X-POSITION: Marjorie Liu & Daniel Way

How many ways can you claw a person to death? Two X-scribes who probably can approximate a close number are Marjorie Liu and Daniel Way. As the primary writers of Wolverine's son, Daken, the writing team has been forced to think up ways to slice and dice a variety of objects. In addition, Liu is the writer for "X-23," Wolvie's clone "daughter" who has some pointy appendages of her own. Suffice it to say, Way and Liu know how to handle sharp objects.

The two writers have been joined at the hip in our X-POSITION for quite a long time, as they've written Daken together since "Dark Wolverine" #75. This partnership will be reaching a conclusion with the upcoming "Daken: Dark Wolverine" #9 and the scribes will be heading their separate ways (Liu continuing on "X-23" and Way writing "Deadpool" and "Astonishing X-Men"). As this will be their final joint X-PO, we've received many emails from readers wanting to know more about future plans. And since I'm as curious as the next fan, let's get some answers right...now!

CharlesN2 has compliments, questions and a suggestion or two. Let's see what you think of these apples:

1) Daniel, I wanted to say that your "Deadpool" is the best written series focusing on this character, as it mixes Wade's humor, self-conscious mentality and brilliant combat strategies perfectly. I was wondering about issue #26 though, where Deadpool asks Ghost Rider if he thinks that he deserves to die. Ghost Rider responds "Yes," and Deadpool thanks him. There is a very serious tone here, which I personally would love to see a little more. Do you plan on things getting more serious in future issues?

Daniel Way: Wow, thanks! I'm glad you liked it because those kinds of stories -- focusing more on the tragic side of Deadpool, less on the comedic -- are some of my favorite to write. And you're in luck, because I'm in the middle of planning a huge Deadpool event in which the darker aspects of the character play a major, major part.

2) Is there any chance that future "Deadpool" arcs will involve old "friends," such as Domino, Taskmaster, or Bullseye?

Way: There is a 100% chance you'll see Taskmaster -- along with Big Bertha, Sluggo, Weasel, Blind Al and Deuce the Devil Dog -- in "Deadpool" #36 with incredible art by Sheldon Vella, whom I think is possibly one of the best new artists Marvel has (and that's saying a lot, obviously).

3) Marjorie, Laura is one of the deadliest fighters in the Marvel Universe and I'd love to see her take on Sabretooth, Deadpool, or some other Weapon X graduate. Any chance of that happening after the Daken arc?

Marjorie Liu: Yes.

Way: Hmm, Deadpool vs. X-23.

LIU: Deadpool vs. X-23?  Sold, buddy!

4) The Avengers Academy is full of teenagers who have the potential to become deadly villains as adults. Do you think Laura might take a couple of classes there? She could one day be a valuable member of the X-Men and/or the Young Avengers.

Liu: I won't rule it out; though honestly, X-23 has had an education that probably rivals anything she could learn at the Avengers Academy. They could probably learn a couple things from her -- which is not such a bad idea.

5) Do you plan on addressing and resolving the problem of Laura's "trigger scent" and the control it has over her?

Liu: Are you psychic? I think you are. What happens after the "Collision" crossover will answer that question. And read the "Collision" arc for some hints, as well.

MarvelMaster616 is also curious about Weapon X and some of Laura's conditioning. What can you tell him about the following:

1) Since the beginning of the "X-23" series, there seems to be a lot of emphasis on Laura being a teenage girl and not just a mutant or a product of Weapon X. Now that she's trying to find her own way, what exactly would you say she's looking for? Does she have any idea? Or is that something she's still trying to figure out?

Liu: I don't think she really knows what she's looking for. Who does? She's always lived in a very controlled environment. Very regulated and structured. And then, the first time she was on her own, it was a disaster. She killed people, became a prostitute -- I mean, come on. This kid has had a rough life.

Now she's a little older, maybe a little wiser and she wants to know who she is -- because she doesn't know. Is she just a killer? Is that all she's good for? Can she move past her conditioning and be something more? Or is it enough for her to be a soldier? What makes her happy?

2) In the second issue of "X-23," there's a moment where Logan is talking to Laura about him being a father figure to her and her being a daughter. Is this relationship dynamic going to come back up once their paths cross again? The 'Hellverine' arc sort of derailed it.

Liu: You bet it's coming back. I'll also be exploring Wolverine's double-standard when it comes to his care of Jubilee versus X-23. Actually, I'll sort of be hammering it over the head. I'm not very subtle, sometimes.

3) Why do you think X-23 and Daken are so different despite being the offspring of Wolverine?

Liu: That's a hard one. Both were raised in radically different environments. Clearly, I think X-23 had a more difficult life than Daken and yet, she's not a sociopath. She is, however, emotionally shut down -- and can be a stone-cold killer. If she had been raised like Daken? Who knows?

Way: Here's the easy, non-academic answer: different creators. Few people know this, but my inspiration for Daken's characterization was actually the song "We're Only Gonna Die" by Bad Religion.

Daniela needs help with her homework -- seriously! Can either of you act as tutors?

I love Daken to bits and can't get enough of him; I love how complex he is as a character. I'm writing my college paper on the topic of X-Men and minorities and I have an entire chapter devoted to sexual minorities like Daken and Northstar. If you could help provide me with some insight, I'd appreciate it.

I'd like to know why the character of Daken appeals to you? What do you think makes him so different and interesting compared to other sexual minorities like Northstar, Rictor and Shatterstar? And why does it seem he can he get away with so much more on panel (like kissing Bullseye, making homoerotic jokes) compared to those other characters? We haven't seen Northstar kissing others and he's been around for decades --

Liu: Northstar isn't kissing the dudes? What? I need to look into this.

Maybe Dan can answer this question better than I can, but we never held back with Daken. How can you, really? We just wrote him in all his crazy glory, and if he wanted to flirt with a man, he flirted. If he wanted to kiss Bullseye, he kissed Bullseye. He is who he is and we weren't afraid to explore that. No one ever told us not to.

I can't speak for why he can get away with more than Northstar and other characters. Maybe it's the focus of the writers. Perhaps people scrutinize -- and are harder on -- an out-of-the-closet gay character like Northstar than they would be a character like Daken, who is bisexual. It could also be a case of expectations. We gave readers the option from nearly page one to either accept him as a sexual creature -- or just not read the book. Those who stuck around expected to see Daken with men and women. I'd like to think it was part of the appeal.

Dan, what do you think?

That simply wasn't the case with Daken -- he's not "the gay guy." If we focused our attention on that one aspect of the character, fixed a spotlight on it, there probably would be some backlash...and we'd deserve it, because doing that would be unimaginative, puerile, exploitive and, worst of all, easy. 

Writing reports on X-Men for college? And I thought Xavier's School for the Gifted had been shut down.

Next, Rory addresses the elephant in the room -- or should I say the elephant that's leaving the room:

Way: Usually, in mainstream entertainment, a character is either introduced as or revealed to be gay in order to tell a story that either focuses or hinges upon that single aspect (makes me chuckle, thinking about how those pitch meetings went: "So...what's the hook?" - "The hook? Oh, you're not gonna believe it...he's gay." - "Sold!").

1) I was very depressed when I learned that the two of you will be leaving "Daken: Dark Wolverine" because I really loved your writing. What can we expect from Rob Williams, now that he will be taking over? Have any of his plans been shared with you? And will you be leaving any sort of "outlines" for him to work from?

Way: By the time we're done with our run, Daken will have secured a base of power (Madripoor) from which he can expand outward. I've read Rob's initial pitch and that's exactly where he's going. While I have provided some supplemental material about continuing plotlines (such as his imminent confrontation with Winter Soldier), this is Rob's book now, to do with as he sees fit. Personally, I think it's in good hands -- I was really impressed with that "What If?" story he did featuring Daken. 

2) Marjorie, I'm really sad that I couldn't find any of your novels here in the Philippines. However, I was lucky enough to get a copy of "Songs of Love and Death" by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois and your story "After The Blood" is fantastic! Is there a chance that you will be writing a full-length novel based on this short story, because I really want to read more! Also, are there any plans for your "Dirk & Steele" and "Hunter Kiss" books to be made into graphic novels?

Liu: Thank you! For those who don't know what "After the Blood" is about, it's a short story set after the apocalypse that involves Amish vampires, zombies and cats. I would love to set a full length novel in that world, but I don't know when, or even if, that will ever happen. There is another novella set in that same world, however: "The Robber Bride," which can be found in the anthology, "Huntress." No plans yet to turn the "Dirk & Steele" and "Hunter Kiss" books into graphic novels.

Darkxmen addresses another non-X book written by Ms. Liu and hopes for more joints from the two of you -- um, I mean joint projects:

1) Marjorie, why did you stop writing "Black Widow?" I absolutely loved that series and it got me to read other books written by you.

Liu: You are so kind and thank you. I stopped writing the book because I simply ran out of time. I was writing novels, working on "Dark Wolverine," and I was afraid that the quality of those Black Widow stories would slip if I continued. I would dearly love to return to that character, though. Maybe one day.

2) Do you see yourself writing any other Marvel character in the future? And do you see yourself possibly writing it with Daniel? You both complement each other so well; it makes for great comic book reading.

Liu: Thanks. Writing with Dan was a huge amount of fun. As for future collaborations, it's a small industry. Who knows? Regarding other Marvel characters, I'd love to -- and I'm already getting a chance to explore many of my favorites within the pages of "X-23."

Way: Like that rumored "Deadpool vs. X-23" arc.  

Time to get down with the Big G, who is less concerned with rumored events and wants details about an upcoming story that's been confirmed:

1) With "Schism" looming on the horizon, will X-23 be affected by this event? Considering that Wolverine and Cyclops are going to butt heads -- and X-23 has had to work under both of them -- it seems likely. And if she does, will she take sides?

Liu: Yes, she will take sides. Not in any crazy, claws-out sort of way. But X-23 has certain loyalties and I think it's safe to say that Scott isn't exactly on her list of favorite people.

Way: I actually just read the first issue of "Schism" the other day, and holy shit, is it good. A perfect blend of old school and new school. For any lapsed X-fans out there; you need to come back for this.

2) When X-23 last really interacted with Jubilee (in the one-shot), the two really didn't get along. Will there be much conflict between the two in the next arc of X-23 (after "Collision")? And what can you tease us with beyond the Jubilee/Wolverine arc?

Liu: Some conflict, yes. But Jubilee is in a much different place now than she was during the one-shot and that vulnerability will bring the two girls together more than it will tear them apart. As for what I can tease beyond that arc? Expect a return to New York City, which holds some very rich history for X-23...and, to some extent, Gambit.

Now it's my turn! Ready for some get-to-know-you fun with "Behind the X?" Let's see what you say to the following scenario -- pretend a computer exits that can answer any question definitively; however, you can only ask it one question. What would you ask it?

Liu: This is going to sound like such a horrible, awful, goody-two-shoes cliche, but I'd ask for the definitive, universal, cure to cancer.

Way: Hmm...I got nothin'. Deadpool? Wanna take this?

Deadpool: I'd ask it how to cut a fart, then after it said "that's impossible," I'd totally cut a fart right in its stupid computer face. #WINNING

A "winning" end to an especially adventurous ride on the X-POSITION tilt-a-whirl. Next week, writer Kieron Gillen stops by and he's anxious to hear what you think. The man writes two X-series ("Uncanny X-Men" and "Generation Hope"), so I'm expecting you to provide him with a multitude of quality queries.

As per usual, quickly type up those awesome observations and wonderful wonder-ments you have about the books Gillen writes and shoot them to me via email. Put an "X-Position" in the subject line and I'll be sure to keep you safe from any Vatican Warlock Assassins. You'd better hurry though, they're crafty little buggers. See you in seven!

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