X-POSITION: Williams on Daken, X-Force & Bieber

A murderer the police refer to as the "claws killer" is loose in Los Angeles and all fingers point to Wolverine's son Daken as the prime suspect. Considering his recently acquired addiction to a unique narcotic that makes him black out -- and acknowledging the fact that he is a known killer -- this suspicion seems very reasonable. Yet Daken is bound and determined to prove he's innocent, even if he has to kill to do it.

It seems Daken is big on irony.

The mind behind this complex bit of blood, violence and morality is writer Rob Williams, who also keeps busy these days with "Ghost Rider" and "Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force." He found a few spare seconds in his schedule to join us for a little X-tete-a-tete. As Rob is a scribe who spends a lot of time thinking of different ways for his characters to elicit pain from their victims, I'd recommend that we don't keep him waiting.

Renaldo is up first with a list of questions on a variety of topics covering everything from character motivations to pop stars. I sure hope you're ready for this!

1) With Agent Kiel hot on Daken's trail, why did you pick Moon Knight, of all people, to go after Daken? Wouldn't Wolverine have made more sense?

Well, one definite thing I wanted to do when taking over Daken was get him away from Wolverine for a while. I thought he needed to define himself a bit away from his father's shadow, so I didn't want to bring Logan into this.

As for Moon Knight, well, Brian Bendis had set Moon Knight up in L.A., so it was pretty natural that they would run into each other at some point. I think it's cool that there's this little L.A. Marvel community building up at the moment -- Daken, Moon Knight, Echo and the Runaways. I think Christos Gage's Avengers Academy is there too. It's fun to offer a slightly different take on the Marvel's America, outside of Manhattan, which is the hero mothership, of course.

2) Is there any path to redemption for Daken? Under your writing, he is constantly saying "I am not an animal," which is a stark contrast to that which we saw in "Dark Avengers" and past "Wolverine" stories...

I think Daken not being an animal is one of his central drives, even if some of his actions would seem at odds with that. He's cerebral, cultured, manipulative, an intelligent man -- far more so than his father. He wants to distance himself from his father, who he sees as being a grubby little berserker. Daken sees Logan as an animal and himself as an "artist." It's all daddy issues born from insecurity, of course.

As for redemption? He certainly doesn't desire that. Maybe it's out there for him somewhere. I wanted to make him more vulnerable and human, certainly. What we have planned for Daken is going to kick the crap out of him physically and emotionally. Maybe that'll change him. We'll see.

3) How brutal are you planning on making Archangel in the finale to "Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force," as he has been on a 'bloodshedding' warpath lately in the regular "X-Force" series? In your tale thus far, he seems a bit tame compared to Logan, Betty and Deadpool. Will he cut loose with his dark side before it's all over?

You won't see Dark Angel in the finale to "Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force," I'm afraid. That's really Rick Remender's storyline and I didn't want to write something that would interfere with that. Angel plays a pivotal role in our miniseries finale, though. And the ending's a dark one for all of X-Force. We're making them face up to some pretty heavy moral questions -- they're a kill crew, after all. The endings of X-Force stories shouldn't be emotionally straightforward, I think. That's one of the cool things Rick's done with the series, certainly.

4) What role is Danny Ketch going to play in the "Fear Itself" arc, seeing as he and his brother had such a ride in "Heaven's on Fire?" Is Alejandra related to the bloodline of Blaze? And how did she become so powerful that she took out Sin?

Danny Ketch hasn't appeared in the new Ghost Rider -- yet. We have some plans for him down the road, though. He was affected by what happened when Johnny Blaze "gave up The Ghost," certainly. Alejandra isn't related to Blaze's bloodline, no. You can find out about her true origins in "Ghost Rider" #5, which is being drawn by the excellent Lee Garbett. She took out Sin because: a) she's God's own clenched fist of justice; b) Alejandra is a different kind of Ghost Rider, one who's been trained her entire life to be a warrior; c) she hit her really hard. Like Floyd Mayweather on an 80-year-old boxing interviewer.

5) Rob, in the "Ghost Rider" #0.1 issue, I thought I noticed Gallas, Vela and FIFA cameos -- Arsenal fan much? What do you think of the sale of Nasri and Fabregas? Are you still backing Wenger as manager? Or is all this due to the artist of your book?

Ha -- you know the pain I'm currently feeling, then! I'm a longtime Arsenal fan, so these are dark, apocalyptic days at the moment. The Vela and Gallas (boo) appearances were Matt Clark, our excellent artist, asking me what football team I supported and to suggest some players and a team for posters. The scene was set in Mexico, so I suggested Carlos Vela.

The sale of Nasri and Fabregas were both disappointing, but I think it's plainly due to them realizing that this Arsenal side aren't going to win trophies any time soon and also -- for Nasri -- that he could earn three times as much playing for Manchester City.

Wenger's done amazing things for the club over fifteen years and I'm still backing him -- just. But the defensive problems right now seem chronic and have been going on for seasons, so you have to ask if he's capable of fixing them. And if he's not, then maybe he has to go. It's feeling like the last days of his tenure, certainly. And that's pretty sad.

6) What's with the weird obsession with Justin Bieber? He was mentioned in "Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force" #2 by Wade and in "Ghost Rider" #1. Do you have Bieber Fever?

I deny this obsession! (Truth: he's an easy joke target.)

7) Who is more fun to write? Mephisto, Fantomex, Deadpool or Moon Knight?

Honest answer: Deadpool, then Fantomex (who was a blast to write in "Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force"), then Mephisto, then Moon Knight. Then Justin Bieber.

Wow, you're right -- easy target! Marcus Martin is next and he begins with a query about other characters who might be fun to write:

1) Since moving to Los Angeles, Daken has met Moon Knight and will soon encounter the Runaways. Can the Avengers Academy be a possibility in the near future?

No plans for Avengers Academy right now, sorry to say. I'm excited about the Runaways appearing, though. The Brian K. Vaughan run was such a great comic and he really defined those characters. Their interaction with Daken is going to be fun -- diametrically opposed characters.

2) Given their large fan-base, do you feel a bit nervous about writing the Runaways into your Daken series? What is your view of this young team?

I do, actually. I've been rereading the BKV issues to get the characters' voices and was struck again by what a good comic "Runaways" was. I don't want to write the characters in a way that reads off-base. And you'd rather the standard didn't drop, obviously. Brian K. Vaughan's one of comics' best writers though, so...yeah, pressure. Incidentally, I'm really excited about Vaughan's new Image book. Great to see him back in comics!

3) Since you are the writer to both titles, is there any chance of Daken meeting up with Ghost Rider soon?

I thought about it, but felt it was best to keep them apart for the time being. I want to try and define both within the context of their own titles first.

4) Given the outcome of the "Schism" event, will Daken meet up with the 'Utopia X-Men' again, now that Wolverine has left them to form his own X-Men team?

No plans right now, but maybe down the line. Daken's destiny is so tied to Wolverine's whether he likes it or not. You know it'll happen eventually.

Ramelito has been thinking about another person Daken is tied to -- care to share your thoughts?

1) I know other writers have their own opinions, but how do you feel about the relationship between Daken and Laura (the son and the clone) so far?

I don't think Daken has much interest in Laura, to be honest. He hasn't got much interest in anyone other than himself. He certainly doesn't seem himself as part of a Wolverine "family." But you can't choose your bloodline.

2) Will Daken's recent activities in "Wolverine" cause any repercussions in your book? It seems that Logan would want to hurt Daken badly for what he's done.

Wolverine wants to hurt Daken anyway and the feeling is more than mutual. I think the difference between the two characters though is that Logan will always have a little part of him that wants to give Daken a chance. That feels he can be redeemed, even if all evidence points to the contrary.

ScullyOne feels conflicted...and by that, I mean he wants to see some characters conflict!

1) Are there any plans for Daken to run into characters like Northstar, Rictor, or Shatterstar? A Shatterstar-Daken battle would be tremendous!

Not at the moment, I'm sorry to say. Northstar might be an interesting meet-up though. Thanks for the idea!

2) What is the most interesting aspect of Daken to you as a writer? And what is the biggest challenge of writing him?

The most interesting and most challenging, aspect is getting into the head of a character who is a psychotic, solipsistic, bisexual, Machiavellian murderer. I'm none of those things (OK, maybe a little solipsistic -- I'm a writer after all, and I still find Eddie Vedder a little dreamy. But I digress). Yet, despite all that, I find things in Daken that I can relate to and some of his attitudes and voice are my own. That's a pretty interesting process for a writer to go through. I feel, at times, that I really get Daken. Which is kind of interesting.

Interesting -- and frightening. On a lighter note, let's move on to our "Behind the X" get-to-know-you question. It's a wacky one: if you could have a meal with any fictional (non-superhero) character, who would it be and why?

Justin Bieber!

That's a very good question. I have no idea how to answer it. I'll go for Pete Venkman. It'd be a fun meal.

"And the flowers are still standing!" (For those of you who don't know the quote, fix your Netflix queue posthaste!)

In seven days, prepare for an X-POSITION first -- in next week's Q&A, we're getting Ultimate! That's right, we'll be discussing those other X-Men who recently made their debut appearance in the brand new "Ultimate Comics X-Men."Writer Nick Spencer ("Secret Avengers," "Morning Glories") joins us to answer questions about what it's like to be a mutant in an Ultimate world.

I'm counting on all of you to make this experience a great one for Mr. Spencer, so read up, think hard and send me some fantastic emails just as soon as you can. Put an "X-Position" in the subject line and I'll share the secret of eternal youth with you (it involves eating a lot of Play-Doh). Get to work on those emails and I'll keep an eye on my In Box!

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