Whether it’s as the former leader of “Uncanny X-Force,” a card-carrying member of the Avengers or the headmaster of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, Wolverine is nigh-ubiquitous in the Marvel Comics Universe — but what does he do when he’s not part of a team? While Frank Cho’s “Savage Wolverine” explores one side of that coin, the recently-debuted “Wolverine” ongoing series by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis puts Logan in the middle of the Marvel U tasked with solving the mystery of an incredibly powerful weapon.
This week, Cornell joined X-Position to discuss his take on the best there is at what he does, crafting a good jumping-on point for new Marvel NOW! readers, the book’s supporting cast and whether or not he’s up for another run with “Captain Britain and MI-13.”
mr_infinite has questions about approaching the best there is at what he does for a new standalone series.
I was a big fan of your work in the X-Universe when you did “Captain Britain and MI-13” and your “Dark X-Men” miniseries, so it was great to see you back in that realm again. Wolverine is a much more mainstream character than some of your previous work in the X-books. How did you approach making a standalone story for a character that is arguably the most overexposed in the Marvel Universe?
Thanks very much. The weird thing about Wolverine is that there’s still so much to do with him. I think the fun stuff (taking the healing factor as far as it’ll go, historical adventures) is so attractive that a lot of writers have gone that way, but there’s still loads of character to be explored. I’m going to put him under enormous emotional pressure, with a story that gently leads the reader into the center of the Marvel Universe. Let’s see how much he can take, and if he’ll break.
How did you approach the series as a part of Marvel NOW! in order to make it an easy jumping-on point for readers that may have fallen off the “Wolverine” bandwagon?
That was very high on my list of priorities. I like comics the mainstream might get into if they saw them, so I wanted to take a few moments to explain the basics of how Wolverine’s powers work, to give a summing up of what he’s like as a character at the point where the story starts. I like to think we’ve got some readers who haven’t read a Wolverine comic before.
Dave wants to know more about Wolverine’s interaction with the greater Marvel U and his affiliation as an Avenger.
How much will Wolverine being an Avenger play into your story? It seems like he’s using his membership to get out of sticky situations more often these days.
He’s got official backing now, so he’ll use it when it’s useful. The alternative would be for him to deliberately make life harder for himself. I like the fact that some people, particularly in law enforcement, know who he is. It gets us past a lot of dull misunderstandings.
One of the great things about previous runs on “Wolverine” was the exploration of Logan’s personal relationships with other people. How, if at all, are you extending this concept to your run?
You’ll be meeting a lot of new friends and allies, including a whole bunch of new regulars in #3, professionals in the super hero field. And Nick Fury is in this title in a kind of buddy movie way. Him and Logan have a ‘kid/old man’ thing going that I really enjoy. Wolverine works best as a voice when he’s got someone to play off. As I have someone say, he’s actually a very sociable guy. That’s why he’s on all those teams. That’s not a joke. People say he’s ‘a loner’, but where’s the evidence for that? The company of people grounds him, it’s something he seeks out, because otherwise he’d be this weird being rather than the ordinary guy he likes to be.
“Captain Britain and MI-13” superfan jimthetroll wants to know if you’ll return for a revival of the characters.
Is there any chance that your return to Marvel means you might return to write Captain Britain and the folks over at MI-13 again? Is that even something you might be interested in doing?
I’m being asked this a lot now, and it’s started to be kind of a burdensome question (although I recognize the kindness behind it). I’d like people to appreciate what I’m doing now, not keep harking back to what I used to do. On my grave, I’m going to have three words written: ‘Change is good.’
It’s so cool that Alan Davis is drawing your “Wolverine” story. Why did you think he was a good fit for the kind of Wolverine you decided to write?
He can do anything, so actually he’d be a good fit for any sort of story. He’s excellent at emotional beats, at telling the story through expressions. And he can do big action. Put those two things together, and anyone would want to work with him. And this story is going to grow from street level to take us to some very different places, so his versatility is going to be required.
cora reef has queries about the transition from team books to solo books.
I’ve really enjoyed all your ensemble books lately, like your run on “Stormwatch” and “Demon Knights.” When it comes to a solo character like “Wolverine,” is it an adjustment to only have one main toy to play with?
Well, I’ve actually given him quite a big supporting cast, so it’s not like I have to deal with him alone in the wilderness talking to chipmunks. It’s really just about making sure that, as the central character, he motivates all the action, that it’s all about what happens to him.
Is there any chance we’ll be seeing more of S.H.I.E.L.D. as your run progresses? What other organizations would you like to ally Wolverine with or put him up against?
I love being able to do this: yes! Hugely! #5-6 are designed with you in mind, and Nick Fury on his own is going to be part of the life of this title from #2 onwards. There we go, I love a satisfied customer! It’s not part of my game plan, but I’ve always enjoyed AIM and what Jon Hickman did with Hydra, so maybe if I’m still on this title in ten years (and I’d like to be). Oh, and, of course, the Hellfire Club.
Wrapping up, monkeyjim asks about process for story framing and the significance of the weapon in the first issue.
What’s your process for framing a story? It’s interesting that you just threw us into the middle of your “Wolverine” story so that our reactions would roughly the same as Logan’s. How did you come to that storytelling device?
It’s kind of the obvious thing to do, something everyone’s taught, to begin the scene as late as possible. If you think about it, it’d actually be harder to start earlier than that, because you’d have to waste at least three pages showing what it’s obvious has happened. And it gives us a shocking start that lets Wolverine come out with that line, which is there because it’s so jarring. I mean, does he look like one at that moment? And that question of identity is our theme, really, and it’s good to fly that as a flag on page one.
Is the weapon going to have significance beyond this story arc?
Ohhhhhh yes. Yes, yes yes yes yes! So very yes!
Finally, here’s our Behind the X question: What’s your favorite beverage?
I like real ale (specifically Old Hooky) and Kraken rum.
Special thanks to Paul Cornell for joining us for this week’s X-Position!
Next week, “Astonishing X-Men” writer Marjorie Liu joins X-Position in the wake of the debut issue of “X-Termination” to answer all questions about her Astonishing squad and the current crossover. Get those questions in via email with the subject line “X-Position” or you can always try the succinct form of Twitter. Either way, get those questions in by Friday!
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