Uncanny X-Men scribe Kieron Gillen tells us what makes his mutant squad different

Illustration for article titled Uncanny X-Men scribe Kieron Gillen tells us what makes his mutant squad different

At the New York Comic Con, we had the pleasure of a quick chat with writer Kieron Gillen, who will penning the renumbered first issue of Uncanny X-Men next month.


In Gillen's run on this book, Cyclops' new team of X-Men confronts a mysterious threat from Mr. Sinister. They'll be operating without the help of Wolverine and other mutants, who have returned to Westchester County to found the Jean Grey School for the Gifted.

During your run on Uncanny X-Men, Colossus assumed the mantle of the Juggernaut to fight off the actual Juggernaut, who's been possessed by a malevolent Asgardian god. What drove you to corrupt the X-Men's quintessential nice guy?

Part of it was that I wanted to do a Juggernaut story. I wanted to boil it down to this big, AC/DC high concept: "Here's the Juggernaut, he's unstoppable. Literally." And at the end of the story, I wanted to take away the Juggernaut's powers and give them to somebody else. But the questions were "Who?" and "How?"

I was playing with this idea, and I thought of Colossus. He's all about self-sacrifice. I started thinking about the concept I wanted to do. He'll have some real questions about why he let himself be taken over by this demonic entity. It also allows me to illuminate his relationship with [his sister] Magik. It's something like "Demonics Anonymous." She knows what it's like to be through a soul-wrecking experience, and she'll help him through it as well.

Next month, Uncanny restarts with stories about Cyclops' team, and Jason Aaron kicks off Wolverine and the X-Men. Have you guys been spitballing scripts back and forth?

Basically, me, Jason, and Rick Remender knew the basic directions we wanted to go our to books to go. When they come out, they'll be so different. Jason has the school, with Uncanny X-Men, there's a more of crossover with Uncanny X-Force. The books run parallel, but it's tabula rasa. It starts off with an Indiana Jones kind of thing and is even a bit like a BBC nature documentary, seeing these characters in a new environment and dealing with the quirks.

Illustration for article titled Uncanny X-Men scribe Kieron Gillen tells us what makes his mutant squad different

Did you and Jason run a draft divvying up which X-Men you wanted?

We were quite gentlemenly about it. We knew what we wanted. The fact that the books have such different concepts made the selection quite natural. I think he expressed interest in Storm, and I said, "Oh, I want Storm for this reason." And he's like, "Ah, that makes sense." I expressed interest in Gambit, but he made more sense going the other way.


You and your Phonogram collaborator Jamie McKelvie are both doing work with Marvel. Any chance of seeing Phonogram continue at Marvel/Icon or possibly you two teaming up on another project?

Not now, but I would be very surprised if Jamie and I never worked again in our lives. I don't think Phonogram would work at Icon because it's that kind of project that — I wouldn't say legally iffy — but we use so many bands' names that I think a major corporation might have trouble with us doing that, while Image is a bit more punk rock. But there are no plans to do Phonogram for practical reasons I've mentioned time and time over.



How does that... shirt? even work?