Watch the video version to preview this week's new Marvel Comics!

It’s time to THWIP! with Marvel’s The Pull List!

On the podcast, Ryan and Tucker preview June 20’s new comic releases, including their Picks of the Week AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #801, PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1, TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1, X:MEN GOLD #30, and all the other books that’ll be waiting for you in stores tomorrow!

Watch the video version of Marvel’s The Pull List above as Ryan and Tucker highlight the Spider-centric stories on offer before jumping into the full audio episode below.

Here’s the full list of what’s available from Marvel this week:

MARVEL PRINT COMICS ON-SALE (6/20/18) 

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #801
  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: RENEW YOUR VOWS #20
  • ANT-MAN & THE WASP #2
  • AVENGERS #3
  • BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #20
  • CABLE #158
  • CAPTAIN AMERICA #704
  • CHAMPIONS #21
  • DAREDEVIL #604
  • DOCTOR STRANGE #2
  • HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: CLAWS OF A KILLER #2
  • INFINITY COUNTDOWN: BLACK WIDOW #1
  • INFINITY COUNTDOWN: CHAMPIONS #1
  • PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1
  • RUNAWAYS #10
  • SPIDER-GWEN #33
  • STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #28
  • TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1
  • WEAPON H #4
  • X-MEN: GOLD #30
    • TRUE BELIEVERS: ANT-MAN – THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING DOOM #1 
    • TRUE BELIEVERS: SCOTT LANG, THE ASTONISHING ANT-MAN #1 

COLLECTIONS

  • AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: WORLDWIDE VOL. 8
  • CHAMPIONS CLASSIC: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
  • DOCTOR STRANGE BY DONNY CATES VOL. 1: GOD OF MAGIC
  • THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL VOL. 8: MY BEST FRIEND’S SQUIRREL
  • VENOMNIBUS VOL. 1 (HC)
  • WEAPON X VOL. 3: MODERN WARFARE
  • WOLVERINE: SAVAGE ORIGINS

DIGITAL COMICS ON SALE THIS WEEK 

  • SPIDEY: SCHOOL’S OUT #2

ALSO ON SALE ON THE MARVEL APP THIS WEEK 

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: DEAD MEN RUNNING (2002) #1-3     
  • QUASAR (1989) #26-27  
  • SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK: CEREMONY (1989) #1-2             
  • SPIDER-MAN: GET KRAVEN (2002) #1-6   

DIGITAL COLLECTIONS 

  • CAPTAIN AMERICA: WAR AND REMEMBRANCE
  • FANTASTIC FOUR: EXTENDED FAMILY
  • THOR: IF ASGARD SHOULD PERISH
  • THOR: THE QUEST FOR ODIN
  • THOR: WORLDENGINE

FRESHLY DIGITIZED COMICS ON MARVEL UNLIMITED 

  • ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #28
  • BEN REILLY: SCARLET SPIDER #11
  • BLACK PANTHER – LONG LIVE THE KING #1
  • CABLE #152
  • CAPTAIN MARVEL (2000) #26-35
  • DAKOTA NORTH (1986) #1-5
  • DAREDEVIL #596
  • DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #290
  • FALCON #3
  • FORCE WORKS (1994) #1-5, 8-22
  • FREE COMIC BOOK DAY (ALL-NEW GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY)#0 
  • JEAN GREY #10
  • ROYALS #12
  • RUNAWAYS #4
  • SECOND COMING: PREPARE (2010) #1
  • SECRET WARRIORS #10
  • SHE-HULK #160
  • SPECIAL EDITION: X-MEN (1983) #1
  • STAR WARS #40
  • THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #792
  • THE PUNISHER #219
  • THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL#27
  • WEAPON X #12
  • X-MEN: BLUE #17
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Walt Hickey gives an infographic-filled look at every Marvel wedding in history!

In just a few days, one of the longest running on-again, off-again relationships in the Marvel Universe will come to a climax when Kitty Pryde and Piotr Rasputin—better known in some circles as Shadowcat and Colossus of the X-Men—tie the knot in a ceremony everyone’s been anticipating in the pages of X-MEN: GOLD #30.

I combed through over 50,000 issues to find 98 different weddings shown on the pages of Marvel Comics over the decades. Big picture—getting married in the Marvel Universe is hard, with 2/3 of all wedding ceremonies getting attacked or interrupted, and nearly 50% not even making it to the reception. When it comes to Super Heroes, if you can survive the wedding day, you can survive anything.

Planning a wedding in any situation can be stressful, but planning a wedding in the Marvel Universe comes with a whole new set of things that can go wrong besides centerpieces, rowdy plus-ones or drunk uncles. Let’s just say proceedings can take on a whole new tone when your wedding crasher is a furious Victor von Doom. So in addition to nailing down a DJ who knows to avoid playing the “Chicken Dance”—a faux-pas even if Falcon isn’t on the guest list—Marvel brides and grooms have to contend with Super Villains, hostage-takers, alien armadas, furious fathers, demons, and the most nefarious wedding threat of all: cold feet.

Still, time and time again the heroes of Marvel have confronted these challenges, fought off the bad guys, and brought a whole new meaning to “save the date.” I scoured the history of the comics to find as many weddings as I could through the decades of stories. In the end, I tracked down just under 100 distinct wedding ceremonies that graced the pages. Just in time for the latest in a long line of X-Weddings, I found the risks involved with Super Hero wedding planning, just how often hero couples and villain couples—and all kinds of couples made it work—and the single foolproof way to make sure the ceremony goes off without a hitch.

First Rule of Weddings: Expect the Unexpected

If we’re going to talk about weddings in Marvel, the one that started it all—and set traditions that all weddings since then have emulated—was between Reed Richards and Sue Storm in the FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 in October 1965. Not exactly prime wedding season, but the guest list was positively stacked, and included the original X-Men lineup, all the Avengers, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, representatives from S.H.I.E.L.D.—the whole works. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were turned away at the door.

What made the Mister Fantastic-Invisible Girl nuptials so notable in the history of Marvel was the notorious interruption. Namely, Doctor Doom used a device to compel the entire Super Villain community to attack the Baxter Building, with everyone from Mole Man to the Mandarin to Kang the Conquerer to Hydra crashing the party. It took intervention from the Watcher—a guy whose sole claim to fame is non-intervention—to clear the attackers and make way for the ceremony. Sue and Reed, despite their challenges, went on to have one of the most enduring and iconic marriages in the world of Marvel.

A trial-by-fire is the hallmark of the Marvel wedding. All told, 2/3 of the time, wannabe mates have got to deal with super powered wedding crashers! For plenty of couples, this is a formative moment in their relationship. Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne had the first-ever intra-Avenger wedding, which was naturally crashed by the Circus of Crime imitating caterers. When Scarlet Witch and Vision got hitched they had an even more ridiculous test: their wedding—a double event with Mantis and her fella—was officiated by Immortus but also attacked by Kang the Conqueror. For those out of the loop, Immortus and Kang are the same time traveller but at different points in his life.

And if Pryde the bride is worried about possible unexpected guests, she should take heart that the experience can lead to a stronger relationship. Bruce Banner’s first attempt to marry Betty Ross was ruined when the Rhino attacked and the wedding was called off. During their much-later second attempt to tie the knot, the ceremony withstood an interruption from her heavily armed father, Thunderbolt Ross, and they made it to the reception.

How to Doom-proof Your Upcoming Nuptials

Sometimes the knowledge of how to survive a wedding day is passed from father to son. Three generations of Jamesons have been wed in the pages of Marvel Comics: J. Jonah Jameson Sr. to Aunt May, J. Jonah Jameson to Marla Madison, and John Jameson III to She-Hulk. Both of the older Jamesons had a traditional ceremony, and both of the older Jamesons had one member of the couple kidnapped by a foe of Spider-Man. The youngest Jameson eloped in Las Vegas and had an uninterrupted wedding. Read that as you will.

(Eloping turns out to be the only foolproof wedding in Marvel; nobody managed to thwart the improvisational ceremonies uniting Jameson and She-Hulk, or Hawkeye and Mockingbird.)

If Rasputin and Pryde want to be absolutely sure that they get to “I Do,” they’re going to want Spider-Man in their corner; weddings of Spider-Man’s friends and family end up making it to the reception 50% more often than the generic Marvel wedding. On the other hand, if you want to guarantee an interruption, marry an Inhuman—those weddings are always getting crashed by the Skrulls or the Shi’rar war fleet or Ultron or a rebellion of Alpha Primitives, which always makes for a lively ceremony to say the least.

Marvel Weddings Change the Couple Forever

The Marvel Universe has also seen its fair share of unique nuptials. There have been more royal weddings than the House of Windsor has had since the ’70s, with highlights including the marriage of Storm and Black Panther, the wedding of Inhuman princess Crystal and mutant speedster Quicksilver, and Namor’s assorted complicated marriages. There have also been vows that made real-world history: Northstar’s wedding to Kyle Jinadu in 2012 marked the very first same-sex marriage in Super Hero comics.

There have been weddings that served as the origins for entire characters, like Gambit’s reason for skipping town, or Punisher ally Rachel Cole’s gut-wrenching origin story. The Young Avengers all met at a particularly disastrous wedding where future Hawkeye Kate Bishop was a bridesmaid.

On that note, while mutants often see their powers as a curse, Kitty and Piotr are pretty lucky they have their powers on their wedding day. Non-powered people don’t have it easy when it comes to wedding planning. About 1/5 of Marvel Universe weddings are between two people who don’t wear capes and are just trying to get through their day, but lo and behold, 13 out of 18 of them get attacked by baddies. It’s actually more peaceful when two Super Heros tie the knot; only about 42% of Good-aligned marriages have an interruption. I figure having most of the Avengers in your bridal party is a distinct disincentive for a full-on assault.

Something Old, Something New…

So what does this mean for Colossus and Shadowcat? X-Weddings are actually some of the most peaceful nuptials of any Marvel squad. A majority of Avenger weddings, Fantastic Four weddings, Inhuman weddings, and Spider-Man weddings get assaulted by Super Villains. Only about 2/5 of X-Weddings involve an unwanted wedding crasher. The wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey was downright pleasant given how tumultuous that relationship would turn out to be.

Even more, the fact that this is a Super Hero-Super Hero marriage bodes very well for their chances of making it to the honeymoon; while relationships between colleagues can be so very perilous, it’s generally more conducive for villains to marry villains, heroes to marry heroes, and neutral civilians to stay the heck away from folks in capes of any morality.

In the 48 weddings where the two people getting hitched were both good, both villains, or both civilians, 81% of the weddings were successful and only 56% were attacked in the middle. For normal folks marrying a Super Hero or the uniquely rare good guy-bad guy romance, those were attacked 80% of the time and only made it to “I Do” about 3/10 times.

All told, this hotly anticipated wedding couldn’t be in better shape. They’re both heroes, which is a good match. Colossus, to my knowledge, hasn’t asked Mephisto for a favor lately, and Kitty Pryde isn’t marrying Hawkeye—so they both have avoided the dumbest marital errors in Marvel history. Worst case scenario is an unwanted guest, and even then, if history is any guide they’ll come out on the other side even stronger.

Welcome to the reception, Kitty Pryde, I hope you survive the experience!

Read X-MEN: GOLD #30, by Marc Guggenheim and David Marquez, this week—on June 20!

Walt Hickey is a data journalist and writes the daily morning newsletter Numlock News. His work has previously appeared on FiveThirtyEight and Business Insider. 

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Witness the build-up to Extermination in new X-Men post-credit scenes!

20 years into the future, mutant kind is on the verge of extinction—and it’s an incident not even the X-Men will survive!

But how did this future come to be in the first place? And is it too late to prevent it? The answers will be revealed this summer, but readers will be able to find clues in the final pages of key X-Men titles. Appearing in select issues starting in May, the X-Men’s future will be teased exclusive post-credit scenes from writer Ed Brisson and artist Oscar Bazaldua that show the lead-up to EXTERMINATION!

Follow along as the X-Men prepare for new adventures in the Marvel Universe—check out this handy guide to keep track of it all!

How will all of this impact the Marvel Universe? It’s up to you, True Believers, to find out! Pick up these stories to travel on the road to EXTERMINATION!

Then read EXTERMINATION #1, by Ed Brisson and Pepe Larraz, coming this August!

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Kelly Thompson and Marc Guggenheim unite! Chris Claremont returns!

It’s almost time for Kitty Pryde and Colossus to tie the knot…but a Marvel Wedding is never a simple affair!

This May, take part in epic and adventurous stories written by Kelly Thompson and Marc Guggenheim! Plus, a wedding gift all on its own in the form of a brand-new Kitty Pryde story from legendary writer Chris Claremont, who returns to the X-Men just in time for the celebrations! But remember, when super heroes get together, mayhem ensues…and the X-Men are no exception.

“X-Men Weddings are always a big deal, if only because they’re so rare,” teases Thompson. “I think you probably have to go all the way back to X-MEN #30 in 1994—the wedding of Jean Grey and Cyclops—to get a wedding as potentially big as the wedding of Kitty Pryde and Colossus: two X-Men who’ve been around (and on again/off again) for literal decades.”

In this essential companion to the X-MEN: GOLD storyline “‘Til Death Do Us Part,” get a glimpse at Kitty and Peter’s march toward wedded bliss! It’s a celebration, Marvel style, with all the action, adventure, and surprises that we’ve come to know and love from Marvel’s merry mutants—and it’s only in comic shops this May!

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The venerable X-Man takes center stage as war rages on around her!

When you have a team rich with strong characters like the X-Men Gold roster, it can be a challenge to make sure everyone gets the spotlight. For writer Marc Guggenheim, Storm has become a character he felt he had not quite given enough big moments to. He set out to change all that this January 17 with X-MEN: GOLD #20.

We found him studying the barometric pressure, but thankfully spared a moment or two to rain down answers upon us.

Marvel.com: When we spoke at the start of the “Negative Zone War,” one aspect of personal disappointment you brought up was not really having given Storm a big moment in the run yet. We were focused on other things so I didn’t really explore that with you, but for you as a writer, what makes a big signature moment for the character? How do you “know” when you’ve achieved that?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, I don’t think I ever really know when I’ve achieved anything. For the most part, I leave that up to the readers to decide. That said, GOLD #20 has a couple of nice moments where Ororo has to really dig down deep and demonstrate just how tough she is. She has real steel inside of her and it’s nice to be able to write to it. In #20, she channels her inner Wolverine to—I hope—great effect.

Marvel.com: It was also clear from that brief moment that you have a lot of affection for Storm as a character. What has made her so a great and enduring, in your opinion? Why did you need her on your team?

Marc Guggenheim: Everyone’s mileage will vary, but for me, it’s all about tapping into that inner strength I was talking about. Ororo has been through so, so much over the years. There’s an argument to be made that she’s been through more [expletive] than any other X-Man  She’s lost her powers. She’s regained her powers. She’s been the team leader a few times. She’s had to fight for that position. She’s been married. She’s been divorced. She’s been worshipped as a god and lived in squalor as a child. She has a really, really rich backstory and history.

I guess that’s why I always—always—feel like I’m not doing that character justice. There’s so much to play with there and I feel like I’m always falling short.

There’s a storyline that was part of my original pitch for GOLD, which I still haven’t had the opportunity to do yet. But fingers crossed, someday.

X-Men: Gold #20 cover by Ken Lashley

Marvel.com: At the time of the above-mentioned statement, you noted that those moments would be coming for Storm around #20 and #21. Obviously, without spoiling things, what made the Negative Zone War or just the state of the team at this juncture the right time for Storm to really spring to the forefront?

Marc Guggenheim: Without spoiling things, the team ends up on an alien world in #20 [that] has a weather system that she can’t control. That impediment—and the team’s dire circumstances—force her to rely on that inner strength I’ve been talking about rather than her powers. It really becomes up to Ororo to get the team out of their predicament.

Marvel.com: How did artist Lan Medina help you to realize your vision of an X-Team that has achieved victory but might have expended everything they had left in their tank to do so?

Marc Guggenheim: Simply put: Wide shots. Lan did a great job at very key moments of keeping “the camera” really wide so that we’re constantly selling the scope of this alien world.  For the story to work—for the stakes to maintain—the planet which is trying to kill the X-Men has to be wide and vast and without any resources [the Gold team] can use to their advantage.  The look of the planet is critical to the story I was telling and Lan pulls it off wonderfully.

Marvel.com: To focus on the wider team, the plot description implies their victory maybe a Pyrrhic one. Given what they have gone through as of late and the brutality of this latest storyline, where are they looking for strength? Who or what might give them the mental and physical last push to “survive” their win in the Negative Zone?

Marc Guggenheim: One of my all-time favorite X-Men stories—believe it or not—was X-MEN UNLIMITED #1, written by Scott Lobdell. I wanted to place the X-Men in a similar position, where the plot is brutally simplistic: survive. The result is one of my favorite issues of GOLD so far—but, like I said, I leave it up to the readers to decide.

Marc Guggenheim and Lan Medina’s X-MEN: GOLD #20 storms your way on January 17!

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Marc Guggenheim previews a 20th anniversary Excalibur reunion!

Some call Excalibur “the X-Men of Great Britain,” while others just call them “awesome.” Either way, this super hero team will get a special reunion in the X-MEN: GOLD ANNUAL #1!

Writers Marc Guggenheim and Leah Williams join artist Alitha Martinez to re-team Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Prestige, Captain Britain, and Meggan for a face off against a rather unconventional villain. Co-created in 1987 by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis (who provides the cover for this issue), Excalibur makes its triumphant return on January 10!

In anticipation of their coming back together, we spoke with Guggenheim about what makes this super group so memorable.

Marvel.com: What do you think makes Excalibur so unique?

Marc Guggenheim: I’d always seen Excalibur as this really interesting hybrid team born out of, I imagine, Claremont and Davis’ collaborations on UNCANNY X-MEN and CAPTAIN BRITAIN. It seemed almost as if Chris and Alan said to each other, “Hey we’ve worked together on X-MEN and we’ve worked together on CAPTAIN BRITAIN…what about doing a book about both?” In other words, EXCALIBUR exists because of the history of the creators, not out of a need to spin off certain characters or put some characters together with others. To my thinking, this was an extremely unique approach, particularly when you consider that EXCALIBUR premiered back when there weren’t as many X-Men titles as have become the norm. Being one of a very few number of X-titles, EXCALIBUR had a unique position.

Marvel.com: Did you want to explore a certain aspect of the team’s dynamic in this story?

Marc Guggenheim: The “found family” aspect of Excalibur—how these people got thrown together and decided to create their own family dynamic—really spoke to me. And, obviously, it spoke to Leah as well because that element really shines through in her script.

Marvel.com: Knowing how many family reunions go, will there be any bitterness or bickering among the heroes?

Marc Guggenheim: Not really. While I think bitterness or bickering often acts as a component of reunions, it wouldn’t work for Excalibur. It wouldn’t be consistent with the fun, madcap tone that Chris and Alan created.

Marvel.com: Should we expect to run into any classic Excalibur villains?

Marc Guggenheim: Not in this story, no. I really wanted to revisit the character of Starhammer—the D’Bari out for revenge against Rachel Summers who was last seen in UNCANNY X-MEN #135. It’s a super deep cut, but the character has always struck me as more tonally consistent with EXCALIBUR than X-MEN, so he seemed like a natural fit for this.

Marvel.com: In your wildest imagination, where would you want to see the team go after the Annual? 

Marc Guggenheim: Nothing would make me happier than to see Leah Williams relaunch Excalibur into a new series. She totally gets the tone of Excalibur and understands what makes the original series so beloved. And Maggie, the character Leah introduces in the Annual, would make for a pitch-perfect member of the team, in my opinion.

Reunite with Excalibur in Marc Guggenheim, Leah Williams, and Alitha Martinez’s X-MEN: GOLD ANNUAL #1 on January 10!

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Marc Guggenheim leads the mutants in the fine art of fighting a god!

Some days feel harder than others. You know the ones. You miss your bus. You forgot your lunch. You lose your credit card. You have to fight a god. The usual garden variety bad day.

What? Oh…the last one seems unusual to you? While that stands to reason. Not everyone lives the kind of lives the X-Men do. For them, that situation becomes very real on January 3 in X-MEN: GOLD #19 as the team must battle a deity in the Negative Zone.

We found writer Marc Guggenheim researching alien theology and he kindly gave us some of his time to talk the X-Men’s very bad, no good, horrible deity-battling day.

Marvel.com: By X-MEN: GOLD #19, the team has now been in the Negative Zone for three issues. How, simply put, are they doing? How are they handling the environment, being away from home, and the grind of ongoing conflict?

Marc Guggenheim: Some are faring better than others. Everyone gets kicked around pretty badly in this issue, but I’d say Kurt and Logan are definitely taking the brunt of it. Kurt is in dire straits after the end of #17 and Logan, well, he’s not as young as he used to be. Oh, and the X-Men are fighting a god—so nothing is easy.

Marvel.com: Yes, right. About that god…what can you tell us, without getting too deep into spoilers, about this antagonist?

Marc Guggenheim: The guy’s name is Scythian. He is an “old god of the ancient texts” of the planet the X-Men find themselves on, which is called Dartayus. For the moment, he’s a figure shrouded in mystery. He doesn’t have any dialogue in this issue—and that’s by design. I wanted to keep him as inscrutable and mysterious a figure as possible because, well, that’s generally how deities roll.

Marvel.com: We discussed previously, when we talked about issue #16, how various artists helped craft aspects of the story. How did the look of this god figure come together and how does Lan Medina realize it on the page?

Marc Guggenheim: Scythian was designed by Ken Lashley, but I really think that Lan did a remarkable job of bringing him to life, so to speak. There are some huge panels in this issue depicting Scythian in all his horrific glory and Lan just knocked them out of the park.

X-Men: Gold #19 cover by Ken Lashley

Marvel.com: Widening the focus on the artist, how does he handle the alien world of the Negative Zone and the X-Men’s new temporary appearances via their specialized suits?

Marc Guggenheim: Everything looks great. Lan’s pulled together the artistic visions of a multitude of artists into—what is, to my eye—a seamless whole. I’m really looking forward to when these issues are collected in a single trade. I don’t think you’ll feel all the artist changes—we’re telling one cohesive story.

Marvel.com: With what we discussed in the first question above and this new incredibly powerful antagonist, where do the X-Men find the reserves of strength—physical, emotional, psychological—to not only press on, but to take their efforts to the next level? Where do they find the ability to challenge a god?

Marc Guggenheim: I wanted to place the X-Men in a situation that they couldn’t just punch their way out of. Scythian is far too powerful for the X-Men to just take down by force. They have to use their wits and Kitty comes up with a plan that, I think, is not only unexpected—un-X-pected?—but that also requires the X-Men to work in concert with each other, utilizing their specific skills.

Marvel.com: Once again, when we discussed this arc a month or so ago, one of the things that you were excited about was taking the X-Men to a place they haven’t really been before. Now looking at them in this space for the past three issues, how does it feel to realize that goal? How much has the storyline met or exceeded your expectations?

Marc Guggenheim: Every project I write has elements that exceed my expectations, but also many which fall well short of them. Every project. That’s just the nature of the beast. I don’t think there’s anything I’ve ever written, in any medium, that didn’t have a few things—sometimes, many things—I wish I could go back and change.

That said, I’ve been very pleased with the work done by Ken and Lan and the rest of the art team and I’m very excited about how the end of #19 sets us up for #20, which is not only something of a “departure” issue, but also ends with a real game-changer moment that sets up things for at least the next 10 issues of GOLD.

Cheer on the team in X-MEN: GOLD #19 on January 3 from Marc Guggenheim and Lan Medina!

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Marc Guggenheim teases more about the Gold team’s off-planet trip!

November 22 brings the beginning of a new story arc for Kitty Pryde’s team as X-MEN: GOLD #16, from writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Ken Lashley, will have them make their way into a piece of Fantastic Four mythology, The Negative Zone! A few weeks later, X-MEN: GOLD #17 will further this new adventure, as the team travels to a mysterious new planet called Dartayus.

We caught up with Marc to talk about how this arc changes things for the Gold team and why sending the X-Men into space is so much fun!

Marvel.com: You’ve said before that “The Dartayus Odyssey” is your attempt to do a great “X-Men In Space” story. The core themes of the mutant mythology is rooted in the exploration of otherness, so why do you think the franchise has always done so well at these space opera excursions?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, I think I said I wanted to do an “X-Men In Space” story. I don’t know if it will be “great.” I certainly hope it will be. As for why space-set stories work so well for the X-Men, I’m not entirely convinced it has to do with the exploration of otherness simply because those themes haven’t historically been explored in the space journeys that the X-Men have gone on. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I’m thinking about the Brood Saga, The M’Kraan Crystal Story, The Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire, etc.

For my money, the reason space is such a great venue for X-Men stories is because exploration is an element of the X-Men franchise.

Marvel.com: Were there any big touchstones in the genre that inspired the direction for this arc?

Marc Guggenheim: World-building was key. I was inspired by “Dune” in that regard. I wanted the planet, the people and — most importantly — their belief systems to be as well-realized as they were in “Dune” (the movie — I confess to never having read the novels).

Marvel.com: How does X-MEN: GOLD #17 escalate things within the arc?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, X-MEN: GOLD #17 sees the X-Men arriving in the Negative Zone on the planet Dartayus, so it’s a pretty big escalation. We also learn what’s happened to Kitty and Kurt in the wake of the events of X-MEN: GOLD #16. And #17 ends with a fairly dire cliffhanger moment for Kurt.

Marvel.com: How would you say being in these foreign environs affects the different members of the team? Who adapts the best? The worst?

Marc Guggenheim: There’s an argument to be made that Kurt gets the worst of it, given the end of Issue 17. But in Issue 18, we’ll be revealing — spoiler alert — that Ink has gotten himself some new tattoos — which, for him, means new powers — in preparation for the trip and the reveal of those is a hoot.

Marvel.com: You mentioned before how Annihulus and Blastaar don’t appear in The Negative Zone in this arc, but are there other non-X-Men villains from other corners of the Marvel Universe you’d love to set the team up against?

Marc Guggenheim: Oh yeah. One of my favorite X-Men stories was when they fought Doctor Doom. I love whenever the X-Men can face antagonists who aren’t mutants or in their normal canon. I just think that’s fun.

Marvel.com: Ken Lashley is such an incredible artist. Can you tease the most insane thing you’ve asked him to draw in this story?

Marc Guggenheim: Probably the last page of Issue 17. It’s a crazy splash page involving Kurt and he just nailed it.

Marvel.com: If you could give the readers one word to sum up why they should check this story out, what would it be?

Marc Guggenheim: This story has big, operatic, widescreen action, but we’re building to some very significant character moments in this arc — particularly for Kitty and Peter. There are also some developments for Rachel and Logan in this arc which lay the groundwork for two game-changers to their characters in issue #21.

“The Dartayus Odyssey”, from Marc Guggenheim & Ken Lashley, begins November 22 in X-MEN: GOLD #16 then continues on December 6 in X-MEN: GOLD #17!

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Marc Guggenheim sends the squad on a trip to the Negative Zone!

No rest for the weary—on November 22, “The Negative Zone War” starts to simmer.

Having teamed up with their Blue counterparts to take on all comers in the “Mojo Worldwide” storyline, the groups parted ways again—and now the Gold faction of mutants have started gearing up for a perilous journey to the planet Dartayus. Next month, writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Lan Medina prepare to send the crew to the infamous Negative Zone in X-MEN: GOLD #16!

We spoke with Guggenheim about the long road ahead.

Marvel.com: What drew you to the Negative Zone as the setting for this story?

Marc Guggenheim: You know, back when I first started breaking out X-MEN: GOLD, I knew I wanted to do a story that evoked the great “X-Men in Space” stories that I grew up reading and loving. I loved the “Brood Saga” and “Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire,” and I definitely wanted to do one of those stories.

At the same time, no one can top those stories, so as I started to think about other space-like venues, the Negative Zone occurred to me, just as something that makes things a little different. I’m a big FANTASTIC FOUR fan—and a big fan of the Negative Zone—and I just thought, “Oh, I’ve never seen that before. That might be interesting.”

That said, we do go to the Negative Zone but we do not meet the normal denizens of it. Annihulus and Blastaar do not appear in this particular arc.

But it feels like an interesting environment, the planet of Dartayus. It actually got its name from one of the visual effects artists that I work with on a television show that I produce.

Marvel.com: Ha! How’d that happen?

Marc Guggenheim: I always review the visual effects. I get the visual effects basically as separate shots and each shot has a title card and it indicates the name of the artist. I saw Dartayus and I thought, “There’s no way that’s a real name.” But, real or not, I thought, “I have to steal this for something.”

So thank you Dartayus, I really appreciate being able to use your name.

We get a chance to introduce the readers and the X-Men to a brand new planet, a brand new culture. I love to play with all the toys in the toy box, but at the same time I like to occasionally add some toys of my own.

In the case of Dartayus, we actually got a glimpse of it in X-MEN: GOLD #12. In that issue, we see the events from the perspective of Kologoth, this mutant who comes from planet Dartayus. In fact, if everything goes as planned, issue #12 will be published in the same trade paperback as issues #16 through #20, which constitute the whole of “The Negative Zone War.”

Marvel.com: Working with the artist Len Medina, how did you realize the look of the Zone and the planet? How does it look similar to, or different from, the Negative Zone we’ve seen before?

Marc Guggenheim: I have to say, the Dartayians came from four different artists. Adrian Syaf designed Kologoth. Luke Ross, the artist for issue #12, came up with the look of the Dartayian military and a lot of the iconography of the populace. Lan Medina designed their ships. Ken Lashley, finally, crafted a character who acts as basically a god of Dartayus, called Scythian. It became a real labor of love for four separate artists, all contributing different elements to the design of this whole Dartayian world.

It feels really cool—if it takes a village to raise a kid, it takes four artists to create a planet.

Marvel.com: You mentioned Ken Lashley—he illustrated the cover for issue #16, which shows some great new uniforms. Did Ken create them himself? Did you two collaborate on that?

Marc Guggenheim: It came about out of a couple of different things.

Editor Mark Paniccia had planted a seed in my head that maybe at some point all the Gold members get the same costume; we go back to the original X-Men uniform conceit. It ended up falling away for a variety of different reasons but it always sort of stuck with me.

This happens in issue #17—in true comic book fashion, you get a glimpse of the new costumes on the cover before you see them in continuity—when the X-Men go to the Negative Zone. When they go to Dartayus, the seed that Mark planted sprouted in my head as this notion of, “You know, it could be interesting if they had these special uniforms to function in the Negative Zone.”

So with that idea in mind, we handed it over to Ken who, in great Ken Lashley fashion, came up with a wonderful design that feels new and iconic, but not overwrought. I am very partial to clean, gimmick-less costume concepts and I thought Ken came up with something really, really cool.

Then, colorist Frank Martin developed a color scheme that, again, felt very timeless and original. That red looks really stark; it’s not really a color that you usually associate with the X-Men, so that feels really cool.

It was also, quite frankly, a really sneaky way to get Old Man Logan into a costume.

Marvel.com: So most of issue #16 takes place on Earth before they head to Dartayus.

Marc Guggenheim: Yes, X-MEN: GOLD #16 takes place all on Earth and then in #17 we go to the Negative Zone—spoiler alert.

Marvel.com: This book will also deal with the Mutant Deportation Act, which has been a story element for a few issues now. Given that the X-Men have always reflected and commented on the real world, did you aim for that effect with this facet of the series?

Marc Guggenheim: You know, I’ll be honest, there’s this sort of undercurrent of fan reaction—not just limited to comics, I see this in television all the time—of “Don’t get into politics, I just want to be entertained,” or “Don’t have your stories reflect what’s going on in the world, we just want to be entertained.”

I have a fundamental problem with that. In large part because I came of age in a time when television shows dealt with the issues of the day and comic books, quite frankly, dealt with the issues of the day. As a young kid, that’s how I learned about that stuff. I didn’t read the New York Times; I read UNCANNY X-MEN. I think some of the stories that Chris Claremont wrote dealing with racism—not just in Uncanny, but also in NEW MUTANTS—were profound. They really helped shape my thoughts on the subject. I kind of feel like when someone says, “We just want to be entertained. Keep real life events out of your work, out of anyone’s work,” that’s really lowering the discourse.

If I do my job correctly, the people that want to be solely entertained will be entertained. I’m not getting on any sort of soapbox in my writing. Theoretically, the politics should be like the adult humor in Pixar films—if you’re an adult, you get the reference. That’s an extra layer—that goes right over a kid’s head, but they still enjoy the movie.

I will say—that being said—on one page in issue #16, Kitty confronts Lydia Nance, who, throughout the book, has been, basically, an anti-mutant bigot. I’ll be paraphrasing my own writing here, but Kitty says, “Can you just clear something up for me? It is all I can do just to get up in the morning and go about my day and live my life. I don’t understand how people can find the time, quite frankly, to be bigoted. To find the emotional energy to be bigoted. Isn’t just living your life enough without getting into how everyone else lives their lives? Or who they are? Or how they were born? Don’t you have bigger things in your own insular life to deal with?”

I was basically speaking for myself through Kitty, but I don’t think that would be a particularly divisive or even revelatory point of view. I think, at the end of the day, you are right: no matter what era, the X-Men have always been about divisiveness versus inclusion. I think if you do an X-MEN book without that, it’s like doing a FANTASTIC FOUR book without the wonder. Or a SPIDER-MAN book without the humor. You’d lose a critical element of what makes the X-Men the X-Men.

Marvel.com: Any closing thoughts to leave readers with?

Marc Guggenheim: I have to say, I’m really excited about #16. It became one of those issues that felt like, for me, everything came together as a writer.

I think one of the challenges you face as a writer can be balancing—in 20 pages—subplots and character development and action. I just felt very pleased. I hate interviews where the writer just pats themselves on the back, but this issue felt like everything just came together from a writing perspective.

Then Lan came in and I just felt like he leveled up his art. It already looked really, really good, but some pages in issue #16 are simply stunning. One of the nice things about having rotating artists on X-MEN: GOLD has been that, despite the rotation, these artists are not doing their first issue; they’ve been doing the books for a little while now. Lan has been a great example of someone who drew on X-MEN: GOLD before, then came back in and just seems like, “Oh yeah, I got this.”

Prepare to return to the Negative Zone with X-MEN: GOLD #16, by Marc Guggenheim and artist Lan Medina, on November 22!

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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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