Sumerak: Putting Weapon X in First Class

Sumerak: Putting Weapon X in First Class

As Marvel's First Class books tell "untold" all-ages tales about the early days of the X-Men, the dark story of Wolverine's past will be explored in November's three-issue limited series, First Class: Weapon X by writer Marc Sumerak.

"It's a journey with Charles Xavier and Wolverine exploring Wolvie's mind and looking into his days in the Weapon X program to find out more about his history," Sumerak said.

The series of 32-page issues, which features art by Mark Robinson, will also have 10-page back-up stories by Sumerak and artist Tim Seely. "The back-up stories star a different character from Wolverine's past. Each one shows how they cross paths. The first issue has Sabertooth, the second issue has Deadpool, and the third issue has Gambit," Sumerak explained.

"There are little pieces that cross over from the main stories to the back-up stories, but each back-up story takes a different perspective on the Weapon X program from a person who was a different part of it," the writer continued. "So for example, in the Sabertooth story, it explores his interactions as a part of the Weapon X program. Deadpool's is a warped tour of the Weapon X program through the eyes of Wade Wilson. And Gambit's shows how a young Gambit crossed paths with Wolverine early on without even realizing it, on a mission of his."

The main, three-issue story takes place around the time when Kitty Pryde first joined the X-Men, Sumerak said, which places it close to the timing of the current series, Wolverine: First Class.

"It's a First Class book, so if you look at X-Men First Class or Wolverine First Class, they're stories that take place within Marvel continuity, but kind of in between the raindrops of what happened in the past," Sumerak said. "Everything is designed to fit well within what happened before. Nothing contradicts any previous continuity. It's just an untold story from the past of the X-Men."

Readers will see Kitty and some of the other X-Men making appearances, but most of the journey takes place in Wolverine's mind, Sumerak said.

"It's been a big switch for me as a writer, to focus so much on Wolverine and what's hidden in his mind. For awhile there, I was doing a lot of Spider-Man. And now all of the sudden, I'm doing a lot of Wolvie, and it's a much, much darker place to be," he said, but then added with a laugh: "It's not as scary as writing Deadpool. Really, writing Wolverine after writing Deadpool is a day in the park. It's been fun, though. It's been a nice shift, getting into Wolverine's head and exploring his past."

The writer is also going to be focusing on a dark story in a December What If? issue that asks the question, "What if Iron Man had fallen instead of Captain America?"

"It's called What If: Fallen Son? by myself and artist Trevor Goring, with an amazing cover by Ed McGuinness," Sumerak said. "It will be exploring the same five stages of grief that were explored in the Fallen Son limited series, but focusing on a world without Iron Man rather than Captain America."

Another November release by Sumerak is the four-issue Wolverine/Power Pack series with art by Guri Hiru. the writer said. "It's the first time we've worked together again in awhile because of scheduling conflicts, but it feels really good to work together with Guri Hiru again," the writer said. "The Power Pack issues will be four done-in-one stories with Wolverine guest starring, exploring all kinds of different wacky situations that we can put them in together."

While Sumerak is known for his all-ages stories, like Power Pack and Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, he's enjoying the chance to do a few darker stories. In fact, he said his experience with all-ages stories helped land him the Weapon X gig.

"It's one of those things where I've done a lot of all-ages material, so the editors knew I could write for that audience. So when this project came up, it was retelling one of the darkest stories in Marvel history for an audience of all ages -- for a group that could pick it up and not have to worry about content. So we don't lose any of the darkness of the original Weapon X storyline by Barry Windsor-Smith, but we do lose a little bit of the blood and guts," Sumerak said. "But it's still a very twisted, dark period in his history, and we don't deny that throughout the book. And the What If? is the same kind of story with darker themes. So it's been interesting to put on a different hat and explore that kind of dark, emotional story."

Weapon X: First Class #1, with covers and variant by Michael Ryan, is scheduled for release on November 5. For subscribers to Marvel's Digital Comics Unlimited, the Gambit story from issue #3 is available online as a preview for anyone who's interested in checking out the series.

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