The old latin adage “Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis” is typically translated as, “The times change and we change with them.” That phrase applies quite literally to Marvel Comics’ lead femme fatale, Mystique. The shapeshifting mutant has been alive since the early days of the 20th century — if not longer. Now the death of Wolverine, one of Mystique’s most prominent adversaries, has marked the end of another era in her long life. In “Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy” #6, writer James Tynion IV and artist Andy Clarke will show how Mystique copes with the ghosts of Wolverine and her deceased lover, the mutant prognosticator called Destiny.
Writer James Tynion IV brings a fresh set of eyes to the Mystique-heavy issue. Over the past few years, the writer that made a name for himself working on DC Comics titles like “Batman” and “Batman Eternal” before launching creator-owned series “The Woods” and “Memetic.” Now Tynion can add “Marvel Comics writer” to his growing resume. We spoke with Tynion about Mystique as well as November’s “Amazing X-Men” #13 — his Marvel debut — which features art by Jorge Jimenez.
CBR News: Since breaking into comics in 2012, you’ve spent much of your time in the DC Universe. Now, two years later, you’re making your writing debut for Marvel. How does that feel? What does Marvel and it’s universe of characters mean to you?
James Tynion IV: The thing I’ve always said, and with my Gotham work in particular, is that I get to play with the best toy box in the industry with those characters. The other big toy box that’s been calling out to me since I was a kid, though, is the the whole universe of X-characters. I was definitely an X-kid growing up. I was a huge fan of the animated series and the major crossovers in the ’90s, particularly “Age of Apocalypse,” which I ate up. I was all about that back in the day. So the X-Men characters have always meant a lot to me.
It’s been funny; I’ve always been primarily a DC reader, but I can’t read DC books with the same level of fanboyishness because I know what’s happening behind the surface. I know what’s coming up in all of the books. With Marvel, though, I’ve managed to stay a total fanboy. So it’s nice to get back to that feeling. Right when I first started on the Batman books I was still totally enamored with the world and the characters, not that I’m not enamored now, but I’m much more a part of it. With the X-books, I get a chance to come in from a pure fanboy perspective and get a chance to play with some of my favorite characters for a couple of issues. It’s a pretty cool feeling.
Your Marvel and mutant debut is “Amazing X-Men” #13. What can you tell us about the issue and the X-Men it focuses on?
I wanted to do something a bit tighter and focused. The book has an amazing cast that I had the opportunity to play with, but I wanted to dig into two of my all time favorite characters — Northstar and Nightcrawler — and look at their relationship to the next generation of mutants at the Jean Grey School. The focal point of that will be the character Anole, who I’ve loved since his appearances in “New Mutants” and “New X-Men” a few years back.
Anole is going through a lot right now in his life and in the past we’ve seen Northstar serve as a kind of mentor to him. Northstar might be a good mentor when it comes to issues of sexuality [as both Northstar and Anole are gay], but he’s not necessarily the guy that can fully empathize with what it’s like to look so dramatically inhuman. That’s where Nightcrawler is going to come in and lend some helpful advice.
They come up against Lady Mastermind in the issue, but it’s really mostly about the relationship between the three characters. I want it to capture the fun that “Amazing X-Men” has really embodied since its relaunch. I think we did a great job on it and Jorge Jimenez’s art is absolutely stunning. He’s the exact right guy you want to see drawing these characters.
In December’s “Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy” #6 you move from writing Nightcrawler to writing his mother, Mystique. What’s your sense of the relationship between Wolverine and Mystique? What do you think he meant to her?
It’s a very tumultuous relationship. There have been moments where they have been allies, but at the end of the day, Mystique always gets her own way and goes off to do her own thing. I think the key part of their relationship that really fascinated me, though, is the longevity of it — the fact that both of these characters have been around for pretty much the entire 20th century and that they’ve been interacting with each other on and off for that entire time.
The other aspect of the issue was that some of my favorite classic X-Men stories were the ones where Mystique was paired with Destiny. They were attempting to manipulate the course of human history in order to shape a future of mutant dominance where they had the power. Clearly that’s something that was on their agenda long before they started coming face to face with the X-Men, so that’s something some I wanted to explore.
Also because we’re dealing with the history of these characters, I wanted to bring back a little bit of the relationship between Mystique and Destiny, which totally defined the character for the first decade or two of the character’s existence. I really wanted to touch base on all of those factors and bring them to the foreground.
It sounds like “The Logan Legacy” #6 is an issue where Mystique will be dealing with the ghosts of two people she had strong feelings about.
Correct. Also with this issue, as is true of the entire “Logan Legacy” event, we are building towards things. It’s a look back and a step towards the “Wolverines” series that [writers] Charles Soule and Ray Fawkes are working on for next year. There are elements that are put into play in this issue that will really help shape what’s to come. We’re going to see a lot that take shape here.
Can you talk about where “The Logan Legacy” #6 takes place and what Mystique is up to in the issue?
A good chunk of the story takes place in Madripoor, which as we saw over in the X-Books is now a place that Mystique controls. The issue also deals with the Madripoor of the past as well. We’ll learn that this may not have been the first time Mystique had her eyes on this small, criminal, island nation and saw it as a possible point of power that she could use to her benefit. Then, obviously, Madripoor is a place that Logan has a strong history with as well. So we’re going to see those places and we’ll also be on the boardwalk of the Jersey Shore at an underground S.H.I.E.L.D. facility there, so we’re going all over. I’m excited for people to see what we’ve done with the issue.
The art is being done by Andy Clarke. It’s so great to get a chance to work with him again. I’ve had the opportunity to work with him a number of times the last few years on the “Batman” books and I’m always happy to collaborate with him again.
It seems like a guy who drew a lot of Batman, one of the most cunning and capable characters in the DC Universe, would be a good fit for Mystique since she is no slouch in those departments.
Absolutely. I’m honored and excited to get the chance to play with a whole new cast of characters in both “The Logan Legacy” and “Amazing X-Men,” even if it’s only for a couple quick dips in the pool right now. These are characters I’ve loved my entire life and, I have to say, it’s a pretty awesome feeling to see my name on a couple of X-books in the next couple of months. I’m so happy to be involved.
As you are making your Marvel Comics debut, these two X-Men comics may introduce your work to a whole new group of readers. What do you want those readers to know about the stories you’ve done for other publishers, like Boom! Studios and DC?
“Amazing X-Men” #13 especially has the young student feel that I tap into over in “The Woods” for Boom! So if they’re interested in that, “The Woods” would be a good place to check out my other work. My “Mystique” stuff is a bit more grounded, serious, superhero stuff, so there’s this other little character called Batman that they may have heard of. [Laughs] And there are some cool stories over there that I’ve done. I’m happy to keep getting out there and doing a lot of strange things. This same month I also have a little short in the “Bravest Warriors: Paralyzed Horse” special. So I’m getting a lot of little, fun field trips outside of Gotham City every now and then, and it’s pretty fun.
“Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy” #6 hits stores on December 10.
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