By Kiel Phegley
By the time the ladies of X-MEN return to Earth, their series will just be getting fired up.
MS. MARVEL writer G. Willow Wilson steps onto X-MEN in January for a story titled “The Burning World.” Starting in January with issue #23, the four-part arc sends the team into a mystery involving an old villain and some new guest stars.
“I don’t know if this is known, but Willow has an immense love for the X-Men characters,” editor Daniel Ketchum says. “She’s doing an amazing job.”
Wilson’s story begins with a new face to the all-female X-MEN cast: Remy LeBeau.
“Gambit’s got to be in it; I think he’s—in the best way—a really good butt of jokes in an all-female X-MEN comic,” Ketchum laughs. “He’s such a caricature of himself, and there are so many ways he can be really funny. So this starts with Gambit at this kind of Burning Man festival. He’s the one who gets put on the track of this mystery when this giant sinkhole opens in the middle of the desert. Of course he calls in the X-Men and Storm notably because she has this connection to the environment.”
Though the Cajun X-Man won’t be the only guest star arriving in the series.
“There are a couple of cameos from outside the X-Men universe, which I’m really excited about,” Ketchum shares. “Whenever you can do that and broaden the scope of an X-Men story, it makes you feel like you’re not just in your own little pocket. We’re actually living in the same universe as Spider-Man or Captain America.”
As Storm, Psylocke and the rest of the team investigate, the story promises some secrets from the team’s past to bubble up, mostly revolving around the book’s mystery villain.
“I don’t want to give much away, but with the villains we’ll find out there’s much more going on here,” Ketchum teases. “It’s a mystery/suspense story, which is great, but we want the reader to discover clues and try to solve the mystery before the characters do. The villain comes with some twists and turns along the way.”
Wilson’s arc follows the currently running “Exogenous” space saga of X-MEN, and Ketchum says the wide range of adventures for the team stands as part of his plan for the title’s future:
“I took over editing the book from Jeanine Schaefer and Tom Brennan when Brian Wood was writing, and it really was his vision. Brian gave the book a pretty strong direction and voice. When he decided he was going to move on to other projects, I was intimidated by who I’d find to write it because it was so much his baby.
“So I ultimately decided to do a quick run of rotating arcs where creators could come on, tell their X-Men story and then drop the mic. Marc Guggenheim came first and told this awesome space sci-fi epic, of which I just sent the penultimate issue to the printer.”
“The Burning World” provides a good follow up to the sci-fi story, the editor explains:
“When it came to [whom] to go to next, Willow came to mind very quickly. She’s burning it up over on MS. MARVEL. But more than that, I feel she can get into the heads of characters and tell a story on that level in addition to the cool Marvel Universe stuff.”
But beyond crafting a more personal story for the team, Wilson will also chose a different character each issue to provide the point of view for readers.
“She has this wonderful gift for getting into the heads of characters.” says Ketchum. “And since this is the all-female X-Men book, she’ll be spending time with each of those characters in a way that Brian or Marc maybe didn’t get time for. We’ll get into Storm and M—especially M because she’s been with the team for so little time. We’ll get to Psylocke and Rachel Grey so it’ll be really fun.”
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