Marvel called again tonight, wanting to talk to me about another one of their Marvel Now comics. This time however, their focus was on a continuing series rather than a new relaunch, in the form of Jason Aaron and Nick Bradshaw’s Wolverine & The X-Men. Joining them was editor Nick Lowe, who, yes, sang to himself again. Read on and you’ll find out a few new details about the book, and absolutely definitely see some lovely art from both Bradshaw and Ramon Perez. And maybe I’ll throw in some Steven Sanders too, because the world needs more Steven Sanders.
Now… in fairness, the call was rather light on any new news or information about the series, with most of the talk about the current storyline and how the series is looking to progress. So don’t expect anything particularly shocking from this piece. It’s always nice to chat to writers and artists (and editors, I guess) however, and even the lightest of conversations brings some interesting points and ideas into play.
First off, I certainly did ask the one question everybody has been pulsating with anxiety about for the past few months: what of Pixie? She doesn’t appear to be in any of the new Marvel Now titles, despite being a smash hit knockout with fans. According to Lowe, Pixie is in discussion – several writers are currently vying for her – but for the time being we’ll still have adjectiveless X-Men for all the Pixie we need. Which is a relief! Aaron added that several of the ‘New’ X-Men characters would start showing up at points during the next arc of the book, with Rockslide one of the names mentioned.
This week’s issue is about the hunt for a new teacher. After Husk was unceremoniously booted out the school, Kitty Pryde will be searching across the MU for new tutors. Deadpool, Alpha Flight, Daimon Hellstrom and Spider-Man will be amongst the candidates for the role. The only character Aaron couldn’t use, in fact, was Fantomex. Because Fantomex is dead. Aside from that, he had free range to use any character he wanted.
As the series continues, we will next see a standalone issue with Steven Sanders, focusing on Angel and his new role outside of the school. He was the first character to ‘graduate’, and will – from the looks of the art – going out recruiting new students. Nick Bradshaw was particularly keen on the new characters he gets to draw, including one he calls simply “Eye Boy”. A character covered in eyes, Nick Lowe seemed to get a lot of joy from sending back notes to his artists saying simply “MORE EYES!” The new mutants will start showing up over the next few arcs, as Aaron builds to something ‘epic’ in June of next year.
Next up will be an arc about Frankenstein coming to town, as part of a travelling circus. Aaron was inspired for this storyline by a classic-era story where Beast sees all the X-Men as circus attractions (that’d be issue #17, with Mesmero, I believe!). The big question will be ‘why is Frankenstein here, and what does he want?’
At this point in the call, the hurricane claimed a victim and somebody’s line went blank. Nick Lowe was concerned for a second, then remembered that journalists are legion and nobody will mind if one or two go missing. He mentioned issue #24 as a pivotal moment for the series. Drawn by David Lopez, this will be ‘date night’ and see Wolverine and Storm share some romance, as well as Iceman and Kitty. Yep, Iceman and Kitty are still happening!
Once All New X-Men wraps the first five issues, we’ll start to see the two titles spill into each other a little. The cast of WATXM will be in ANXM from the start, but after issue #5 readers will see ANXM affect things in WATXM. Everybody loves acronyms. Aaron also addressed the ‘Broogate’ saga, which saw the fan-favourite alien midget get shot in the head at the end of the last issue. While WATXM is meant to be fun, Aaron and Lowe don’t want people to get comfortable with the book. It’s only light because it reflects a lot of darkness. Bradshaw went into this in a bit more detail:
I love doing the drama and the levity. You have to have the drama – I started drawing Broo when he was being loveable and having adventures in space, and now I find myself drawing this sensitive scene with him after he got shot! It was shocking for me to read it. I got emails from people saying they were crying after! To know I could hit that note with people was really gratifying.
I asked about if Teen Jean will be part of the book at any point – she’s the unknown quantity and the big name return in Marvel Now, and her future best friend Storm will soon be showing up in WATXM. Aaron wouldn’t be pressed on this (let alone the idea that her daughter Rachel might have something to say to Jean). He did, however, leave us with a definite answer about when the X-Men’s next softball game will take place:
If I do one of those… you’ll know I’ve just given up by that point!
So there you go! Wolverine & the X-Men #19 is out on Wednesday!