Aaron & Garney on Wolverine: Weapon X
As X-Men Origins: Wolverine hits theaters next year, the character will get a brand new ongoing comic book, Wolverine: Weapon X.Reuniting writer Jason Aaron and artist Ron Garney, who brought readers last year's "Get Mytique" arc in the regular Wolverine title, the new comic's launch in April echoes a similar move by Marvel this past summer when a new Iron Man comic was timed with that movie's release. Focusing on "reader-friendly" stories while still functioning within regular continuity, Wolverine: Weapon X will offer potential new readers a first-issue entry point to the Marvel Universe. Newsarama talked to Aaron about the new comic, how far he's come since his Marvel exclusive contract began a year ago, and what readers can expect from Aaron and Garney together on Wolverine again. Newsarama: You know, Jason, it was only a year ago that we talked about your upcoming Marvel work. You've sure been busy since then. Has all this been kind of overwhelming? What's it been like for you this last year working with Marvel? Jason Aaron: For the most part, I've been so busy that I haven't had time to stop and really look back at what a crazy year it's been. But yeah, looking back now, I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunities I've been given and feel really fortunate for the success I've had. This was my first year at Marvel, and they really set me up with some great projects, but as I've been telling people, 2009 looks to be even bigger and better for me, and Wolverine: Weapon X is the first part of that. NRAMA: How did this gig come about? Were you asking to get back to Wolverine? JA: Yeah, I'd been talking to editor John Barber about doing some more work with Wolvie, and eventually he called up and offered me this new series. So I guess those photos I took of Axel Alonso at that strip club in Tijuana finally made their way into the right hands. Either that, or they just liked what I'd done on “Get Mystique” and my other Wolverine gigs. Probably the photos though. NRAMA: Why launch a new series? Does this have to do with the timing of the Wolverine movie, and if so, does the story match up with the movie at all? JA: Yeah, it's timed to coincide with the movie, just like Matt Fraction's Invincible Iron Man series launched alongside that film. As far as how it matches up with the movie, I can’t really say, since I haven't seen it yet. I am incorporating some of the elements that they're apparently using in the film though. The mutant hero Maverick will be a recurring character in the series, and the opening arc deals very much with the legacy of the Weapon X program, so I think someone who's just seen the movie and picks up this series fresh will find a few elements they recognize. NRAMA: How does this differ from the regular Wolverine comic? JA: Basically, I'm approaching this like Garth Ennis did the Punisher MAX series. Obviously, this won't be a MAX book in terms of content, but we will see arcs that are stand-alone and feature lots of new characters and new villains. We'll really be working to establish our own continuity, instead of mining Logan's past. Daniel Way is already doing a great job of dealing with the ins and outs of Logan's history over in Wolverine: Origins, so I want to focus on telling new stories for people who maybe aren’t as familiar with Wolverine continuity. We’ll still be dealing with his past at times, just like how the first arc involves the legacy of Weapon X, but in a way that’s still easily accessible. NRAMA: Let’s dig into the title, Wolverine: Weapon X a little more… What's the focus of the series, and where did the idea come from? JA: Apparently nobody at Marvel liked my suggestions for titles, like The Hygenically Challenged Wolverine or Wolverine: The Hirsute Canucklehead or Sniktety Snikt!: Here Comes The Stabbin’ or Yet Another Wolverine Title. Oh well, I guess you can’t win ‘em all. Again, the focus of the series is to be new reader friendly and tell stand-alone stories for the most part. To introduce new villains and new supporting characters for Logan. Basically it’s just my chance to make my own Wolverine movie, so as you can imagine, I’m pretty damn jazzed. NRAMA: Can you set up a little of the story we'll be seeing as the series launches? JA: The initial arc is titled “The Adamantium Men” and it’s about what happens when the files from the old Weapon X program, the blueprints for making killing machines like Wolverine, fall into the hands of a private military contractor. A company with the resources to synthesize adamantium and the willingness to turn their teams of corporate mercenaries into amped-up, high-tech versions of Wolverine himself. Of course when the real Wolverine gets wind of this, it sets the stage for lots of stabbing and slashing and a bit of the old Sniktety Snikt. NRAMA: What other characters are going to show up in the initial issues of Wolverine: Weapon X? JA: David North, the gun wielding badass once known as Maverick, and Agent Zero, will be around. And we’ll be introducing a new female supporting character, a reporter for a San Francisco newspaper who meets Logan in a chance encounter and becomes determined to find out more about him. Her search eventually leads her to uncover unrest in the jungles of Colombia, where local opponents of Roxxon drilling interests are turning up dead, their entire families slaughtered, and nothing left behind at the scene except for a single playing card with an X on the back. Beyond that, we’ll also see the eventual return of some of the characters currently appearing in my Wolverine: Manifest Destiny mini-series. NRAMA: How coordinated with the other X-books will this series be? Are you working with other X-writers to line things up? Or is this going to stand separately from X-events? JA: I have lunch with Matt Fraction sometimes, does that count? But at those lunches, usually all I do is listen to Fraction bitch about how Marvel only backed up one money truck to his house that month instead of two and how Bendis managed to get it written into his contract that he’s only to be paid in Spanish doubloons. Then I’ll show Fraction the bag of magic beans that Axel Alonso gave me in lieu of a paycheck for writing Black Panther. After that, Fraction usually orders one of everything on the desert menu to go and then tells me it’s my turn to pick up the tab. Seriously though, I love what’s going on in the X-books right now and what all they’ve got coming up, but I think for the foreseeable future that Wolverine: Weapon X will stay separate from the X-events, because the idea is to make each arc much more of a stand-alone story, not just the opening arc. NRAMA: But this comic is still impacting continuity, right? It still affects the Marvel Universe? JA: Yeah, this is still in-continuity, and I will be developing the character of Wolverine, giving him more of a supporting cast and taking him places he hasn't been before, which of course impacts the X-verse and the Marvel U. NRAMA: We've seen a couple Wolverine stories from you now, with Manifest Destiny and the “Get Mystique” arc, and now you're already back on the character for an ongoing. Why do you think your writing fits this character so well that Marvel and fans want more from you? JA: I don’t know; I try not to question it when things are going all right. I’m just trying to bring something new to each story I do with the character, and I’ll continue that from arc to arc in this series. While the opening arc is a pretty gritty, black-ops sort of tale, future arcs will blend elements of horror, romance, political intrigue and even sci-fi. NRAMA: You're not only reuniting with the character, but with the artist from the Get Mystique arc as well. What can you tell us about the decision to work with Ron Garney again? Is there a reason you enjoy working with him on Wolverine in particular? JA: He just nailed it on “Get Mystique,” plain and simple. Ron was really excited going into the project, and he ended up turning out what I think is some of the best work of his career. I can’t wait to see how he tops it now. No pressure or anything, Ron. NRAMA: Have you seen pages from Ron yet? What's going to be the visual tone? Is it comparable to “Get Mystique,” or does it differ? JA: This opening arc probably isn’t quite as frenetic as “Get Mystique,” but rest assured, Ron will still get to draw his share of ass-kicking and gut-punching. NRAMA: Is there anything else you want to tell readers about what they can expect from Wolverine: Weapon X? Or anything else you want to tell your fans? JA: They can expect me going all-out to make this the most consistently entertaining series I can possibly muster. I plan on sticking around this baby for the long haul, so I better not let it suck.
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