As announced <a href= http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-astonishing-line-100215.html>yesterday</a>, Marvel will relaunch Astonishing X-Men as part of a new “Astonishing” line designed to bring in new readers. Their first new addition to the line? A six-issue Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine miniseries. What’s so astonishing about it? Well, the superstar creative team of Jason Aaron (Scalped, Punishermax, Wolverine: Weapon X) and Adam Kubert (Amazing Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ultimate X-Men, approximately 500 other Marvel and DC characters) is a good start. Also, it apparently contains something called “Doom: the Living Planet.” Let that sink in.
We dared these two creators to astonish us with their new book. Did they? Read on!
Newsarama: Jason: Spider-Man! Wolverine! What's the story behind this book, and what will our heroes face in this storyline?
Jason Aaron: It's either the ultimate buddy cop story or the tortured tale of a bickering old married couple, depends on how you wanna look at it. We're lining up plenty of villains to take these two guys down, villains both old and new, but chances are they may just kill each other first.
Nrama: What brought this creative team together, and what do you dig about each other's work?
Aaron: I had a blast working with Adam on our story for Wolverine, half of which featured Spidey and Logan in a bar, talking about their troubles. That taste definitely got me anxious to do more with these two characters, so when the opportunity came, I was all over it.
Adam Kubert: : Jason and I worked together on Wolverine 73 and 74... and after that I was hooked! When the opportunity came up to work with Jason again it took all of a millisecond to say yes! Jason's stories are heavily character driven... the story progresses as the characters relationships progress.
I'll tell you, I've been really fortunate when it comes to working with top talent at Marvel... guys like Mark Millar... Brian Bendis... Dan Slott... these guys really are unbelievable storytellers. And now I'm thrilled to be Jason Aaron's penciler bitch as well.
Nrama: Jason: There are already a couple of books with Spider-Man and Wolverine out there. You know, maybe one or two. What makes this book unique, and why should readers vote their dollars toward it?
Aaron: This isn't a Spider-Man story guest-starring Wolverine or a Wolverine story guest-starring Spider-Man. This is something completely different, something that takes us to all sorts of weird little corners of the Marvel U, but at the end of the day is really just a story about these two characters and just an elaborate way of putting them in all sorts of crazy situations where they'll annoy the living shit out of each other.
Nrama: Adam, how does this take on Spider-Man and Wolverine differ from other times you've worked on the characters? For that matter, how is this book unique among your overall body of work?
Kubert: I've drawn a lot of single character books along with a lot of team books... but I've never drawn a two character book. When I was drawing the Wolverine book way back when, Logan had just had his adamantium squeezed out through his pores... which was a really great time to be on the book but he was the Bone Claw Wolverine.
Ultimate Wolverine, although a great character, really wasn't the Marvel U Wolverine. He was taller... wore all black leather... the Hollywood Wolverine. Not only now do I get to draw the Original Wolverine but he's paired with Spider-man, the other all time great Marvel Character.
Initially I didn't realize these two guys had never officially been paired up before... () which made this project even more special. This is the first year I've had the pleasure to draw Spider-man, and I'm loving it.
Nrama: Jason, Spidey and Logan have had some pretty rough adventures over the years. Heck, their first book together ended with Spidey killing a guy! What brings these two together here, and what is their relationship in this book like?
Aaron: Their relationship is about the same as it's always been: they tend to push each other's buttons in all the wrong ways, and with this story we're putting them in situations where they're forced to spend way more time together than they would ever in a million years want to.
As for what specifically brings them together and what drives the story, I don't want to say too much. I'll just say that issue #1 opens with Peter in the tattered remains of his Spidey costume, sporting a very long beard, using a telescope that looks like something off of <i>Gilligan's Island<.I>, staring at an unfamiliar sky, overcome with regret. And from there, it only gets weirder.
Nrama: Do you have a favorite moment with either of these characters?
Kubert: It's not really a singular favorite moment... but my favorite Wolverine story was Weapon X by Barry Smith.... absolutely brilliant.
Nrama: What's most appealing to you about working on the Astonishing line, and what do you find astonishing about it?
Kubert: The most appealing thing to me is that this is the beginning of a new line of books for Marvel and we're kind of setting the tone. This is a huge responsibility that Marvel has trusted us with, and it's very exciting and scary all at the same time.
That, along with pairing two of Marvels greatest and most popular characters together for the first time... no I'm not feeling any pressure. I sincerely hope the fans are happy with the result.
Aaron: I'm excited just to be working with Adam again, especially on something where we can really flex our muscles and go crazy.
Nrama: Jason: What's the challenge in crafting an accessible story set against an in-continuity backdrop, and what are the advantages of such a format? Is this in the tradition of something like Untold Tales of Spider-Man, or is it targeted toward a specific age range or type of audience -- what kind of book can readers expect?
Aaron: I looked to books like Astonishing X-Men and Grant Morrison's Marvel Boy for inspiration. Those are both books that are very accessible, but still had very tangible connections to the Marvel U.
You don't have to really know much of anything about Spidey or Wolverine to pick up this series and enjoy it, but at the same time, there will be events in this series that will carry-over into the Marvel U in a big way.
Nrama: Name some crazy things that we can expect over this storyline. What can you tell us about The Czar, Big Murder and Doom the Living Planet?
Aaron: I've described The Czar as a cross between Kang the Conqueror and Barracuda from the Garth Ennis Punisher run, and Big Murder is his right hand man, along with being the world's most badass streetfight dwarf. They're the big new villains of the series; through the main villain is a pre-existing character and one of my all-time favorite Marvel bad guys.
Along the way we'll also run into Doom the Living Planet, which is exactly what it sounds like: Ego the Living Planet under the control of Dr. Doom. The Phoenix Force also comes into play at one point in a big way, and there are plenty more surprises beyond those that I don't want to spoil.
Nrama: Adam: What's been your favorite new character to draw?
Kubert: I'll have to let you know when I get to them... but by the names alone I'm looking forward to designing Big Murder and Doom the Living Planet! Where does Jason come up with this stuff?
Nrama: What's next for you?
Aaron: More Wolverine, more Punisher, more sleep.
Kubert: Issue two. (laughs)
<i> Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine will astonish you this may!
Zack Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a regular contributor to Newsarama. </i>