Brian Wood has certainly made his mark on the X-Men. Not only did his acclaimed run of "Ultimate Comics X-Men" wrap last week, he's also planned some exciting developments for "X-Men" -- including the upcoming arc "Ghosts," new additions to the all-female team and some exciting stories to explore in Marvel Comics' post-"Battle of the Atom" X-Universe.
Wood returned to X-Position to discuss his lengthy run on "Ultimate Comics X-Men" as well as answer all fan questions about "X-Men," including the addition of Monet to the team's roster, the mysterious "Resurrection" All-New Marvel NOW! one-word teaser image and the team's leadership, mandate and mission as it continues to evolve and much more.
CBR News: Brian, our readers have "X-Men" pretty well covered for the post-"Battle of the Atom" world, and you have some great characters coming in. Before getting in to your "Ultimate Comics X-Men" work, what's been the biggest surprise for you so far in getting a chance to expand your roster of heroes and villains in "X-Men?"
Brian Wood: Well, I can say a couple things. First, Monet, who was a surprise in the sense that I didn't think I'd be able to use her right up until the middle of the solicitation process, and then suddenly she was available, which is why the early solicits text listed Frenzy as the new member (sorry, Frenzy!). So that was a surprise in the literal sense, that it took me by surprise. The other would be Karima Shapandar, who grew from a smallish plot point into a de facto member of the group, one with an interesting storyline that just continues to grow on me. Readers watching the covers we've been showing can see that Karima no longer seems to be Omega Sentinel, and this is true, and the task before me is to define who she is now, what she does, and how that fits in with the X-Men.
One of your major projects that just concluded was your lengthy run on "Ultimate Comics X-Men" with "World War X." Now that the story's finished, what was the highlight of the experience for you?
I have to hand it to the Ultimate office for really letting me tell an unconventional X-Men story and let me finish it the way I wanted to. In that sense it almost felt creator-owned. So that was pretty great and I love how it all came out. It's a complete thought on my part, starting with the #18.1 issue and on through #33.
When, if at all, did the story veer off into a pleasantly unexpected direction? Was there any point that you started writing a book or character in a way that deviated from your original pitch?
My original pitch definitely included some of the "Natural Resources" stuff, the idea of the U.S. Government seeking to reclaim the mutants as property, but much of the pitch was transitioning out of Nick Spencer's stuff, focusing the book solely on Kitty Pryde and the others, and writing the "Divided We Fall" event. Once we got past that, everything opened up for me and I saw an opportunity to take the "Natural Resources" concept and really push it, use the Utopia concept, bring in Jean Grey, create the Sentient Seed, and so on.
What will you miss most about your time on "Ultimate Comics X-Men?"
It's always the people I worked with -- Mark [Paniccia] and Emily [Shaw] at Marvel, all the artists I worked with, its always the people. For this and any other project I've done.
Before jumping in to reader questions, there was an intriguing Marvel one-word teaser for the next arc of "X-Men" with Kris Anka -- can you give any hints as to what the word "Resurrection" has to do with "Ghosts?"
Haha, not really, not without sounding like a dick. "Resurrection" is a literal thing, we mean just what that it says: some people come back from the dead (or just extreme inactivity). No way to say anything more than that without spoiling it.
Moving on to reader questions, Calmun kicks things off with a post-"Battle of the Atom" status question for "X-Men."
"Battle of the Atom" has seemingly fractured your group with Rogue and Kitty Pryde now MIA from upcoming cover art. Since the team has not really been an official group in the first place, could Kitty still potentially make appearances from Team Cyclops? How about Emma, given her significant connections to many of the X-Ladies (Jubilee, M, and Rachel specifically)?
Man, I would love to write Emma in some capacity. She was on my original want list, from way back in 2012 when we started talking about this book. So hopefully some day, but not in the short term. "X-Men" #7-12 are pretty much locked down in terms of story, and there's no way to include Emma that I can see. Same with Kitty, to be honest. I have to say, I have only 20 pages of story each month, and if you include the X-Men (seven people including Shogo) and the emerging Sisterhood (three and counting) and others like Bling who appear often, it's a huge cast to handle in a short amount of space. I need a little time before I can start thinking about adding to it.
Seeing as how Kitty is her best friend and Jean is her mom from the past, what prevented Rachel from joining them and the rest of the Original X-Men to buddy up with the New Xavier School? Is that a decision that Rachel may find herself wavering in or is she well-decided on her role in Team Wolverine?
I would like to think that Rachel doesn't see herself as belonging to "Team Wolverine" and rather is just committed to her staff position at the school and her role on this X-Men team. I try and write Rachel with a strong sense of duty and a bit of a stubborn streak, so she'll stay put. As we know, the world of the X-Men is a small world; its not like she'll never see her friends or family again.
Monet was listed as having had telekinesis among her various other abilities in the "X-Factor" cast round-up pages. While it has never explicitly been made official on-panel, do you view that power as among her arsenal and if so is it perhaps responsible for some of her other abilities, such as her flight, super-speed, and strength?
I never really thought about it, to be honest. I haven't written her yet using that power, and have been focusing on flight and speed. We'll see, I guess. The problem with writing a character that can do anything is that, well, they can do anything. I can see a benefit to giving her some weak points in her arsenal.
James is up next with a question about the leadership of the "X-Men" team.
Since it appears that Rachel is eager be leader of the X-Women, will we see leading the charge against this new sisterhood?
I'm still committed to exploring the Storm vs. Rachel thing in terms of who is the natural leader of this group (of "X-Men," I will underscore... "X-Women" was that Claremont/Manara book) and while I think they are two complimentary characters who can co-exist just fine, they may not always think so. I should point out: we introduced a lot of stuff in "Primer," the first arc, and no one should think we've moved on from that story and won't continue the story threads. Storm vs. Rachel, Arkea, John Sublime -- they'll be back.
After seeing the cover for issue 9 and seeing the Enchantress with Deathstrike, who else can we expect for the new sisterhood?
No spoilers here. But I can say that the other one on that cover is Typhoid Mary.
Kellen wants to know more about Storm's relationship with her possible daughter from the future stranded in the past, Kymera.
Are Storm and Kymera going to have a strong mother/daughter relationship?
The fact that Kymera is sticking around is a recent development -- I had already plotted out all of "Muertas" and all of "Ghosts" by that point, so while I can probably reference her and show her around the Jean Grey School, I won't be picking up her storyline in the near future. So who knows -- right now she and Storm have zero relationship, so I think expecting a mother/daughter relationship to just blossom is unrealistic, but over time, there's a chance for something to happen.
Storm superfan Windrider wraps up this week's X-Position with a question about motive and mandate for the "X-Men" team.
I am enjoying your run on X-Men. It's been intense and entertaining. In your May 2013 interview with Marvel.com I liked that you explained that Storm is not a blind follower of an ideology (pertaining to following either Wolverine or Cyclops), and that is how I too have always seen her. Now that BOTA is over how do you see Storm's vision for the all-female X-Men team? Currently they seem to respond to threats as they arise, but will there be a specific mandate (i.e. - like the former Security team) that Storm would like this team to fulfill?
I would like to set a mandate, and I think by the time this first year of stories is done, one will be defined. At the start, the point was that they were friends looking out for each other, circumstances bringing them together in a natural way. I think the Sisterhood is another example of that, an external threat helping to unite and define our little team here in the moment. But that can only go on for so long until someone is like, hey, what do you think, should we make this official? We'll get there soon.
And who says Storm will be the one making that call?
A special thanks to Brian Wood for taking on this week's questions!
Next week, X-Position welcomes "Marvel Knights: X-Men" writer/artist Brahm Revel for his first X-Position. "Marvel Knights: X-Men" #1 is in stores this week, so after picking up the issue, send in any questions for Brahm on over via 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!