Marvel's 'Dawn of X' X-Men line is moving toward its first line-wide crossover in 'X of Swords' which puts ten magical blades in the hands of 10 mutant warriors – but one of the next steps on the way to 'X of Swords' is the long-awaited Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1 one-shot from writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Ramón Pérez, which arrives on July 15.
X-Men group editor Jordan D. White spoke with Newsarama about the one-shot, delving into the nature of the five planned Giant-Size X-Men one-shots, the announced 'Dawn of X' titles that haven't arrived yet, and most importantly, Magneto's place on Krakoa and among the X-Men – and how he'll change the world.
Newsarama: Jordan, this Giant-Size X-Men one-shot is Magneto's first big spotlight since 'Dawn of X' started. Why is it important to take this opportunity and get in his head somewhat?
Jordan D. White: Hmm, I guess it's his first BIG spotlight, but he has had some great moments -kicking Orchis's butt in X-Men #1 and returning to Krakoa a hero to children. Making the Cerebro Sword. Subtly helping Psylocke in Fallen Angels. And there are more great moments to come -he is a great character.
But that said, it's all part of Jonathan's huge and ever-growing plan. These Giant-Size one-shots started out as Artist Showcases -and they still are - but as they came together, a story grew between them. Where it might at first seem like there are 5 one-offs, there is actually connective tissue that will grow more apparent as we move through them… and some of the things that happen in these five one-shots will be very relevant to the larger X-story going forward. Magneto is a very important man on Krakoa, and anything he does should be weighed heavily.
Nrama: Magneto is a big part of life on Krakoa as Xavier's trusted ally and a member of the Quiet Council. How does the weight of his previous relationship with the X-Men factor into how he lives life on Krakoa?
White: Their relationship with him is so complicated. He's their first and greatest foe, but he's also been a member of the team itself a number of times. There are places where their ideology fits up perfectly, and places where it is in direct opposition… but sometimes you need to work towards the common goals and worry about where you disagree later. Plus, it's important to ask about that distinction between the X-Men and Krakoa as a country. Certainly not everyone on Krakoa has been an X-Man… not even everyone on the Council has. The X-Men are a vital part of Krakoa, but they are not all of it.
Nrama: This Magneto story has been a long time coming. When you were developing it with Jonathan Hickman, what were the key things you wanted to explore and touch on in this one-shot?
White: This one had a bit more complicated of a road to creation than the other four of these one shots because it actually started life as a Jonathan Hickman & Ben Oliver book. Jon and Ben talked about the sort of story they would want to tell together and that was where the core of the plot was formed. Unfortunately, unforeseen circumstances meant Ben was unable to move forward on the book with us, and we were incredibly fortunate that Ramón Pérez was able to step in and work on it with us.
But here's the thing—these Giant-Sizes were done in the old "Marvel Style" - Jonathan wrote up plots for the issues, going through all the story beats without breaking it down into pages and panels. The artists then get to control the storytelling and how that all unfolds across the pages of the comic, and then Jonathan scripts over the art. So, Ramon was still able to make the book his own because he got to pace it and focus on the things that appealed to him as an artist and storyteller. It’s a real collaboration.
Nrama: The solicitation for the one-shot talks about Magneto's "plan" for the human world. What can you tell us about that?
White: I cannot say too much of course, as that’s gonna be such a big part of the comic… but like I said, it will have lasting effects on the story of Krakoa and the world of humanity.
Nrama: Ramón Pérez is an excellent artist, so there's no wonder why he's drawing a high-profile story like this. What goes into the thought process of choosing an artist for a story of this nature?
White: We were looking for top-notch artists with a mastery of storytelling. Most of the comics we put out at Marvel are produced using the full-script method, with the writer describing what appears in every panel on every page. It used to be the opposite—they call it "Marvel Style" going plot-first because every Marvel book used to be made this way. We really wanted to give the artists on these the opportunity to strut their stuff, and giving them back that control seemed like the best way to do it. But because it's not done as often, we needed to make sure we brought in folks who really had those chops. With Ramón, we were never worried—he is awesome and knows exactly what he is doing.
Nrama: Now nearly a year into the 'Dawn of X' era, what's going on in the X-Men line that you didn't expect? How have things evolved beyond the initial plans?
White: Comics are a constant push and pull of collaboration, so the plans have certainly shifted… but Jonathan is a master planner. He knows that going into it and is able to use that deft touch of leaving enough wiggle room in a plan to let it adjust to circumstances. So details have shifted, but the big picture is still intact. It's hard to overstate how far-reaching the plans are.
Nrama: On that note, can we expect to see more Giant-Size one-shots after the planned Storm and Fantomex issues that are coming up?
White: Right this minute, we've only got these five on the slate, but you never know when we might bring them back. We certainly have a lot of other ideas in the hopper.
Nrama: With 'X of Swords' on the horizon and Marvel picking back up after the industry hiatus, how are plans progressing with some of the other X-Men-centric titles we've been teased on that haven't come out yet such as X-Corp and Moira X?
White: Well, like I said, the plan is very agile and shifts with circumstances. A number of our plans changed between our X-Summit and now based on the hugely shifting circumstances of the world, the industry, our company, and our creators. There are books that were going to happen that are not going to happen now… and books that didn't exist that now will. I don't think it's too crazy to say a global crisis shifted some of our plans.
Nrama: Bottom line, what many people want to know is, what's coming up now that the X-Men line is returning? Things have obviously shifted by necessity – what do readers need to know right now about the X-Men line and how it will continue?
White: 'X of Swords' is bigger and crazier than it was originally and I think folks are going to love it. Some big pieces are put in place in that story that will shape things afterwards. And then, once it wraps up…well, your favorite X-Books will feel the ramifications of those swords clashing… along with maybe a new surprise or two.