Marc Guggenheim welcomes back the Ragin’ Cajun by sharing his favorite stories!

Gambit’s back in X-MEN: GOLD #4 on May 17, and you can bet he’s bringing his own brand of Louisiana charm and a little trouble with him. To commemorate this homecoming of x-treme proportions, we spoke with writer Marc Guggenheim to take a look back at three of Remy LeBeau’s greatest stories and what might be in store for him in the upcoming arc.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #266

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #266

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Coming in first we have, rather appropriately, Gambit’s original appearance in UNCANNY X-MEN #266 written by Chris Claremont with art by Mike Collins. “He came onto the stage fully formed and really hijacks the story away from young Storm,” says Guggenheim. This appearance also kicks off Gambit and Storm’s long running relationship, which Guggenheim says he’s happy to get to play off in the new series. What better way to do that then to bring back Remy’s days as a master thief? And while Guggenheim takes a more traditional approach to the Cajun, staying true to the voice he has engrained in his head from years of reading the original comics, he did say he loves a good pun so that might just be in the cards for us, mes amis!

Gambit (1993) #1

Gambit (1993) #1

  • Published: December 01, 1993
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2011
  • Rating: T
What is Marvel Unlimited?
Next we have the Ragin’ Cajun’s original limited series, GAMBIT, written by Howard Mackie with art by Lee Weeks. This marked the first time we see Remy as a stand-alone character and according to Guggenheim, it’s where you realize that he can really hold a spotlight with that down-home twang and devil-may-care attitude. “He’s a slightly more morally compromised Han Solo,” says Guggenheim adding that he believes X-MEN: GOLD #4 artist RB Silva’s style perfectly suits the task of capturing that unburdened and free feel Gambit brings with him. All and all we can expect more of the old school Mardi Gras feel you’ve come to expect from the bayou boy.

X-Men (1991) #24

X-Men (1991) #24

What is Marvel Unlimited?
Finally, any story that ships Gambit and his ‘chere,’ Rogue, as hard as Guggenheim does. “There is just something very pure about being in love with someone you can’t have a physical relationship with,” says the writer. Quick recap: Rogue’s powers allow her to absorb another’s memories, abilities, personality and physical traits through skin-to-skin touch but prolonged contact proves quite harmful to those around her. So despite his borderline narcissistic confidence Gambit’s advances often get met with a stone cold poker face. We have to hand it to the guy though, with all the obstacles standing in their way he sure hangs in there for his ladylove. There must be a real spark between the two.

Be sure to catch all the card-throwing, ego, and Cajun lingo May 17 in the new X-MEN: GOLD #4 by Marc Guggenheim and RB Silva!    

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Writer Marc Guggenheim reveals the roster of the newest Brotherhood!

Before the X-Men can even begin to signal their return to Charles Xavier’s dream, there arises a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants to derail that plan. As the X-MEN GOLD title opens, these sides create the classic tension of the X-Men franchise.

While much of the Brotherhood’s motives and means remain hidden so as to ensure no spoilers, we did our best to pry some information out of writer Marc Guggenheim.

Marvel.com: To start very generally, one of the long debated issues when it comes to the Brotherhood is whether or not they should be the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants or just the Brotherhood of Mutants. Where do you stand on this long-running debate? What makes sense for them? Any insight into why you think about as you do?

Marc Guggenheim: I feel like I may have made a joke in one of the issues with something like, “Calling themselves the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants? They should probably just call themselves the Brotherhood of Self-Aware Mutants.”

In general, evil people don’t tend to self-define as evil, but by the end of the arc you will understand why they call themselves evil. In fact, there is a very specific reason for it. It is not a random thing. All will be revealed.

Marvel.com: What were your guiding principles, as a writer, in building the team?

Marc Guggenheim: I kind of went through a list of all the various rosters that any group with the word “Brotherhood” in the title had. What I was going for was something that felt like it had a classic feel.

For me, my first exposure to the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was the “new Brotherhood” that was introduced in “Days of Future Past.” Unfortunately, two of my favorite characters from that lineup—Avalanche and Pyro—are both dead the Marvel Universe.

Those people who have [read issue #1] of X-MEN GOLD have seen the lineup we are playing with…they are probably feeling like, “wait a second, those guys are dead.”

I was talking about it with [editor] Daniel Ketchum; Daniel shares my affection for those particular characters and we were like, “You know, given the story I am telling with this Brotherhood, there’s way to introduce a new Avalanche and a new Pyro that [have] similar powers and somewhat similar looks to them without wrecking continuity.” There was a way to have a cake and eat it too here, so we put them in the roster and are introducing a new Avalanche and Pyro to the Marvel Universe. Because Daniel and I, at least, were both missing those characters or mutants like them.

Marvel.com: What can you reveal about the other members of the team?

Marc Guggenheim: Let’s see. Well, we have Avalanche and Pyro. We’ve got Magma who is a former New Mutant who, as far as anyone is aware, is not an evil mutant so her inclusion in the group is a bit unexpected. I don’t want to spoil much about what she’s doing there, but given what Dan and I were discussing about the origins of this Brotherhood, we thought it would be fun to include someone who everyone knew but did not necessarily know as this bad guy.

I’ve always had a fondness for Magma. I like her look, I like her power set. She struck me as someone who would be fun in that role.

After Magma we have Cleevus. Cleevus is this really strange alien looking character who, hopefully, no one has seen before because he’s a brand new character who is getting his first appearance in X-MEN GOLD. This character is going to prove to be far more important than it looks like at first blush. He’s hiding some mysteries to him.

Actually with Cleevus I’m laying seeds for some stories that we probably won’t get to for another year or at least another six months. Forgot about that double shipping.

Then there’s Masque for the Morlocks. I included Masque because in this group of evil mutants we’ve got two guys who are new incarnations of previously established characters, a brand new character, we’ve got an established character who’s never been established as a bad guy in Magma. I wanted to round out the group with just one honest-to-god evil mutant who you had seen before being evil.

I’ve always liked Masque. First of all, when I was growing up, I could never tell if Masque was a man or a woman and I liked how the character was written to be gender ambiguous and drawn that way as well. The power is not a very useful power in terms of battle, but it’s very cool visually and creepy as hell. Masque just struck me as really evil.

Mesmero is, essentially, revealed to be the leader of the team.

Marvel.com: What story opportunities did it open up to put Mesmero in a leadership role, an unusual place for him?

Marc Guggenheim: A couple of things.

First of all, I’ve always seen Mesmero as a…well, not a D-list villain but certainly on the C-list and I’m a fan of seeing villains level up as antagonists. I think Mesmero is ripe for an upgrade or a makeover. I think his look could definitely stand to be improved. I think [X-MEN GOLD artist] Ardian [Syaf] did a great job of executing on a couple of general thoughts I had about how [Mesmero’s] look could be upgraded.

Mesmero is cool, as well, insofar as he has a nice long history with the X-Men. He really harkens back to the Bronze, if not the Silver, Age. Having a character with that long a history with the X-Men I thought was pretty cool.

It made sense because this was a character who wasn’t living up to his potential. He could be more of a leader than we’d previously seen. He could be more powerful; he’s got a pretty significant power set if used properly. A lot of what I thought Mesmero was capable of fit in with my larger plans for the Brotherhood.

X-Men: Gold (2017) #1

X-Men: Gold (2017) #1

Marvel.com: In what ways will fans see that this is different than any other Mesmero they’ve seen before?

Marc Guggenheim: I think he has clarity of purpose and a certain ruthlessness that they’ve never seen before.

Also, he’s keeping a secret; he’s got a secret agenda that I think makes him more dangerous than you’d expect.

Marvel.com: To move back for a moment, how did you and Ardian come up with Cleevus’s design? How much input did you have, how much was the artist just knowing where the character was going and creating his look?

Marc Guggenheim: One of the thing I love about Ardian is his designs—he’s able to perfectly execute what I see in my head despite not a lot of input on my part. In the case of Cleevus, I basically wrote up a description of what I was going for, of what I was trying to evoke, and I think I described him as having a creepiness to him that was similar to the Brood but obviously he’s not Brood, but I like evoking that similar creepiness.

I think you can see how his design evokes that kind of thing. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a character in the X-Men who just really really did not look human at all. That’s really what I was asking Ardian for—a character that did not look the least bit human—and I think he delivered.

Marvel.com: Something you’ve said—referencing an idea you’ve been turning over in your head a lot—is in this modern Marvel Universe why do mutants still get singled out? When they are so many kinds of super powered people what is it about mutants in particular that set them aside? You pointed to the Brotherhood as the kind of group that people point to justify their distrust. They are the negative side that people use.

Marc Guggenheim: That’s right.

Marvel.com: As you have been digging into the book and these characters, how has that helped you clarify that line of questioning? How has that worked in the writing?

Marc Guggenheim: I try to approach the writing—well, as I said, no one thinks of themselves as evil and every villain is the hero of their own story. Terrorists are convinced they are on their version of the side of right.

It was important for me to take that approach to the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants; to have them approach things from the standpoint—as other incarnations of the Brotherhood have—that whether they like it or not humanity and mutants are in a war with each other. In a war there are causalities. In a war, sometimes you do have to do things that are defined as “evil.”

The Brotherhood has always been the terrorist, the militant faction of mutants. And when you are a minority and members of your group engage in an act of terrorism it seems to exacerbate the prejudices against that minority group. That’s what the X-Men must deal with. It’s just about the activities of the Brotherhood but then the optics of how mutants are perceived because of those actions.

Marvel.com: Speaking of the X-Men, how do they view this emergence of a new Brotherhood?

Marc Guggenheim: I think their reaction varies depending on who we are talking about. One of the things I tried to do was not only get the perspective of the X-Men Gold team specifically—they’re very focused on the practical matter of finding out who [the Brotherhood] is, what do they want, how do you stop them—but the students at the school too.

Their reaction is a bit more visceral; their reaction is focused on “what is this going to mean for mutantkind?” They’re watching the television, they’re seeing all the war drums getting beaten and they’re having a fairly natural fearful reaction.

One of the things I wanted to do with this arc was I wanted the X-Men reacting to the activities of this mutant terrorist group, yes, but I wanted what the mutant terrorists are doing to be not as mutant-centric as we have seen in the past. Their targets and their victims are far more human than mutant.

The X-Men are determined to protect the world that hates and fears them so in my mind that means creating stories, writing stories with humans at the center of them, humans that will suffer or be in jeopardy, as a result of the activities of the bad guys.

Marvel.com: If you could point fans to one member of the Brotherhood they should definitely keep an eye on, who would it be?

Marc Guggenheim: I will say…well, the consequences of this arc and this encounter are probably going to impact Magma the most. It is something she will be feeling the repercussions of even after the end of this first arc.

I would definitely keep your eye on Mesmero though. He’s probably the most intriguing character especially since he’s got some tricks up his sleeves that no one else in the Brotherhood knows about.

You can pick up X-MEN GOLD #1 by Marc Guggenheim and Ardian Syaf available now, and look for issue #2 coming April 19 and issue #3 coming May 3!

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Artist Ardian Syaf opens up about channeling the classics and designing evil mutants!

With INHUMANS VS. X-MEN coming to a stunning conclusion this week, it’s time to look to the future of mutantkind as ResurrXion stands ready to begin. Kicking off with X-MEN PRIME #1 on March 29, a slate of new books will launch including X-MEN GOLD by writer Marc Guggenheim and Ardian Syaf.

Along with a new vision for the franchise comes a fresh take on many of the costumes, which Syaf handled while working on GOLD. The creative went classic-but-updated when it comes to the team consisting of Kitty Pryde, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, Old Man Logan, and Prestige, the newly-renamed Rachel Grey.

We talked with Syaf about taking these characters back to the old school, coming up with Prestige’s gear and mixing old and new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants members.

Marvel.com: How excited were you when you heard that Marvel not only wanted you to draw X-MEN GOLD, but also re-imagine so many classic costumes?

Ardian Syaf: It’s like a dream come true. It’s X-Men; every artist dreams of drawing it, I am sure. Actually I didn’t have much challenge about the costumes. Marc has a clear vision about them. He prefers we bring back classic costumes, which I love. Not much need to change.

Marvel.com: Of the bunch, Rachel Grey looks like she’s gone through the most visual changes. What can you say about her new look?

Ardian Syaf: Yes, Rachel Grey has a brand new costume. Marc asked that her new look shouldn’t relate with her previous one. The editors gave me very much help in the process.

Marvel.com: This first arc pits the X-Men Gold team against a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. How was it dreaming up that group and their overall design?

Ardian Syaf: I searched and found many designs before. I just took their unique elements and applied to the new version.

Marvel.com: How has it been working with Marc so far?

Ardian Syaf: Working with Marc is so nice, and makes me proud, because he’s [a] big name. The writing is very easy to understand for the artist. Marc gave emotions and mood in the scripts.

X-MEN GOLD #1, by Marc Guggenheim and Ardian Syaf, arrives on April 5!

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Marc Guggenheim provides a guide to his squad of mighty mutants!

Staying gold has never been a problem for the X-Men, but then no iteration of the team ever had to survive a titanic tussle with the Inhumans, as chronicled in IvX. Once past the conflict, the mutant community must reorganize and X-MEN GOLD will tell of one group to emerge from the tumult.

While the X-Men Gold squad will feature many a familiar face, readers should not expect them to be exactly as they remember. Writer Marc Guggenheim took a moment from putting gold in his chain, in his rings, to reveal the state of the lineup as the title launches on April 5.

KITTY PRYDE
“The new leader of the X-Men,” Guggenheim states. “The thing about Kitty is she has returned to the school like as a head teacher but never as the leader of the X-Men. So, in many ways, this is the story of the young recruit who goes on to become the general.

“She’s got a lot of good qualities to be the leader. She’s learned a whole lot by basically spending her entire life as an X-Man. I’ve enjoyed writing leadership Kitty enormously.”

OLD MAN LOGAN
“I’ve written Logan before,” points out the writer. “I love writing him; I love his voice. This is the ‘Old Man’ iteration so my goal with him is to make him even more crotchety and gruff. That’s been a real blast.”

NIGHTCRAWLER
“Nightcrawler, to me, is the heart and soul of the team,” asserts Guggenheim. “He’s the team’s conscience in many ways. I think he’s the one many look to for that moral clarity.”

COLOSSUS
“Peter is morally clear, I think, in a slightly different way,” the writer argues. “He’s less complicated than a lot of people. He tends to be the strong, silent type, but beneath that steely exterior beats the heart of a poet.

“That’s the thing that Kitty is attracted to, that Kitty is in love with. That’s not to say that he and Kitty are going to get back together, but I’m definitely enjoying playing their attraction to each other, their chemistry, their romantic history.”

STORM
“Without spoiling IvX, Storm probably has the most to atone for,” reveals Guggenheim. “She was the wartime consigliere, she was the one who led the X-Men into the fight and the consequences of that conflict really weigh on her. She basically is punishing herself for doing the thing that she believes made the state of mutant-human relations worse.”

PRESTIGE
“The codename change is really meant to encapsulate the approach I am taking to Rachel [Grey],” Guggenheim explains. “Pretty much for her history, she has been written as a legacy character. I am very interested in approaching the writing of her from the standpoint of ‘if we don’t lean into her past but rather lean into her future, what kind of stories can we tell?’

“I think it is interesting to explore a character who is trying to forge their own identity out of the shadow of their history.”

Go for X-MEN GOLD #1 by Marc Guggenheim and Ardian Syaf, headed your way on April 5!

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