Sins of Sinister is about to plunge the X-Men and the rest of the Marvel Universe into its darkest future. During the event, the diabolical Mister Sinister gets what he always wanted, yet it slips from his grasp. The entire Marvel Universe has been remade in Sinister’s image in three series that show readers what the Sinister universe might look like 10, 100, and 1,000 years in the future. One of those series is Night crawlers. turn off Legion of Xwriter Si Spurrier tells the story of the elite assassin team, each a chimera that fuses Nightcrawler’s genes and powers with those of another Marvel character.
ComicBook.com had the opportunity to ask Spurrier about it Night crawlers and how it fits into the Sins of Sinister universe and its continual Legion of X story. Here’s what he told us, accompanied by a preview of Paco Medina’s interior artwork, featuring Jay Davis Ramos colors, from Nightcrawlers #1:
What can tell about who the Nightcrawlers are and what their role is in the world Sins of Sinister is?
They are a group of elite clones, specially created by Mister Sinister as his personal assassins, bodyguards, and general all-around cons.
They are also chimeras. Fusions of two (or more) mutant genotypes into single, viable creatures. Ever since Hickman delved into possible futures in Forces of X we knew that – at some point – Mr. Sinister’s relentless prodding, poking, splitting and general mad science researches would come to fruition in this kind of hybrid. From his perspective, it makes perfect sense when putting together this first generation of Chimera minions to use Nightcrawler as a base. After all, the only thing that would make the world’s deadliest mutants even more deadly is if they had Kurt Wagner’s unparalleled deft teleportation skills.
Default mission: BAMF in, kill anything that moves, BAMF out. To repeat.
In practice, it was a bit more challenging than that for poor old Sinny. Thanks to a few magical kinks in the pipe, Nightcrawler’s genestrain is unavailable to Mr. S’ eager attentions. Every time he tried to use it, it resulted in some painfully grotesque horrors. Which, since he’s him, is actually kind of funny. But also – he was him – quickly became boring.
Only now something has changed. Suddenly the Wagner species is available for him to seriously mess with, and his first set of creations – the Legion of the Night – are still shiny and new as we get into the story.
But there is a problem. They have a mistake. One Sinister couldn’t understand it in a million years.
When I spoke to Kieron Gillen, he described the different eras of Sins of Sinister as being as different genres. How different are the three problems of Night crawlersand how do they work together to tell a story?
The issues certainly all have a very distinct tone and aesthetic. I tend to avoid genre as a descriptor. This is a longer rant, better in a pub, but in my opinion the language of the genre is a really fucking awful technology for taxonomizing or revealing anything about stories. I understand why we use those words – they are easy and limiting and sometimes they are what we have – but still. No.
I prefer to think in terms of the big controlling ideas to distinguish stories, or parts of stories.
For example, the first issue – 10 years in the future – is about the ultimate futility of authoritarianism. The tendency of control to eat itself. It’s about the oh-so-human realization that when the wellies are empty and the dictators run out of ideas, the wild spark of humanity rises to reclaim the light. Friendliness. And big ideas. (The problem is: the latter can get you in trouble. As we shall see…)
The second issue – 100 years in the future – is about identity and meaning. It’s about a group of people who have chained themselves to one Big Idea and are starting to worry that it might be the wrong thing. It’s about parenting and inheritance, and stealing magic shit from the most powerful beings in the universe. It’s about ritual and love. It’s mostly about saying “why?” in power.
The third problem – 1,000 years in the future – is the reign of the ugly idea. The subjugation of identity behind the all-consuming need to belong, to achieve, to walk unthinkingly in the same direction as everyone else. The defeat of individuality. And, if I’ve done my job right… the last glimmer of hope.
If you want references, there are many A hymn to Leibowitz here.
It is essentially the story of a religion that was created and nurtured over the course of 1,000 years – becoming uglier and dumber and more exploitative with every step. To the point that someone says “No”.
For Legion of X readers, how are you Night crawlers fit into that ongoing story?
There are a few threads that reach from one to the next, but part of the trick is playing them in such a way that people who haven’t read Legion of X can still jump in and enjoy ‘crawlers.
I think the three most visible things will be known LoX readers (but neatly introduced to new eyes) are: first, the ongoing magical “monsterization” of mutants, which happens at random and has rendered entire gene tribes useless to Mr. Sinister; second, the involvement of the mysterious figure known as Vox Ignis, who appears to be a flawed Spirit of Vengeance connected to the soul of Sean Cassidy, better known as Banshee; and third… Mother Righteous.
The last one is the big one.
Mother Righteous is a new character that we are just now getting to know Legion of Xbut she seems poised for a big role in it Night crawlers. What can you say about the role she plays?
Ha! Very few. She’s one of my favorite character types: a complicated know-it-all who could be on the side of good or evil at any time or – most likely – both and neither. After all, it’s all about who’s telling the story.
She is much more powerful and much more important than anyone has yet imagined.
(Oh by the way, readers of LoX 10 – which falls just before Night crawlers 1 – come into the story with a tiny amount of insider knowledge, compared to Mother R’s backstory, which will completely rock the internet.)
Sins of Sinister has a unique structure, in that each issue of each of these series is set in a different era, with one artist assigned to each era rather than each series. What are the challenges and opportunities that come with it?
I think that whole thing is such an incredible selling point for this event, and I love to shout about it. Honestly, when we pitched the idea to Jordan, I didn’t think we had any hope of convincing the higher-ups: the logistics are a nightmare. But it made people smirk and sometimes that’s all it takes.
The challenges are exactly what you would expect. Turnaround times become extremely tricky because (for example) the artist of the first 3 issues – which all fall within a month – has to be wrapped much sooner than if he or she were to sign issues that dropped in consecutive months. That front-loading quickly seeps back to the writers: we all had to write things completely out of order so that (e.g.) the third-wave artist could get to work with the first-wave artist at the same time. brain splod? brain splod.
…all of which, given the hilarious level of interconnectedness and recursivity of this event, meant insane amounts of discussion, scrutiny, double-checking, tweaks, retweaking… It was a bit like building a house where every mason on a another level must begin, often before the underlying layer had been laid.
The result, mind you, is glorious. It doesn’t feel too complicated. It moves from one stage to the next, like the best hard sci-fi, galloping between big concepts and small, intimate moments.
Each of the three books has its own voice, each of the three time periods has its own energy, so what you get is a smorgasbord of completely unique individual mosaics that together make up this wild, reckless, funny, sad, silly, serious and completely wonderful story .
It’s the most COMICS!!! thing I’ve ever done.
The Sins of Sinister event kicks off January 25 in Sins of Sinister #1. Nightcrawlers #1 goes on sale February 15.