Norman Osborn may be able to get a few things done on his "List," but odds are against him when Wolverine gets involved.
In Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine, the one-issue story by writer Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribic, Norman Osborn is going after the Weapon Plus program, but Wolverine and some other special guest stars aren't going to make it easy for him.
Following Norman Osborn as he goes through a "list" of things he wants to fix in the Marvel Universe, "The List" is a series of eight one-issue specials that tie together. Serving as what Brian Michael Bendis calls a "huge chapter" in Dark Reign, the List will feature stories by some of Marvel's own list of "Write Stuff" creators.
Also the writer of the ongoing Wolverine: Weapon X series, Jason Aaron is taking the opportunity of writing Dark Reign: The List - Wolverine to play with some of the toys left behind from Grant Morrison's time at Marvel. As a Morrison fan himself (as Newsarama readers might remember from our discussion with him last year, Aaron almost named his son "Grant" after the writer), Aaron been wanting to work with characters like Fantomex and Marvel Boy. And now he gets that chance.
Plus, Jason Aaron fans are going to get a surprise in the List issue -- a reprint of Aaron's very first Wolverine story, the 10-page story he wrote when he won the Marvel Talent Search back in the summer of 2001.
Newsarama talked to Aaron about the what's going to go down in Dark Reign: The List – Wolverine.
Newsarama: So on Norman's to-do list, what's he going to do that involves Wolverine?
Jason Aaron: The idea is that Norman wants to get his hands on the resources of the Weapon Plus program -- the program that created everybody from Captain America up through Wolverine up through the Super-Sentinels like Fantomex from the New X-Men run. So he wants control of the labs and the world that was introduced in Morrison's stuff. It's people with these sort of rejected experiments and artificially evolved cyborgs. And I think there's this whole culture and religion within this place. This is where Weapon Plus was creating their Super Sentinels.
Norman finds out that there are these highly advanced super soldiers out there, and he wants to make his own. He wants control of that.
And of course, Wolverine is going to be there to stop him. But also involved will be Fantomex, of course, who I love, from Morrison's New X-Men stuff. And also, just to make it even crazier, Marvel Boy. So it's me getting to play with some Morrison toys, which is a huge thrill because I'm a life-long Morrison fan since I first picked up Doom Patrol and Animal Man. Marvel Boy and his X-Men stuff are some of my favorite Marvel stories from the last few years. Marvel Boy in particular. I go back to that book every once in awhile because I think it's just a perfect comic, in a lot of ways. So you take all that and mix it up, and I think it's going to be an interesting comic.
NRAMA: Will this comic require a lot of knowledge of what's going on with Wolverine or in Dark Reign?
JA: It's not necessary to have read any of Wolverine. As for Dark Reign, on one hand, I think yes, this is part of everything that's going on in Dark Reign and will tie to the other List stories. But at the same time, I think, just like the Secret Invasion story I did in Black Panther, it was part of a big event, but you could pick that up and it stood on its own. I think this is the same way.
Going into this one-shot, all you really need to know is that Norman Osborn is a bad guy in a position of power and he wants to get his hands on this stuff. And all these people are in the mix are trying to stop him. That's really all you need to know to enjoy this story. It'll pretty much stand on its own.
NRAMA: Will Norman have the Dark Avengers with him? In other words, is Wolverine going to go up against his son?
JA: No, we won't see Daken. I think he's already popping up in some of the other List stories. But our cast will just include Wolverine, Marvel Boy and Fantomex. And we'll also be introducing the all-new Weapon 16, which is the strangest of the Weapon Plus weapons we've seen so far. It's very much keeping in the Grant Morrison spirit.
But I should say that I'm not Grant Morrison, would never pretend to be Grant Morrison, and could never write like Grant Morrison, so this isn't me trying to be Grant Morrison. This is me doing me, but getting to play with some Grant Morrison toys.
NRAMA: I was wondering, because you even cut your hair like him.
JA: [laughs] Yeah, but I could never get down the Scottish accent.
NRAMA: This is an oversized issue. Is your story the whole thing?
JA: My story is just 22 pages. But I believe Marvel is going to reprint my very first Wolverine story in this -- that short one I wrote when I won the Marvel contest back in 2001. So you get my first Wolverine story and my newest one all in the same issue.
Plus you get Esad Ribic's artwork. I love Esad's stuff. I was thrilled when I was first hooked up with him. I think one of the main things they wanted to do with The List was bring in some of the A-list artists and team them up with some of the guys they've never worked with before.
NRAMA: The way Brian Bendis explained it to us, it sounds like the premise of The List was presented to you and then you had to come up with a story to fit within it. What kind of challenges does it present to work within that framework as opposed to just coming up with your own premise? And do you like that type of challenge?
JA: It's a good change of pace. I wouldn't want to do that all the time. But at the same time, I wouldn't necessarily be left to my own devices all the time. It's good to mix things up. It's good to jump into that more high-profile part of the Marvel U and play with the big toys.
But yeah, they came to me and said, "Norman and Wolverine." And within that I could kind of do whatever I wanted to do. I thought the Weapon Plus angle was a perfect choice and made sense. And it gave me the opportunity to bring in all this other craziness that I had been itching to play with. Matt Fraction and I have both been talking about Fantomex and have both been talking about ways to bring him back into the X-Men Universe. Thankfully, I was able to beat Matt Fraction to the punch. But hopefully, this one shot will make Fantomex a player again and bring him back into the forefront, making him a character people will want to use. I would still like to use him again. So you may see him popping up in Weapon X sometime soon.