Juggling characters like Deadpool, Carnage, and Magneto all at the same time? Not easy. That’s why Marvel called in writer Cullen Bunn to handle this rowdy bunch in both April’s DEADPOOL VS. CARNAGE limited series and the new, ongoing MAGNETO book beginning this week. It makes perfect sense if you know Cullen and what he’s all about. Don’t know him? Wonder what he’s up to?
Cullen Bunn: Since when is “cool” not enough? Have we, as a society, finally cast aside the shackles of coolness? If we have, I can finally stop saying I wear flannel shirts ironically, and just admit that I wear them because they’re comfortable, easy to maintain, and warm.
But you’re right, of course. There has to be a reason for these two characters to lock horns and try to kill each other. In this case, Carnage has once again escaped, and he has embarked on a completely random killing spree. Because he’s acting without rhyme or reason, the authorities can’t track him. That’s where Deadpool comes in. He discovers that he has an unusual connection to Carnage, one that allows him to predict Carnage’s next move. But being that “in tune” with Carnage won’t be a picnic for Deadpool, and Carnage doesn’t want to spend a second in the madhouse that is Deadpool’s head. The best move, for both of them, is to kill the other one.
Marvel.com: Okay, how would you characterize the upcoming battle?
Cullen Bunn: This is a grudge match.
Yes, if Deadpool fails to stop Carnage, the body count will continue to rise, but for the most part this is the story of two maniacs trying to do each other in. That said, I think there are a few moments in this story which will impact other Marvel characters—outside the title characters—in some major ways.
Cullen Bunn: For the most part, this story is focused on Deadpool and Carnage, but there are a few characters, most of whom have more of a connection to Carnage and the symbiotes. One of these characters is Carnage’s crazy groupie/girlfriend/stalker Shriek. She has a significant presence throughout the series as Carnage’s chief ally.
Marvel.com: What are each combatant’s strengths in a fracas like this? Do either one of them have an edge on the other?
Cullen Bunn: I think it’s easy to say that both Deadpool and Carnage are simply maniacs. Really, though, their insanities are vastly different, and these differences give each combatant his edge. Deadpool is wacky and zany; the picture of out-of-the-box homicidal thinking. His antics will take Carnage by surprise. Carnage, on the other hand, can’t be topped when it comes to sheer brutality. He lives up to his namesake in ways that Deadpool’s vaunted healing factor can’t handle.
Marvel.com: Now, how do you pit two titans like this against each other without making either one of their fanbases upset over the outcome?
Marvel.com: Let’s swing over to MAGNETO; to this point, what’s been the single coolest thing for you about working on the new book, and why?
Cullen Bunn: The coolest thing about the MAGNETO series is that I’m getting the chance to paint the title character in a different light. It’s not that I’m changing the nature of his character, because I’m not. This series will take Erik on a developmental journey, but he’s starting out, at least, as the Magneto we’re familiar with. But the tone of the series is so dark, with so many noir and horror elements. Through that lens, we’ll be seeing Magneto a little differently.
In addition—and I wasn’t sold on this when I started the series—but a depowered Magneto is a lot of fun. With his powers diminished, he has to rely on his other talents to be effective.
Super-powerful Magneto is scary, sure, but no more so than the Magneto we’ll see in this book.
Cullen Bunn: Here’s where I think things will get very interesting, because I think different fans will have different opinions on the matter. Some readers will see him as a hero, others as an anti-hero, and still others as a villain. I go back and forth, actually. Sometimes I can see the “heroism” in what he’s trying to accomplish. Other times, I find Magneto’s methods deeply troubling. His mission is one readers should be able to sympathize with. His methods, on the other hand, might be a little more difficult to accept.
Marvel.com: What weight will you be putting on his past in the book? How might it inform the present, or the future?
Cullen Bunn: His past will be very important in the series, influencing his course of action, shaping the man he is and the man he will become over the course of the series. Almost every issue of the series will feature some kind of flashback. Sometimes, it will just be a quick glimpse of something—sometimes recent, sometimes not—that impacts the story in some way or helps us in the telling of a dramatic tale. Other times, the flashbacks will help us better understand Magneto’s state-of-mind and decision-making. In MAGENTO #2, for example, we’ll get a glimpse at some of the cruelty he faced as a child. In the third issue, it’s what happened in Genosha that is weighing heavily on Magneto’s mind.
Marvel.com: He’ll have a new band of followers; what will they be like and why do they follow Magneto?
Cullen Bunn: I’m not telling!
Cullen Bunn: Ever since I said that the “Acolytes” would play a role in the series, folks have been speculating about the “team” Magneto will be forming. I’ve heard dozens of names thrown out, all of them sound kind of awesome if this were going to be a typical super hero series. So, to set the record straight: this is not a team book. All of the speculation I’ve seen has been way off, even though I love seeing it, and I really can’t imagine anyone guessing the true nature of these New Acolytes. My hope is to keep people guessing when it comes to this book, and Magneto’s followers represent just one aspect of that.