By Josh Wigler
In February, writer Paul Cornell and artist Ryan Stegman emphasize the "not very nice" aspects of WOLVERINE with an All-New Marvel NOW! re-launch.
Following the events of Cornell's current story, "Killable," Wolverine finds himself reconnecting with his darker side in "Payback," an arc that puts the X-Man on the wrong side of the law, operating alongside some "minor-league super villains," as Cornell describes them. We spoke with Cornell and Stegman about their WOLVERINE plans, including the character's new allies and arsenal, his modified uniform, and the big bad enemy lurking in the shadows.
Marvel.com: Paul, what can you tell us about the All-New Marvel NOW! re-launch of WOLVERINE? What's the quick pitch?
Paul Cornell: The first arc is called "Payback," and that's where we find him: working for a crime boss called The Offer, alongside a "family" of low-rent super villains. Following the end of "Killable," he's decided to simplify his life and drop his responsibilities.
|Wolverine #1 cover by Ryan Stegman|
Marvel.com: Can you tell us more about The Offer, and the other "low-rent super-villains" working with Wolverine?
Paul Cornell: The Offer is a minor super villain gang boss who has the power to make the best possible offer. It's not hypnotism; you're free to turn him down. But his offers tend to make people think twice. He's a caring, fatherly presence to his gang, but he's not really a good man.
His gang includes Pinch, who Logan is in a relationship with, who can pull threads from any material; Fuel, who increases powers, and thus can make Logan move at high speed; and the Lost Boy, who can make anything ignite, and who has a complicated attitude towards what heroism and villainy might be. Logan worries about him.
Marvel.com: In what ways does the new launch depend on the WOLVERINE story you've already built? Is this the start of something new, or a continuation of where you've taken Logan thus far in your run?
Paul Cornell: Both. This will make sense as a continuation to those who were following the last series, but it works as an extreme new start for Wolverine and for those who are picking it up for the first time.
|Wolverine #2 cover by Ryan Stegman|
Marvel.com: One of Logan's greatest threats in your current run is a mind-controlling virus that's threatened to tear the globe apart. Is that virus still in play for the All-New Marvel NOW! series?
Paul Cornell: That story ends at the end of "Killable." We're in a whole new ball game now.
Marvel.com: I know Sabretooth is an important part of your story going forward. What can you tell us about his role?
Paul Cornell: He's named as what's in the background from issue #1, very much in reaction to what happens at the end of "Killable." He'll appear only eventually.
Ryan Stegman: I've always wanted to draw [Sabretooth]. I love drawing massive characters, and they don't get much more massive than him.
Marvel.com: Paul, one of my favorite parts of your WOLVERINE run is the global feel. We've seen him in Wakanda, in Canada; his ties to Japan have played a factor. Can we expect more of that world-spanning scope in the new series, or is the focus narrowing a bit?
|Wolverine by Alan Davis|
Paul Cornell: Well, we get away from the world altogether at one point. And yes, we'll continue globetrotting, with a stronger sense of purpose to that than ever. In working for The Offer, Logan will be looking for a specific something.
Marvel.com: With a new series comes a new uniform. Can you share some of the story reasons behind Wolverine's new costume? It looks more "armored" than usual.
Paul Cornell: He's now wearing an armor which keeps the shape of his old uniform, but it has, worryingly for readers who've been paying attention, samurai influences, too.
Ryan Stegman: I like the simplicity of it. It looks very Wolverine, while still being different from previous designs. It hearkens back to samurais, which is very neat and very fitting. I also like the simple combination of black and yellow. I'm always a fan of simplicity in character design and black and yellow, to me, really screams Wolverine.
Marvel.com: Some of the art I've seen features Wolverine holding a handgun—is that a sign that the claws might come out a little less frequently?
Paul Cornell: He's now carrying a pair of handguns, and fighting hand-to-hand in a different way. He will indeed be using the claws less frequently.
|Wolverine by Frank Cho|
Ryan Stegman: I don't know how much I can say, but there will be guns, and there will be claws. There will be whatever Wolverine needs to get the job done—because he's the best there is at what he does.
Marvel.com: Paul, what makes Ryan the right artist for WOLVERINE? What appeals to you most about his style and approach to the character?
Paul Cornell: I love how modern and vibrant Ryan's art is. It makes this season of WOLVERINE feel new and exciting. I'm writing in a different way, so it freshens it up for all of us, I think.
Marvel.com: Similar question for you, Ryan. Can you talk about collaborating with Paul, and what you enjoy the most about his writing?
Ryan Stegman: My comic reading at the moment is significantly less than I'd like it to be because of a hectic work schedule and growing family, but I have been able to read all of Paul's work on WOLVERINE so far. I really enjoy it. I think Paul has a great sense of dialogue and his character moments really sing. And character moments are among my favorite things to draw. Also, throughout the series, I've thought, "Man! I wish I could be drawing this," many, many times. To me, that's always a good sign that the writer is doing exciting things.
|All-New Marvel NOW! by Steve McNiven|
Marvel.com: Close us out with some final teases, gentlemen. What can readers look forward to and expect from the all-new WOLVERINE?
Paul Cornell: I don't think we should be afraid of liking The Offer, Pinch, Fuel, Marcy and the Lost Boy, Logan's teammates now that he's a minor-league super villain. This series is going to look into what it means to be a "villain" and how those guys think of themselves. Logan finds a real comradeship there, and a release—and a relationship.
Ryan Stegman: I plan on this being the best work of my career. I started to try some new things toward the end of my SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN run, and now I think I've got a good handle on those things and I'll get to show them off in this title. Plus, Mark Morales will be inking! He's one of the best in the biz, and he's going to make this look all the better.
Follow Logan’s current adventures in WOLVERINE and get set for the new series beginning in February 2014