Throughout his long life, the Canadian mutant known as Wolverine has held many job throughout the Marvel Universe. Some, like his current role of Headmaster and teacher at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, take a little getting used to, while others come more naturally. Of course, those jobs usually involve Logan’s unique gifts and special training like his mutant healing factor, heightened senses, unbreakable skeleton, razor sharp claws and skills as a spy, soldier and assassin.
In March, Wolverine will be thrust into a situation where he’ll have to use all of his abilities to try to stop a mysterious mastermind when writer Paul Cornell, who spent much of 2012 writing DC Comics’ “Stormwatch” and “Demon Knights,” and industry legend Alan Davis team to expand the Marvel NOW! initiative with a new volume of “Wolverine.” We spoke with Cornell about his action-crime take on the series and his plans for the main character.
CBR News: Paul, you made your comic writing debut at Marvel with books like “Wisdom” and “Captain Britain and MI-13” before heading over to DC for several years. How does it feel to be back, writing a major Marvel Universe player like Wolverine no less?
Paul Cornell: It’s what I’ve wanted for a long time. The offer of a major title was what tempted me back to Marvel. It feels great to be back with the company I’ve felt a sympathy with since I was a small child. I’m here to honor Chris Claremont, among other objectives.
Over the past several years, Wolverine has played a variety of roles. He’s been a hero with the X-Men and the Avengers, he’s been a killer in X-Force and he’s been a teacher in books like “Wolverine & the X-Men.” Which of these roles do you find most interesting, and how do you think being such wildly different things to different people has affected him?
I think he’s kind of the ultimate adult, now, a very experienced person who’s kept it together and has a great maturity to him, so he can step between roles pretty easily. The question I’d like to investigate is how a being as strange as he is stays so grounded. He holds onto everyday life pretty hard, I think.
In your initial “Wolverine” arc, “Hunting Season,” you cast your protagonist in the role of the protector of a small child. Samurais were essentially protectors and elite body guards for the masters they served, so can we expect this story to examine the samurai and Bushido aspects of Wolverine’s character?
That’s where he is initially, sure. But that’s only the situation until before the end of issue two. Things are going to change quite quickly in this arc, and there are lots of surprises and reversals ahead. The Bushido aspects will always be part of who he is, but it’s not upfront right now.
James is caught in a hostage situation, finds he has to do something terrible, doesn’t like the consequences of that and, as a result, sets off on a dangerous chase across NYC. It’s going to be a long duel, basically, between him and an initially mysterious enemy.
What can you tell us about this new villain, and what makes him a good foil for your protagonist? Will we see any other new or familiar adversaries in this tale?
We may well see others. We’ve already scheduled a handful of friends and foes, but we’ll also be giving Wolverine a new supporting cast for when he’s in the city.
I’m curious as to your sense of Wolverine’s rogues gallery. Are you initially interested in expanding it, exploring some of its established members or both?
It’s our one big bad so far, with a few surprises along the way. I think some of the familiar villains have been played too much.
What can you tell us about the other supporting cast members we’ll see in the series going forward? Who are they and what kinds of roles will they play in this series?
There’s a bar which James visits, where specialists in his field of expertise gather. I’m interested in seeing how civilians and members of various agencies tackle the terrifying world of the super-powered.
Will your “Wolverine” run focus in on certain types of stories and specific geographic areas, or is this series more wide open in terms of what you want to do and what your mandate is?
Initially, we’re a high action crime series set in New York. It broadens from there. A lot.
I’d like people to meet Wolverine anew in this series. There’s stuff for old time readers here, but new readers can start here with no problem at all.
Alan Davis, your collaborator, is an artist with many strengths. Which do you plan to play to in “Wolverine?”
I love how he’s both an action artist and a character acting artist, and I can lean on either, page by page. I’ve seen a lot of pencils, now, and the action has to be seen to be believed. He’s taken his style to a new level, I think. Put that together with how emotional I want this arc to be, and I think there’s something special here, artistically. ‘Gritty’ is now a word which I think applies to Alan’s new direction. But it’s got all the SF wow of what he’s always done. I couldn’t be happier!
Paul Cornell and Alan Davis’ “Wolverine” debuts in March.