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Tuesday Q&A

Tuesday Q&A: Brian Wood

The Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega writer previews the showdown between Logan and Kid Omega

By Chris Arrant

Wolverine might be turning over a new leaf as headmaster of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, but some people can still bring back old habits. And if anybody can get on Logan’s bad side, it’s Quentin Quire, aka Kid Omega.

In the upcoming limited series WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: ALPHA & OMEGA, writer Brian Wood delves into the clashing personalities of Wolverine and Kid Omega while putting Armor in the crossfire. Although Wolverine might be the odds-on favorite in this match-up, Quire’s mind manipulation powers could be the perfect foil for the former Weapon X.

Beginning this January, this series marks Wood’s long-awaited return of Brian Wood to the Marvel after years of focusing primarily on creator-owned work such as DMZ and Northlanders. Partnering with artists Mark Brooks and Roland Boschi, the NYC-based author makes his mark in what’s promised as the first of several Marvel projects.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: ALPHA & OMEGA #1 inked preview art by Roland Boschi

Marvel.com: Wolverine has his name in the title of the book but Kid Omega shares the spotlight, even to the point of narrating. This would be Quentin’s biggest role to date, so can you tell us about the balance?

Brian Wood: Yeah, It’s unbalanced, actually, as Quentin really is driving the story. I think the relative "screen time" of the two of them is probably the same, but this is Quentin's world, his point-of-view. I was given the mandate, if I can use that word, to really take Quentin and "run with him" in terms of character development, since he's had a lot of appearances but they've not been super detailed in terms of who he is and what makes him tick. I wrote a hell of a lot of narration, and more than a few scenes of him talking aloud to himself, so we get a good look at it.

Marvel.com: One of the youngest X-Men, Armor, finds herself caught in the middle of this face-off. Can you tell us what part she plays in the series?

Brian Wood: She is caught in the middle, exactly, a bit of collateral damage in this Quentin vs. Logan battle royal. But there's a bit more to it than that, and it’s something I am hesitant to talk about too much in advance. But just know she is not just there to take up space.

Marvel.com: How does this tie in with the larger story of Wolverine and the Jean Grey School developing in WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN?

Brian Wood: Only in the sense that this story takes place in the Jean Grey School alongside the events of the main story. There is no crossing over with Jason Aaron's [series] in the active sense, although I can't imagine that what Quentin and Logan get up to in my [story] won't affect their relationship heading into the future.

Marvel.com: Wolverine might seem like a pretty straight-forward character, but the events of Schism and him now leading the new school put him in a different place. Can you tell us how this different mindset might affect this series?

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: ALPHA & OMEGA #1 inked preview art by Roland Boschi

Brian Wood: Logan is certainly changed. I personally find him to be much more nuanced, and there is a bit of that in my story, yeah. But Quentin picks a fight with Logan who is forced to fight in entirely on Quentin's terms, in Quentin's world. There's not a lot of room for nuance and headmastering there. You might see a bit of the berserker in Logan instead.

Marvel.com: Wolverine’s powers are primarily physical, but Quentin’s are cognitive and telepathic in nature, something Logan might have trouble combating. What can you say about that face-off?

Brian Wood: On Quentin's terms, in Quentin's world—as quoted from the previous answer—also applies here. And yeah, absolutely, Logan's going to have some trouble with that!

Marvel.com: What are your overall thoughts on Kid Omega after getting up to speed with him?

Brian Wood: I really like him; he's a lot of fun. I took a peek around the forums and message boards and he seems to be kind of polarizing; plenty of people find his posturing annoying, but I don't get that. As a writer it’s pure gold, perfect material to work with, the teenager who is just barely masking a whole trove of emotions under the surface. You kind of have to love him. Or love to hate him, at least!

Marvel.com: You’re no stranger to teen mutants; you wrote GENERATION X over a decade ago, and went on to do Demo and DV8: Gods & Monsters since. What’s it like for a maturing teenager to possess powers like these, especially in Quentin’s case?

Brian Wood: Well, it’s a world of difference, first off. What Quentin is as a mutant and who he associates with, it’s on a whole other level than the Demo characters, and even the GENERATION X kids as I wrote them—which was a lot like Demo, actually. To put it another way, Quentin is much more "super hero" than those other examples, so there's a very different way I approach it. But I think deep down, in the core of all of these types of characters, is the same very emotional, very relatable thing that draws so many people to the X-Men. It sounds very cliché to say, but they are very very human, these mutants.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: ALPHA & OMEGA #1 inked preview art by Roland Boschi

Marvel.com: For this book, artists Mark Brooks and Roland Boschi split drawing the duties. How are they breaking up the work?

Brian Wood: Tricky to explain, but will be immediately clear upon opening the book. Put briefly, there are two narratives in the book, two realities, and Mark and Roland are each handling one.

Marvel.com: You’ve been quoted as saying this is the first of several projects you’re hoping to do at Marvel. What’s it like using this as the beginning of your return?

Brian Wood: It's funny, that whole "return to Marvel" phrase is used a lot and while it’s totally accurate, it’s not really the mentality I'm working with. It makes it sound like I'm passing through the gates on a brilliant white stallion or something! I think it was 12 years ago I was writing GENERATION X, and that's a long time in its own right, but it’s also a long time in the sense that GENERATION X was my first ever freelance writing gig. I was a different person back then, and my work has changed so dramatically, that to me it feels brand new, working at Marvel. I have to prove myself. And that's a lot of fun.

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