INTERVIEW: Mariko Tamaki Talks X-23 and the Clawed Killers Hunting Wolverine

Marvel Comics Wolverine is a hero that can dish out and take massive amounts of physical punishment thanks to his razor sharp claws and healing factor. He's not the only character with that formidable combination of abilities though. In fact his world is full of heroes and villains with similar power sets. Some of them are friends and family, some are bitter enemies, and some are both.

This May in the four-issue Hunt for Wolverine: Claws of the Killer miniseries, Mariko Tamaki and Butch Guice look at that last category with a tale that focuses on how Sabretooth, Daken and Lady Deathstrike react to the revelation that Wolverine is back among the living.

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Then, in July, Tamaki explores the more heroic aspects of Wolverine's legacy with an all-new X-23 ongoing series that features art by Juan Cabal and continues the adventures of Logan's clone and “daughter,” Laura Kinney, and her sister, Gabby, aka Honey Badger. CBR spoke with Tamaki about writing both the villainous and heroic characters that populate Wolverine's world, working with veteran artist Guice, and the family elements and supporting cast of X-23.

CBR: Mariko, you're currently involved in two Wolverine related projects. The first one is The Hunt for Wolverine miniseries, The Claws of the Killer. That series stars some of Logan's greatest foes and reluctant allies like Daken, Sabretooth, and Lady Deathstrike. What do you enjoy most about writing these characters? What's your sense of them?

EXCLUSIVE: Art from Hunt for Wolverine: The Claws of a Killer #1 by Butch Guice and Dan Brown

Mariko Tamaki: I was really happy when I drew the villain card on this one. I mean really, none of these characters have any real reason to trust each other or work together. They’re all pretty easily pissed off. None of them team players. I’m super into that part. It’s like the worst road trip ever with claws and zombies.

Each of the Hunt for Wolverine titles seems to feature different types of action and tone. What can you tell us about the feel of Claws of the Killer and the types of genres you're dealing with in the story?

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It's a horror comic, and I hope it feels like a horror comic to readers. Put it this way: My nightmares the past few months have been very detailed because of this comic. There is a zombie element, and I have been studying the zombies closely, and so yes -- no sleep for me.

[Laughs] You're working with veteran artist Butch Guice on Claws of the Killer, an artist who can and has drawn pretty much every type of character, and has a flair for both action and acting. What do you enjoy most about Butch's style?

EXCLUSIVE: Art from Hunt for Wolverine: The Claws of a Killer #1 by Butch Guice and Dan Brown

I love the detail he brings to this script. Every page is so atmospheric. There’s so much in just how he poses these characters, their facial features are so defined; it gives so much voice to every moment. Butch is just amazing.

In July, you move to a different corner of Wolverine's world with the launch of an ongoing X-23 series. What can you tell us about the headspace your title character is in when you pick up with her in issue #1? Which elements of her personality are you interested in initially exploring?

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At the beginning of this series, she’s set herself on a mission to make sure there will never be another X-23. That’s her way of dealing with everything that’s happened, of taking control of it; making sure she’s in charge of what happens next. Of course, that’s hard to be, in control of the future. In terms of character, I love that Laura is nobody’s fool. She is seriously kickass in that she is both serious... and very kickass. She’s come from this place of being someone else’s weapon, and she’s fought her way through that and become her own version of a hero. I’m deeply into that.

What’s it like writing Laura’s sister, Gabby.

The Gabby and Laura combination is such a great one to work with. It allows for another level of storytelling, another level of what it means to be a hero. It’s fun to write someone who’s coming from a bright and invincible place. I love a Gabby moment where she’s just so into who she is and what they’re doing. It’s nice to have someone who’s just a little giddy at how cool they are.

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