Men stories in preparation for this arc? How did you modernize this kind of tale to make it your own?

Cullen Bunn: That research is fun! I think R.B. had as much fun as I did, but—yeah—we had to supply him with a ton of reference material.

Making the stories a little more modern has been a challenge, but having this weird X-viewpoint…they’re from the past, trapped in the present, visiting the future…helped to give it some new life. Also, the “time ripples” I mentioned helped to add many new twists and turns and surprises to the mix!

Marvel.com: Did you find inspiration from any particular time travel stories for this arc? 

Cullen Bunn: I guess I took little pieces from all over the place. Mostly, I leaned into this idea that little changes in the past can alter everything. And I liked the idea that time can almost be a living, changing thing—that when these paradoxes occur, time will work to correct itself but it isn’t an instantaneous correction. That gave me a lot of fertile ground to work with and allows for some unexpected encounters along the way.

Marvel.com: If you, personally, could jump into one X-MEN event and watch it all go down first-hand, which would you choose?

Cullen Bunn: Holy cow! That’s such a great question! And it’s nearly impossible for me to answer!

But—really—wouldn’t you have wanted to be drinking with Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Colossus on the night Colossus brawled with Juggernaut? I have a feeling that I would have ended up getting my soul sucked out by Selene or something by the end of the issue, but I still would have liked to have bent an elbow with Logan, Kurt, and Peter.

Pick up Cullen Bunn and artist R.B. Silva’s X-MEN: BLUE #17 on December 13!

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The mutants of yesterday struggle to save tomorrow with Cullen Bunn!

When the timeline gets fractured, who would be better qualified to fix it than the time-displaced X-MEN: BLUE teens themselves? Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Thony Silas present X-MEN BLUE #16, out on November 29!

The X-MEN: BLUE team has been struggling with the knowledge of their own potential futures—including a bunch of traumatic events—but in “Cross Time Capers” they’re forced to face those events first-hand. When Magneto gives the team a time machine, they scramble to save the continuum and figure out who and what to make of themselves in this brave new world.

Cullen Bunn drops by to catch us up on the timeline(s?!) and what’s in store for X-MEN: BLUE.

Marvel.com: So catch us up on what’s going on with the X-MEN: BLUE team lately!

Cullen Bunn: The Blue team has had a lot going on as of late. They’ve been battling demons from alternate realities, adding vampires to their ranks, starring in blood sports for Mojo’s delight, and more! When I started writing this book, I was determined to throw a lot at these characters. There would be stories coming in from all directions. And no sooner than one adventure ends, another begins. Next up, the X-Men are being thrown through time on some outrageous escapades through time and space.

Marvel.com: How exactly does one “time cop”?

Cullen Bunn: Only Jean-Claude Van Damme knows for sure. But the X-Men are gonna give it a good old mutant try! There’s something dreadfully wrong in the time stream, and the Blue team is uniquely qualified to handle the situation. They have a time machine that Magneto has been building secretly in the basement of the mansion. They’re going to be putting that to good use, and they’ll be meeting the X-Men from 2099, as well as Generation X, The White Queen, and even Magneto from the past. The Blue team will be meeting Emma Frost from her Generation X days and Magneto from the height of his super villain days. Imagine that for a second.

Marvel.com: Jean’s been dealing with the knowledge of the Phoenix future that might await her, but how are the others grappling with the idea of their potential selves?

Cullen Bunn: For the original five X-Men, the future is the past. That’s a strange concept, but if they are going to grow into their more well-known counterparts, they have to return to the time they left behind. That scares the X-Men, because they have grown and changed while they have been in our world. If they return to theirs, either they have to abandon everything they’ve become or the future will change—drastically.

Marvel.com: How is Bloodstorm adapting to the team?

Cullen Bunn: Bloodstorm will always be a little out of place in this team. Remember, in her world, she killed many of the X-Men because of her unnatural hunger, so she’s always on edge, always on guard. But she has connected with at least one member of the team: Bloodstorm and Cyclops seem to have formed a bond.

X-Men: Blue #16 cover by Arthur Adams

 

Marvel.com: How is Beast doing after the events with Goblin Queen and his dangerous forays into magic?

Cullen Bunn: Beast is holding up well. He’s dealing with some guilt and a sense of worthlessness. That’s what led him to delve into these dark forces, anyhow. Now, though, he knows he can’t use magic without opening himself up to corrupting magic. He’s willing to do this in dire situations, but he must be careful. Of course, there might be some additional ways in which Beast could enhance his abilities, and we might see that in the time travel story…

Marvel.com: How is the team dynamic with GOLD doing after the events of their Marvel Legacy crossover?

Cullen Bunn: The dynamic post “Mojo Worldwide” will be both better and worse. The teams will have worked together. They’ll have a better understanding of each other. But, the revelation that they’ve been secretly working with Magneto all this time will strain the relationship a bit.

Marvel.com: What’s it like writing the X-Men so young? How did you get into their heads as teens?

Cullen Bunn: I genuinely love these characters, so it’s a delight to write them at this stage of their lives and on these adventures. I draw on my own youth to some degree when writing these characters, but—if I’m being honest—young people today are a lot smarter than they were when I was one of them. If nothing else, I brought the mental average down quite a bit. So, I try to think of universal truths and universal challenges that we all go through at some point in our life, then try to think about how these heroic teens might manage these situations. Tempering that with the individual attitudes and experiences of the characters, it helps to pull it altogether in a way that rings true.

Marvel.com: This story touches on how the timeline is fractured. Can you hint more about what we’ll be able to expect from that concept?

Cullen Bunn: So, there’s been this ongoing debate around this idea: are the original five X-Men from an alternate reality? Are they genuinely from the past of this universe? In this story arc, we’ll be answering that question fairly definitively.

Pick up X-MEN: BLUE #16 by Cullen Bunn and Thony Silas—available November 29!

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As the Mojoverse invades Manhattan, Marvel.com’s resident therapist profiles the villain.

As always, evaluating a subject without ever meeting them is, at best, educated guessing. Nonetheless, given the direness of the situation and the data available, this writer felt it was ethically sound to offer this personality sketch and his attorneys have agreed. I hope it provides help with subduing the subject.

The subject, Mojo, is an apparent alien/other-dimensional being who is from a race that are born without spines and use technology to increase their mobility and ability to stand upright. He self-identifies as a male although it remains unclear if that concept is native to his race’s reality or a product of exposure to human television. The planet and universe he hails from was evidently named for him (Mojoworld, Mojoverse), not the other way around. This apparently reflects his dominance of the most important aspect of his race’s society, television.

According to a history of the universe that appears to be—as best as we can verify— accurate, his universe was bombarded by broken waves of energy that were, in fact, Earth television waves.  Exposure to the broken and, to them, inexplicable energy both caused a sort of societal psychotic break and created a universe-wide addiction. Craving content more intense than the broken waves could provide, Mojo rose into the void and created homegrown TV content. As such, he was elevated to a kind of combination dictator and program director.

Given the subject is an alien from a planet with an aggressively different social structure, it is difficult to label him a sociopath as, in terms of his society, his behavior and cognitions might be entirely in line with societal norms. However, by our standards, to our understanding, he does present with symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder and, possibly, Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

He is motivated, seemingly, purely by the twin desires of garnering maximum attention for himself and dominance of his enemies. He shows limited regard for the lives and comfort of those around him. He is erratic and capricious, nearly always choosing the quick jolt of short-term satisfaction over long-term planning.

This makes him defeatable—as his history with the mutant rights group the X-Men indicates—but also wildly dangerous. Because he is oriented towards the short-term, he is unpredictable and just as likely to react in violent rage as in cowardly self-preservation. Additionally, he has engendered the kind of support from those beneath we might associate with a closed state dictatorship, meaning he has a plethora of what he likely considers “cannon fodder” at his disposal to throw at his enemies.

The surest path to victory against the subject is to demonstrate to him that bigger ratings can be achieved through easier means. He is a fairly lazy creature and, as noted above, likes the quick fix. So if the ceiling to success feels like too much work and a simpler means to rating dominance exists—think the amount effort required to make a successful cheap reality show vs. a prestige drama with well-known actors—he will always take the easy way out.

For further information and analysis of the subject, this writer recommends the definitive volume on Mojo, X-MEN BLUE #15 from Doctors Marc Guggenheim and Jorge Molina, available on November 15.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who loved TV enough growing up and bets he could’ve ruled the Mojoverse.

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Writer Marc Guggenheim peers inside the head of the terrifying TV tycoon!

After years of drawing the X-Men to his own nightmare realm, Mojo has decided to mix it up and swing by New York City instead. On October 18, Mojo takes Manhattan in X-MEN: GOLD #14!

Written by Marc Guggenheim with art by Marc Laming, the mutant crossover continues as the Gold team fights alongside their X-MEN: BLUE counterparts in a war with Mojo, the Brood, and Dark Phoenix!

So, what motivates the malevolent mogul behind all this chaos? We asked Guggenheim to find out.

Marvel.com: The first time we spoke about this crossover, you mentioned that Mojo would be your nightmare television executive. Now that you’ve written him, has that perspective held up?

Marc Guggenheim: Yeah, it really has. Even more so than I imagined.

The fun thing about writing Mojo has been the opportunity to get metatextual. I really, really pushed that—particularly in issue #14. There’s a page that has a really fun joke about the nature of X-Men capacity to not only avoid being killed but to be resurrected. It gave me a chuckle to see how Marc Laming executed that; the joke really lands.

Mojo can never be too broad or too big. No matter what you write for him, it never feels over the top.

Marvel.com: What inspires Mojo on a day-to-day basis?

Marc Guggenheim: For my money, Mojo gets motivated by three things: ratings, ratings, and ratings.

It makes him a very ego-simplistic guy. He has a very simple need: he wants the biggest audience he can get his hands on. There’s something very decadent about that kind of character—the kind that acts just so cravenly that nothing will stop him in his pursuit of ratings.

If you think about ratings, they are kind of meaningless. And I say that as someone who has been working in television for 18 years. [Laughs]

There’s nothing special about ratings. It gives you an idea of how many people are watching your show, but they aren’t good onto themselves. So Mojo pursues this entire endeavor for his entire life and it is a very meaningless pursuit.

If you can see him through that light, you almost start to feel bad for the guy.

Marvel.com: What draws Mojo to the X-Men? Why does he find them so magnetic?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, that’s a good question.

He has a history with them. It’s almost like he’s killing two birds with one stone—he gets his precious ratings at the same time that messes with the people who have often made his life difficult.

Every time he deals with the X-Men, he comes away diminished. But it’s more than just the X-Men foiling his plans—he usually ends up taking a step back as a result of his interactions with them. For someone like Mojo, who has this massive ego, he gets really picky about these upstart mutants that keep vexing him at every turn.

Marvel.com: What are your thoughts on Marc Laming’s rendition of Mojo? What about his depiction really brings out those characteristics?

Marc Guggenheim: I really like Marc’s ability to capture a lot of the humor of Mojo. It can be one thing to draw Mojo as really diabolical or creepy looking, but Marc also manages to nail all the jokes that are written here.

Marc has also made Major Domo this really fun visual sidekick to Mojo. You’ll often see Major Domo’s facial expressions are providing a fun, but subtle, commentary on something probably all of us can appreciate—working with the worst boss ever. [Editor’s note: Not me! I love my bosses that will definitely read this article!]

Marvel.com: How did you and Marc go about capturing the broken physics and inherent strangeness of the Mojoverse?

Marc Guggenheim: In issue #14, Marc takes us on a tour of the X-Men’s Greatest Hits. His artwork does a fantastic job of not only replicating the look and feel of those stories, but really the look and feel of those eras.

For example, we open with a scene set around the start of “Mutant Genesis”—the beginning of [writer] Chris Claremont and [artist] Jim Lee’s three-part Magneto story in X-MEN. You’ll really feel like you are transported back. It’s really cool and fun.

I just want to say, Mike Mayhew drew issue #13, Marc draws issue #14, Diego Bernard will do issue #15, and all the issues are colored by Rain Beredo. All the artists are turning in unbelievable work. And Rain’s coloring brings it all together so even though three different artists are on board, it keeps a similar visual style all the way through.

They are really, really, really stunning looking books. All our artists are up to the challenge of the incredibly huge landscape we are playing with here. These are really big widescreen sequences across the biggest, most iconic X-Men stories that have ever been done. It has been really easy to write, but man the artists have had their work cut out for them.

Marvel.com: What about this story makes Mojo so dangerous to the X-Men?

Marc Guggenheim: Every time the X-Men have dealt with Mojo, it hasn’t just been on his terms, but on his playing field as well. For Mojo to make a breach into our world—it just ups the dramatic stakes. You’ll see throughout the series how Mojo’s plot eventually impacts Manhattan. To my knowledge—I’m always loathe to say we’ve never seen something because there are so many stories—I feel pretty confident in saying we’ve never seen this before.

Without spoiling the ending, I will say that by the end of this issue the battlefield will be very significantly changed. It sets up the climax that we will reach in X-MEN: BLUE #15.

The crossover continues in X-MEN: GOLD #14, by Marc Guggenheim and artist Marc Laming, on October 18!

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Analyzing a mutant Marvel Legacy with writer Cullen Bunn!

Mojo may seem like a goof, but writer Cullen Bunn needs you to know that the villain has you—and the X-Men—fooled.

The mutant crossover continues between X-MEN: GOLD and X-MEN: BLUE as the two squads unite to wage war with Mojo, Sentinels, the Brood…and the past. On October 11, Bunn joins artist Jorge Molina to keep the fight alive as Marvel Legacy begins with X-MEN: BLUE #13!

Cullen took a moment to warn us about the danger of Mojo, the devious delight of unveiling Team Blue’s connection to Magneto, and the joy of collaborating with Marc Guggenheim.

Marvel.com: What made this the perfect time for a crossover between Blue and Gold?

Cullen Bunn: What’s more thrilling than two X-Men teams coming together and facing a threat that they simply cannot face alone? There’s a long-standing tradition of two different X-teams joining forces, mixing up the rosters, and facing some dire threat. With the Marvel Legacy initiative, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit that tradition in a big, action-packed, fun way.

Marvel.com: How did you decide on Mojo as the villain to bring these teams together?

Cullen Bunn: First of all, Mojo is awesome. I’ve been planning a Mojo adventure for a while now—there are hints of it in my UNCANNY X-MEN run. When we started talking about the Marvel Legacy arc, though, we knew we wanted to have the Gold and Blue teams come together, and my Editor [Mark Paniccia] suggested that this could be where the Mojo story takes place. I couldn’t agree more. Mojo gives us a great opportunity to revisit some of the greatest moments in mutant history—the Asgard War, the Mutant Massacre, the Death of Phoenix, Days of Future Past—because he has such vast abilities to warp reality in a deadly way.

Deadly.

Marvel.com: How would you describe your take on Mojo?

People forget this about Mojo—yes, he’s kind of a goofball and he cracks weird jokes. But he’s also extremely powerful and can be scary as Hell. Mojo can be terrifying and menacing. He’s still a character with a lot of humor, but he’s not to be trifled with. In this story, his back gets pushed up against the wall, so to speak, and that makes him extremely dangerous. I just looked at some lettering notes from one of the issues, and the Editor had written “So creepy!” on a Mojo scene. That’s exactly what we’re going for. Sometimes you hear that Mojo operates in an alternate reality, so his threats aren’t all that real. Well, in this story he’s coming to our world—and we absolutely do not want his plans to succeed.

Marvel.com: How does the Blue team react to their Gold counterparts? How about Mojo?

Cullen Bunn: The teams get along fairly well. There are some very interesting dynamics here. Cyclops and Rachel, for instance. Old Man Logan and Jimmy. Storm and Bloodstorm. Of course, the 800-pound Master of Magnetism in the room is that the Gold team does not yet know that the Original Five are working with Magneto. That’s going to change in this story, and it will put some tension on the relations between the groups.

Marvel.com: Describe the collaborative process between you and X-MEN: GOLD writer Marc Guggenheim. How’s it been?

Cullen Bunn: Marc and I both have X-Men lore wired into our brains. I know for certain that Marc’s notes for X-MEN: GOLD included “softball game!”—just like my notes for X-MEN: BLUE. I’m not one hundred percent certain, but I’m pretty sure he also had plans for Mojo. Working together has been an absolute blast. We had some phone calls early on to discuss the story, then we started trading planning documents back and forth, adding to the story, making it crazier and more epic.

Marvel.com: How have your respective artists, Jorge Molina and Mike Mayhew, contributed to that process?

Jorge and Mike helped so much in defining the look and feel of Mojo’s world—we’re seeing a lot of it here—and of Mojo’s technology and the “weapons” with which he attacks Earth. Also, seeing these two talents casting the current X-teams into classic situations—and classic clothing—is something special.

Marvel.com: Given that Mojo lends himself to both humor and horror, how would you describe the tone of the crossover?

Cullen Bunn: This crossover is all about action and classic X-Men adventure. In some Mojo stories, the X-Men are thrown into silly or goofy situations, but not here. These adventures are serious business with real stakes. This feels like a fun story, make no mistake, and there will be plenty of moments of humor—some of it fun humor, some of it dark—but I don’t think what we’ve got here could qualify as silly. The X-Men are trying to save themselves, but they are also trying to save the world, and time has started running out.

Marvel.com: Tell X-Men fans why they need to get onboard with this crossover.

Cullen Bunn: I think you could start this arc without reading either book beforehand, really. We give you everything you really need in those first couple of issues. Of course, you should read both GOLD and BLUE, because you’re missing out on some really awesome fun in those titles, but you can let this be your introduction to either or both teams and still have a blast.

X-MEN: BLUE #13, by Cullen Bunn and artist Jorge Molina, launches on October 11!

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Cullen Bunn on the upcoming crossover with X-MEN: GOLD.

With X-MEN: BLUE #13, out October 11, the book enters into not only a saga-riffic crossover with X-MEN: GOLD, but also into the Marvel Legacy event. How will it all impact this team of merry mutants? How do they win against mighty Mojo and uphold their legacy? We asked writer Cullen Bunn to spill all—and still look good doing it.

Marvel.com: Cullen, in a way, X-MEN: BLUE’s legacy stretches from Stan and Jack to Brian Bendis—what does legacy in general mean to you as a Marvel writer? How does it play into what you do?

Cullen Bunn: For me, legacy is a part of every Marvel comic I ever loved, every Marvel comic I’ve written, and every Marvel comic I will write. And it goes beyond the idea of a “shared universe” or continuity, although those elements are certainly part of it. As a writer, I always try to honor the legacy of the creators who came before me, and I’m always hoping to contribute in some small way to the stories that will be told in the future.

This story, for instance, is an obvious love letter to all things X-related, but we’re telling the story through the eyes of the mutant heroes who star in the books today. We’ll have the action, the interaction, the romance, the heartbreak, the joy, the weirdness—all the things that make the X-Men one of the best superhero dramas of all time! And we’ll leave some lasting marks on the characters and the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: Within the book itself, what if anything does legacy mean to your cast? How much of what they do is impacted by it?

Cullen Bunn: In this crossover story, we see the idea of legacy playing out in some really interesting ways. The original five X-Men are here, and they started it all for the X-Men, but since they are young men and women lost in time, they are looking toward living up to the legacy of the modern X-Men. The modern X-Men are living up to Xavier’s ideals and dreams—and the O5 represent that to them. But we’re also dealing with Mojo in this story, and he is in a unique position to really throw the X-Men into situations that remind them—sometimes in a deadly way—of where they came from. The X-Men will be reliving some of their greatest hits, only with a Mojo twist.

Marvel.com: Hang onto that Mojo guy for a Mojo-ment—who if anyone do you feel of your leads might get more focus going forward? Has any one of them been underserved, in your opinion?

Cullen Bunn: There are a couple of characters who haven’t gotten the spotlight they deserve, namely Angel and Iceman, and I have plans for bigger stories for them in the future. There are also some really insane plans in place for Jimmy Hudson. Eventually, he’s going to be getting a code name, but I think it’ll surprise everyone how that comes about. It’s not what you’re expecting. I promise.

Marvel.com: X-MEN: GOLD #13 starts this story—what is the Blue Team’s relationship like right now with the Gold Team? How do they work best together? What about in the worst way?

Cullen Bunn: The relationship between Blue and Gold starts off on pretty good terms in this story. Once the trouble starts, they even break into teams that are a mixture of Blue and Gold members, giving us some wonderful opportunities to see interactions we might not normally expect. But the Blue team has a big secret–that they are working with Magneto, and that’s not going to sit well with the Gold team at all if they find out.

Spoiler: they find out.

Marvel.com: Okay, now Mojo. What’s up with Mojo? What level of trouble will be causing the teams?

Cullen Bunn: Mojo is a villain I’ve wanted to use for a long while. Heck, I hinted at this story back in my UNCANNY X-MEN run. The thing with Mojo is, in the past he’s always been confined to this alternate reality. Some readers think that makes him unimportant. Well, this time, Mojo is coming to our world, and he has big, evil plans for us. He’s going to turn our love of media against us. Believe me, when this is over, Mojo will have left his mark on the planet Earth.

Marvel.com: How does a villain like Mojo bring out comic book, heh, gold in terms of two teams of X-Men interacting to fight him?

Cullen Bunn: What’s fun about this story is that Mojo has these almost god-like abilities, and he uses them to make TV shows. In this case, though, he’s calling up some of the most intense moments of X-Men history, and we’re going to see some awesome scenes honoring the legacy of the X-Men. How does Scott Summers deal with Days of Future Past? How does Storm feel about being thrown into the Asgardian Wars again? How would Magneto react if he suddenly appeared in the Morlock Tunnels during the Mutant Massacre?

Marvel.com: Fun! So, what’s it like to continue to collaborate with artist Jorge Molina? How is this particular storyline bringing out his strengths?

Cullen Bunn: Jorge is a beast! He’s simply an amazing artist, and I am throwing some wild action scenes and bizarre set pieces and characters his way. He has tackled it all with a Mojo-like glee. These pages are going to blow readers away!

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Blue and Gold mutants join forces in Mojo World for their first crossover!

Mojo loves entertainment—and, frankly, he does not care who gets hurt when he decides to have some fun. As the era of Marvel Legacy begins, the madman has his sights set on delighting the denizens of Mojo World with the first team-up between X-MEN: GOLD and X-MEN: BLUE!

Beginning with X-MEN: GOLD #13 on October 4, writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Mike Mayhew tag team with their X-MEN: BLUE counterparts Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina to return these mutant groups to their full-powered might. And when Sentinels, the Brood, and dark histories cloud the horizon, they’ll need all the help they can get.

We asked Marc Guggenheim how it felt to write the two teams’ opening interactions.

Marvel.com: What made Mojo the best villain for the first crossover between X-MEN GOLD and X-MEN BLUE?

Marc Guggenheim: A couple of things…we haven’t seen Mojo in the pages of an X-MEN book for a while, so he has a Legacy appeal. At this point, he feels like he’s been around long enough to be a literal legacy character, right?

And, thanks to the Mojoverse, he acts as the perfect guy to bring in all these “greatest hits” that we’re building the story around.

So, he’s not only a legacy character, but he also has the means at his disposal to let us walk down memory lane a bit.

Marvel.com: How would you describe your concept of Mojo as a character? What makes him tick?

Marc Guggenheim: You know, it’s funny—I work in television so I kind of have a fun appreciation for Mojo. For me, Mojo feels like the universe’s most egregious, most shameless television producer or executive. I, as a writer, treat him as over-the-top as possible.

He’s very much a character of a lot of indulgence. He’s pure id. He’s got no limitations. I guess he’s my worst nightmare.

Marvel.com: How does the Gold team view Mojo? What are their individual perceptions of him?

Marc Guggenheim: I love combining teams and combining characters—some of which have met our villain, some of which haven’t.

For the ones who haven’t, this feels like a slap upside the head because when you deal with Mojo, you don’t just deal with the character, you deal with Mojo World. It’s a scary, crazy, completely off the chain kind of place.

That’s a lot of fun to show and a lot of fun to have the new characters react to.

Marvel.com: How do the Gold and Blue squads interact?

Marc Guggenheim: Right from the beginning of this story, we basically combine the teams.

There are a lot of different ways to do a crossover—my favorite as a reader has to be when, instead of intercutting between two groups, we actually merge them. They are both teams of X-Men, so it seemed like a pretty natural thing to do.

We are getting a chance to see characters interact with different characters who are not their teammates. We have a big mix of Blue and Gold. And you’ll discover that they’ll actually end up dividing into three teams—with mixed members of both groups.

Marvel.com: So that gives you a chance to write for the Blue mutants as well.

Marc Guggenheim: Absolutely, absolutely.

That’s a real blast for me because, obviously, I’m such a huge X-Men fan and I love what Cullen Bunn does with X-MEN: BLUE.

It also makes for a very seamless crossover—I feel like, if you are doing a crossover, do a proper crossover and tell one big epic story. Cullen and I are writing off a single outline. I am writing the GOLD issues, he’s writing the BLUE issues, but we are telling one single story.

Marvel.com: Did any Blue members stand out as a surprise favorite to write?

Marc Guggenheim: I love what Cullen has done by making Jean Grey the leader of the Blue team. It’s interesting for me as a writer that she’s not the Jean I grew up with as a reader; she’s much younger. But the responsibility of being the team leader forced her to grow up quickly. She’s younger but, in a certain way, older. That’s very interesting.

I’m also enjoying the dynamic between Scott Summers and Rachel Grey. Rachel is obviously Scott’s daughter—but now this Rachel is older than this Scott. That’s a fun bit of business.

It isn’t just that two X-Men teams are meeting, it’s that these specific characters are interacting. For example, in X-MEN: GOLD #13, we have a moment between Jimmy Hudson and Old Man Logan, which serves a very unique situation and relationship. This guy—who replaced Wolverine—meets a person who replaced a different iteration of himself…and they’re also related. I tried to lean into their natures as Howletts—and, as a result, they are not prone to talking about feelings or giving warm familial hugs.

Marvel.com: You’re also working with artist Mike Mayhew, who has quite a history and an excellent reputation. As someone who first encountered his art as a fan, what has that been like?

Marc Guggenheim: Really great. I am a real fan of his work. I’ve always been a huge fan of Mike’s work. It’s very exciting to get a chance to work with him.

Mike interfaces with you a lot more than a lot of artists and he gives all this unbelievable thought to his pages. He sends you his pages in different stages—sometimes he sends you rough layouts with a very long email explaining everything he did already and everything he’s going to do. You just have to admire how deliberate and considerate he is. I think Mike keeps us all honest because he looks at things so carefully. He has a really great head for this.

Marvel.com: Does working with Mike drive you to write different story elements or action sequences?

Marc Guggenheim: I always try very hard to write to the artist.

In X-MEN: GOLD, I also write in a very specific style. I’ve been really challenging myself to write with as few panels on the page as possible; to keep that panel-to-page ratio as low as I can.

And if I’ve done my job correctly, Mike has some big panels that he can fill in with wide shots—which will be particularly important as we start to experience what we call the “greatest hits” moments of X-Men history. And I know that Mike can pull off the character moments as well as the action moments.

I’m a very spoiled person.

Marvel.com: Let readers know why they shouldn’t miss the first ever X-MEN GOLD/X-MEN BLUE crossover of this era.

Marc Guggenheim: A combination of several big things.

On the one hand, there are a lot of firsts—it’s their first meeting, after all.

On the other hand, it has a lot of fun callbacks to what we refer to as the “greatest hits.”

While X-MEN: GOLD has been big on nostalgia, that nostalgia exists for longtime readers, but knowing these hits will not be required, by any means, to appreciate the events on Mojo World. The X-Men are going to have a lot of difficulty dealing with Mojo and Mojo World, but the readers will have a lot of fun watching it all go down.

Worlds collide in X-MEN: GOLD #13, by Marc Guggenheim and artist Mike Mayhew, on October 4!

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Cullen Bunn details Beast’s bewitching future!

On September 13, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Douglas Franchin bring a magic wand to X-MEN: BLUE #11 as Hank McCoy (A.K.A. Beast) finds himself dealing with a sudden case of sorcery.

But how does he get these powers? How will he use them? And most of all, why does a brilliant scientist need to rely on the supernatural?

The answers to these questions—and more—come to light soon, but in the meantime, we decided to ask Cullen about what these new abilities could mean for the mutant Mr. McCoy.

Marvel.com: Beast has always been known for fighting with his claws and animalistic instincts—how might magic change his reliance on those abilities?

Cullen Bunn: Magic could change everything for Beast. Since coming to this time, he feels like he’s always running to catch uptechnology and science have left him in the dust, and it feels frustrating to no end. Beast has always relied on his scientific know-how and gadgeteering more than his muscles and agility, but now he feels as if he’s lost quite a few steps. Magic seems like a way for him to find a new groove.

Marvel.com: Like you mentioned, Hank McCoy is a gifted scientist and scholar. What does this newfound talent do for his outlook on the natural world?

Cullen Bunn: Hank approaches magic as a new science. Not that different, to his way of thinking, than chemistry or biology. He’s learning the “rules” of this science so he can master it. But magic is much more mercurial than any natural science—it has a way of slipping out of control no matter what you do…

Marvel.com: What kinds of challenges and dangers come along with these new powersespecially when bestowed upon an X-Man?

Cullen Bunn: Magic has been a part of the X-World for a long time—and it always seems to cause trouble for the mutants. When you get greedy for magical knowledge, you run the risk of making mistakes or drawing the attention of dark powers. That’s really the problem that Beast starts dealing with. He has called up a power that he cannot easily put down.

Marvel.com: What else can we expect to see in issue #11?

Cullen Bunn: There will be a few new characters popping up. And we’ll be seeing some magic-influenced versions of X-Men (who are being dubbed the Hex-Men) that I’m very excited about.

X-MEN: BLUE #11, by Cullen Bunn and artist Giovanni Valletta’s, drops on September 13!

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Cullen Bunn brings back a familiar face as part of Secret Empire!

Secret Empire gets the cold shoulder in the upcoming X-MEN: BLUE #7, out July 12, as writer Cullen Bunn and artist Cory Smith bring Emma Frost back into the mutants’ midst. Hiding since the war against the Inhumans, the former White Queen finds herself in a dark place despite being a ruler of the mutant homeland of New Tian.

Oh, and did we mention that she’s also receiving push back from both the X-Men and Magneto?

We spoke to Bunn about Emma’s return and some of the threats she’ll be facing, both physical and psychological.

Marvel.com: Just to catch everyone up, where has Emma Frost been hanging out before this issue?

Cullen Bunn: Emma has been in hiding since the events of [Inhumans Vs. X-Men]. But don’t think that means she’s been doing nothing. She has been very busy. She’s been building alliances and positioning herself to make some big moves. You’ll see some of that play out in the Secret Empire story. But we’re really going to be setting something really, really big up for Emma in the future. Ever since we revealed her return, I’ve been receiving messages asking me to immediately return Emma to her status as a hero. I understand the sentiment, but that’s not something I can do right away. Emma can’t just come back from where she was with the flip of a switch. She’s in a dark place right now, and if she comes back from it—that’s a big “if”—it will take time.

Marvel.com: Going off that, what’s compelling her to join the fray now?

Cullen Bunn: Emma is part of the “ruling council” of the new mutant homeland of New Tian, and she sincerely wants to see this new society succeed. But she’s still very angry—so angry—about everything that has happened of late. Sometimes when you’re full of rage, you lash out at everyone, including those closest to you.

Marvel.com: What will Ms. Frost bring to both X-MEN: BLUE and SECRET EMPIRE?

Cullen Bunn: In SECRET EMPIRE, Emma gives us a look at a world leader who has been deeply wounded. She wants what is right for her people, but she’s so hurt and angry that she is ruthless in her pursuit of her ideals. She’s an antagonist for the X-Men, without a doubt, because the X-Men simply cannot accept what she’s doing. She’s also—in my mind—a very tragic figure, because she has lost so much and she’s fallen so far.

X-Men: Blue #7 cover by Arthur Adams

Marvel.com: Do you have personal favorite aspects of her character that you enjoyed writing/exploring?

Cullen Bunn: Emma is proud and confident, and that’s always fun to write, but underneath is a great deal of pain that she is trying—unsuccessfully—to hide. That makes her a rewarding character to write. I am looking forward to exploring how she grows and changes for some time to come.

Marvel.com: What kinds of threats will she be facing and how are her powers well equipped to handle them?

Cullen Bunn: Emma can handle just about anything you throw at her. Initially, the threats she faces come from the X-Men as they make moves against her regime. But her biggest challenges in the future will be dealing with her own sense of loss without letting it drag her into madness. And she’s making some alliances that could be very, very dangerous for her in the future.

Marvel.com: Are there any more epic mutant returns in the cards?

Cullen Bunn: Oh, yes! We know about Emma and we know about Polaris. But even in the Secret Empire arc, there will be several other mutant returns. Some of the mutants that will be popping up will be changed in mysterious ways. These changes play into something big that we’ve already been building in X-MEN: BLUE and we’ll be exploring in future issues of the series.

Face the return of Emma Frost with writer Cullen Bunn and artist Cory Smith next week in July 12’s X-MEN: BLUE #7!

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Cullen Bunn sheds some light on how mutants fit into Hydra’s regime!

The time-displaced original Children of the Atom make up the X-Men Blue team, with Jean Grey, Cyclops, Beast, Angel, and Iceman working alongside their former archenemy Magneto. While it’s hard enough adjusting to a new era, these kids and their formerly villainous ally now also have a Secret Empire to contend with.

Where to even start?

We asked X-MEN: BLUE writer Cullen Bunn about issue #7, available July 12!

Marvel.com: First off, how has writing X-MEN: BLUE been different from some of the other X-Men projects you’ve worked on before?

Cullen Bunn: It’s interesting, because I was writing UNCANNY X-MEN and when I got the call that we were going to be shifting over to X-MEN: BLUE and it would be the original five time lost characters. I’ve been pretty honest with this—my first reaction was not overjoyed. Because as much as I love those characters, they’re not what I would consider my X-Men. Like, they weren’t from the era that I really got into X-Men. So I was a little hesitant! I wasn’t sure I was the right guy to write the book.

As I started writing those characters, though, and putting them through the stories I’d been planning on telling, I’ve become more and more excited about them. I’m glad that this is the team I’m writing, because they have a completely different dynamic and viewpoint on the world; I’m able to tell kind of “classic” X-Men adventures and “uncanny” adventures. I’ve come to really love writing these characters now.

Marvel.com: You kind of got to make them your own, then! So, now that we’re all nice and emotionally invested in these guys, how will the Secret Empire affect them?

Cullen Bunn: Well, without giving too much away…as we’ve seen in SECRET EMPIRE, California has been ceded to mutants as a new mutant homeland. On the surface, that looks great! It’s an opportunity for mutants and homo sapiens to live in peace together. But, as we’ll find in X-MEN: BLUE, that’s not necessarily playing out the way it’s supposed to. It’s definitely a situation where we have mutants in power and that power is sort of a corrupting force. It plays to X-Men Blue for a number of reasons.

First of all, Magneto—who’s acting as sort of a mentor for the X-Men—has said recently that he does not believe the idea of a mutant utopia works. He’s seen it backfire in horrible ways time and time again, and he keeps getting drawn back into that, lured into this idea of a mutant paradise; it is a dream [of his], but now he doesn’t think that dream will ever come true. He thinks that a place like New Tian is a disaster waiting to happen, and he wants no part of it from that perspective.

We have also seen, however, that Magneto and the X-Men Blue team have a beef with Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw and certain characters that are entrenched in this new mutant regime. And what we’re gonna see in X-MEN: BLUE is the new X-Men team almost as a rebel force at work inside New Tian.

Marvel.com: Will the Blue team take on the larger Secret Empire plotlines as well?

Cullen Bunn: There’s definitely some parallels with what’s happening in New Tian and what’s going on in the Marvel Universe as a whole, but I wanted to focus on it mainly from a mutant perspective. Again, without giving away too many spoilers, there’s a villain that shows up in these issues who I feel has a direct correlation with what’s going on with Steve Rogers and is cut from very similar cloth story-wise and we definitely lean into that to shore up those parallels even more.

Marvel.com: That’s so cool! It sort of unifies the different threads of the Marvel Universe narratively, like, a microcosm? Or even just winking at another storyline that’s happening.

Cullen Bunn: Yeah! The goal with these tie-ins for me is always that a reader can continue reading X-MEN: BLUE and not get thrown off too much by the events of the Marvel Universe. But this is such a big event! Things are changing in such monumental ways, there’s no way to [avoid it]. But I wanted to make sure that we’re seeing [that] story from a distinctively mutant point of view while not ignoring what’s going on in the world at large.

Marvel.com: So let’s talk Magneto. How is such a powerful character fitting into all this Secret Empire hubbub? Is he joining, holding back, fighting against it?

Cullen Bunn: We talked a lot about Magneto early on in the discussion about what’s going on in the world of Secret Empire and really, Magneto seems to be sitting this one out. For reasons of his own, he has struck a bargain that he’s just going to sit this one out and not interfere, and he’s agreed to that.

However.

The X-Men team is there in New Tian, and they’re obviously not just sitting back. Now, then the question will come—are they working on Magneto’s orders or against what Magneto wants? As the tie-in goes on I think there’s even a question posed like, don’t you think Magneto would have prepared for this? And we see some pretty big changes among the team itself as some of those contingencies begin to come into play.

Marvel.com: So it might be that he has something up his sleeve?

Cullen Bunn: Well, Magneto always has something up his sleeve. I think we’re gonna have come interesting interactions. He’s definitely taking a back seat in this tie-in and you don’t see him getting a lot of [face] time, but his actions are pretty important to the story and they’ll shape the X-Men Blue team after this event. And when we do finally see Magneto, I think we have an interesting interaction between Magneto and Steve Rogers in the arc that I’m pretty excited about.

Marvel.com: I know that you’ve been writing Magneto for a while, so I’m sure you’ll do him justice. After all, you know him pretty well—you guys are on, like, a first-name basis.

Cullen Bunn: [Laughs] I do kind of feel like I have a handle on where he’s coming from and how he would see what’s been going on in the world, but I also know that Magneto…he knows that, if he disagrees with this, it’s not something he can go into with guns blazing, so to speak, because that would fail. He’s got to be a little cagier about what he’s doing.

Marvel.com: How is the team reacting to this pseudo-utopia? Like, how are they taking it?

Cullen Bunn: Well, they’re not taking it well. [Laughs] It’s not going well for them. It’s a weird situation for them because here’s this place that should be a safe haven for mutants and yet they find themselves struggling against that very ideal.

In fact, I’ve often said that, to some degree, the world that they’re in right now? The New Tian mutant utopia is almost like their Days of Futures Past. They are seeing the world they’ve always been afraid they’d see happen, but they never expected these threats and these dangers to be coming from a mutant source to the degree that it is.

As well get into the first issue, we’re seeing the X-Men dealing with mutants who’ve been imprisoned and who are scheduled for psychic reconditioning because they don’t support the law of the land. That’s the kind of thing that scares the hell out of them, and they just can’t sit back and let it happen.

See how it all plays out this summer in X-MEN BLUE #7 by Cullen Bunn and Cory Smith, available July 12.

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