'Fall of X' Declassified: Editor Jordan D. White on 'Immortal X-Men' #14 & Beyond
'X-Men' editor Jordan D. White breaks down the events of 'Immortal X-Men' #14 and teases what's ahead for mutantkind during 'Fall of X.'
The FALL OF X has arrived, and perhaps no one has fallen so far as Charles Xavier. When Orchis attacked this year's Hellfire Gala, Doctor Stasis revealed that the anti-mutant organization had tainted Krakoa's medicine—and threatened to flip the "kill switch" he had planted within innocent civilians if Xavier didn't order all of mutantkind off Earth. In an effort to save lives, Xavier telepathically forced mutants across the world to step through corrupted Krakoan gates, only to discover a terrible truth: he could no longer reach any of them. Believing them all to be dead, he begged Rogue to avenge Krakoa, and then isolated himself on the empty island in penance for what he'd done.
In the wake of this devastating attack, Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck's IMMORTAL X-MEN (2022) #14 picks up with a few key mutants who survived this so-called "mutant massacre": Xavier himself, Sebastian Shaw, and—in a surprising turn of events—Exodus and the rest of the Krakoan exiles. Speaking to Marvel.com, X-MEN editor Jordan D. White recalled the sheer amount of planning that went into FALL OF X. He broke down several key moments from the issue, from Xavier's absolute low point to Shaw's shaky alliances to Exodus' renewed faith, as well as his favorite scenes. He also teased the importance of "nowhere, no-when" to the future of mutantkind, what's to come from the other titles in the FALL OF X line, and so much more.
MARVEL.COM: This year's Hellfire Gala obviously has huge ramifications for mutantkind and the Marvel Universe at large. How did you even begin to chart the next steps from there? Can you walk us through the decision-making process about which books picked up which pieces?
JORDAN D. WHITE: Oh man—we've been planning this for SO LONG. This absolutely dates back to well before IMMORTAL X-MEN #1 or INFERNO came out or any of that—we've known about this for ages, so it's been mostly a matter of just figuring out the best books and plot threads we can possibly pick up and blow things out in the biggest way possible.
There are a bunch of ideas we had that didn't make the cut—who knows, perhaps we can talk about them in the future, but for now giving them away would pull the curtain back and spoil some of what we DID end up doing. But yeah—the seeds have been sewn for this reaping for quite some time… as have the seeds of where things go next.
MARVEL.COM: In IMMORTAL X-MEN #14, we follow three storylines that are woven together by the characters' (former) involvement with the Quiet Council. What made this the right book to explore the fallout for Charles Xavier, Sebastian Shaw, and Exodus' exiles in particular?
JORDAN D. WHITE: Well, they were all already main cast members of the IMMORTAL X-MEN series, so I think it makes a LOT of sense. Kieron Gillen, who writes IMMORTAL X-MEN for us, has been writing about the Quiet Council of Krakoa and their efforts to steer this nation they made… and all three of these stories pick up directly from that.
Xavier, wallowing in the failure of his efforts to lead. Shaw, attempting to reap the spoils of his efforts on and undermining the council. And Exodus literally now steering what remains of the nation of Krakoa through this desert in which they find themselves. It's very much about what becomes of Krakoa because of the Council's decisions and whether Krakoa can endure this.
MARVEL.COM: Tell me a little about working with Kieron Gillen and Lucas Werneck on this issue.
JORDAN D. WHITE: Kieron and Lucas are both so wonderful. Kieron is a master of these complex social structures and interactions, so for him to take on a group with such wonderfully broken dynamics as the Council is a real treat for all who read it. Meanwhile, Lucas draws some of the most beautiful men and women in all of comics, and he absolutely elevates every character to the god-like status the IMMORTAL title implies. DAMN, and they gorgeous.
MARVEL.COM: Everyone in this issue has lost something—but this isn't the first, second, or even third time that's happened to these characters over the years. What separates their losses here from what has come before? How does this difference impact them moving forward?
JORDAN D. WHITE: That's the life of a protagonist in an ongoing serial—you're never gonna stop getting thrown back down so you can climb back up again. It's a bit Sisyphean. But seriously, yeah—mutants have been targeted for elimination by humankind many times over the years with varying degrees of intensity. The Gala was a particularly bad one, and when it looked (to Xavier) like he'd really killed hundreds of thousands of mutants… yeah—that is absolutely a low point for him. Thankfully, as of this issue, we know that he is wrong about that. He has yet to find out, though.
MARVEL.COM: Despite their new hardships, Xavier and Exodus emerge with new missions. Why was it important to leave these characters on a more hopeful note?
JORDAN D. WHITE: I am not sure I would say Xavier is hopeful—he is the last line of defense of an island he stands guard over in the name of the near countless dead he feels responsible for. I think, if anything, the sense of purpose is keeping him from pure despair, which we see him in at the top of the issue.
Exodus, on the other hand, has always been a man of faith… and while he is being tested, I think he views that test as proof that his faith is justified.
MARVEL.COM: Perhaps the biggest reveal in this issue comes at the very end, where Exodus, Hope, and Destiny appear in the desert alongside the rest of Krakoa's population. What can you tell us about this mysterious "nowhere, no-when"?
JORDAN D. WHITE: I cannot tell you too much—the series itself is going to tell you more as we go forward. But where they are, why they are there, how they got there… these are all extremely important questions whose answers will be quite important to the fate of mutantkind.
MARVEL.COM: Exodus has always been a man of faith, of course, but how much faith should we—the readers—have in him at this moment?
JORDAN D. WHITE: I think that is a really good question. IS this the moment his entire life has been building to? Or is he a delusional egomaniac whose savior fantasy happens to line up with the circumstances he finds himself in? I think it's up to each individual reader which side they come down on in that regards, and then we can all see what his destiny holds.
MARVEL.COM: Shaw undergoes a huge status quo shift here: not only has he been toppled from his position at the Hellfire Club and lost his wealth, but he also ditched his mutant abilities. Who is he now, without all the trappings that once gave him so much power?
JORDAN D. WHITE: Like Shaw has said, his real power is making millions from pennies. This is a guy who literally set the first million dollars he ever earned on fire to spite his dead father, and then proceeded to make it all back and so much more. He is good at business and also a terrible human being who is willing to turn on anyone and everyone to come out on top. Coincidence? You decide.
But regardless, it should shock no one that Shaw would change sides depending on the way the wind is blowing—he only bets on winners, even if that means betting on both sides and then hiding your losing ticket after the fact.
JORDAN D. WHITE: Shaw and Selene are a fascinating pair because, while they have had their fates thrown together through some common goals a few times, they actually have EXTREMELY different interests, endgames, methods, and attitudes. So it's so fun to watch Kieron play them off one another as they vie for their desires. And of COURSE Lucas draws a Selene who you certainly can believe has been worshipped as a goddess, but who would have thought he would make Shaw look SO damned fine?
Meanwhile… Mother Righteous has wheels within wheels in her plans, and this series is FAR from done with her. She will be back before you know it, and likely not doing or saying what you'd expect.
MARVEL.COM: What is your favorite moment from this issue? Why? Break it down for us!
JORDAN D. WHITE: I would say a tie between the opening and close of the issue. The first page, the shock of the completely broken Xavier with his unkempt beard and whisps of random hair is so jarring. Yes—when we saw him last in the gala, he was on the island in despair, but I don't think any of us would think he would just… sit there and wallow quite as hard as he did. It's like a little smack in the face.
But then likewise, after most of an issue with Xavier mourning the death of all the mutants, to suddenly learn that they are NOT dead but somehow lost in some sort of desert… and then for that scene to build so perfectly to Exodus leading the mutant Exodus across that desert… it nails it perfectly.
MARVEL.COM: Across the FALL OF X, what are you most excited for X-fans to see?
JORDAN D. WHITE: Am I allowed to say "everything"? DARK X-MEN is such an evil little delight, I cannot wait for that series to reveal itself to everyone. UNCANNY SPIDER-MAN is, I know, a bit mysterious to folks… but the direction it's taking is really thrilling and I cannot wait to read more of it. The new MS. MARVEL series is a blast and a half, and I hope X-Fans take a liking to Kamala and Kamala fans enjoy a dip into X. Oh, and things on Arakko have come to a boil—I am looking forward to everyone seeing the outcome of that! And then… there's the next big thing that we have not announced just yet. But soon. Soon.
Behold the fallout from FALL OF X in IMMORTAL X-MEN #14, now on sale!
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