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Tuesday Q&A: Marjorie Liu

The author discusses keeping track of Logan's offspring in DARK WOLVERINE and X-23 as well as the new BLACK WIDOW series

By Kevin Mahadeo

A former assassin turned mutant super hero. A near century-old Russian super spy. A manipulative, self-serving villain with daddy issues. Writer Marjorie Liu admittedly loves these characters for their complexity; the fact that they could also brutally and efficiently immobilize you in seconds flat just serves as a bonus.

Liu tackles three of the Marvel Universe's deadliest, dangerous and most deeply layered characters in a trio of spots over the next several months. In the upcoming X-23 one-shot, slashing into stores March 17, the novelist takes her first stab at the titular mutant killing machine as she returns to her roots and reunites with the kids of NYX. A month later, Liu goes undercover as redheaded spy Natasha Romanoff kicks off the brand new BLACK WIDOW ongoing series. Meanwhile, the author also continues her current killing spree in the pages of DARK WOLVERINE with a tie-in arc to the blockbuster SIEGE limited series.

Liu managed to find some time between simultaneously penning both her novels and comic titles to talk about the upcoming releases, the Women of Marvel promotion and who to best place bets on when she gets in the ring with her characters.


X-23 #1 cover by Alina Urusov
Marvel.com: What can you say about what readers can expect to see in the upcoming X-23 one-shot?

Marjorie Liu: Some very deep, intense explorations of her character and how she views herself-and how that's evolving as she becomes more aware of her inability thus far to stop being used by men. She's tough, strong [and] lethal; she doesn't need to take the abuse that's been dished on her head, but she [has], and she begins to realize in this issue how wrong that is.

Marvel.com: What are your thoughts on the character of X-23? What do you like about her?

Marjorie Liu: I like her because she's tough [and] driven, but also she's got this sweet side of her that's been buried so deep that it hardly ever comes out, and it's that part of her that was never broken, that's still a kid, young and vulnerable. She's so vulnerable. She might be a killer, but she's been used [and] abused, and that's a cycle she still hasn't managed to break free from.  

Marvel.com: You've written other clawed mutants before, both Wolverine and his son Daken. How does writing X-23 compare?

Marjorie Liu: She's way more damaged than either of them, and a lot younger, too. [She's] more vulnerable, because she doesn't quite know herself yet. And yet, she's got that core of strength that Wolverine and Daken have. She is relentless when she sets her mind to do something.

Marvel.com: The NYX characters are set to appear in the one-shot. What's it like bringing these characters back together? What can you say about the meeting?

Marjorie Liu: It was such a pleasure writing both Kiden and X-23 and all the kids, together. The meeting is bittersweet. Kiden and her friends are in a bit of a bad spot-still homeless, broke, trying to figure out what to do next-and here comes X-23, a blast from the past. Last time they saw her, she had just been rescued from a pimp, and so there's a real concern on Kiden's part that perhaps X-23 has fallen back into the life of a prostitute.

BLACK WIDOW #1 cover by Daniel Acuna
It doesn't help that they lost all contact with her, and here she shows up still acting damaged. 

Marvel.com: The first issue of the new BLACK WIDOW series also hits next month. What's it been like working on the character and the book?

Marjorie Liu: Fantastic. The great thing about Black Widow is that she's so incredibly complex, [both] psychologically, and within the context of the Marvel Universe. As a writer, I can really go places with her because she's got the chops to back it up without it seeming as though I'm taking canonical liberties.

Marvel.com: Both BLACK WIDOW and X-23 are being billed as part of the Women of Marvel initiative. What's it like for you being part of the promotion?

Marjorie Liu: Cool. I think it's a great promotion. There are a lot of women working in the comics industry, but you wouldn't necessarily know it if you're talking to most readers. There's a perception that it's men, men, men all the time-and that, obviously, is not true.

Marvel.com: Over in DARK WOLVERINE, you've got a tie-in to Siege, and readers recently saw Daken turn on Norman Osborn. What other surprises can readers expect to see coming up?

Marjorie Liu: I don't know how much to say, but I'll tell you that the art is stunning in these upcoming issues. Really, really, gorgeous. Giuseppe Camuncoli, Onofrio Catacchio, and Marte Gracia are the dream team. [Co-writer] Daniel [Way] and I are extremely lucky to be working with them.

Marvel.com: With Daken you've got a character that uses others for his own benefit and with X-23, you've got someone who others use for themselves. What about those types of characters attracts you as a writer?

DARK WOLVERINE #83 cover by Salvador Larroca
Marjorie Liu: You already spelled it out: I love writing characters that are psychologically complex because you can take them down so many twisty paths that allow for growth, meaty stories, and those really great moments that make you sit up a little straighter. You don't want to write a boring character-and if a character is boring, then you're not doing your job as a writer.

Marvel.com: As a final roundup question: Of Daken, Black Widow and X-23, who would you most want to get into the ring with?

Marjorie Liu: Who, me? Are you nuts? I'd be slaughtered!


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