Given her importance in Logan’s life, it should come as no surprise that Kitty Pryde plays a critical role in the DEATH OF WOLVERINE limited series this September. With issue #3, she will make her presence known: front and center, katana in hand.
For the third installment in the four-stage image examination, writer Charles Soule hints at the significance of the plum blossom imagery, while artist Steve McNiven, inker Jay Leisten and colorist Justin Ponsor detail what it takes to balance all the action that fills the cover for DEATH OF WOLVERINE #3.
Marvel.com: This cover again is loaded with symbolism—anyone care to discuss the meaning of the flowers?
Steve McNiven: Again, a nod towards the set pieces of the issue, but I can't say more!
Charles Soule: Those are plum blossoms. There's a particular storytelling element I don't want to spoil that, in a roundabout way, required plum blossoms. My original instinct was to ask for cherry blossoms, but it turned out they wouldn't work for what I was looking for. And the Internet scrambles to figure out what's different between a plum blossom and a cherry blossom—have fun with it! More specifically, the blossoms relate to the feel for this issue—again, each one's different. This issue ties back to Japan and Logan's long history there, and so they seemed like a good element to include.
Marvel.com: How did the creative team arrive at doing the split screen effect with the katana as the dividing point?
Steve McNiven: I wanted to have Kitty showing her powers as she is not in costume here, and I also wanted to get a katana in there as well. But having her coming through the sword? It just came to me as I was messing around with ideas. I try and gather up all the imagery I can pull from the issue without being too specific about what goes on in the book, put them all in front of me and start to play around!
Marvel.com: Jay and Justin, the flowers clearly are lighter and less prominent than Kitty in the foreground. How was that achieved, through lighter inking or coloring, or another effect?
Jay Leisten: I debated using grey ink on the original for effect but figured Justin would likely color hold it like we discussed with [the cover for] DEATH OF WOLVERINE #2. I also tested a halo effect where you outline the main foreground objects with a white line but that wasn't the best choice here in the end.
Justin Ponsor: I dropped the lines there to a much lighter color. In order to reinforce that Kitty isn't actually present with the blossoms I kept a narrow, high-key value range there behind her. Then for Ms. Pryde herself, I gave her the widest value range in addition to warm hues.
Marvel.com: There were any number of ways to show Kitty using her powers while also showing her in sword pose; was there any consideration of having her phase upward, or did it always make the most sense to have her phase and pose in such a manner?
Steve McNiven: I wanted to use a pose that allowed for as much of Kitty to show as possible and figured this would work best.
Marvel.com: Wolverine almost seems devoid of emotion in the cover; is that meant to convey his acceptance that death is coming for him?
Steve McNiven: Hmmmm…could be.
Charles Soule: This issue is very concerned with questions of acceptance of one's mortality. The villain who shows up here is someone who ties thematically into those ideas very strongly—one of my long-time favorite Wolverine baddies, in fact. I think Steve and co. did an incredible job creating a Wolverine who's fatalistic, but still up for a fight. And having the plum blossoms on one side—a symbol of spring and rebirth—and Logan on the other, as he approaches the end of his life, it just works for me. And hopefully for everyone else!
Tomorrow, the DEATH OF WOLVERINE creative team discusses the cover for issue #4 and how it plays into the landmark series!