“The Sixth Gun” creator Cullen Bunn recently wrapped up his time on Marvel Comics’ “Wolverine,” but he’s not through with the X-Men just yet. Not only is New Mutant alum Dani Moonstar set to join the cast of his Marvel NOW! series “Fearless Defenders,” Bunn teams with artist to shed some light on the Ultimate Universe iteration the character with “Ultimate Wolverine” in March, which follows Jimmy Hudson in a four-issue miniseries exploring his mysterious family tree.
Bunn joined X-Position this week for fan questions that covered everything from Jimmy Hudson’s mysterious past to the possibility of New Mutant cameos in “Fearless Defenders.” Plus, read on for Cullen’s favorite board game and which literary figures he wanted to get for his recently-released “Deadpool Killustrated.”
cora reef starts us off with a question about the similarities and differences between Ultimate Wolverine and 616 Wolverine.
Hi Cullen, with all the writers that have had a chance to add their stamp to Jimmy in the Ultimate U, what excites you about getting the chance to work on the character?
Cullen Bunn: I’ve said elsewhere that there are aspects of Jimmy’s story that really speak to me. His adoption, the idea that he really knows nothing about his birth parents, the idea that he’s really nothing like his birth father (or mother). One of the things I’m excited about is exploring his feelings in regard to the revelations of his mother — and how he copes with that in the middle of this strange, superhero style story.â€¨â€¨
While Jimmy is definitely different than 616 Wolverine, having spent quite a bit of time on “Wolverine,” how similar do you see the characters?
I like that Jimmy, while being “the son of Wolverine,” has never really embraced the role or name of Wolverine. But there are similarities. He has a wild side — a feral side. It’s not a berserker rage, but it’s as uncontrollable and unpredictable. I’m basically talking about his impulsive nature. He has a sense of duty to his friends, just as the Wolverine of the 616 does. He’s not afraid to stare much more powerful enemies in the eye. Like the classic Wolverine, he’s a bit of a loner who still manages to surround himself with friends. Like the classic Wolverine, much of his past is a mystery.â€¨â€¨
Renaldo wants to know some details about Ultimate Logan’s impact on Ultimate Wolverine — and some tidbits on “Fearless Defenders.”â€¨â€¨
1) Given that Ultimate Logan had a lot of similar and unrestricted ways to 616 Wolvie, how do you plan on adding this spin to Jimmy without giving a paternal influence we’ve already seen before?
One of the major elements of this story is how Jimmy is different from his father, how he has not “embraced” the ways of Wolverine. The upbringing from James and Heather made him the man he is, so it can’t be ignored, but you’ll definitely be seeing a transition here. You’ll be seeing Jimmy take what I consider his first real steps toward becoming Wolverine. Of course, it will be his own take on Wolverine, a different kind of hero than we’ve seen before.
â€¨â€¨2) How did you go about picking the ID of his mom? Was it handed down by editorial? I ask as you’ve made it clear this is gonna be a big, big reveal to the entire UU!
My editors and I pitched a number of ideas back and forth. Early on, I sent a couple of names to them. One of the ideas I sent was really, really insane and, in all honesty, didn’t really fit with the feel of the Ultimate Universe. I still like that idea, but it was really bizarre and nuts.
â€¨â€¨3) With “Fearless Defenders,” you’ve got Misty, Valkyrie and Dani Moonstar off the bat. What makes this team stand out from say, Brian Wood’s all-female X-team?
I’ve heard a few people say that Brian’s “X-Men” and my “Fearless Defenders” might be similar. Really, though, I can’t imagine that Brian and I are approaching these books in any way that is comparable (other than the all-female casts). I like Brian’s work quite a bit, but we have vastly different sensibilities in terms of our approach to this kind of book. I’m certain readers will be getting two very different titles here. Beyond that, “Fearless Defenders” is more of a non-team, like the Defenders of old, and you’ll be seeing some featured characters who are often denied the spotlight. You’ll also be seeing a TON of guest stars. I haven’t even counted how many appear in the first arc, but there will be quite a few!â€¨â€¨
mr_infinite changes tracks and wants to know about your take on the Merc with a Mouth in “Deadpool Killustrated.”â€¨â€¨
“Deadpool Killustrated” #1 was hilarious! What was the experience like for you to put Deadpool smack dab in the middle of the classics?
It’s been a pure delight. I am actually finishing up the fourth and final issue right now. The entire experience has been crazy, because I’m writing a book that I never thought I’d be writing — Heck, I’m writing a title I never expected Marvel to publish! This version of Deadpool has been a lot of fun for me. He’s dark and cruel and sad — and still has the humorous edge of Freddy Krueger!
â€¨Was there a particular classic you wanted to throw Deadpool into that you didn’t have a chance to during the course of the series?
There were actually quite a few characters I wasn’t able to use thanks to (sometimes obscure) copyright issues. Tarzan, Cthulhu, Fantomas, and a few others I can’t think of now. I probably could have gotten away with using an unnamed variation of some of those characters, but I just felt like that would be cheating. In some cases, it was actually a fun exercise for me. For example, with Cthulhu, I had already started scripting the issue when word came down that I couldn’t use the creature. So… I had to really think about the icons of literature that might have inspired Cthulhu as well, and I think I landed on something that just works out so much better in the book!â€¨â€¨
Which figure in classic fiction do you think Deadpool would most identify with?
I think the first literary figure he killed is the one who is closest to him. There’s a reason the first character he encounters is Don Quixote.
â€¨â€¨Marcus brings the discussion back around to “Fearless Defenders” and some questions about Valkyrie.â€¨â€¨
1) Mr. Bunn, I am truly excited for your upcoming “Fearless Defenders” series, although I have to question whether or not you’re worried about your new “heroine” on the team Warrior Woman and how she sounds very similar to another infamous WW heroine.
I’m not worried about that at all. Hippolyta is a character with a long-standing place in the Marvel Universe, and I wouldn’t want to add a character to the team who would be in another character’s shadow. Personality-wise, she’s unlike any other character, and I think her story arc, once it is revealed, will drive people wild. And this isn’t just about Hippolyta. In time, you’ll see the Amazons of the Marvel Universe ascending to a new station — with their queen leading them in unexpected directions. Another thing that I think will be interesting about Warrior Woman is that she has not always been a hero.
â€¨â€¨2) While the title is called “Fearless Defenders,” will we be seeing Valkyrie reconnect with any of her old Defenders friends?
You will! I know, I know… It’s not fair unless I tell you who. Well, I definitely have plans for Dr. Strange and Hellcat. Others, too, but they might be a ways down the line.â€¨â€¨
3) Valkyrie has been an Avenger for a brief time. Will any otherÂ of the female Avengers be joining the Fearless Defenders team in the future?
Some of the female Avengers will definitely be showing up, but I can’t say whether or not they will be joining the team. I’ve said in a few places that the core team would consist of nine members, but the more I plan future arcs, I realize that the Fearless Defenders will have many friends.
Also, keep in mind that Valkyrie has been part of another team who may be making an appearance soon.
â€¨â€¨Dabid continues the “Fearless Defenders” vibe, but brings things back to the X-family with some questions about Dani Moonstar.
â€¨â€¨Mr. Bunn — I’m extremely excited about the inclusion of Dani Moonstar in your “Fearless Defenders” lineup, as she’s one of my favorite Marvel characters ever. My question is, will we get any explanation for what has happened between her last appearance in “New Mutants” #50 last year and her first appearance in “Fearless Defenders?”
Dani is one of my favorite characters, too. There will be some issues coming up that you’ll really enjoy, I think. It might take me a while to get to some of the stories of what has been going on after New Mutants #50. In the first arc, there is a lot going on, and I didn’t want to derail readers who were new to the character by throwing a lot of backstory in there, you know?â€¨â€¨
At the end of the “New Mutants” series, the whole team is happily living together in a house in San Francisco, but we’ve had no resolution at all as to what happened to that situation or the other members of the team. Do you have any plans to have any of the other New Mutants appear in “Fearless Defenders,” even if just for cameos?
Yes! There will be guest appearances by some of the other New Mutants. The members of the Fearless Defenders have lives, and I want to show the people who are important to them.â€¨â€¨
Wrapping up, Jim wants to know more about how your previous experience helped you with “Ultimate Wolverine.”â€¨â€¨
Cullen, you did a great job writing the “Captain America &…” team-up series. Ultimate Wolverine isn’t nearly as much of a loner as his father — will readers get a chance to see Jimmy team up with some of the other characters in the Ultimate Universe?
In “Ultimate Wolverine,” Jimmy will not be acting alone. He’ll have one of his fellow X-Men at his side throughout his adventure. He’ll also be “teaming up” with another player in the Ultimate Universe, but it won’t work out very well for him.
â€¨â€¨What do you find most appealing about Wolverine that you’ve worked on so many different versions of him?
Wolverine’s been a favorite character of mine for a long while. Some of the things that appeal to me about the “classic” take on Wolverine (aside from the coolness factor of CLAWS) is this quite sense of honor and duty that he possesses. It’s true. He doesn’t adhere to a black and white viewpoint. He’ll kill someone who deserves it. He’ll take steps no one else is willing to take. But underneath it all is this code that he lives by. The classic Wolverine is a tragic character, a loner in many ways but forced to work with others — and the others around him don’t often meet with wonderful fates. He’s an underdog in a world of earth-shattering powers, and he still rises to the top.
Many of those same characteristics translate to Jimmy Hudson, I think. Jimmy is a completely different character than any Wolverine we’ve seen thus far — but in many ways he’s closer to the classic Wolverine than the previous Ultimate Wolverine was.
â€¨â€¨Finally, here’s our Behind the X question: What is your favorite board game and why?
â€¨â€¨I think Arkham Horror is my favorite, but it may be that I like the idea of that game (the Lovecraftian elements, the cooperative play, the horror and dread) more than actually playing it — It takes forever to set up if you use the expansions! I also like a couple of other Lovecraftian-themed games. The Hills Rise Wild and Creatures and Cultists are both a lot of fun! As a kid, I liked Mousetrap… but now I loathe having to set that game up whenever my son wants to play it!
Thanks to Cullen Bunn for bringing the answers in this week’s X-Position!
Next week, X-Position heads back to the 616 to check in with Marvel NOW! and writer Si Spurrier for “X-Men Legacy.” Got a question about Legion’s first solo arc? Send it on over in an email with the subject line “X-Position”, or you can try the 140-character messaging system of Twitter. Either way, get your answers in by Friday! Do it to it!