JOHN LAYMAN Promises ‘Sci-Fi Action Space Opera’ in CYCLOPS

Marvel previews for October 22, 2014
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The mutant Cyclops has had some odd teammates in his time as part of the X-Men, but in his ongoing series Cyclops he’s getting colleagues that are killers… And not in the Wolverine sort of way.

In this Wednesday’s Cyclops #6, writer John Layman and artist Javi Garron pick up where Greg Rucka and Russell Dauterman left on – with an extra emphasis on “pirate derring-do” according to Layman. The Chew writer tells Newsarama that this time-displayed Cyclops from All-New X-Men will find himself in league with a pirate are the polar opposite of Corsair and the Starjammers – killers through and through. That doesn’t mean there’s not room for romance as upcoming solicitations promise, but to do that Cyclops will have survive the experience.

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Newsarama: John, what do you have up your sleeve for Cyclops with your first issue this Wednesday?

John Layman: I’m not going to be reinventing the Cyclops wheel here. The first arc by Greg Rucka has been well regarded, and for good reason. But rather than answer “more of the same,” the answer is “expand expand expand.” All the stuff you liked from the first five issues of Cyclops will be there, the father/son dynamic, the coming-of-age-drama, the sci-fi adventure, but we’re going to see more space opera, more action, and a huge emphasis on pirate derring-do.

Nrama: The solicits say your story will feature a pirate crew that’s taken Corsair and Scott. What can you tell us about them?

Layman: They’re the Starjammers flipped on its side. A bunch of mean killers who are out to make a quick buck, or the intergalactic equivalent of it, and they don’t necessarily like each other, and they have no qualms against killing. They are not the family the Starjammers are, and the captain and Corsair have a past. With the Starjammers, Scott was in unfamiliar but friendly territory. Here, Scott's in both unfamiliar and unfriendly territory. And the wrong move will get him killed.

Nrama: Speaking of the Starjammers, they’ve been out of the picture the past few issues – will they be returning in your run?

Layman: The Starjammers will be playing a much bigger role in the book, as will the idea of being part of a crew on a starship.

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Nrama: You’ll be picking up from where Greg Rucka left off, but also from where this young Scott was before – those originally Stan Lee and Jack Kirby X-Men stories. What’s it like writing Scott spinning out of such an early and formidable part of his life?

Layman: I like it because there’s not a lot of baggage. You don’t have to have read 40 years of X-men to get this. In fact, you don’t have to read a lot of other cosmic books or current X-men books. Unlike a lot of books published today, you can read Cyclops and Cyclops alone and totally get what’s going on. Simple premise. Accessible for all.

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Nrama: Since I mentioned Greg, can you talk more directly about what he did in the first five issues and how you’re picking up from that?

Layman: I think the first five issues, were at heart, about Cyclops and Corsair getting to know each other. For Scott, it was an introduction to his father Corsair. As I said, we’re expanding, and so here we’re getting an introduction –and then some—to his father Corsair’s world. Or universe, as the case may be.

Nrama: This Cyclops book has joined a growing fleet of “cosmic” books at Marvel. What do you think about this modern revitalization of space books at Marvel, and how do you see Cyclops fitting into that?

Layman: I think sci-fi comes in and out of style. In never completely goes out of style, but sometimes you can really feel it strong in the cultural zeitgeist. Sci-fi is red hot right now. Guardians of the Galaxy (as I predicted months ago) is the biggest movie of the year. New Star Wars movies are on the horizon (hopefully good this time.) And Marvel cosmic books are firing on all cylinders. People are very excited about science fiction at the moment, myself included. Granted, Cyclops feels like a weird fit, but he’s always been a bit of a fish-out-of-water character. Here we just see him reacting as a fish-out-of-water in a very strange and different sort of pond.

Nrama: Are there other cosmic titles, or maybe characters not in print currently, you’d like to pull into Cyclops at some point?

Layman: A bunch. Throw a rock at any Marvel cosmic character, and I want a shot of them. Lot of characters there I’ve never got a chance to touch. And now I do, so I hope to take advantage of that.

Nrama: Last question, John -- What kind of feeling are you trying to give readers with the Cyclops run you’re doing?

Layman: No grim and gritty here. There’s enough of that in comics. Fun sci-fi action space opera. A lot of heart. A bit a romance. Just good escapism, and you liked the first five issues of the book, I hope you give it a few more issues, and I think you’ll like what you read.

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