By Ben Morse
It’s been over a decade since Brian Wood graced the House of Ideas. Over the past 10 years, he’s earned creative and critical acclaim on a variety of projects addressing everything from embedded journalism to Vikings. Now, the prodigal son returns to Marvel and will be diving directly into X-Men Regenesis beginning this January with WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN OMEGA, a five-issue limited series illustrated by Mark Brooks and Roland Boschi.
“The short version of the story is I called up [Marvel Editor-in-Chief] Axel Alonso, chatted with him a bit about various things I was interested in, and then he put me in touch with [editor] Jeanine Schaeffer, who is editing me on this project and hopefully more to come,” summarizes Wood of his Marvel comeback. “The longer version has to do with my two long-running creator-owned books nearing their end and the desire to get involved in writing some super hero books, something I’ve barely done any of in the past. I was really pleased that Marvel was so receptive to bringing me aboard.”
Wood has experience with Marvel’s mutant population via a brief but fondly remembered stint writing GENERATION X towards the end of that series’ run in 2001. OMEGA will take place alongside the new WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN series, focusing on a simmering feud poised to explode in these pages.
“It’s about Quentin Quire and his issues with Logan, broadly put,” explains Wood, referring to the palpable tension between the rebellious Kid Omega and Wolverine. “They have a pretty contentious relationship and Quentin sees an opportunity to stick it to the man, and so he does. But he’s a young guy with a lot of power and this is a pretty emotional subject for him, so of course it all goes to hell and now Logan, along with Armor, are kind of in a battle for their lives. There’s danger on a couple levels here, both mental and also physical, as the Jean Grey School is threatened.”
Rachel Grey and young mutant Bling will play significant roles in the series as will other X-Men, but all roads lead back to Wolverine and Quentin.
“[Wolverine is] iconic, has a lot of history, and is an interesting mix of a sort of base, one-dimensional brawler and a pretty sensitive and insightful guy,” offers Wood. “I think the magic is found in the middle ground, and that’s what I’m aiming for. It’s a little intimidating, but every writer sort of has their own slightly different take on the guy, and I had to find mine.
“[Quentin Quire is] a lot of fun. He’s a [jerk], which is always fun to write, but finding what’s underneath all that, the insecurity and the pain, is just as rewarding. Quentin’s a guy that doesn’t have a whole lot of backstory compared to most, and the challenge given to me [by] Jeanine was to address that, to really flesh him out, almost treat him as if he were brand new, in a way.”
Brooks and Boschi, both artists who have some experience with Wolverine as well as the X-Men, will split the task of providing visuals, and Wood has been very pleased with what he’s seen.
“They are super talented, which kind of counts for a lot,” he says. “There are some real specific challenges in this script, some pretty labor-intensive scenes, and it’s the sort of thing I always feel a little guilty writing, because it only takes me a matter of minutes to do what will take them a day or two to deal with. I’m an artist as well, so that empathy—and guilt—never goes away.”
While Wood will be focusing his creative energies on WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN OMEGA in the immediate period, he has plans and wishes beyond the realm of mutants moving forward.
“As much as I feel like the X-Men is my logical home, I’m attracted to a few other things,” he shares. “I know from Vikings pretty well, so Thor is interesting. I’d love to write a real Viking Thor, more realistic than super hero, but who knows who wants that besides me. The Punisher is interesting, some aspects of the Ultimate Comics line. The Runaways for sure.”
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