Exclusive Interview: Brian Wood Talks X-Men, Ultimate Comics, Rachel Summers and More
Next month, Wood will join with superstar artist Olivier Coipel to bring the world of Marvel NOW! a new incarnation of X-Men which, really, has no “men” at all!
Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer sat down exclusively with Wood and grilled the X-savvy scribe about the new team, the threats it may face, and what’s up with the former cosmically-endowed Rachel Summers these days.
Cosmic Book News: Can you tell me how the idea for an all-female X-Men book came together and what attracted you to such a project?
Brian Wood: On my end, how it all came together was pretty organically, building out of the 2012 run on X-Men that I did. I don't know the details of how Marvel came to it internally, but my editor Jeanine Schaefer talked over the course of a couple months about logical next steps and this was finally arrived at. Obviously, it’s an incredible opportunity, and I could name 50 reasons why this appealed to me. The main ones are: choice of cast (great characters), the appeal of launching an iconic #1, and taking on the challenges and expectations of a title packed with powerhouse female characters.
CBN: As you said, Brian, there are a lot of strong personalities on this team. And some very powerful mutants. Who will emerge the leader of this bunch over the long-run and will this be a team or more just X-family members working together?
Brian Wood: Generally, a team working together. There is no defined mission statement or one specific reason that brings this cast together ... meaning as different challenges arise, the team will respond, and depending on the details one or other of the group will take point as needed. There are some characters, like Storm for example, who are natural leaders, and so maybe over time one will come off as a natural sort of lead, but there's no set hierarchy upfront. We'll see.
Brian Wood: Well, Jubilee is a focus for a few reasons, but she is less of a guide than someone who the first challenge sort of revolves around. So, a bit of yes and a bit of no. I'm sorry to be so vague, but there are core story elements I am really trying hard to preserve for the actual launch.
CBN: You have representatives from already established books. Are you coordinating with Brian Michael Bendis, et al, and will there be any plot carryovers?
Brian Wood: I'm only coordinating with editorial for this first arc, but yeah, I think it’s been put out there already that I'm working with Brian and Jason Aaron on the X-Men 50th Year Anniversary. But I read all the X-Books, and there's lots of sets of eyes on all the scripts to make sure nothing conflicts. Barring any sort of planned event, I think the "don't break things" rule works best for continuity, as opposed to trying to make things link up just for the sake of linking things up.
CBN: Will we be seeing the very young Jean Grey in this book? I think fans of Rachel Summers have been waiting to see her meet teenage mom.
Brian Wood: I have a feeling that if anyone is going to write that, it should be Brian Bendis.
CBN: Speaking of Rachel, her life has crisscrossed time and into outer space. Will we see a lighter side to this angst-ridden character?
Brian Wood: I love angst-ridden characters, so much fun to write! But I think so ... I don't think even the most angsty characters should be like that all the time, and I have some things planned for Rachel that people should respond to.
Brian Wood: No plans.
CBN: What can you tell us about Sublime and a baby-involved storyline?
Brian Wood: Well, this is the meat of it, the stuff that if I detail will ruin what is still secret about this first arc. But I will say this: don't assume this baby is another typical comic book baby plot stunt. There's something much deeper, much more permanent going on here.
CBN: What is it like having Olivier Coipel on the book?
Brian Wood: Amazing and flattering. What else is there to say? He's a superstar, period.
CBN: Any other projects, present or future, you would like to discuss?
Brian Wood: Over in my Ultimate Comics: X-Men, the idea of a female-led cast is in full effect, with an epic battle brewing between Kitty Pryde, Jean Grey, Psylocke and newcomer Mach Two. And by epic, I mean world-spanning. Big stuff coming up. It’s fun to be a little under the radar on the Ultimate books, I can really push things so much further.
Cosmic Book News would like to thank Brian Wood for taking time from his busy schedule to answer our questions as well as Marvel media maven Arune Singh who helped make this interview possible.
"X-Men" #1 by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel hits shelves in April!