Sumerak & Seeley: Talking Weapon X: First Class

Talking Weapon X: First Class

This weekend at the Toronto Fan Expo, Marvel Comics released information regarding November’s Weapon X: First Class—written by Marc Sumerak with artwork by Mark Robinson and Tim Seeley. The story, which focuses on Wolverine’s time spent as a subject of the Weapon X program, delves deeply into the terrifying past of Marvel’s favorite mutant badass. Each issue will also feature a 10 page back-up story which focuses on characters that are important to Wolverine’s past in the program—starting with Sabretooth.

Newsarama contacted Marc Sumerak and Tim Seeley to talk about what lies ahead for Wolverine—it appears he might not like what he’s about to find out about his past.

Newsarama: Weapon X: First Class is going to be taking a look at Wolverine's involvement in the 'Weapon X' program; how much of this project will be tied to stories from Marvel continuity?

Marc Sumerak: Weapon X: First Class is a story deeply rooted in Marvel continuity. Using the original Weapon X saga--where Wolverine received the adamantium that coats his skeleton -- as our starting point, our aim was to to revisit that tale for a new generation while offering a fresh perspective and new revelations along the way. We made sure to present everything in a way that the reader won't need to have a degree in Marvel History to understand the series... but if they love the original Weapon X story, they will hopefully find this to be a tale that completely honors the original while examining some previously unseen events that happened between the panels.

NRAMA: How will be back-up stories in each of these issues work? Who will be featured?

MS: The 10-page back-up stories will show how Wolverine's time at the Weapon X program affected many of the characters that he has come in contact with over the years. Each back-up focuses on a different fan-favorite character from X-Men lore, giving us a bit more insight into how they crossed paths with Wolverine early on and how those encounters may have had a major impact on where they are today. The stories will star Sabretooth, Deadpool and Gambit. All of the stories will be drawn by the insanely talented Tim Seeley.

NRAMA: Does this project take into consideration elements of the upcoming X-Men Origins: Wolverine motion picture?

MS: The series is deeply rooted in the Marvel Universe we all know and love from the comic books. That being said, many of the characters appearing in this series will also be showing up in the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film next year. So this series will make a nice companion piece for anyone who sees the movie and wants to learn more about the past of Wolverine and many of the other supporting characters from the film!

NRAMA: Who can readers expect to be featured in this mini-series?

MS: The stars of this story are Wolverine and Professor Charles Xavier... though there are plenty of other guest stars throughout. You'll see appearances by the rest of the X-Men, Sabretooth and a number of other characters from X-history. And let's not forget the sinister staff of the Weapon X facility -- Professor Thorton, Dr. Cornelius and Ms. Hines!

Plus, there's the back-up stories featuring some big-name X-characters...

NRAMA: Tim, let’s talk about your involvement with the Weapon X: First Class books...

Tim Seeley: Right - I'm penciling the back-ups which feature a specific member of the program. First of, Sabretooth!

NRAMA: How will this project--being a 'First Class' book--differ from the Wolverine or Wolverine: Origins monthly titles?

MS: Like the other First Class books, Weapon X: First Class focuses on a specific period in Wolverine's past. In fact, this particular series looks into two periods from his long and storied history. When we begin the story, we're in the same era as the current Wolverine First Class title -- not long after a young Kitty Pryde joined the X-Men. Before long, though, the series thrusts us further into Logan's mysterious past... and that's when the fun really begins!

Another difference, being a book in the First Class line, is that this is a series with content deemed appropriate for readers of all ages. So even though the story fits nicely into the cracks of continuity, we won't be seeing Wolverine eviscerate anyone... at least on panel...

NRAMA: What's your take on the 'Weapon X' program? Is there potential for more projects involving the program from a historical perspective?

MS: I think the Weapon X program is a scary, scary place. They tried to craft a new breed of super soldiers by turning their bodies into perfect weapons... but they failed to care about what happened to their minds during the process. And I think that's where things really went wrong.

With so many major Marvel characters having pasts tied to Weapon X, I think there is absolutely room for more projects that explore the program. Our series takes a closer look at Wolverine's time there, but really, he's just one piece of a much larger puzzle.

NRAMA: Do you have any personal favorites in this motley crew of Weapon X characters?

TS: Deadpool is a personal fave. And Mammoth of course. But everyone loves Mammoth, right? Crickets. (laughs)

NRAMA: This period is always regarded as the darkest period in Logan's life; is that assertion more metaphorical or is it based on the fact that he has the least recollection of that time period?

MS: It's both, really. This was a terrible time in Logan's life filled with immeasurable pain and suffering. And because of that fact, it's also been the chunk of his memory that has been buried the deepest in his brain. There's a reason he's forgotten what he went through during his days at the facility... and we'll discover in Weapon X: Fist Class that his quest for answers might not have been the best idea.

NRAMA: What was the biggest challenge of writing this project? Is there a lot of coordinating necessary with something as crucial to an iconic character like Wolverine when you're defining specific plot points like this--that haven't really been fleshed out before?

MS: The biggest challenge was making sure that I didn't do anything to step on one of Marvel's most classic stories! I must've read the original Weapon X story over twenty times as I prepared to put this series together. There were nights where I literally slept with a copy of the Weapon X hardcover next to my bed. It was the foundation for everything we're doing in Weapon X: First Class. Without it, we would have no story. Even though a lot of our action takes place in-between the moments depicted in the original story, it was essential to have an intimate understanding of what happened throughout that story so that everything synced up perfectly. It was quite an undertaking at times, but one well worth it in the end!

NRAMA: What's been your favor moment in the story so far--that you've drawn?

TS: All of the flashbacks that I get to do as I try to recreate images from Barry Windsor Smith's Weapon X story. Fun! (see also...intimidating!)

NRAMA: Will any of the events of this mini-series create a ripple-effect into any of the upcoming X-book regarding Wolverine--like the 'Original Sin' storyline?

MS: This is a completely self-contained story, so there aren't any plans that I currently know of to pick up on any threads in any of Wolvie's other books. But the pieces are all there on the table if anyone ever chooses to pick them up again. I'd be thrilled to see that happen somewhere down the road!

NRAMA: How's your experience been writing this project? Were there any surprises or complications for you as you prepared to write this story?

MS: The biggest complication was taking one of Marvel's most violent tales and exploring it from an angle where all the content could be deemed appropriate for readers of all ages. But that hurdle was quickly cleared, and I think we've really managed to put together a fun story that builds upon the original and stays true to continuity. It's been an absolute pleasure to play in this sandbox!

NRAMA: What else are you currently working on?

MS: I'm currently deep in the middle of a run on Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man. Along with Weapon X: First Class, November also sees the release of another Franklin Richards one-shot and the launch of the Wolverine & Power Pack limited series. And in December, I'll be writing the What If?: Fallen Son one-shot. So a lot of cool stuff from my end before the year is through!

NRAMA: In six words or less, reveal something about Wolverine and the Weapon X program that readers have never known before.

MS: That hairstyle takes two hours daily.

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