WonderCon 2012

WonderCon 2012: Brian Wood

For the first time ever, one writer tackles the X-Men in the Marvel and Ultimate Comics Universes simultaneously

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By Jim Beard

In a first for the House of Ideas, one writer will take on a major X-Men title in two separate universes simultaneously. In June, Brian Wood kicks off his tenure with X-MEN #30 in the Marvel Universe and ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #13 in the Ultimate Comics Universe.

“I like to tell editors that one of my greatest strengths is that I am not a dyed in the wool super hero guy,” notes Wood. “Most of this is all pretty fresh to me. So that can actually be a weakness, in some ways, but if you are looking for a writer that can truly bring something new to the table, then it turns into a strength. I have to hit the ground running with a lot of research, and a lot of questions to my editors, and so far so good. I am not deep in the continuity, but I do love the X-Men, and I understand the X-Men, and feel a connection to the concept of it. A lot of love goes an even longer way.

X-Men #30 cover by Jorge Molina

“And it is tricky to keep the two universes separate, but not that bad. I have two notebooks on my desk and I compartmentalize all my notes and ideas and reference and e-mails. The only trick is making the switchover in my brain when I go from one script to another.”

The writer joins artist David Lopez on X-MEN, bringing with him the team of Storm, Psylocke, Colossus, Domino and Pixie, the latter of whom he hand-picked for the book.

“Jubilee is leaving the book for parts unknown and Pixie is coming aboard,” he reports. “I wanted to write Pixie for a couple reasons; her teleportation and flight are useful to the team, practically speaking. She brings new abilities to the collective table. And my five-year-old daughter is obsessed with the Disney Fairies, and so now I can show her one of my comics that will actually have something inside it she gives a damn about!

“Aside from Pixie as I mentioned, these are iconic X-Men characters. It's hard to pick a favorite, but one I am interested in getting a good handle on is Storm.”

In addition to a new looming threat for the team, X-MEN will also feature a previously unknown mutant race, one with a centuries-old pedigree.

“Yeah, this is big news,” says Wood. “Overall the direction of the book is shifting closer to the idea, or at least my idea, of the ‘strike team’ I've seen it described as. The threats are going to be a little gnarlier, with a stronger dose of the 'real world' than the title's had in the past. By that I mean more grounded stories on the bleeding edge of the seemingly unending human-mutant conflict. This first story is a good example of that. A black market weapons manufacturer stumbles across a centuries-old mass grave, and in the remains finds ancient mutant DNA, from a species of mutants that pre-dates anyone's accepted theory of how long mutants have existed. These ‘proto-mutants’ are the Neanderthals to our Homo sapiens, to use a broad analogy. As you can image, this is big news.

“These are mutants adapted to a different time, a different state of the world. Much more primitive, and how they look and what abilities they have will mirror that.”

Ultimate Comics X-Men #13 cover by Jorge Molina

Over in ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN, Wood and artist Paco Medina focus in on the Ultimate version of Kitty Pryde, who reportedly takes on a new mission: Save America.

“Essentially, I am making [Kitty] the #1 character in the book, the leader of her team, and incredibly pro-active,” he says. “All this strife and anti-mutant violence in the Ultimate Universe has its opposite effect. Instead of being oppressed and intimidated and driven into hiding, she is going to be putting herself in harms way, right in front of the guns, so to speak. Not as The Shroud, but as Kitty Pryde.

“As to ‘Save America,’ that's dicey to address here since the three Ultimate titles are handling that storyline and its happening in the books that are hitting stands and have yet to hit stands. But broadly and non-specifically, [Kitty] is essentially becoming a freedom fighter in this chaotic United States.”

The writer’s also thrilled to be working alongside such artists as Lopez and Medina.

“I've only been chatting with David online for a couple weeks, but he asks a million questions and is enthusiastic as hell, which will only benefit X-MEN and will help me write better scripts,” Wood notes. “Plus, obviously, his art is gorgeous. It’s art that would have me plunking down three or four bucks a month for any book he works on.

“With Paco, we only just started not too long ago. But in general, and this applies to David Lopez as well, one of the greatest things about finally writing for Marvel is having access to all these artists, ones I couldn't work with on my indie books. Taken as a whole, Marvel has the best super hero artists out there.”

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