'X of Swords', the first 'Dawn of X' era X-Men crossover, is now well underway, with several more chapters arriving this week – including Marauders #13 from writer Vita Ayala, who joins regular series artists Matteo Lolli and Edgar Delgado for the 'X of Swords' tie-in.
Focusing on Storm, a popular and important mutant who is on the cusp of a major storyline according to X-Men group editor Jordan D. White, Marauders #13 will bring the X-Men closer to their conflict in the Otherworld, in which ten mutants will wield ten magic swords against a mysterious enemy.
Newsarama spoke to Ayala ahead of Marauders #13's October 7 release to discuss not just what's ahead for Storm and her team, but what's coming up in Ayala's long-awaited series Children of the Atom, which launches in the wake of 'X of Swords'.
Newsarama: Vita, you wrote 'X of Swords' chapter five in Marauders #13, which focuses on Storm. What's it been like collaborating with the X-crew for this event?
Vita Ayala: It’s been a blast. The synergy of the X-writers is next level, at all times, and it was kicked into high gear for this event. There is a kind of writer's room style arrangement, which I am super into. We’ve been coordinating on the event for a long time now, and to see how people have been reacting to it is so exciting!
Nrama: In addition to her part in 'X of Swords,' X-Men editor Jordan D. White has been teasing some big developments for Storm. What can you tell us about how Marauders #13 plays into what's ahead for the mutant mistress of the weather?
Ayala: Without getting into spoiler territory, I think that Marauders #13 is both a turning point and a solidifying of purpose for her, spiritually. She has played a lot of roles over the decades, and I think this issue helps her come to an understanding of what she needs to do and be for herself and her people, going forward!
Nrama: You worked with artists Matteo Lolli and Edgar Delgado on Marauders #13 – what was it like collaborating with them on the 'X of Swords' tie-in?
Ayala: I was the guest on a book that they both have much more experience in. It was really great to feel welcomed, but also like I wouldn't be causing any chaos as I figured things out, haha! Matteo especially already had such a good rhythm with the book, that any rough edges I accidentally brought, he smoothed out beautifully. It was a lovely experience!(opens in new tab)
Nrama: Following 'X of Swords,' you're sticking around the X offices for Children of the Atom, which launches in January. How does it feel for this long-awaited series to finally arrive? How has the series evolved in the time since it was announced?
Ayala: I am so excited for it! I have been working on the book for over a year now, falling in love with these kids, and I can't wait for others to get a chance to love them as much as I do!
It has changed some to accommodate the new schedule for sure, but the core of it is the same. I think for me, I wanted to make sure we got to the hard-hitting beats in a timely way, and the change in when it would come out allowed us to rearrange some things to do that in an organic and dynamic way!
Nrama: Though Children of the Atom was announced a little while ago, we don't know much about the characters involved. What can you tell us about the young mutants of Children of the Atom?
Ayala: We wanted to showcase each of the kids, to make sure readers got a chance to know them inside and out, and each issue of the arc gives one of them center stage. The story and what the readers know about the kids builds and builds – whatever you may believe you know about the state of things after the first issue, which is already a big dynamic and fun introduction, you do not have the whole picture!
As individuals, the kids are reflections of the best of what makes X-Men fans a family. They are creative, passionate, and stronger together than apart. I can't wait for folks to meet them!(opens in new tab)
Nrama: You said before you grew up with the X-Men, and so did the characters of Children of the Atom. How does that real world perspective inform the ideals these young mutants will bring to Krakoa?
Ayala: I think a lot of about how ideas about what is immoral or unnatural change from generation to generation, and how they fundamentally effects things like language and world view, and empathy.
What interested me the most about them as we were developing them was the idea that they don't view mutants as intrinsically bad – that they see the X-Men as heroes from the start. Not only does that affect how they see things, but that perspective could change how others – older mutants, who have come to "understand" the world in one way maybe – view it as well.
Nrama: You're working with Bernard Chang on Children of the Atom – and artist with quite a Marvel pedigree. How's it been developing a new team alongside him?
Ayala: So fun! He has a lot of experience with teen superheroes, and that was such a blessing when the design stuff was happening. I made a Pinterest and a detailed character background sheet (down to their fave foods and family relationships), and he took it and ran!
Nrama: As part of the next wave of 'Dawn of X' creators, what can you tell us about what's ahead for the line following 'X of Swords?'
Ayala: What’s ahead I think is both an exploration of how the new normal works – the details, answering of questions we have, etc – as well as more nation-building. The first and second waves have done amazing jobs establishing the status quo and building the foundations, and how it's time to erect the house.
Diving into 'X of Swords?' Here's everything you need to know about the major X-Men crossover.