San Diego Comic-Con 2013

SDCC 2013: X-Men

Terry Dodson helps Brian Wood bring back Lady Deathstrike and introduce a new Sisterhood!

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By Brett White

One of Marvel's mutant teams will barely have a moment to catch their breath following this fall's X-Men event, "Battle of the Atom." In that saga's aftermath, the super heroines of Brian Wood's X-MEN will have to stand against the return of classic X-threat Lady Deathstrike and her all-new assemblage of villains, the Sisterhood.

The newest X-MEN volume has quickly become one of Marvel's hottest books, as Storm, Rogue, Psylocke, Kitty Pryde, Jubilee and Rachel Grey have already come up against an adversary worthy of facing off against their combined skill and power. But in X-MEN #7, writer Wood takes the action to a new level.

"I knew I wanted to create a major villain—and set of villains—that would be permanent to the series, a counterbalance to our X-Men," he reveals. "The fact this is the Sisterhood and all-female isn't by accident, but I did consider other options. This series gets a whole range of gender politics read into it, all sorts of different opinions and prejudices, and I'm always looking for ways to subvert that.

“All that said I wanted to avoid having my all-female X-Men beating up a bunch of dudes and subsequently crack the sexist Internet in half. And I figure it's more in keeping with the spirit of the title to have a Sisterhood rather than a Brotherhood."

Lady Deathstrike, a longtime foe of the X-Men, heads up the Sisterhood, marking her return as a major villain following a supporting role in last year's SECRET AVENGERS. Deathstrike's arrival coincides with the debut of new artist Terry Dodson, who gave the cybernetic assassin an updated look.

X-Men #7 cover by Terry Dodson

"Assistant editor Jennifer Smith sent me all the incarnations of Lady Deathstrike as reference to work from," explains Dodson. "I took the strongest physical attributes—her claws being the most distinct—and tried to give them to this new version of Lady Deathstrike while giving her a completely new look."

Dodson's become known as a go-to artist for team books thanks to his bombastic work on series like DEFENDERS and UNCANNY X-MEN. He says that drawing characters that stand apart from each other, especially in books with large casts, comes to him instinctually.

"I try to let the characters' personalities define their look and go from there," says the artist. "In a book like X-MEN, it's a lot simpler for me. The characters are well defined and I'm very familiar with them, so I can easily identify with and understand them, so keeping them distinct happens naturally."

With these new elements coming into play, X-MEN #7 promises to keep the pulse-pounding excitement already integral to the series in play.

"I think everyone involved felt that this was a great combination of events, Terry [joining] along with a new team to introduce," says Wood. "I have liked Terry since he and I almost worked together a decade ago on GENERATION X, and I'm pretty excited about this."

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