X-treme Aftershow with Greg Pak (With EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW)A comics interview article by: Steve Morris
X-Treme X-Men #1, by Greg Pak and Steven Segovia, saw a lot of things happen. For one, Dazzler jumped into another dimension and found herself fighting a giant squid monster. But that was just the tip of the sparkly rhinestone disco ball, you guys. So much else was going on in this issue that we simply had to sit down with Greg Pak and ask him a few questions about it, and just what was going on here. Read on to find out about ambiguously evil floating heads, the X-Men’s interest in other dimensions, and Dazzler’s favourite ice-cream flavor!
Plus, EXCLUSIVE preview pages for issue #2!
Steve Morris for Comics Bulletin: We start off in an alternate world, introduced straightaway to the concept of the series. Was this deliberately to show the difference between the team pre-Dazzler and post-Dazzler? How do you think she complicates/aids things for them?
Greg Pak: My editor, Jeanine Schaefer, made the excellent suggestion that led to that opening scene. Originally, I started the script with Dazzler on the street (or, more accurately, the Dazzler impersonator on the street), the scene that now starts on page 4. And that's a great way to intro readers to the glory that is Dazzler. But when you're dealing with big, crazy ideas and have a slew of alterna-X-Men to introduce, a few evocative pages at the beginning made sense. It's a bit like a movie that opens with mysterious and dangerous goings-on on the other side of the world, then cuts to our hero struggling with a mundane problem back at home just before being thrust into adventure.
So yes, the opening scene lets us briefly meet our alterna-X-Men. And then we get to know them a bit better when Dazzler hits the scene and they react to her in their different ways.
You asked how Dazzler complicates things for them... well, we'll see how a man's man like Howlett reacts to a female leader. We'll see how Emmeline reacts to teaming up with someone for whom she clearly has loads of class-based contempt. And Kid Kurt... may have a new best friend!
CB: Which leads us into the introduction for Dazzler, on a date with her new beau, Johnny. They go for ice-cream together. What kind of ice cream does Dazzler buy in this scene?
Pak: Strawberry sherbet. But Johnny pays. He's classy like that.
CB: She wanders into Utopia, acting kinda drunk and sassy (did she pop some rum in that ice-cream?). Here the X-Men are trying to figure out the 'Ghost Box' from your run on Astonishing, which opens portals to other worlds. When reading this felt like the core of the issue. Everything spins around or works up to this scene. When you're structuring a book - especially a first issue which has to introduce everything to new readers - where do you even begin? Do you find a core scene like this, and build around it?
Pak: It's always a challenge, particularly with stories that come out of previous stories. In this one issue, my jobs included 1) introducing and making us care about Dazzler, 2) introducing and making us care about the alterna-X-Men, 3) transitioning us from the previous storyline from "Astonishing X-Men"), 4) explaining the crazy concept of the multiverse, 5) launching Dazzler into this adventure, and 6) setting up the big mission that will drive the series.
So the scene on Utopia does important, plot-related work of 3) and 5) -- it's where Dazzler takes the big plunge and our story really begins. But what really matters is the work it does for 1), helping us understand and hopefully fall in love a little with Dazzler. I think the scene clicked for me when I realized Dazzler would have something to prove. As the scene begins, Cyclops doesn't understand why she's even needed here. She shrugs it off with a little jokey cockiness followed by a little jokey self-deprecation. But then when it really matters, she steps up and fights, because she's a straight-up hero. And that's how she ends up jumping through that portal. To me, that all felt just right -- a fun way to introduce a self-aware survivor -- but also give us a glimpse of her true mettle and potential.
CB: Once Dazzler jumps across dimensions, it's finally revealed that the multiverse is in some kind of peril, due to numerous evil Xaviers. Including an adorable squid one! Is "stopping the evil Xaviers" going to be the central mission statement for the team, from now on?
Pak: Yep. X-Treme X-ing out of Xaviers. But there's plenty of room for conflict and suspense over exactly who we should be trusting here. Do YOU trust the Head in the Bottle?
CB: The very last page gives us Namor, Angel, Storm, Thor, Sabretooth and Iceman as members of Asgard! Namor again refusing to wear armour over his abs. WILL THE SECOND EVIL XAVIER BE ODIN AND HAVE AN EYEPATCH NEXT ISSUE?
Pak: Heee! That would have been awesome. But an even bigger surprise awaits you.
CB: Bonus question: no sign of Sage yet?
Pak: Not yet. Give it time. It's an infinite universe, after all. She's gotta be out there somewhere, right?
Thanks very much to Greg for helping shed a little rainbow-light on the issue. And for the continued teases about Sage! One day she’ll return. One day…
If that’s got you in the mood for more X-Treme X-Men, here’s just the thing – EXCLUSIVE preview pages for X-Treme X-Men #2, out on the 29th of August! Drawn by Steven Segovia, it’s a first look at Dazzler Vs Thor, Storm, Namor, and more!
How are they even going to start dealing with this unstoppable force? I am, of course, speaking about the unending power of Disco. And as if that weren’t EXCLUSIVE enough…. what the devil is going on in this second page?