It’s a tumultuous time in the Marvel Universe for Wolverine. Beyond the events of “Avengers Vs. X-Men” and the death of Charles Xavier, the ol’ Canucklehead had his memory wiped at the hands of Dr. Rot, causing him to forget his relationship with Melita Garner as he attempted to balance his many roles in the Marvel Universe.
With all the changes in Wolverine’s life over the last arc, it was time to get to the source for answers before the final issue of the series hits in December. In this week’s X-POSITION, “Wolverine” writer Cullen Bunn answered your questions about tackling the character, the status of his relationship with Melita and more as readers head into the final two “Wolverine” issues before the Marvel NOW! relaunch. Plus, find out Cullen’s favorite holiday decoration and a few tidbits about his upcoming “Fearless Defenders” series.
[Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted before today’s announcement of Paul Cornell and Alan Davis’ “Wolverine” ongoing series for Marvel NOW! launching in March.]
Renaldo kicks off X-POSITION with questions about Cullen’s approach to his run and Logan’s love life…
1) What’s the pressure like having inherited a gory yet acclaimed title like this from Jason Aaron, who cut his teeth and quite a name using this feral vagabond?
Cullen Bunn: It’s a pretty daunting proposition. Jason wrote what I consider the definitive Wolverine. That’s a pretty high standard. I was in a similar situation with “Venom,” taking over for Rick Remender. I also knew that some readers (many of whom had only ever read Jason’s run) wouldn’t be happy with anything I did. If I let the pressure get to me, though, I wouldn’t have written a single word. So I just set out to write a Wolverine story that was distinctly mine, something that would let my voice come through. In the end, I was pretty pleased with the results. I’m pretty proud of both of the arcs I did.
2) Logan’s love life is such a revolving door so do you plan to throw spokes into this carousel or keep it stable and just let his claws do the talking?
Well, my time on “Wolverine” is done for the immediate future. If I had stayed on the title, I had plans to complicate his love life a bit. I had already started to do that with Melita. Jason tore that relationship to pieces, and I was gonna throw some salt in the wounds. The story of Melita and Logan is not done by a long shot. Also, I like Seraph’s Angels — the band of Wolverine’s ex-girlfriends. They’ll be showing up in the “Covenant” arc of “Wolverine” that’s coming out right now.
3) Jeph Loeb has incarcerated Romulus, tossed a sexy Remus onto Logan’s lap and used Sabretooth in his usual violent fashion, so any chances you’d be revisiting any of these in the future or are you plotting new courses?
Sadly, no. If I ever get a chance to write “Wolverine” again, I’d like to forge some paths into new territory. But I don’t think we’ll see that happening for a while.
4) You’ve written Captain America also, so how do you make that transition from the all-American hero to such a badass fiend in Wolverine?
It’s not easy! I think Wolverine is an easier character for me to write. There are times (especially in my first drafts of Captain America stories) where Cap sounds a lot like Logan. He’s the best there is at what he does… and what he does is be patriotic, bub! The thing that works best for me is reading some of the definitive runs for each character when I’m making a transition. It helps me reacquaint myself with the voice of each character.
5) Lastly, will Daken or seeds from the Uncanny X-Force’s brotherhood ever find its way to your book as they all seemed highly personalized with Logan?
I can’t imagine a writer working on a Wolverine book not drawing on those plot elements. I mean, there’s just so much to build upon, especially considering how personal they are to Logan. For now, though, I’ll be reading those stories right along with you.
6) Wait…bonus…What’s your dream book to work on and who’d you want illustrating it?
Tough question. For the longest time, I’ve said that I want to write a Microns/Enigma Force book. Those characters helped me learn to love comics. I had the chance to tell one of their stories in “Minimum Carnage.” Besides the Enigma Force, I’ve campaigned for months and months to write the book that would become “The Fearless Defenders,” so I’d be a fool if I didn’t say that’s high on the list. I’d love to get a shot at “Ghost Rider” or the X-Men or “Wolverine” again. As for artists, I’ve been pretty blessed in terms of the artists I’ve been able to work with. They’ve all been amazing collaborators. Every book with a new artist is a different experience. It would be a dream come true if I got the chance to work with Alan Davis or Walt Simonson, though.
cora reef has a query about balance as your arc wraps up.
Hi Cullen! 1) Your first arc deals pretty heavily with how Wolverine balances all his roles in the Marvel Universe. Considering how much AvX changed the landscape of the Marvel Universe, how has this balance been upset?
I think the balance is starting to swing away from being “the guy who will kill because no one else will.” He still has that in him, but I think he’s focusing more on doing the right thing by the kids in his school. In the “Covenant” arc, I deal with his killer instinct a bit. Years ago, he was hired to kill this woman called the Dreaming Maiden — but he just couldn’t do it. But he didn’t do right by her, either, and that’s coming back to haunt him.
2) Speaking of AvX, how will what’s happening in Marvel NOW! affect what you have planned for Logan?
Well… There are obviously big changes in terms of the creative teams in the wake of AvX. I won’t be writing “Wolverine” after the “Covenant” arc wraps up, but I’ve heard some of what the other creators have planned, and it’s gonna be pretty exciting. And maybe I can work a Wolverine appearance into “Venom.” Who knows?
3) What do you think is better, two claws or three?
But I do like when Wolvie pops just two claws, puts them under an enemy’s chin, and threatens to pop the third. That bit never gets old!
Moving over to Twitter this week, @ZakiZakaria has a hankering for some Daken/X-23 spoilers.
“Will Daken & X23 reunite again in your future “Wolverine” books?”
Sadly, they won’t get a chance to appear in anything I’m working on. A while back, I planned a story called “Wolverines vs. Hulks” which would pit Wolverine, Daken, and X-23 against Hulk, Red Hulk, and Red She-Hulk. I think that might’ve been a fun story line. Alas, I don’t think it’s gonna happen anytime soon!
We can’t let you get away without a few “Fearless Defenders” questions, so here’s Marcus:
1) Given your recently announced “Fearless Defenders” series, I was wondering whether or not you could explain it a bit more of it to me. Is it a mystical quest for the heroines to go through or is it more of a buddy series?
It’s a little of both! In “Fearless Defenders,” Valkyrie has been charged with assembling a new group of Shield Maidens — only this time, they are to be gathered from the women of Midgard, not Asgard. What we find, though, is that no one lived up to Val’s high standards. So she’s been procrastinating. Now, she’s in a situation where she must choose a new group. The team she eventually chooses will surprise her a bit, and will help her rethink what it means to be a hero and what it means to be human.
At the heart of the team is Valkyrie, Misty Knight, and Dani Moonstar, three very different women you might not think of as teammates. They start off as reluctant allies, but they will form a friendship the likes of which would do the best of ’80s buddy cop movies proud. They’ll need each other as they begin to build the larger group of heroes.
As for adventures, the Defenders have always dealt with strange and off-the-wall menaces. That will still be the case, and some characters like Misty Knight will feel quite out of place on such harrowing adventures–through Asgard, through Valhalla, through the depths of space, and through some of the strangest locales in all of the Marvel Universe. On the other hand, there will be some “street level” stories, and it will be nice to see how out of place Valkyrie feels on such adventures!
2) You surprised me with the idea of teaming up Valkyrie with Misty Knight. What made you go with this unlikely duo?
I think it was the unlikeliness that appealed to me. This book shouldn’t be what anyone expects, and Val and Misty as the first two team members puts a pretty fine point on that. I also like how the two of them interact from their first meeting onwards. Both of these characters are a little time-lost, I think. Even Misty, who is streetwise, is a little out of touch with the real world. I think there’s gold to be mined from their relationship.
Nate-Grey continues the “Fearless Defenders” query, hoping for a few spoilers of the upcoming roster.
I really enjoyed Valkyrie’s story in The Fearless and have been eagerly awaiting the selection of her new team of Valkyries. I was especially delighted to learn that Dani Moonstar is one of the founding members. Do you have plans to use other mutants in the future? I think Storm and Jubilee would make great additions to the team!
I don’t want to reveal too much about the final team, but I’ll tell you that there is definitely one (maybe more) mutant on my team. I’ll also say that if you have a favorite Marvel lady, it’s a pretty safe bet that she will show up in the series at some point. The final team of valkyries will be eight strong. But the cast will rotate from arc to arc. You won’t see all eight of them together until something really, really bad happens (and it will). At the same time, expect to see lots of guest stars in the book.
Bringing things back around to “Wolverine” is mr_infinite to wrap things up with some existential questions about Logan’s life…
Cullen, you said once that you found the relationship between Logan and Melita Garner intriguing, but in one of your most recent issues, it seems like their relationship may have run its course. What about Melita intrigues you and will we get a chance to see her again?
Wolverine has many great loves, but Melita seemed the most “real” to me. For a woman without super powers, without clans of ninja or assassins or cyborgs at her beck and call, Melita always seems like the girl who was most capable of not taking any of Wolverine’s crap. She held her own against him.
Yeah, Logan and Melita are in a pretty rough spot. Melita can’t trust Logan. Logan can’t even remember Melita. I’m not sure if their meant to be together, but I think their relationship would have continued to evolve in some really interesting ways. I hope the new creative teams don’t forget Melita.
Dr. Rot was a really cool villain and one I was excited to see return. Did you plan to bring back any more of Logan’s rogues gallery? What about creating your own villains?
If I have the chance to write more Wolverine stories, I’ll certainly bring back some more of his rogue’s gallery. That’s part of the fun of writing a character with such a rich history. I’d also like to bring in some new villains of my own.
So much of Wolverine’s life right now is kind of depressing. He’s being pulled in a number of different directions and just witnessed the death of Charles Xavier. Will Logan get to find some happiness at some point?
I dunno. Wolverine seems to have a self-destructive streak. Also, I don’t think readers would like to see Wolverine be too happy for too long. Heck, we may be seeing him as happy as he’s ever really been! The school may be the closest he gets, and I’m sure Jason plans on shaking things up for him.
What do you think is the coolest Wolverine costume?
I liked the original, with the whiskers design. Speaking of that, stay tuned for the next couple of issues in the “Covenant” arc.
Finally, here’s our Behind the X question themed for the holidays: What is your favorite holiday decoration and why?
I’ve always liked Jack O’Lanterns. I like carving them (and I’m a traditional triangle eyes kind of guy) and lighting them on Halloween night. I just like the experience of it. This year, I carved a pumpkin with my son for the first time. Priceless! I’ve gotta admit, too, that if I could leave Christmas lights up all year long, I would. There’s just something about the way those lights illuminate a room. It’s peaceful, and we can all use a little peace, right?
Special thanks to Cullen Bunn for answering this week’s questions for X-Position!
The end of this week is Thanksgiving in the United States, but we’ve still got an X-Position next week with special guest and new “X-Men Legacy” writer Si Spurrier! Got a question about Legion and his status in Marvel NOW!? Go ahead and drop me a line with the subject line “X-Position” with your burning questions — or if you prefer a more succinct platform, you can always try Twitter. Remember to get your questions in by the end of the day on Friday! Do it to it!