X-POSITION: Jason Aaron on "Wolverine"

Heroes don't kill…or do they? It's a question that's often debated amongst comic book fans, and is alive and well thanks to recent events in Marvel Comics' X-Men titles. Cyclops has formed his own wetworks team in "X-Force," and Wolverine is out to kill the shape-shifting mutant Mystique. Granted, killing isn't anything new to Wolverine (just ask Sabretooth…oh wait!); however, it always occurred in "last resort" circumstances. Now we have mutants hunting targets with murderous intent. What exactly is going on?

Luckily, "Get Mystique" writer Jason Aaron ("Scalped," "Ghost Rider") is here to answer that, along with many other reader-generated questions. And, as always, we've got exclusive art for you – this week from Aaron's and artist Ron Garney's "Wolverine" #64. So hold on tight, this might get bloody.

Jason, welcome to X-POSITION! We'll have reader Renaldo Fuentes start you off with a simple question about the writing process.

Was "Get Mystique" a storyline that was just handed to you? Or did you create it yourself? And if it was given to you, do they give you the beginning, middle and end of the story? How do you make it yours?

I was given just the set-up of Wolverine going after Mystique in the wake of "Messiah CompleX." Beyond that, I was able to do whatever I wanted, including with the ending.

Regan's a Scalped fan who has a few questions about your latest Marvel gigs.

1) How long will you be on "Wolverine?" Just this arc, or will you be staying longer?

Just this arc, for now. Down the road though, who knows?

2) I'm enjoying your "Ghost Rider" too! Is all the mystical 'stuff' in that book tricky to write? What do you have planned for that book?

No, it hasn't been at all tricky to write. Like I said, I love working with different kinds of stories, so the wild, supernatural feel of "Ghost Rider" has been no more challenging than the intense, gritty tone of "Scalped." I'm having a total blast working on "Ghost Rider," and I'm thoroughly excited about what's coming up in the series.

You'll see some all-new characters as well as the return of a few old favorites, and also a dramatic reinterpretation of the very idea of the Spirit of Vengeance. As far as I'm concerned, it's an exciting year to be a Ghost Rider fan.

As far as Creyes is concerned, on to the murder and mayhem! She wanted to know some of the nitty-gritty about your current "Wolverine" arc. Can you help her out?

1) There are lots of villains who deserve to die - many that I would argue need to die more than Mystique. Why her and why now?

As seen during "Messiah CompleX" and in the pages of the new "X-Force" series, Cyclops has thrown the old rules out the window. He's determined to be more proactive in the battle for mutant survival. And Mystique has proven herself time and again to be an enemy of the X-Men, most recently of course by betraying them to the Marauders and Mr. Sinister. So why wait around for her to screw them over again?

2) How old do you think Mystique is? If she's the mother of Nightcrawler (and he's in his late 20s or early 30s), wouldn't that make her in her 50s? While she can make herself look however she wants, will we ever see her "real" face?

It's already been established that Mystique is a lot older than 50. In "X-treme X-Men" #1, her first meeting with Destiny was shown as occurring sometime around the turn of the 20th century. And in the "X-Men: True Friends" miniseries, it was shown that she and Logan already knew each other back in the 1930s.

After so many years of shape-shifting, I doubt Mystique has a "real" face left anymore. But just wait until you see what she looks like by the end of "Wolverine" #64. Wowie.

He writes, he cites X-Men history – Jason Aaron is a man of many talents! Let's see how he does with this next question from Valeria Kementari:

Simple question, was the Senator Brickman that Mystique killed the same Senator Brickman whose wife she replaced in "X-Factor" #139? Raven played the part of Mallory Brickman more than once (it was one of her secret identities); so if it is the same senator (who was Graydon Creed's running mate too), why didn't she call him by his name like she used to?"

Yes, it was the same Senator Brickman. But during that scene, Mystique is pretending to be a prostitute that the Senator frequents, not his wife, so she wouldn't be addressing him the way she used to.

He shoots and scores! Creaky is up next and, being a responsible sort of person, they're worried about the repercussions of Wolvie's actions.

I'm really loving the "Get Mystique" arc so far, yet I can't help but wonder about the small matter of this being Nightcrawler's mom and how, last time I checked, he had some unresolved emotional business with her. Not to mention that Nightcrawler tends to not be too fond of killing in general.

Mystique has definitely earned her fate, but how is this going to affect Logan and Kurt's friendship? Does Logan even have this in mind?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to fit Nightcrawler into this arc, but really, I think everything you mention is reason enough for Cyclops and Wolverine to **not** want Nightcrawler involved. They both feel like this is something that needs to be done, and they wouldn't want Nightcrawler's personal feelings to cloud that. As for how this could affect the relationship between Kurt and Logan, we'll just have to wait and see.

While we're on the topic of Mystique's kiddies, Urugaurd was concerned about the villain's **other** child in light of recent events.

Mystique was almost killed by Rogue recently, by Rogue refrained from finishing the act. Will she have any say or opinion about Wolverine's actions that we'll see in "Wolverine?"

No, Rogue will not be appearing in this arc. Again, Cyclops wants to keeps these kinds of operations under the table, so he's not about to enlist a committee of X-Men to decide what should be done, even if they have a personal stake in matters. He's making those decisions himself.

Despite his violent nature, Wolvie does have several friends. And Josh Miller was curious if some of them might be making an appearance anytime soon.

Will we see any Alpha Flight characters in "Get Mystique" (or any upcoming story arcs)?

'Fraid not. I thought they all got killed anyway? But if you wanna start a petition to bring back Puck, I'll sure as hell sign it.

Let's move on to Mizzah X, who sent in a few questions about the joy of writing "Wolverine."

1) Wolverine is a character whose personality seems to change depending on who is writing him. How would you describe your Wolverine? An animal, a samurai, a predator, an assassin, or a berzerker? Whose version of Wolverine (writing-wise) do you relate to most?

I'd describe him as all of those put together, really, because he's been every one of those things at one point or another, but he's a man who still struggles to do the right thing and to make up for the mistakes of his past. Writing-wise, my favorite period was probably Greg Rucka's run.

2) What is the biggest challenge of writing an icon like Wolverine?

Just dealing with the character's long continuity and with fan expectations. So many people have their own ideas about who Wolverine is and how he should act, so it's always hard to please everybody. In the end, I just have to write a book that I enjoy, and hope that's enough.

3) Are there any other Marvel characters that you would like to write?

The Punisher. The Thing. Man-Thing. Son of Satan. Bullseye. Black Panther. Dr. Doom. Captain America. Hulk. Longshot. Silver Surfer. Shang-Chi. Shall I go on?

You could, but that wouldn't leave us time for Max Gerberding, who was wondering about events outside of the X-universe.

I know this isn't a Wolverine question, but I'm dying to ask this question. You're the cousin of Gustav Hasford who wrote the book which was the inspiration for "Full Metal Jacket," and I heard you wrote "The Other Side" to honor him.

Being a film buff, I was wondering if you can say what your cousin thought of the film, and if he ever met Kubrick (and had any stories that you could share)?

I think Gus enjoyed the film, for the most part, but it's not a very faithful adaptation of his novel. The boot camp sequences are pretty much straight out of the book, but after that the film veers sharply from the novel, especially the ending. The way I hear it, he and Kubrick met in person only once, for a dinner that ended with Kubrick telling someone else, "I can't deal with this man." Gus was quite a character, and one of my ongoing projects is to write a full-fledged biography of him. Stay tuned for that.

Thanks for the great questions, everybody. And thanks for reading the books!

Jason, thank you for joining us for the X-POSITION x-perience!

That wraps up this session's fun, but in just seven days, we'll be back to talk "X-Men: Legacy" with series writer Mike Carey. I know there are lots of questions about this series and the status of Professor X, so send those queries my way! And don't forget – be sure to put "X-Position" in the subject line of any emails you send me, or my spam filter will gut them quicker than Wolverine facing…aw, I can't tell you that!


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