The Fall of X has begun, and that means nowhere is safe for Marvel's mutant population. On Earth, the mutant nation of Krakoa was destroyed thanks in part to the murderous machinations of the organization known as Orchis, and its survivors have been targeted for imprisonment and execution. The mutants of the planet formerly known as Mars, and now known as Arakko, face a different but just as dangerous form of peril; the return of Arakko's former despotic ruler Genesis who has come to reclaim her kingdom with an army that includes her husband Apocalypse, and their children, the Four Horsemen.

Writer Al Ewing and artist Yildiray Cinar are chronicling what will come to be known as the Genesis War in X-Men Red. CBR spoke with Ewing about the scope and scale of the war, the role Storm and other Arakko inhabitants play, his take on Genesis, and how Orchis feels about the situation on Arakko.

X-Men Red #14 cover.

CBR: Fall of X has begun, and the mutants of the Marvel Universe are in a decidedly different place now because of the events at this year's Hellfire Gala. What was it like being part of the lead-up to this storyline? What are some of the things that most excite you about this new status quo?

Al Ewing: I think the thing that excites me most about what's coming is finally watching some of these long-term threads and plans come to fruition -- domino trails that have been set up for months and years, some stretching all the way back to Jonathan Hickman's time as Head of X. The Fall of X begins the fall of all those dominoes, and having been in the room all this time while they were intricately set up, it's going to be a pleasure to see all those chain reactions go off.

The Hellfire gala attacks were mostly an Orchis offensive against the mutants of Earth. What can you tell us about Orchis' designs on Arakko and the way they currently view the planet?

Orchis obviously see Arakko as theirs. They see Mars as part of Earth's sphere of influence. Therefore, those with power on Earth should have power on Mars, too. It's actively offensive to them that Krakoa terraformed it, but even more than that, they then handed all this new land and resources over to a bunch of displaced mutants who are going to just live there instead of exploiting it to its full economic potential. So the end goal is definitely taking Mars, but Arakko can be very useful to them before that stage. It gives them a place to dump any Earth mutants who weren't in reach of a Krakoa Gate when Xavier sent everyone through, and if Genesis is in charge, it gives them an enemy mutant right on their doorstep to use for propaganda purposes. Obviously, that's playing with fire -- but rightly or wrongly, they think they can take Genesis if it comes to it. Ororo would rather it didn't come to it.

Related: Survivors Battle for Krakoa's Legacy in Kieron Gillen's Immortal X-Men

Storm informs the other X-Men that the Arakko Civil War has begun

It feels like the most immediate threat to Arakko is its former ruler, Genesis. What's your sense of her? What made now the right time for her to return to Arakko?

The Fall of X seemed like the right time for her and Apocalypse to return. My sense of her in X of Swords was, "This is where Apocalypse came from." This is the person who helped shape him and someone who looks at him and doesn't see the terrifying force the readers have come to expect, but someone gentle and even weak. On the one hand, Genesis is placed as More Apocalyptic than the Big A himself -- but on the other hand, a lot of work has been done to evolve Apocalypse during the course of the Krakoa era. So there's a potential for contrast between husband and wife. Not to mention that if you read through the history of Arakko, Genesis -- through pride, through an over-reliance on her philosophy -- made a number of decisions that arguably cost Arakko the war against Annihilation. I've sort of expanded on that, but it was always there. I guess I see her as a fascinating villain and maybe someone closer to her partner in crime, Annihilation, than she'd admit.

What's it like pitting Storm against Genesis? What are some of the things you find especially interesting about the way they bounce off of each other?

I'll admit, I'm saving it up. I wanted to build to that confrontation rather than have the Genesis War take the form of a wrestling feud, where Storm and Genesis have a series of one-on-one fights culminating in a cage match at Summerslam. When they do meet face to face... I have to be very careful because there are big plot points I don't want to spoil, but they're both potentially planetary forces. And there are ways that could play out that don't destroy the entire planet that we spent so much time on but do bring something major into the mix on Arakko. I can promise spectacle. That's already been written. Now I just have to land that final emotional beat.

What teases can you offer up about the action, scope, and scale of the Genesis War?

Speaking of massive spectacle and emotional beats... those are the two ends of the balance beam that gets us over the narrative tightrope, if I can thoroughly mangle a metaphor. There's big action, big character beats, payoffs for stories that have been alluded to or prophesied for the length of the run, and it culminates in a moment of pure magic that builds on both this book and the books that came before. The Horsemen are coming back. Apocalypse is coming back. These are not small things and will not lead to small things. The Arakko that comes out of this is going to be different from the Arakko that went in.

Who are some of the other major players on both sides of the upcoming conflict that you're especially enjoying writing and why?

Apocalypse and the Horsemen, obviously. Looking back over this interview, I mention him a lot. But I also get to go into the Fisher King's past and flesh out his origin a little from the hints previously dropped, not to mention his family tree. And that little diversion includes a guest spot for Solem, who I always have a blast getting to write. Oh, and I get to flesh out an Arakkii character who has thus far been spotted exactly once in a different book. I'll let you guess who that is…

What else can you tell us about some of the supporting characters in this storyline? Will we get to see some of Arakko's non-mutant cast, like Nova and Craig Marshall?

Nova starts the war in quite a respected position, given his previous experience. But if you stand with Arakko, you have to fall with them, suffer with them, [and] endure the agonies of hell for them. He's not going to have a good war. Meanwhile, Craig is doing his bit for the war effort, and we'll see what he's up to as we go. We'll also see how the kids are doing. And we get a few moments in the sun for other fan favorites -- for instance, a certain old friend of Magneto who's acting as Storm's eyes in the sky.

Nova leads his forces into battle

What's it like having Yildiray Cinar bring the cast and action of these next several issues to life? What are some things you especially enjoy about his work?

Yildiray's a magician. He puts up with a lot from me -- big battle scenes, vistas of immense scale, power displays that keep trying to top each other, [and] a huge cast of characters. [He] always delivers with aplomb. I'm especially a fan of his character work. There's a bit coming in Issue #14, where you can really feel the exhaustion and pain in a character as they recount the events of the Hellfire Gala, and of course, this comes right after a gigantic two-page splash of awe-inspiring mutant power --but you'll see for yourself.

Finally, what sort of hints and teases can you leave us with about your plans for X-Men Red moving into fall and winter?

I've been writing a little of what comes right after the Genesis War. It's a change of tone, a change of scenery, [and] a change of maybe more than that. Beyond that, I have to be very, very careful of spoilers, so I'm going to err on the side of saying nothing. Trust me, you'd rather read it on the page.

I always finish these interviews with a thank you to everyone buying and following the books. Comics is a marathon that you sprint, and we've been running for a while, so it means a lot when people appreciate and enjoy the work. Solidarity to all those on strike right now.