Trevor -- House of M, was it as much a success as you wanted it to be? What was, in your mind, the best thing that happened with-in the series? Why?
Tom Brevoort -- I think that, for all the online complaining, HOUSE OF M was an extraordinary success for Marvel, in terms of the sales for the book itself and the tie-ins, and in terms of the overall reaction. It was the first large-scale Marvel Universe crossover we’d done in something like five years, and if nothing else, it showed that there were plenty of readers who were interested in coming along on a big adventure.
Trevor -- What are your thoughts on the decimation of Marvel’s mutants? What are your goals in this event?
TB -- This is a question probably better directed towards Mike Marts, who edits most of the X-MEN line—boy, did we screw up his life something fierce! The main goal was to try to restore the uniqueness of mutants, and to make them once again a downtrodden minority. Over the last couple of years, the mutant population in the Marvel Universe skyrocketed, to the point where there was a whole section of Manhattan that was home to virtually nothing but mutants. They were well on their way to becoming a majority, and in the Grant Morrison run on NEW X-MEN, even the avatars of popular culture to some extent. These were interesting elements to explore, but over the long haul rob the X-MEN of some of their metaphorical power—they stand in for anybody who’s ever experienced racism or prejudice, who’s been ostracized because of who or what they are. And that aspect was curtailed by the fact that there were so many mutants in evidence.
Trevor -- Where’s the Scarlet Witch now? Is she depowered? How long can we expect Wanda to stay out of the limelight?
TB -- We see Wanda at the end of HOUSE OF M #8, seemingly living the life of a gypsy peasant somewhere near Wundagore Mountain. Whether or not she’s depowered, and whether or not we’ll see her again at some point are questions for another day.
Trevor -- What was the thought process behind who would remember and who wouldn’t? Why only certain ones? Why do you think the story is better told by the few remembering rather than the entire world recalling?
TB -- Simple answer first: if the entire world remembers HOUSE OF M, then Spider-Man no longer has a secret identity, as he was very publicly Peter Parker in the World of M. And yet, you want Spidey himself to remember, so he has a memory of the idyllic life he lost, and that can be a character point going forward. The same sort of thing applies to other characters as well: Carol Danvers, for example, will make some specific life-changes as a result of her HOM experiences. From the start, we knew we’d end up with only certain people remembering the events of HOM once all was said and done. And so we decided that those who were there at ground zero when Wanda turned the world inside out again would be the ones who remembered what happened, as though they were in the eye of the storm. We went back and forth a number of times as to exactly who would and who would not recall at the end of the day, trying to keep that list as short as possible, just to make it simpler all around.
Trevor -- It’s been stated that the Illuminati will play an important role in the next events that Marvel has planned, just as they played a role in the Sentry’s recent arc. Will they have a role in the decimation event and if so what?
TB -- Not in the Decimation event—which is less a storyline and more a tapestry playing out across multiple titles—but they’ll certainly play a pivotal role in setting up the next major event in the Marvel Universe, the series we’re currently referring to only as “Project X”. There’ll be a NEW AVENGERS ILLUMINATI special on sale in March, by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev, which will serve as the bridge between HOUSE OF M and “Project X”.
Trevor -- Why was certain characters picked during the House of M to shine while others were not and what was the thought process behind the choosing?
TB -- It was all about the story Brian wanted to tell, and then which other creators wanted to take advantage of what was going on to tell stories of their own. We didn’t start out with a specific laundry list of characters to spotlight—that grew organically as Brian developed the storyline moving forward.
Trevor -- The Pulse Newsletter was something that I personally thought was wonderful. Are there anymore plans with-in Marvel to create another Marvel Newspaper?
TB -- We were very happy with the PULSE circular that Andy Schmidt pulled together for HOUSE OF M, and I expect we’ll do something similar when “Project X” comes to fruition.
Trevor -- Son of M is in your office. What’s the idea behind this series? Without giving away too much, where do you want to take Quicksilver in this series?
TB -- South.
Quicksilver is in a very interesting place at the end of HOUSE OF M. He genuinely thought he was doing the right thing in urging his sister to recreate the world as she did, but it all went horribly wrong, and now the mutant race—his people—have paid an awful price. That’s on top of the fact that his father beat him to death during the climax of HOM. So he’s got plenty of shame and guilt to deal with, and that takes him on a personal quest that’ll hopefully leave him in an even more interesting place when all is said and done.
Trevor -- Why David Hine? What does he bring to the title that fits its style?
TB -- David excels at digging down deep into flawed characters, making them simultaneously attractive and repulsive by their actions. So he was the perfect choice to peel Pietro’s current psyche away onionlike, and see what there is at the core.
Trevor -- X-Factor is another title that is coming on the heels of the House of M. Andy Schmidt is handling the editorial duties on this title. What expectations does Marvel have for this book?
TB -- With Andy at the helm, the book will no doubt be late, and the pages may be out of order.
Marvel’s expectation is that X-FACTOR will bring a very distinctive viewpoint to the mutant corner of the Marvel Universe; in keeping with the noir style featured in the well-received MADROX limited series.
Trevor -- Why did Marvel choose to place Layla Miller in X-Factor of all books? Why not in a core X-Book or even as a ward of the Avengers?
TB -- Layla was intended for X-FACTOR virtually from the start, and Brian and Peter had extensive discussions before he wrote her first appearance in HOM about who she was and what her role in X-FACTOR would be. There was never any consideration given to placing her anywhere else—she’s a key element to X-FACTOR, as people will come to see.
Trevor -- Why the sudden popularity of a character that’s been around since GIANT-SIZE FANTASTIC FOUR #4, 1975? What do you think people see in him that attracts them so much?
TB -- I don’t think it’s sudden popularity especially—I think it’s something that’s developed and built up over a long period of time, dating back to when Peter David first wrote Madrox in X-FACTOR. And certainly the deeper exploration Jaime got in the recent MADROX limited series made people who’d never given the character a second thought find something interesting about him. I expect the heart of Madrox’s appeal is the fact that we’re all at war with ourselves in one way or another—Jaime simply externalizes that internal struggle that we all go through.
Trevor -- What are your plans for Wolverine in the year 2006? How close will he remain to the Avengers even after all that has transpired in the House of M?
TB -- Wolverine will continue to be a player in NEW AVENGERS in the coming year, but you’ll see some friction between him and his new teammates as he explores all of the memories he got back at the close of HOUSE OF M, including some events that he did not recall up to this time. And that’ll all come to a head during “Project X”.
Trevor -- What was 2005 like for Tom Brevoort? What do you believe was your greatest success? What was your greatest failure?
TB -- My greatest success was probably getting 8 issues of HOUSE OF M out with only reasonable delays. My greatest failure, apparently, was that it wasn’t INFINITE CRISIS.