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X-POSITION: Wood’s “Ultimate” Take on “X-Men”

by  in Comic News Comment
X-POSITION: Wood’s “Ultimate” Take on “X-Men”

Whether it’s in the Ultimate Universe or the Marvel Universe, writer Brian Wood is knee-deep in X-Men. Not only is he the current steward for “Ultimate Comics X-Men,” he also has the upcoming reboot of “X-Men” for the Marvel NOW! publishing initiative featuring an all-female cast drawn by Olivier Coipel. While “X-Men” doesn’t hit stores until May, “Ultimate Comics X-Men” continues to go strong as the current cast attempts to put together their own sovereign nation of Utopia with in-fighting and external forces up against them.

This week, Brian Wood joined X-Position to answer your questions about the current status of Kitty Pryde’s Ultimate Utopia in “Ultimate Comics X-Men,” how he plans to include Jubilee’s vampiric powers in “X-Men,” the parallels between the Ultimate U and the Marvel U and more.

Justin has a question about Jubilee and adjusting to her current vampiric state.

I’m enjoying “Ultimate X-Men” and looking forward to “X-Men.” That said, my first question revolves around Jubilee. It seems like Jubilee has come to terms with her vampirism, or at least conquered the bloodlust. Is that how you’ll portray her or is she still fighting for control? What about her feelings on her now immortal life? Seems like that would be a big adjustment to wrap your head around.

Brian Wood: I’ll be the first to admit I struggled with the fact that I would be writing a vampire Jubilee — I was hoping to be able to write the “classic” one but it was not in the cards. But we, my editor Jeanine [Schaefer] and I, figured the way to go is to just treat the vampire stuff the same way we would a mutant ability. So she is not “Vampire Jubilee” any more than we would think “Eye Beam Scott” or “Metal Bones Logan” as their primary defining trait as a person. So Jubilee is Jubilee all day long, and her skills will come from her vampire traits.

As far as the immortal stuff, man, just you wait. ‘Til, like, issue 6 or 7, not long.

As for allegiances, while Kitty is firmly in camp Wolverine, can the same be said for the rest of the ladies? I know Rachel has been with Wolverine since returning from space, but she did briefly side with her dad during AvX. Psylocke also made it clear to Logan when he started the school that she wasn’t a teacher so she chose to be Cyke’s Utopia security (and events from the new Uncanny X-Men series showed her attempt at school life didn’t work!). Rogue’s another who seems, well, a rogue in that she may be with on the Uncanny Avenger team but she hasn’t exactly said she thinks Wolverine’s method is the right method. Since there’s still a camp Cyke and a camp Wolvie, do these ladies straddle the line or if push came to shove would they stand behind Wolverine’s approach to mutant life? Or will mutant politics not even be a part of your story?

Is this whole question about which alpha dude these ladies will be standing by? And yes, that is both a question and an answer.

Derek wants to know more about the possible parallels between Mach Two and some characters in the Marvel Universe.

Mach Two has garnered some comparisons in terms of codename, appearance and powerset to a several other X-characters such as Surge, Polaris and Magneto. When you created the character did you expect those comparisons? Also why did you decide that she would be another magnetic manipulator? Was the powerset supposed to give the new reader the idea she was in an oppositional role based on what we “know” about how masters of magnetism have been used in the X-Franchise?

It’s all very interesting. Someone else on CBR is so sure that the Sentient Seed is actually Surge that even my repeated denials have no effect! Mach Two is meant, in a veeerrrryy general way, to remind people of Magneto only to contrast with Kitty — so they have a roughly similar ideological divide to the classic Professor X/Magneto. Anything deeper than that just doesn’t exist for me, but I do like the speculation!

Nissus is hoping for the development of an X-Men team or mutant school in the Ultimate Universe.

Hi Brian! I love what you are doing with “Ultimate Comics X-Men,” the stakes are rising so high with Kitty, Nomi and even Jean, I just can’t imagine what’s going to happen.

Are we going to see a development in the original Utopia mutants of an actual group of X-Men?

I think you mean in the formal sense, the making of a team, costumes, mission statement, and so on? Probably not. I’ll elaborate in the next answer.

Will there be room for a mutant school in Utopia?

I sort of think of the whole place as a mutant school. Utopia is basically a battlefield, ground zero in an open and ongoing conflict. So there just hasn’t been the time or the priority (in the minds of the characters) to think about becoming superheroes or building academies. It’s all trial by fire for them, every single one of them. All that said, there is an inevitable light at the end of this tunnel of violence and oppression, and I have to think that eventually some writer will get back to the more familiar sort of X-Men structure, whether it be me or someone else doing the writing.

cora reef has a couple questions about character in “Ultimate Comics X-Men.”

I’ve really been enjoying “Ultimate Comics X-Men.” Jimmy Hudson seems like an incredibly complex character to write, as he seems to be on both sides of the internal conflict of Utopia. Which character in the series do you find the hardest to write?

Oh, I dunno. No one stands out as really impossible. Maybe Storm, only because the Storm in my head is the 616 Storm, and for some reason it can be hard to “turn off” that bit of my brain to write the Ult. version — harder than it is for Kitty. And Jimmy! I enjoy him much more with his new hair — I can take him more seriously. I think he’s evolved and matured into a much older soul than when I first started writing him. Hardened by experiences.

Do you think Ultimate Kitty is up to the task of being the leader of a nation?

Right now as I write and as you read, we’re exploring that. Maybe she’s not. Certainly some of the others don’t think she is.

Adilson already has questions about the “X-Men” roster in anticipation of the series’ release this May.

Many of the girls on the new “X-Men” team (Rogue, Kitty, Jubilee and maybe Rachel) started as teens that couldn’t control their powers and played the role of the younger X-Men from a new Generation. Considering that, do you intend to add a young girl to the team? Since they know what it’s like to feel this way, it would be a great opportunity to train a younger mutant. Armor would be great (really hope she’s in the new book!)!

The roster stands! Haha! No additions, subtractions, or changes until at least five minutes after the book launches!

I kid. I mean, I get dozens and dozens of questions and comments on this very subject, and while I’ve been sort of forced to stop answering them one by one (because of the volume), I always pay attention. So, your suggestion has been noted!

Longtime Jubille fan asterix2x needs some insight into where Jubilee currently fits in the X-hierarchy.

Hi! I’m a long time Jubilee fan, it’ll be nice to see her back in action.

I was wondering whether if she’s enrolling as a student in Jean Grey Academy officially or not. If she is, though this probably isn’t your call, will she pop up in other books among the big and mostly random crowds of students? I’m asking to have a moderate idea about what her status among the X-Men will be.

Well, good question. She’s in the JG school, like physically, but she hasn’t enrolled in the formal sense. She’s not handed in the paperwork. I’m not sure it matters? She probably is too old and experienced to be sitting in classes and doing homework. I would think that Logan or whoever makes these calls would have her be teaching, if she were to be formally attached to the staff. But I’m speculating and getting ahead of myself. As far as appearing in other books, I assume so, but am not aware of a specific case just yet.

Taurean wonders if there are currently any plans to re-power Jubilee beyond her vampirism.

I just want to start off by saying thank you Brian Wood for bringing back one of my fave X-Men characters of all time, Jubilee!!!!! She was the one I fell in love with besides Storm and Wolverine in the ’90s cartoon series. I’m glad that you are bringing her back and letting her shine!

Thank Marvel, it was all them.

Are there any plans on bringing back Jubilee’s powers sometime in the future? She was scared in the past to use them, but I think that after everything she’s been through, she would really explore what she is truly capable of if she had them.

No plans. I’m honestly sort of interested in seeing what I can do with the vampire stuff, to see how those can be stretched and tweaked to feel unique to her, and not just your garden variety vampire traits.

Wrapping up our reader questions, Ben has a question about Psylocke and her current status in the X-Universe.

“Uncanny X-Force” revealed that Wolverine kicked out Psylocke from the school. Since yours is a school-based team, how will you integrate Psylocke to the book?

I know this is a topic of debate on the boards, and I have to side with those who feel she wasn’t so much kicked out as sent out on a mission? I mean, she wasn’t expelled as in “GTFO and never come back.” That’s how I’m seeing it, unless something new has happened? I admit I’m a couple issues behind in my X-reading, so who knows? But beyond that, Psylocke is part of the roster of this team, this unofficial team of X-Men, regardless of her status relative to the school. Meaning, even if Logan did give her the boot, it wouldn’t affect her loyalty to the others. Loyalty, shared history and friendship are the ties that bind this team together. That supersedes everything else, as far as I’m concerned.

Finally, our Behind the X question: What’s your favorite genre of comics to read?

Indie books, always. Some of the best of the recently-read: “The Nao Of Brown,” “Sunny” (by Matsumoto Taiyou), a re-read of the excellent Peter Bagge series “HATE” and the new Bob Fingerman “Minimum Wage” collection. It’s the type of stuff that first got me hooked (and in the case of “HATE,” the actual book that got me hooked) and is what I find the most pleasure and comfort in.

Thanks to Brian Wood for taking on this week’s X-Position questions!

Next week, it’s time to take a trip with the steward of the resident black-ops X-squad, “Uncanny X-Force” writer Sam Humphries. Got a question for Sam? Send it over in an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or in a 140 character question via Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!

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