Marvel held its fourth and final "Next Big Thing" press conference call in a week Thursday afternoon, and CBR was there to bring you all the details. On Monday, the "Next Big Thing" was a new creative team for "Astonishing X-Men," namely Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins; Tuesday found Dan Slott taking "Amazing Spider-Man" to "The Ends of the Earth;" and Wednesday David Lapham found himself in the "Age of Apocalypse." In store for today is news of "Wolverine" #300, courtesy of Jason Aaron and editor Janine Schaefer.
Junior Sales Administrator James Viscardi emcees the discussion.
The call began with the announcement that "Wolverine" #300 will begin Aaron's final arc on the series.
"I've been doing 'Wolverine' for as long as I've been doing comics," Aaron reflected, referring to his first publish work being a talent search winner. "This will be a great story to go out on, the biggest Wolverine story I've ever done." The story will pit Wolverine against the Yakuza.
Viscardi said Aaron had "put Wolverine through the wringer," but Aaron said it's "one big wringer."
Aaron clarified that he will still be writing Wolverine in "Wolverine and the X-Men."
The final arc will send Wolverine back to Japan and feature "the biggest group of supervillains" Aaron has ever used, the writer said. Schaefer said Aaron had been talking about doing this story since before the "Wolverine goes to hell" arc, but that it fit better with the #300 issue celebration.
Asked about highlights of his run, Aaron cited his first full story in "Wolverine #56" with Howard Chaykin. "I was real excited to prove myself, I did an oversized Wolverine story—I think it was 36 pages—and it was with Howard Chaykin." He said he was nervous, though, as he'd never met Axel Alonso and had trouble pinning him down for a chat. Finally, catching up with Alonso at a convention Hyatt, Alonso reportedly told him, "What do you need to talk to me about? Sit down and write the fucking book!"
The arc will introduce a new Silver Samurai, the son of the Samurai killed in issue #1. "He's not the same Silver Samurai as his dad," Aaron said, citing different motivations, personalities, and costume. The design is by Steven Chambers, and Schaefer called it "awesome."
Aaron said he's leaving in part because of his busy schedule, but also because "2012 is a period of transition for me," with "Punisher MAX" and "Scalped" also ending.
Aaron cited the Frank Miller and Chris Claremont stories set in Japan as some of his favorites, particularly for their treatment of Yukio and "all the ninjas and guys with samurai swords." He said, though, he wants to take things further than just a big fight scene. "But there's still lots of ninjas."
"There's a scene where the Hand question, 'if somebody wants to hire us, what can we offer? We can give them 20 guys jumping through a window in ninja costumes, or 40 guys jumping through the window in ninja costumes," Aaron said, adding that the Hand will "want to become something more."
Asked about Japan as a visual environment, Aaron noted the opportunity to show both "the streets of Tokyo and an idyllic country setting." He added that he and Janine discussed how to mention the tsunami. "We didn't want to do a story in Japan that didn't reference it, but we didn't want it to be emotional pornography, either."
Aaron was asked about Wolverine's transition from outsider to father figure. "When I won that Marvel talent search contest back in 2001, I was a single guy working a warehouse job, with no responsibility," he said. "I got married, I had kids, all those things intertwined." He added that "I grew up a lot over those years, maybe I wanted Wolverine to grow up a little bit." This growing responsibility culminated in "Wolverine and the X-Men," where he leads the new school for mutants.
"But he's still the guy who can pop the claws," Aaron said. "There's just a little more to him."
Aaron sees Sabretooth as "a bigger, meaner version of Wolverine" and "all the things rolled into one that Wolverine most hates about himself." "It's fun to write the two of them together."
Regarding the new Silver Samurai, Aaron said he has plans for the character "beyond this arc." "The original Silver Samurai was kind of cool but he was clunky, he always had that big armor," he said. "The new Samurai is like a streamlined, Japanese Iron Man." Viscardi joked that the images showing the old Samurai sitting down were "impossible."
Asked about highlights of his run, Aaron said "it's all been highlights" and he's had the chance to tell many different kinds of stories, including stories involving the drug trade and more dark, mystical tales.
Schafer added that Wolverine "takes on the aspects of whatever story you throw him into" and that Aaron has fully capitalized on this.
Aaron said that some characters and situations will carry over into "Wolverine and the X-Men," but the arc that begins in #300 will wrap up threads from his run contained in the ongoing "Wolverine" series.
"As things stand now, I'm very happy to have this be my send off from the book," Aaron said, noting that "I'm setting up some stuff that will hopefully be fun for the next guy and building some toys I can take with me.
"Wolverine" #300 is on sale in January.