Wolverine is dead. Long live the Wolverines.
In the aftermath of the finale of Death of Wolverine, a new group was forged in his memory – but they’re not what you’d call his friends. Made up of former adversaries and children who never quite saw eye-to-eye with Logan, the team that makes up the upcoming weekly series Wolverines was moved, regardless, into action to pick up the pieces after his death. Sabretooth, Mystique, Lady Deathstrike, X-23, Daken. They come together to protect the one thing Wolverine left behind – his adamantium corpse – and prevent any malicious intentions various villains and shadowy organizations would have with it.
Charles Soule tells Newsarama that while Death of Wolverine was the end for Wolverine, it was the beginning for a whole new era of stories – of which, Wolverines is the next major step. Between now and Wolverines’ January launch, Marvel is releasing the miniseries The Logan Legacy and The Weapon X Project, which will fill in the gaps in between the two stories, and Soule talked with Newsarama about the big plans, the zany plans, and the surprises he and co-writer Ray Fawkes have in store for Wolverines.
Newsarama: Charles, in January you and Ray Fawkes are taking some of Wolverines’ top adversaries and putting them together to fill the void he left. How’d this unique ensemble story come about – and was it developed prior to Death of Wolverine?
Charles Soule: It came up pretty early in the discussions about Death of Wolverine, honestly. One of the goals when writing that book was to see what new stories we could get out of it, and my editor on that project, Mike Marts, asked me what I might be able to do with a weekly series involving some of the other characters. I already knew we were doing the Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy series featuring characters in the good guy/bad guy area, like Daken and X-23 and their response to Wolverine's death.
The Logan Legacy involves a series of one-shots focused on those characters, and they're written by some fabulous writers: Ray, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV, Marguerite Bennett and Kyle Higgins. I wrote the bookends for the series, issues one and seven, which serve to set things up a bit for the Wolverines series and tie events more closely to my other post-DoW series: Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Project. The one-shots are all great, and it’s fun going in-depth with these characters who haven’t always had their perspective shown as closely. Honestly, both those series (Logan Legacy and Weapon X) work together as a 12-part bridge between Death of Wolverine and Wolverines. You don't have to read them to understand what's going on in Wolverines, but it would certainly give some nice added background to the weekly.
Just to go back to the beginning, though, the thought process leading to Wolverines was that maybe these darker characters could get together; not exactly in a “team book” kind of way, but more like a serial revolving around their lives post-Wolverine. Putting that sort of story on a weekly schedule was like a massive shot of adrenaline - it became an amazing rollercoaster from both a story and a production side; it’s really seat of your pants stuff. Anyway, I’ve been planning Wolverines since the spring, and Ray came on in a big way over the summer and we’ve been working non-stop ever since. The tone is very gonzo, and reminds me in some ways of Nextwave – anything can happen.
The full line-up is X-23, Sabretooth, Mystique, Lady Deathstrike, Daken, at least one new person from the Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Project series as well as some other new characters. There are a lot of cool good guys, and a lot of cool bad guys – all thrown against each other. These aren’t a team like the X-Men; they’re all loners and don’t really play well together. They’re forced together out of circumstance into a huge, over-arching plot that’ll lead to the next big thing … but I’m way ahead of being able to talk about.
Nrama: You have to give us something about this “next big thing,” Charles.
Soule: The first page of Wolverines teases something that will pay off on the last page of this first big mega-story we're telling, which in turn opens up incredible new possibilities. Ray and I are building this like a huge, interlocked puzzle box, and the reveals and payoffs will be beautiful. We're both very into intricate storytelling - and this is certainly that. From Death of Wolverine on forward, it’s all tied together.
Nrama: Ok, I’ll let you off with that for now. This series is called “Wolverines”; is that how they refer to themselves?
Soule: No, they don’t call themselves that – this isn’t “Battle for the Cowl.” In fact, half of these characters are happy Wolverine is dead and never want to see him return. Still, Logan's end has changed them all. For example, Lady Deathstrike hated Logan but also thought she’d be the one to kill him. Most of her cybernetic enhancements were added to make herself strong enough to kill Logan, and the fact that someone else did it first takes the wind out of her sails. She doesn’t know who she’s supposed to be now. Now with Wolverine gone, what’s her purpose?
Another good example is Daken; he hated his father while he was alive, but now, despite himself, he finds that the idea of anyone tarnishing his father's memory just drives him nuts. X-23 is in a slightly different place. She is someone who was beginning to understand what Wolverine was and what he meant to the world, and now she’s looking at her own ability to perhaps become something like that. Sabretooth, Mystique and the others I don’t want to spoil because it’s pretty interesting how they play out.
Basically, though, things change when someone dies. Your perspective alters massively - I've seen it happen in my own life. We'll be exploring those ideas in the series - but we'll also have incredible action, great twists, all the fun stuff you want in a series like this. It's not all about these mopes moping around. Far from it.
What we’ve got planned is huge – we’d need about 20 whiteboards to get everything properly laid out. One nice thing here is that I feel like we’re able to go into uncharted territory with our cast, as they aren’t characters who have had their psyches explored and developed in a million stories over the years - like, say, Cyclops. We get to say new things with and about these characters.
Nrama: Who’s been your favorite to write so far in this series?
Soule: They’re all really enjoyable, but I’ve particularly enjoyed Mystique and Lady Deathstrike. There’s also a new character from The Weapon X Project, but I can’t talk about such party too much yet. There’s also another brand new character showing up in Wolverines #3 who is sort of related to X-Men type stuff but in a tangential way, and she has a pet fox. [laughs] We’re getting to do whatever weird, fun things we can dream up.
Nrama: From new to old, on one of the covers we saw a surprise appearance by Mr. Sinister, back in his classic shorthaired look. He worked behind the scenes on the Weapon X program, so what’s his play in this series?
Soule: There’s a big storyline revolving around what happens to Wolverine’s body – what happens to this statue with his remains inside it. Sinister gets involved with that, and he’s neat because he’s a super strong mutant in his own right but also makes stuff – he’s a genetic experimenter. It lets us make up some truly odd things to fight our main crew, and we get to delve into strange, fun stuff tied into the weirder corners of the Marvel universe.
I like Mr. Sinister because he has a huge ego, and thinks he’s the sharpest guy in the room – but he has a serious case of tunnel vision, in that he's so focused on whatever experiments he’s trying to finish that he loses the big picture. He’s about 10 times as fun as I expected him to be.
Nrama: This is your first stab at a weekly series – it’s in effect like writing (or co-writing in this case) four monthly books. What’s it like to write a serial at that rate?
Soule: It’s fast, and a challenge. We’ll be done with the first big hunk of stories soon, and it’s neat to have so much story banked and having it hit really hard and quickly. Writing a weekly series allows us to tell the stories in a different way than a monthly does (which seems obvious, but let me explain...) Cliffhangers can be a little more intricate because people will only have a week to wait between issues. You don’t have to worry so much about re-hashing the backstory issue to issue, and it also allows you to go with smaller beats as opposed to bigger ones… although we will have big beats, of course. I feel like we can sort of paint with a smaller brush, which is interesting - it's not something you always get to do in monthly superhero books. I like it a lot. We're approaching it almost like a TV writer's room, which is a good framework to use.
I've never done anything like it, and I wish it were January, so people could see what we're building. Wolveriiiiiiines!