Marvel Comics' Wolverine may not have any physical scars thanks to his mutant healing factor, but his psyche is certainly covered with its share of mental and emotional ones. Over the course of his long life, the character has seen and done horrible things and in the introductory arc of the new "Wolverine" series, writer Jason Aaron and artist Renato Guedes ripped open many of these psychic scabs when they sent their protagonist's soul to Hell and had demons posses his physical form. In "Wolverine" #5, Logan clawed his way out of the infernal realm, but his time in the underworld caused an immense amount of chaos and carnage leading many readers to wonder, what comes next for a man who's literally been to Hell and back? CBR News spoke with Aaron about his plans for "Wolverine," which include a birthday party and a fight with his oldest allies, the X-Men.
In this week's release of "Wolverine" #5.1, featuring art by Jefte Paolo, Aaron temporarily sets aside the events of the previous issue for a special, new reader friendly, self-contained tale. "When you read issue #5.1, it's going to be a little ambiguous as to where it fits into the larger story we're telling, but I think things will fit together as we move forward," Aaron told CBR News. "The issue looks gorgeous. It's basically a birthday party for Wolverine. Like his usual birthdays, there's bloodshed, but this is not your typical Wolverine birthday story. It sets the stage for the next group of villains Logan will face after our story with the Red Right Hand, the villains responsible for sending Wolverine to Hell, wraps up. It introduces a couple of new characters who will be part of that. It also features guest stars from both the X-Men and the Avengers' universes. We see lots of Logan's teammates from his various teams all popping up. It's a surprise birthday party for Wolverine."
In "Wolverine" #6, on sale February 16, Aaron kicks off a new arc titled "Wolverine Vs. The X-Men." The new storyline picks things up from where they ended in "Wolverine Goes to Hell," with Cyclops and the X-Men arriving on the scene to stop Wolverine. The X-Men are after their teammate because the demons possessing Wolverine's body used it to attack the X-Men in an earlier issue. "Cyclops would be an idiot at this point if he didn't have a plan for how to deal with an out of control Wolverine, because we've seen it so many times, now. So what this next arc is about is all in the title: 'Wolverine Vs. The X-Men,'" Aaron said. "Scott has found Wolverine and is ready to put his plan in place. So what is that plan? What are his Wolverine protocols? We'll see Plans A-C. We'll see how he's equipped to take down Wolverine and if he's willing to pull the trigger to take him out for good if he feels like he has to."
Cyclops' Plan A for neutralizing Wolverine, according to Aaron, involves the X-Men's leader, Magneto, Emma Frost and Namor-the Sub-Mariner. "Emma is there to shut down Logan mentally if she can. Otherwise, Magneto can rip Logan's adamantium out, Namor can rip his head off and Scott can finish the rest," Aaron explained. "As you might expect, though, things don't work out exactly as planned. So we'll also see Plan B come along which involves Fantomex, Doctor Nemesis and some very special bullets. So there's tons of guest stars. We also see some of Logan's friends coming to his aid. Kitty Pryde, Rogue, Storm and Jubilee will all pop up. There's a big cast for these three issues."
The reason the action escalates so far in "Wolverine Vs. The X-Men" is because while Logan may have gotten his soul back in his body at the end of issue #5, the demons that were possessing him are still inhabiting his form as well. "Wolverine is not in his right mind, and with this next arc we've got a fight on two fronts. We've got a demonically possessed Wolverine fighting against the X-Men and we've got Wolverine fighting a very surreal battle in the dark corners of his mind. He will get some help in there as some of his friends come to his aid," Aaron said. "So we've got a wild battle on the streets of Logan's brain. We'll see the castle where Logan keeps his deepest, darkest secrets and we'll explore some of the rooms in there as he fights to gain control of his mind. And since this is a story that takes place partly in Logan's mind, we'll also see some various incarnations of Logan from the past, plus a few new ones we've never seen before who will have roles going forward."
And it's not just the readers who'll get Wolverine's perspective of own his subconscious. -- his girlfriend Melita Garner will also get a glimpse of Logan's inner psychic landscape. "Melita plays a very big role in the 'Wolverine Vs. the X-Men' arc. She'll get to traipse around in Logan's noggin," Aaron stated. "There are some good and some not so good things that can come from that."
Artist Daniel Acuna will be drawing both the subconscious and street level battlefronts for the storyline, which couldn't make Aaron more pleased. "I've never worked with him before, but his stuff is just gorgeous," Aaron told CBR. "That's kind of wild to say when you're dealing with a story full of gnarly demons, the charred remains of Logan's mind and a hellacious battle being fought on the streets of San Francisco. Somehow, though, he manages to make it look all so gorgeous. And I believe he'll be drawing the issue right after this arc, too."
The Red Right Hand won't play a role in "Wolverine Vs. The X-Men," but they're far from forgotten as Aaron will answer questions about the mysterious group and their elderly leader in the arc that follows. "We'll find out exactly who these people are, why they hate Wolverine so much, and what their ultimate goal is; why exactly are they doing all this? What do they hope to gain from it? We'll find all that out as Wolverine comes gunning for them," Aaron said. "As you might imagine, the first person he's going to go to is the one person he knows for certain had a hand in all of this: Mystique, who he, of course, has a long history with. Hers will be the first door he knocks on."
And Mystique isn't the only character with close ties to Logan who will be making an appearance during the Red Right Hand arc. "We will see Daken in the pages of 'Wolverine.' If you read the 'Daken: Dark Wolverine' issues that tied into 'Wolverine Goes to Hell,' you saw that Daken played a role in the plans of the Red Right Hand," Aaron said. "So we will see him in upcoming issues. Certainly, he and Logan will have some kind of reckoning over whatever Daken's role was in all of this."
While he may be out of Hell, Aarons plans for Wolverine will ensure his time there is not soon forgotten. In the final issues of the arc, Logan incited a revolt against the Devil, using the chaos it caused as cover to escape the infernal realm. "I don't believe we'll be going back to Hell, but the way things were left will certainly have ramifications down the line. And some of the characters who are still there will appear again. I think people might have been expecting that at the end of the arc I was going to open the floodgates and all these old villains would come flooding out of Hell and back into the Marvel U," Aaron explained. "Things didn't work out like that, but some of those characters will end up back in Logan's world in the near future. What Logan did there will have ramifications. He's not going to get away scott free for what happened down there and the chaotic way he left things."
With one "Wolverine" arc complete and in readers hands, and another about to begin, Aaron is very excited about the future of the series. "I feel like this is just the beginning. I feel like I laid a lot of ground work for Wolverine. I've introduced some new characters, brought in some old characters and the events from my 'Astonishing Spider-Man /Wolverine' series will have ramifications coming up. So there's a lot of stuff in play right now. That will all start to come together and all start to pay off," the writer remarked. "If you look at this opening arc of 'Wolverine,' those back-up stories were all very relevant and very important in seeding a lot of characters that we're going to be dealing with in the coming months. The death of the Silver Samurai in 'Wolverine' #1 was a very important event, and so was the return of Wolverine's adopted daughter Amiko in issue #2. Both of those stories will continue and play a big part in 'Wolverine' going forward."