When it was launched in 2000, Marvel Comics’ Ultimate Universe was a place to take new approaches to and daring risks with the publisher’s iconic characters. It was a world where Spider-Man and Wolverine could die, Reed Richards could become a supervillain, Captain America could become president, and heroes could fail to save the universe. Every one of those things happened, down to the Ultimate Universe’s demise, which happened when the entire Multiverse was destroyed in the opening chapter of 2015’s Secret Wars.
Traces of the Ultimate Universe live on, however, in the form of characters who survived their home reality’s destruction and found a place in the Marvel Universe-proper, like adolescent Spider-Man Miles Morales, or the villainous incarnation of Reed Richards, known as the Maker. In the final pages of X-Men Blue #1, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Matteo Buffagni added to that list of characters with a short back-up story that brought Jimmy Hudson, the son of the Ultimate Universe’s Wolverine, into the 616.
Unanswered were the questions of how did he get here? What kind of role will he play in X-Men Blue? What sort of dynamic will he have with the stars of the book, the time-displaced, adolescent incarnation of the original X-Men, or for that matter, Magneto? For the answers to these questions and more, CBR spoke with Bunn about his plans for the series, which include a tie-in arc to Marvel’s current “Secret Empire” event.
CBR: Cullen, I imagine you have some attachment to Jimmy Hudson having written him in the Ultimate Comics: Wolverine miniseries a few years back, but what made you want to bring him into the Marvel Universe and X-Men Blue? What do you feel he adds to the book?
Cullen Bunn: Jimmy adds a little bit of the unknown to the series, something to keep the X-Men (and readers) guessing. I have fondness for the character, yes, but I really like that he gives us the chance to do something completely new and different. He’s not just “another Wolverine,” although it might look that way at first. His involvement with the team will have a long-lasting impact on this series.
Jimmy’s appearance raises a lot of questions, with probably the biggest being, is this indeed the Jimmy from the now destroyed Ultimate U? And if so, how did get here?
The mystery surrounding Jimmy is part of the fun! But I will not be stringing readers along for too long. In issue #4, we’ll answer the question of where this Jimmy comes from. That answer, of course, comes with a whole new set of mysteries.
What’s it like bouncing Jimmy off the time-displaced X-Men and their secret advisor, Magneto? Are there any interactions between him and the other characters that are proving to be especially enjoyable to write?
I think Jimmy’s interactions with the X-Men and Magneto are going to be a lot of fun. In particular, I like to see Jimmy and Jean and Jimmy and Magneto. Also, we will soon get to see what Jimmy thinks of Magneto’s sometime ally Briar Raleigh soon!
Before the team meets up with Jimmy in issues #4-5, they’ll have an intense conversation with Magneto in issue #2, and a battle with the Sentinels in issue #3. What can you tell us about those issues?
Issue #2 is really about Jean digging into Magneto’s head and trying to uncover his secrets. We also reveal why the X-Men are willing to work with Magneto.
In issue #3 we encounter Sentinels, yes, but they seem to have a surprising mission statement… and they are connected to an X-character who will knock your socks off!
In #6, you send your team to one of the most enduring X-Men and Marvel U fictional locations: Madripoor. Why do you think that island city-state has been such a a prominent locale in Marvel stories? What do you find most interesting about Madripoor?
Madripoor is city where anything can happen. It’s exotic and intoxicating, and at times very dangerous. But I’m not just sending the team there. As you see in issue #1, the X-Men have their own mansion in Madripoor’s High Town. Young X-Men out on the town in Madripoor? Sounds like a recipe for adventure!
And the X-Men aren’t the only mutants in town. I’m introducing a team of new mutants that will have an interesting relationship with our team.
In July, you kick off a Secret Empire tie-in with X-Men Blue #7. What can you tell us about your cast’s reaction to the rise of Hydra?
This story will see the X-Men as freedom fighters or rebels. They’re like the Wolverines in the movie Red Dawn. Now, who are they rebelling against? What does Magneto think of their actions? Those are questions you see answered when you read the book!
Your Secret Empire tie-in brings Polaris and Emma Frost into the book. Can you talk at all about their dynamics with your team and your takes on them? Is Emma a villain, in the traditional sense of the word?
I don’t think anything is traditional about Emma. She is certainly an antagonist for the X-Men in the series, and she has some dirty tricks up her sleeve — but I still don’t see her as a villain, really. She’s in a dark place right now. She has been for some time. I would love to see her come out of that, but it will take time, and her grief and anger may be guiding her for awhile.
As for Polaris, I don’t want to say much about her role in the book. Not yet.
In addition to Polaris and Emma, my Secret Empire tie-in will be bringing several fan-favorite X-characters back to the comics. Some of them have been gone for some time, some will be changed a bit when they show back up.
It sounds like you’ll be keeping artist Jorge Molina very busy with these next few issues. What’s it like working with Jorge? Is he the only X-Men Blue artist you’ll be working with in the coming months?
I’ve been a fan of Jorge’s work for a long time, so I was thrilled to work with him on this series. I feel like he really builds on the sense of fun I’m trying to bring to the series. I love how he draws the X-Men.
In addition to Jorge, I’ll be working with a few other exciting artists. Julian Lopez, Ray-Anthony Height and Cory Smith also have turns coming up in the series. They’re all amazing, and they are turning in some stunning pages.
Finally you concluded X-Men: Blue #1 with some interesting, cryptic teasers. Will we see all the mysteries you hinted at in the teasers touched on before the summer is out?
You won’t see all those story elements before the end of the summer. There are other tales to be told. In fact, I could have done several pages of exciting teasers of upcoming stories, but I definitely have an outline in place that will resolve all those stories in our first year.