It turns out that killing Wolverine was just the beginning of Charles Soule’s lengthy and involved relationship with the clawed Canadian. After wrapping up the “Death of Wolverine” story, which did the unthinkable by killing off the wildly popular X-Man, Soule helped launch two miniseries — “The Logan Legacy” and “The Weapon X Program.” As revealed at New York Comic Con, these two series were merely an appetizer for the main course — a new weekly series titled “Wolverines” launching in January that will see Soule and co-writer Ray Fawkes force Mystique, Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth, Daken and X-23 into an incredibly uneasy alliance.
In this week’s X-Position, Soule answers questions about the upcoming weekly series, specifically how he manages to write a team-style book wherein everyone would rather kill each other than work together. The writer also touches upon his work schedule and how he’s applied lessons from a TV writers’ room to “Wolverines.”
First up, a lot of people wanted to know whether or not certain characters with ties to Wolverine and the “Logan Legacy” cast would show up in any of your titles — particularly Madame Hydra, Nightcrawler, Rogue, Storm, Jubilee and Kitty Pryde. Any hints you’d care to give about upcoming guest stars?
Two of the people on that list show up in the first six issues of the weekly [“Wolverines” series]. As far as the rest, we’ll see! Our approach is really to do whatever works and to pull from whatever corners of the MU seem to make sense. Issues #3, #5 and #6 [of “Wolverines”] have absolutely bizarre cameos that I think people will really enjoy. So, it’s not impossible that every one of those people could appear, as well as many others. We’re looking at the Marvel Universe through the eyes of a pretty odd batch of characters and they’re naturally going to attract odd, fun things.
Timdogg98 has a question about the recently released “Weapon X Program” #1, as well as a theory.
I loved the reveal on the final page of “The Weapon X Program” #1. Didn’t see that coming.Â In the promotion for the weekly “Wolverines” series, it was said that a character from “The Weapon X Program” would be involved in the weekly series. Is it safe to assume that Sharp is this person?
Sharp and others! Glad you liked the end of “WXP” #1 — first of all, I promise that’s not a cheat. It will all make sense in time as the series continues. I wanted to play with the expectations of fans who were insisting that Logan would be back about two seconds after his death in “Death of Wolverine” #4. You want him? You got him. Or maybe you don’t. Who knows? I know. Just read the issues.
But back to Sharp — I wanted to make up someone with some interesting issues to deal with. In many ways, he’s the engine that drives the beginning of the “Wolverines” weekly’s plot, and then things evolve into a very cool place as things develop. I don’t want to spoil too much, but keep your eye on this guy. I’m spending a lot of time on him, and I think he’s a lot of fun.
That said, we have a lot of new characters. Someone is introduced in issue #3 [of “Wolverines”] who has rapidly become a favorite of the folks working on the book, and it won’t stop there. We’re using the weekly as a place to generate tons of new ideas that will be used all over the place going forward.
HouseFrost has a question about two fan favorite characters that factor heavily into your series.
How much of your ‘Wolverines’ series will be plot and how much will be character based? Mystique and Daken in particular have fan bases that are really interested in their personal lives.
There’s always a balance — I’d think that all plot should be character based, if it’s worth a damn. Plot doesn’t really matter if the readers don’t care about the people who are executing the plot. I would say that Daken and Mystique are two of the characters who — at least at the moment — are getting a pretty heavy character focus. Mystique is the only character on the very first page of the weekly [“Wolverines” series], and what we see her doing there will have big ramifications across the first mega-story we’re telling.
It’s neat to be able to tell a big story with these guys, since some of them aren’t as involved with other storylines at the moment. We can really tear them down and build them back up.
After “Wolverines” launches in January, berserkerclaw wants to know if the weekly series has a finale built in.
You have said “Wolverines” has an endpoint. Is there a set number you are going to?
No set number, but we have a big story we’re telling right now that’s building to something equally big. I think that it’s important with serialized storytelling to break these things out so that they have a sense of momentum. Readers appreciate when it seems like the writers have a plan, like they’re being taken on a journey. So, I wouldn’t say “endpoint.” I would think of it like a season of a television show, which builds to a season — but not necessarily a series — finale.
With its larger cast, javi150190 wants to know if the characters featured in “The Logan Legacy” have fallen into specific roles.
This is kind of a given on all team books, to have one or two persons taking roles such as the brain, the brawn or moral center. Can you tell us how the roles of this team [formed in “Logan Legacy”] are going to be divided?
It shifts, honestly. We start in one place and move toward others as the series continues. Different characters take primary roles depending on which arc or mini-arc we’re in. I’ll say again that Sharp plays a big role, but the thing’s like a big, roiling stew. It evolves, and different flavors become more pronounced as the story continues, while others take a back seat.
Ambaryerno has a question regarding Daken’s relationship with his father’s female teenage clone, X-23.
For pretty much all of his existence, Daken has a history of playing on people’s feelings, but ultimately only ever cares for himself and just uses others for his own ends. The exception seems to be X-23; the ending of their encounter in Madripoor strongly implies that Daken does have some genuine respect — and possibly even affection — for her as his “little sister.” This appears to have carried over to the first issue of “Logan Legacy.” Can we expect to see the familial relationship between the pair explored in greater detail, especially with Logan’s death?
Yes. This seemed like a natural to both Ray [Fawkes] and myself as we’ve been writing the series. Daken is a complex character. We’re doing a lot with him and we really want to see him come out of the other side of “Wolverines” with some serious changes in an interesting way. His world changes almost more than any of the others with the death of Logan, and we’re trying to reflect that in a bunch of different ways. The relationship with X-23 is just one part of that.
healed1337 wants to know how you manage to write a team book with a cast of characters like the one in “Logan’s Legacy.”
There are so many possibilities for conflicts between [“Logan Legacy’s”] cast, and some have already been shown both in “Logan Legacy” #1 and before Wolverine’s death. Is it challenging to balance the writing between showcasing these rivalries and telling a story?
Yes, very much. For example, X-23 straight up murdered Lady Deathstrike during the “Messiah CompleX” event some years back. Lady Deathstrike got better, of course, but still. Deathstrike just finger-stabbed the holy hell out of a poisoned Sabretooth in “Death of Wolverine” #2. Mystique has played most — if not all — of these characters for fools in tons of stories over the years. Sabretooth is just a jerk in general, as is Daken — but again, in complex ways.
We’re definitely not ignoring the fact that these people all have beef with each other, but we’re also acknowledging that many of them have successfully worked together in the past. The truth is, very few super heroes or villains would ever be willing to be in the same room with any other hero or villain after everything they’ve all been through. I mean, Captain America almost beat Tony Stark to death at the end of “Civil War.” The Hulk beat up pretty much everyone in the world during “World War Hulk.” The Scarlet Witch destroyed a zillion mutants [during “House of M”]. And so on.
You could write an entire story that was nothing but characters rehashing their various moments of good and bad history together, but that’s not how people talk or act. I think it’s best to use those moments really sparingly, where they have maximum impact, otherwise you’re looking backward, not forward. Suffice it to say that the cast has a very complicated history with each other, they know it, and generally speaking they don’t trust each other very much. They certainly fight each other from time to time — but that’s far from all this story is about.
R. Smith hopes you’ll return a character to their former glory.
I’ve felt that Sabretooth has been mishandled for awhile now, ever since the ’90s. He used to be basically Wolverine if he was just more of a jerk — as opposed to a sadistic lunatic — with a history that seemed ripe for exploration… Any plans to further explore Victor’s past as well as his newfound motivations for being a hero?
We won’t get too much into Creed’s history here, mostly because this story is propulsive — it’s always moving forward, and the pace is fast, as one would hope for a weekly series. That said, Creed’s characterization in “Wolverines” is important — he’s trying to change, and convince people that he’s sincere about changing — but it’s not easy for him. I mean, he absolutely has been portrayed as a sadistic lunatic and he has done some terrible things. We’re doing a bunch with him, though. I am sorry to hear that you haven’t enjoyed his portrayal since the ’90s, however! That’s a long time to yearn for the Sabretooth of yore.
Gary Brand has a different type of question, one that focuses more on your process as a writer
Do you really write a comic script in four hours? Is that an average, or are you pretty constant? Is that how quickly you produced the chapters of “Death of Wolverine”?
I do, all the time. I would say it’s an average, though. There are books that take me a bit longer — for example, an issue of “Letter 44,” my creator-owned series that has a very research-heavy mix of politics and real-world space travel, tends to average closer to five to six hours per script. “Death of Wolverine” was maybe a bit above average, but not excessively so. Some are faster, of course. I should mention, though, that there’s usually about an hour of prep-time for each script, which I try to do the day before I script, in which I break or outline the issue. I also do a lot of research reading and thinking, especially while I’m running — the thinking, not the reading.
Everyone’s process is different. I could take three weeks for a script, or twenty minutes — it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is the end result.
Lastly, SevenSider7 has a question about the overall “Wolverine” universe that’s sprouted up quickly during your tenure as writer.
With writing so many “Wolverine” books at once, is it easy to distinguish each one from the other? Or do you look at all of them as pieces of one larger puzzle?
It’s actually been very complicated, especially since due to scheduling and artist requirements I had to write a bunch of it out of order. I was trying to build a structure that would bridge between “Death of Wolverine” and the “Wolverines” weekly, introduce a bunch of new characters and get things rolling on scripts for the weekly — with very, very welcome shouldering of half of that load by the great Ray Fawkes. Not easy to keep all of that straight. However, not too long ago, I was invited to hang out in the writers’ room for a cool superhero-related show, which is something I’d never done before. It was just a day — I wasn’t there to contribute, just to observe, but I loved it. In particular, I was able to see how they broke out a long-form TV season in a way that was easy to see at a glance how everything would work as far as plots, character evolution, villains and all the other things you need to keep straight. I adopted that same process for “Wolverines” and it’s been incredibly helpful.
It is definitely all one large puzzle, though — you can certainly jump right into “Wolverines” cold and we planned the story that way, but both “Logan Legacy” and “Weapon X Program” are part of the bigger picture, as is “Death of Wolverine,” of course — that’s really where everything starts. Just read it all! Read everything!
Special thanks to Charles Soule for taking on this week’s questions!
Next week, X-Position gets dark with “Magneto” writer Cullen Bunn. Have a question for Cullen? Go ahead and send ’em in via an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. But get ’em in quickly, because the deadline’s Friday! Make it happen!
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