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X-Men: Gold Travels to the Negative Zone

Marc Guggenheim teases more about the Gold team’s off-planet trip!

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November 22 brings the beginning of a new story arc for Kitty Pryde’s team as X-MEN: GOLD #16, from writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Ken Lashley, will have them make their way into a piece of Fantastic Four mythology, The Negative Zone! A few weeks later, X-MEN: GOLD #17 will further this new adventure, as the team travels to a mysterious new planet called Dartayus.

We caught up with Marc to talk about how this arc changes things for the Gold team and why sending the X-Men into space is so much fun!

Marvel.com: You’ve said before that “The Dartayus Odyssey” is your attempt to do a great “X-Men In Space” story. The core themes of the mutant mythology is rooted in the exploration of otherness, so why do you think the franchise has always done so well at these space opera excursions?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, I think I said I wanted to do an “X-Men In Space” story. I don’t know if it will be “great.” I certainly hope it will be. As for why space-set stories work so well for the X-Men, I’m not entirely convinced it has to do with the exploration of otherness simply because those themes haven’t historically been explored in the space journeys that the X-Men have gone on. I’m sure there are exceptions, but I’m thinking about the Brood Saga, The M’Kraan Crystal Story, The Rise and Fall of the Shi’ar Empire, etc.

For my money, the reason space is such a great venue for X-Men stories is because exploration is an element of the X-Men franchise.

Marvel.com: Were there any big touchstones in the genre that inspired the direction for this arc?

Marc Guggenheim: World-building was key. I was inspired by “Dune” in that regard. I wanted the planet, the people and — most importantly — their belief systems to be as well-realized as they were in “Dune” (the movie — I confess to never having read the novels).

Marvel.com: How does X-MEN: GOLD #17 escalate things within the arc?

Marc Guggenheim: Well, X-MEN: GOLD #17 sees the X-Men arriving in the Negative Zone on the planet Dartayus, so it’s a pretty big escalation. We also learn what’s happened to Kitty and Kurt in the wake of the events of X-MEN: GOLD #16. And #17 ends with a fairly dire cliffhanger moment for Kurt.

Marvel.com: How would you say being in these foreign environs affects the different members of the team? Who adapts the best? The worst?

Marc Guggenheim: There’s an argument to be made that Kurt gets the worst of it, given the end of Issue 17. But in Issue 18, we’ll be revealing — spoiler alert — that Ink has gotten himself some new tattoos — which, for him, means new powers — in preparation for the trip and the reveal of those is a hoot.

Marvel.com: You mentioned before how Annihulus and Blastaar don’t appear in The Negative Zone in this arc, but are there other non-X-Men villains from other corners of the Marvel Universe you’d love to set the team up against?

Marc Guggenheim: Oh yeah. One of my favorite X-Men stories was when they fought Doctor Doom. I love whenever the X-Men can face antagonists who aren’t mutants or in their normal canon. I just think that’s fun.

Marvel.com: Ken Lashley is such an incredible artist. Can you tease the most insane thing you’ve asked him to draw in this story?

Marc Guggenheim: Probably the last page of Issue 17. It’s a crazy splash page involving Kurt and he just nailed it.

Marvel.com: If you could give the readers one word to sum up why they should check this story out, what would it be?

Marc Guggenheim: This story has big, operatic, widescreen action, but we’re building to some very significant character moments in this arc — particularly for Kitty and Peter. There are also some developments for Rachel and Logan in this arc which lay the groundwork for two game-changers to their characters in issue #21.

“The Dartayus Odyssey”, from Marc Guggenheim & Ken Lashley, begins November 22 in X-MEN: GOLD #16 then continues on December 6 in X-MEN: GOLD #17!