Writer Jason Latour has had a somewhat challenging assignment when it comes to "Wolverine & the X-Men." From the title's start, it was clear that events in the "Wolverine" ongoing series were going to affect it in a big way -- but so far, the title's first arc has taken place in the past, before "Wolverine" #1. However, events are about to catch up with the Jean Grey School-centric title, as "Death of Wolverine" is right around the corner -- along with Marvel's mega-event "AXIS."
Latour joined X-POSITION this week to answer lingering reader queries about the big changes facing "Wolverine & the X-Men" as it catches up to the Marvel Universe's current status quo, including the quieter nature of the second arc, the characters he hopes to focus on in future issues, the challenge of taking on the Phoenix for his first arc and much more.
CBR News: Jason, there's a lot of curiosity out there as to how "Wolverine and the X-Men" will play into some of the larger events that are coming down the line for the Marvel U -- namely, "Death of Wolverine" and "AXIS." While I know you can't give away any spoilers, can you tease how "Wolverine and the X-Men" will be affected by these two events?
Hey don't worry, you're going to love "Ghost Wolverine & the X-Men!"
No. In all seriousness. Every moment since the decision was made to kill Wolverine came down, we've kind of been dealing these events in one way or another. There's an elephant in the room we really had to stop and address. Fortunately, I think that's led to a good new direction for the book in a lot of ways. This second arc is a much slower, quieter kind of story, and in it you'll see the seeds planted for where this book is going to be headed post-"Wolverine."
In fact, be sure to keep an eye on the "AXIS" issue, as some of the characters in this book like [Quentin] Quire and Storm are big players in that event. The aftermath of will not be forgotten moving forward.
Folks were also curious about a complete roster of students and faculty currently at the Jean Grey School. That's somewhat of a tall order, but would you be able to discuss a bit about some of the characters behind the scenes that are still wandering around the halls of the school?
Well, in our first arc we were dealing with a summer school, and that continues in the opening pages of arc 2. But as we move closer and closer to catching back up with the events in the other X-Books and "Wolverine" in particular, you'll see more and more familiar faces start to populate the halls again. As we've seen Broo, Kid Gladiator and even Globb Hermann are back. I just wrote my first scene with Shark Girl. I'm really trying to find space to dig back into Rockslide & Hellion. To give Nature Girl's origin. On and on. I'll address a bit more of this in my answers to the questions below...
Speaking of those questions, rutog98 kicks things off with a Storm-related powers question.
I love the story where you called Storm, "God's own x-Man." You said in a previous interview that she can do far more with her powers than we have seen. I have a few questions about the character in your book:
1) Will we see Storm using her powers in creative and devastating ways outside of just tossing lightning bolts?
If you go back to the opening of "WATXM" #3, there's a little presentation given by Evan that I find to be a rather interesting theory on Storm's powers. That is, her control of the weather is by nature a psionic gift. Molecules rearrange and form storm clouds at her will. That's an amazing, powerful concept that we've barely had time to explore, but I really hope to moving forward.
2) How large of a role will she play in the story arc dealing with the aftermath of Wolverine's death?
She's going to be as important, if not more so than ever. But her role and relationship to the school is going to dramatically change. As I said above, keep your eyes on "AXIS" and our tie-in issue. There's some complex character stuff coming out of it...
pixie_solanas wants to know more about the location of the recent graduates of the Jean Grey School.
Are we going to see more of a diverse scope in terms of cast? Other students? What about recent graduates? Where did the recent graduates go? Pixie? Is there a postgraduate curriculum at the HVAC Repair School that is JGTech?
There's a lot to juggle in this book and while I understand the desire to see more characters, it's a big priority of mine to make sure that the school as a whole is headed in an entertaining direction as we move into and out of "Death of Wolverine."
As for what characters who've graduated are up to? Armor's still around. Quire too, sort of. But perhaps we will see some grads like Pixie stick their head in moving forward. The school is definitely going to need some help...
Next up is cora reef, who wants to know more about introducing new characters and coming back to old ones.
Dear Mr. Latour,
"Wolverine and the X-Men" is uniquely positioned as one of the best ways to introduce new characters in the X-Men universe through its connection to the Jean Grey school. How do you plan to take advantage of this positioning as your run on the series progresses?
You're right, this book does offer a tremendous opportunity to widen the diversity of the cast and create new characters. "Nature Girl" was intended as my first step towards that but her larger story and the things we were going to spin out of that have had to be postponed for now. But there's at least one more new character I really want to introduce given time, so hopefully the winds will favor us.
Fantomex is a character that has proved challenging for many writers since his creation. What have you found most challenging about writing him in "Wolverine and the X-Men"?
I find what's fun, but is also very challenging about Fantomex is dealing with the several incarnations of him that are not only currently running around the Marvel U, but exist within him. He's a walking existential crisis, and that's something we've been trying to explore. If he's here now trying to do right by Evan, then how much does it matter who he's been? How much does it matter who he is away from the school?
To my mind he's also a nice mirror on Wolverine and to some degree even Storm. He's certainly got an ideology that lines up with theirs in the grand scheme but it's not one that is hindered by what he'd view as Xavier's sentimentality. The question moving forward will be, "What sort of impact does that have on the kids?"
AJpyro hopes for some clarity on bringing in some fresh characters and the challenge of tackling the Phoenix.
1) Can you give a hint on the characters you would like to bring to the forefront?
There will be some new characters, as well as some returning faces. It's been kind of nice to have Beast and Broo and Iceman back. We'll likely see a lot more of Armor as she explores the changes in powers and her new status quo. But moving forward there is a pretty out of left field addition to the cast coming up. One that might seem strange at first, but I think is as natural a decision as they come...
2) Was it hard making the Phoenix-centric arc for the new volume?
Yes. The Phoenix can be a very difficult concept to understand. One of the things that I tried to do was make its connection to mutantkind a little more concrete. Edan Younge tells Quire that after the big bang The Phoenix was spread across all existence and all life. Mutants are one of the life forms adapted enough to harness the little spark of the Phoenix they contain, which makes them catnip for the larger more concentrated Phoenix Force that sort of roams the spaceways seeking to become whole.
Now, I'm not sure how much space we'll have to mine them, but those weren't intended as throwaway ideas. They're things I really want readers to be cognizant of long term, especially in regards to its connection to mutantkind.
mr_infinite wraps up this week's X-Po with a few questions about the future of the series.
Why do you think a book like "Wolverine and the X-Men" can survive beyond the death of its title character?
I think the heart and mission of this book can, yes. Logan has left such an impact on these kids that his absence will almost be a character itself in any story about them moving forward.
The entire first arc of "Wolverine and the X-Men" currently has taken place before the events of "Wolverine" #1. When should we expect the series to jump to present day events? What are you most excited about for the time jump?
We catch up to things around issue #9, which is one big final showdown between Logan and Quire. One that doesn't go so well for either of them. Issues #10 and #11 feature Melita Garner visiting the campus to finish the book on Wolverine that we saw her start in issue #7. These are two gloriously drawn jam issues that come of the heels of "Death of Wolverine" and really are intended as a remembrance of Logan's life at the school. I don't think anyone needs to fear wading into those issues expecting 50 pages of superheroes crying. There will be some heavy heartedness, sure, but in large it's a celebration of the character.
We've got some amazing artists on these books: Robbi Rodriguez, Jake Wyatt, Kris Anka, Declan Shalvey, James Harren, Jim Rugg, Chris Brunner and hell even I'm jumping in to play. They're shaping up really nicely and I think they'll be the kinds of evergreen comics that even people who don't read our book, or current X-Men comics might enjoy as just as a way of reconnecting and remembering a couple great decades of Wolverine comics.
Special thanks to Jason Latour for answering this week's questions!
Next week, it's time to get back to the villain side of the equation as Cullen Bunn returns to "X-Position" for a discussion about all things "Magneto." Looking to get some clues about "March to AXIS" and Magneto's continuing solo mission? Go ahead and send in your questions in an e-mail with the subject line "X-Position" or if 140 character questions are more your speed, try Twitter. But get 'em in quickly, because the deadline's Friday! Do it to it!