Marvel Comics’ Wolverine has lived a violent and dangerous life, so he never really expected to ever find himself dealing with any living blood relatives. Life, however, has a way of surprising you and defying your expectations, especially in the Marvel Universe. Several years ago, Wolverine recovered from the amnesia that had been plaguing him for decades, and the mutant hero remembered that in the late ’40s, he did try to have a family, an attempt which resulted in Wolverine’s wife being murdered by an old enemy. Said enemy also abducted Logan’s son and raised him to hate his father. The baby grew up and is now the villainous star of his own series, “Daken: Dark Wolverine” by co-writers Daniel Way and Marjorie Liu. In current issues of the series, Daken is on a quest to create his own criminal empire.
The other member of Logan’s biological family was born in a less direct and more unusual way. Several years ago in an attempt to create the perfect assassin, a top secret government program decided to clone Wolverine. They successfully created a female clone and subjected her to a training regimen that included horrific abuse. The clone was dubbed X-23 by the organization, but the woman who gave birth to her named her Laura. Laura eventually escaped and joined both the X-Men and their clandestine assassin squad, X-Force. In the recently launched “X-23” series, also written by Marjorie Liu, Laura realized she had spent so much time as part of organizations that she hadn’t really hadn’t a chance to become her own person. This revelation led to the series second and current arc, with Laura having left the X-Men in order to discover who she is and what she wants from life.
Wolverine’s “family” may be pursuing their own separate destinies, but this spring their paths will intersect in “Collision,” a crossover that begins with a prelude in “Daken: Dark Wolverine” #7 and then runs for four chapters in the pages of “X-23” and “Daken.” We spoke with Liu about the project, which begins in March.
CBR News: Marjorie, let’s talk a little bit about what comes before the “Collision” crossover in “X-23” and “Daken.” It looks like the current storyline in “X-23” involves both Miss and Mr. Sinister, while in “Daken,” you’re getting his feet wet in the morally murky morass that is the island nation of Madripoor.
Marjorie Liu: During this first year of “X-23,” I’ve been intent on exploring her mental state — how she views herself, what it means to be an individual away from a structured military unit (from Weapon X to the X-Men) — whether or not she’s a real person, as opposed to a thing. She’s a kid trying to figure out life; a life that comes with a lot of baggage. Along those lines, the current arc does indeed deal with the Sinisters, themes of clones and identity and the power that comes from being one’s self.
And yes, Daken is in Madripoor — making beautiful trouble. Of course, with him, is there any other kind?
It also seems like both these storylines are actively laying the ground work for “Collision,” correct? Malcolm Colcord, the antagonist of “Collision” is mentioned directly in “X-23” #5, and it seems like his vicious handiwork, a lab of murdered children, is discussed in “Daken” #5.
We’ve made an effort to take the long view in our stories, and the great thing about working on both books is that it made coordinating this crossover much easier in terms of getting those little details right.
Since we’re on the topic of Colcord, what do you find most interesting about him as a foil for Daken and X-23? Is it primarily his connection to the Weapon X program, or is there something else as well?
What’s interesting about Colcord is that he started out as a normal guy. He was a soldier, a family man — and then one horrible encounter with a mutant changed him forever. He became the ruthless, sadistic mastermind of several different programs designed to control and murder mutants — and yet he fell in love with a mutant woman. Which, of course, didn’t last. Clearly, he’s a complex, messed-up individual — making him the perfect foil for Daken and X-23, who are just as troubled as Colcord, but in radically different ways.
They also have a special history with Wolverine, which is probably more of a connection between the three of them than the Weapon X program.
To my knowledge, X-23 and Daken haven’t been face to face since the “Utopia” crossover, and at that time X-23 saw herself and the world a lot differently than she does now. So what are her initial thoughts on Daken going into this crossover?
She does not trust him — but she needs him to get to Colcord. Of course, he also fascinates her because he’s the closest thing she has to family, besides Wolverine. I try not to think about the genetics of that, though. I mean, how does that work? Is she his mother? His father? What? My head hurts thinking about it, but the point is — he’s a blood relative. And that means something to her.
What exactly are Daken’s thoughts on Laura at the beginning of “Collision?” Does he understand exactly who she is and what she’s capable of? Or is he in danger of underestimating her?
At the beginning of “Collision,” he doesn’t realize what she is. He thinks she’s a product of the Weapon X project — but he has no idea that she’s a clone of his father. When he discovers the truth, it creates a whole new level of weird for him, and he’s not a person who is easily surprised.
In current issues of “X-23,” Gambit is accompanying the title character on her travels. Does he factor at all into “Collision?” If so, how would you describe the dynamic between him, X-23, and Daken?
I love writing Gambit. He’s a thief and con man and not easily manipulated by anyone. Daken rubs him the wrong way from the start — partially because he’s a bit of a con man himself. When Daken realizes that he won’t be able to charm Gambit to his side, he resorts to uglier tactics — and the results are quite violent. Gambit has one weakness in all of this, and it’s X-23. Trying to protect her makes him vulnerable.
Oddly, X-23 and Daken have the same goals: neither wants another Weapon X program to exist. Daken’s reasons are self-serving — he wants to be the best in the world, better, stronger, faster than anyone else. Having the Weapon X program continue and perhaps create someone more powerful than him just isn’t cool.
X-23, on the other hand, doesn’t want anyone subjected to what she went through.
Who are some of the other important supporting players in this story?
Expect to see more of Tyger Tyger.
Speaking of supporting players, it seems like Madripoor itself might be a character in this storyline? What’s it like writing a story set there? How important is Madripoor to this story?
I don’t think there are many places in the Marvel Universe that evoke as much personality and history as Madripoor. You say that name, and you know the story is going to be full of blood, tears and knives stabbed deep in the back. I love it. Madripoor is essential to this book, in so many ways.
Marco Chechetto is drawing the “Dark: Dark Wolverine” issues of “Collision” and Ryan Stegman is handling art duties for the “X-23” chapters. What do you feel they bring to this story as artists?
Non-stop energy, and a beautiful sense of story. These guys are doing incredible work on this crossover and it has been a joy to write for them.
It’s been announced that “Collision” is the final storyline that you and Daniel Way will be writing for “Daken: Dark Wolverine.” How does it feel to say good bye to the character? Will you miss him?
Daken is a brilliant, complex character, the bad boy who gets to break all the rules — and I’ll miss him. It was a delight having the chance to co-write his adventures with Daniel Way.
You may be leaving “Daken” due to previous commitments with your prose novels, but you’re sticking with “X-23” for the long haul. Can you hint or tease at all about Laura’s status immediately after “Collision?”
“Collision” is going to break open some old emotional wounds for X-23. She thought she’d recovered from her time in the Weapon X program, but really, she just buried all those feelings of helplessness and pain. The next arc (set in Paris and guest-starring Wolverine and Jubilee) will deal with her recovery and set the stage for next year’s stories.
Finally, I hear it’s not just writing work that’s keeping you busy these days. I also understand you’ve got involved with some charitable organizations as well?
SUPPORT OUR SOLDIERS, specifically. Here’s a statement from my friend, Kelley, who runs SOS:
Many people want to reach out and thank a soldier, but don’t know how to go about it — or where to start. My family has been writing to deployed soldiers for 7 years now. At the present time we have close to 800 names of soldiers who are deployed. We are not a corporation. We are a family who cares and supports our troops. If you would like a name to write a letter to — or send a small package — please email us at Columbussos@gmail.com. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation please mail it to:
Support Our Soldiers
PO BOX 624
Brice, OH 43109
We go through a lot of stamps, so if you would rather mail a book of stamps, we are thankful for any help we can get. Our goal is to “share” our soldiers and I hope that you, too, would like to reach out to them.