Lady Deathstrike Returns With Surprising New Allies in X-MEN

Marvel Comics' January 2014 solicitations
Credit: Marvel Comics

Who can take on an all-female team of X-Men? How about an all-female Sisterhood of Evil – um not mutants? Lady Deathstrike returned in last month’s X-Men #7 in a new host body, and is busily recruiting a team of like-minded villainous superhumans for a plan that involves taking out the team and absconding with one of the team’s newest residents. In the final pages of X-Men #7 we saw she’s recruited Typhoid Mary, and the covers for upcoming issues have revealed another recruit: the Enchantress.

Credit: Marvel Comics

And if the X-Men didn’t have enough to worry about, X-Men #7 also was the place where a long dormant feud was revived once more, between Generation X alums Jubilee and Monet. Monet, who went back to the Jean Grey School at the end of X-Factor, comes to the eclectic non-team of X-Men and adds yet another dimension to this multi-faceted group. Newsarama spoke with Brian Wood shortly after X-Men #7 was released, talking about future plans for the book and his thoughts on this newly recruited Sisterhood.

Newsarama: X-Men kicked off a new arc last month with #7’s “Muertas,” featuring the return of a dead villain as well as a X-Men alum. First off, Lady Deathstrike – what drew you to her?

Brian Wood: Sort of a process of elimination mixed with some personal interest. We needed a villain, a big one, and I wanted it to be someone who could be a constant presence in the book, not just for an arc. But like a villain in the old school sense, that reappears frequently. I ran down a list of potentials that I thought seemed cool, editorial did checking on their end, and we ended up with a new Sisterhood with Lady Deathstrike at the helm.

Nrama: And I have to ask about this great way to bring about the return of a character thought dead – being hosted in another body by way of a seemingly digital download of her consciousness. Writing superhero comics I’m sure the issue of bringing back “dead” characters is one you have to deal with more often than in other forms of fiction, so can you talk about this way to re-introduce her – and do it with this new Columbian, almost Dia De Los Muertos design?

Art from X-Men #8
Art from X-Men #8
Credit: Marvel Comics

Wood: Yeah, there's always lot of dead characters and, weirdly, an awful lot of disembodied consciousnesses. In the case of Lady Deathstrike, she needed a new body to inhabit and I wanted to switch it up and give her a new look, not just a copy of what she was before. It's safe to say, without spoiling anything, that this can come to no good, this notion of two personalities in the same body, so no one is going to assume this is a permanent change. But it’s what's going on right now.

The Day Of The Dead look I've loved ever since Fiona Staples did that amazing cover for DV8 #2, and I guess its stuck in my head since then.

Nrama: Another return in this issue is Monet. We talked about her briefly before, but seeing you now writing her in this issue and she leaps off the page. How do you view her as a character, and what are you aiming for when you write her?

Wood: A few things.... I find it a big challenge to write these "perfect" characters, in the sense of these perfectly powered, perfect looking superheroes. Where do you find the faults, or how do you threaten them? And how do they handle failure? It's also going to be fun to write some Monet vs. Jubilee moments. I can only imagine the despair Jubilee feels seeing Monet breeze through those doors. High school all over again.

Art from X-Men #8
Art from X-Men #8
Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: I wanted to ask about that – you wrote both of them in Generation X, and they have a bit of history. How would you describe what’s going on between them?

Wood: I'm build it up over time, but at the start its sort of a revisit of the old Gen X sass, the snarky comments back and forth, a sort of rivalry of peers. But Jubilee's changed [Newsarama Note: She’s now a mother via adoption – oh, and a Vampire with no mutant powers], as has Monet [Newsarama Note: She died, and was brought back to life by Strong Guy, who himself undead (and soulless) became a Hell king in order to do the deed], so we'll evolve their relationship as the two start to see each other as who they are now. No longer just students, but serious operators worthy of each other's respect. (Also, sass.)

Nrama: The returning Lady Deathstrike originally came to the Jean Grey School to get Karima, but she soon discovers something even more alluring – Arkea. Can you say what she wants out of it?

Wood: I'm enjoying writing Lady Deathstrike as a body modification junkie. I guess she always was, but I'm speaking plainly about it... she has this new body and wants to jack it up as much as she can, to try and regain her former edge and the feeling she's used to. What is Arkea if not the absolute very ultimate in body mod upgrades? She's so into it that she'll brush off the warning signs.

Art from X-Men #8
Art from X-Men #8
Credit: Marvel Comics

Nrama: And to help her in this new quest, the final page reveal shows she’s recruited another storied Marvel villainess – Typhoid Mary. Typhoid Mary’s almost exclusively known for her Daredevil stories, so what led to her being brought in here?

Wood: In the 90's one of the first comics I bought was this John Van Fleet Typhoid Mary series, and it was great, the images have really stuck with me.

Nrama: That was in 1995, Typhoid written by Ann Nocenti and drawn by Van Fleet.

Wood: Right. And I could see some benefit to looking for villains outside the typical pool that is drawn from. Of course, she's a mutant, so it all makes sense.

Nrama: And this Sisterhood is more than just a duo; from the advance solicits we know another member being added, the Asgardian Enchantress, Amora. What can you say about her inclusion?

Credit: Marvel Comics

Wood: Pretty much the same as with Mary, looking for new villains and new threats to bring to X-Men. I am terminally jealous of any writer that gets to write the Norse stuff, so I was personally eager to tap into it here. Coming up in a future issue we have a fight scene between Amora and Monet, which is a pretty intense clash.

Nrama: This issue says “Muertas” is a six part arc, but that’s now split in half with X-Men #10 starting a new arc titled “Dead.” Was this decision based just on the artist change from Terry Dodson to Kris Anka, or something else?

Wood: The second arc is called “Ghosts.” It’s a bit of everything, really... the artist was changing, and #10 fits in well with a big “All-New Marvel NOW” push. But despite that, these two arcs still form a whole, the story is continued from one to the other in a way that's pretty seamless.

Nrama: I want to step back and talk big picture. Looking over your work at Marvel, I’ve noticed that you’ve exclusively worked on the X titles; from Generation X back in the day to your current run with X-Men. Is that more your instigation, or what Marvel’s offered you? What’s your fascination with the X-Men side of the Marvel U?

Wood: When I approached Marvel following my DC expulsion, the X-Men office is where it seemed like I would feel most at home, I guess having worked there in the past. I was pretty happy with that, and to be honest is the part of the Marvel U that I know the best. I also like Thor, and Daredevil, so maybe in the future I'll venture out. But for now I'm 100% content with the X-Men. I hope to write them for a really long time.

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