Let's talk about those characters. At the center of Exiles is Blink, a character from the original series being pulled back into the role of protector of the Multiverse. What's your sense of how that effects her? Which elements of her character are you initially interested in exploring?
Because of the nature of Exiles she's had an insane number of adventures even just within this one book, let alone in some of the other books where she's appeared. The problem with any new #1 issue of a book is that you're trying to bring in new readers. It's not just for people who are like, “Oh, I loved Exiles 15 years ago!” This is also for people who don't know what Exiles was. So working on a character like Blink involves honoring what other people have done with her, but also whittling down to some core elements for the reader to latch on to.
I think the appeal for Blink is that she's had this astonishingly brutal life. She was born a mutant in the Age of Apocalypse, used as a weapon, experimented on, and then as an adventurer through time she's seen some pretty dark stuff. She's lost friends and people close to her. Yet, she maintains this kind of buoyancy and brightness. It's not a saccharine sort of optimism. She has this beacon like quality about her so even when things are dark she works really well to rally a team around her. In terms of her personality she's the anchor of the team. She's the team leader, and we're going to see that, but that also contrasts at times with her sort of youthful personality.
The man who tasks Blink with the mission of protecting the Multiverse in this new volume of Exiles is Nick Fury Sr who is now a being known as the Unseen. What kind of role does he play in this story?
He is in the non field general sort of role. Although, that's going to be quite complicated. It's not really his agency per se, so much as it the Multiverse sort of defending itself. It's very hard to explain. In terms of the framework this is a very cosmic and trippy book. We get weird, epic Marvel and there's a lot of time travel style paradoxes involved, but not in a way that weighs down the story.
So what we'll see in these opening pages of Exiles is actually Silver Age Nick Fury appearing before himself as he is now, the Unseen, and Silver Age Nick Fury seems to be on a mission. So people who have been missing the Old Nick will get some pretty cool glimpses of him in this book. He was really fun to write even for just the little bits that I did. That's something you can only get away with in a book like Exiles.
What can you tell us about Blink's teammate, Khan? She appears to be a grizzled, older version of the Marvel Universe's Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan.
So Khan . . . KHHHAAANN! [Laughs] I knew that everyone on Twitter would be quoting Star Trek when we revealed her, and I was okay with that.
She is sort of the Sarah Connor version of Ms.Marvel. The idea behind her is that she's from a time line where the recent IvX event devolved into a war between mutants and inhumans that also drew humanity in. So, essentially she's from a timeline where there's been a three way mutant-Inhuman-human war for about 30 years. Most of her people have been wiped out. She protects her little corner of what's left as this kind of brutal super powered war has gone on for the past few decades. She's very different from the Kamala we know.
Part of what we're going to learn over the series is how she went from point A of this kind of teeny bopper superhero to point b of this bitter, post apocalyptic soldier.
Another Exiles cast member that's very different from their Marvel Universe counterpart is this team's incarnation of Wolverine.
In a storyline from many years ago the villain Mojo created the X-Babies, who were little versions of the X-Men. His rival though, Veech, created an even more annoyingly innocent version called the Adorable X-Babies. They were essentially X-Men Muppet Babies. That's who our Wolvie is.
He comes from a world where trees have cute little faces and caterpillars walk around with cute little caps. He goes to, I can't remember the exact name we gave it, but it's something like Xavier's Funtime School For Gifted Youngsters. So he's basically a living cartoon and he's really innocent of concepts like death and hatred. So why he was chosen to be part of this team is kind of a big question. He doesn't seem to be much of a fighter. So the things he learns after being pulled out of his reality are a big part of his storyline.
Your Exiles team also includes a character who appears to be Iron Lad from the original Young Avengers run. Is that correct?
Yes, essentially he is that Iron Lad, but he's been lifted from a time before Young Avengers ever started. Iron Lad is essentially a younger version of Kang the Conqueror, who Kang went back and gave power armor too. He was being bullied, and at some point he was nearly killed by bullies. So Kang went back in time to this teenage version of himself, gave him power armor, and said “Come become a time conqueror.” He was kind of being his own evil dad in a weird way. Nate Richards rejected that. He said, “No, I'm going to become a hero.” And he joined the Young Avengers.
In our story, he makes a different choice when Kang gives him the armor. He doesn't want to become a world conqueror, the same as the Young Avengers storyline, but he instead goes back to his own timeline and tries to get revenge on the bullies. That's when he gets plucked, while in the midst of trying to achieve his revenge.
He's a bit younger, and maybe a bit more maladjusted [Laughs] than what we saw of the Nate who became a true hero in Young Avengers. He's also the kind of brains of the group. So he's a lot of fun to write in relation to some of these other bombastic and experienced heroes around him.