Charles Soule teases Black Squadron's latest adventure!

“I’ve traveled too far, seen too much, to ignore the despair in the galaxy.”

So said Lor San Tekka at the beginning of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” And its that experience, wisdom, and guidance that Black Squadron have been in search of in the events that lead to the film. Out today, writer Charles Soule and artist Angel Unzueta‘s POE DAMERON #23 continues the search for Lor San Tekka, as General Leia Organa sends her most trusted Resistance pilots on a mission that’ll lead to a dangerous attack from an unexpected foe…

Marvel.com spoke with Charles Soule about the issue and this surprising threat.

Marvel.com: Charles, where exactly do we find Poe and the Black Squadron at the start of issue #23?

Charles Soule: In trouble. Of course. From the beginning of the series, the team’s goal has been to track down Lor San Tekka, the fabled explorer and expert in Force-related lore whom they hope can point them to the location of Luke Skywalker. (This series takes place just before “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” so we get to see a lot of how the moments that happen in that film are set up.)

In the issues just before #23, Poe and Black Squadron finally found Lor on a planet called Cato Neimoidia, which we saw way back in the prequels. He was in prison there for trying to steal a Force artifact, and Black Squadron, along with Leia Organa, tried to break him out. That worked…but then things went very wrong. That’s where we pick up in issue #23.

Marvel.com: Any chance you can give us a hint on who the mysterious attacker will be in this issue?

Charles Soule: Well, part of that is tied to the twist ending of issue #22…but let’s just say it’s one of their own.

Marvel.com: How high is the danger factor for Black Squadron in #23?

Charles Soule: Very! Black Squadron is under attack by a huge swarm of kamikaze droid fighters, Lor San Tekka is in dire need of rescue, and old, deadly enemies are raising their heads again for the first time in a while. It’s bad news.

Marvel.com: What’s going through the minds of Poe and the squad? Are they worried about how this mission will end up?

Charles Soule: Not only are they afraid they’ll fail the mission, but also each other, and the entire galaxy. The stakes are very high here—it’s all or nothing.

Marvel.com: We met Lor San Tekka briefly at the beginning of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” What else can you tell us about him and his importance to the Resistance? 

Charles Soule: Lor San Tekka knows how to find Luke Skywalker, but he’s also a treasure trove of information about the galaxy as a whole. He knows where new allies might be found, new hidden spots to set up secret bases, and of course, more about the Force than almost anyone alive. If he’s lost…not good.

Join the Resistance in Charles Soule and artist Angel Unzueta’s POE DAMERON #23 today—January 24!

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Charles Soule and David Marquez unravel the mystery this April!

Snikt!

The sound rings across the universe…and can only mean one thing: the return of Wolverine!

He’s been popping up in some of your favorite books lately; holding an Infinity Stone, keeping his secrets close. But his return has been an unsolved mystery—until this April, when writer Charles Soule and artist David Marquez reveal the timeline of events that’ll lead to Logan’s shocking return with THE HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: ALPHA #1!

The 40-page issue, featuring a cover by Steve McNiven, begins the twisted tale of Logan’s reemergence. Then, this May, the story evolves into four different tales from different creative teams, each one containing its own distinct genre and mystery: action/adventure (Adamantium Agenda), horror (Claws of the Killer), dark romance (Mystery in Madripoor) and noir/detective (Weapon Lost.) And it’s all being orchestrated by the man that crafted the “Death of Wolverine” in the first place.

Soule recalls, “Steve McNiven and I took on the incredible task of killing Wolverine back in 2014—it was one of my earliest projects at Marvel, and such a huge opportunity. Intimidating, tricky, all of that—but ultimately, I think we created a book (alongside [inker] Jay Leisten, [colorist] Justin Ponsor and [letterer] Chris Eliopolous) that we’re all really proud of.” He continues, “There’s really only one project that could top it—being part of the story that brings Logan back! THE HUNT FOR WOLVERINE is just the opening chapters of a mystery that will reach all sorts of cool hidden corners of the Marvel Universe, and will tell a story that will hopefully have us looking at Logan in an entirely new way.”

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how fans start to put the pieces together,” says the scribe. “There’s a big payoff coming down the road, and all the interlocking parts of THE HUNT FOR WOLVERINE build to it. The more you read, the more clues you get. It’s really fun—especially since I have a bit of a reputation in X-continuity for knocking off beloved mutants. This time, it’s nice to be part of bringing someone back!”

THE HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: ALPHA #1 begins an epic story that will impact Marvel heroes and X-Men alike—and it culminates this summer in one of the most shocking, daring stories in Wolverine’s history! The journey—and the mystery—begins here, and you’re not going to want to miss your chance to take part in Wolverine’s return.

Writer Charles Soule and artist David Marquez’s THE HUNT FOR WOLVERINE: ALPHA #1 unfolds this April!

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Charles Soule on Matt's new job for New York's new mayor.

With Wilson Fisk as the new mayor of New York, Matt Murdock finds himself between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, there’s a warrant out for Daredevil’s arrest. On the other hand, he just got an offer from Fisk to become the mayor’s personal lawyer. And here’s the craziest part: He accepted the job!

Is Matt trying to advance his law career or is he playing a two-faced game like the crooked mayor he just agreed to serve? We’ll learn more about it in DAREDEVIL #597 by Charles Soule and Stefano Landini on January 10, 2018. In the meantime, Marvel.com caught up with Charles to get a better grip of what Manhattan looks like under the control of Kingpin.

Marvel.com: Can you give us a quick rundown of the dynamic between Murdock and Fisk as lawyer and mayor?

Charles Soule: I’m trying to set things up in this story as closely as I can to the way things actually work in City Hall. The truth is, there aren’t a ton of checks on the power of the mayor in New York. More or less, if the mayor wants the city to shift in a certain direction, or has policies he or she wants implemented, then the city’s various departments and agencies tend to go that way. So, Fisk has all the power, and Matt Murdock has very little – at least in a political sense. However, he’s got his mind, and of course he’s got all the abilities of Daredevil… so he’s still got a fighting chance.

Marvel.com: Where can we expect this situation to go? Is Matt going to tolerate Fisk’s control of the city for much longer?

Charles Soule: Well, that would be telling. Let’s put it this way – from the moment Matt heard that Fisk had been elected mayor, he was convinced that Fisk was putting something sinister into motion, and he was resolved to stop it any way he could. He could approach it any number of ways – but he knows the one thing he probably can’t do is just go in fists-first. You can’t just beat up the Mayor and hope to achieve anything, even if it is Wilson Fisk.

DAREDEVIL #597

Marvel.com: Is there anyone else out in Manhattan who might be a useful ally in destabilizing the Fisk regime?

Charles Soule: Well, sure. Fisk didn’t win in a landslide. He won by like a percentage point – it was super close. So, that means about half the city didn’t want him in office. Beyond that, there are all the superheroes who run around Manhattan – street-level folks like Spider-Man, Moon Knight, Echo and of course, Matt’s buddies in the Defenders. The problem is that one of the first things Wilson did when he took office was to start building up evidence against New York’s vigilantes, in a move toward making them actual criminals. He’s already got a warrant out for Daredevil’s arrest, which makes things pretty tough too. The city’s changing quickly, no doubt about it.

Marvel.com: What do you think Mayor Fisk has done that greatly benefits the city?

Charles Soule: Well, it’s early days yet. In Marvel Universe time, he’s been in office for maybe like a week. He has plans, but the first thing he needs to do is start convincing people that they should listen to him and trust him – even with all the power of the mayor’s office, tons of people still think of Wilson Fisk as the Kingpin of Crime. If he wants to change the city for the better – and believe it or not, he thinks he does – the first thing he’ll need to do is get more of its citizens on his side.

Marvel.com: In Part 3 of the story, Matt has the chance to serve at the mercy of the mayor. What kind of internal struggle is he going through?

Charles Soule: That’s a lot of the story of Part 3, actually [in DAREDEVIL #597]. At the end of the previous chapter, Wilson Fisk came to Matt Murdock with an offer to actually leave the DA’s office and help him in his work as mayor. Matt accepted – which is completely crazy. It’s throwing himself into the lion’s den. Doing high-wire work without a net. But that’s Daredevil, right? No fear.

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Charles Soule weaves the complex web of Charles Xavier’s return!

Ever since Cyclops apparently killed Professor X back in 2012’s AVENGERS VS. X-MEN #11, Charles’s consciousness has been forced to cling to life in the astral plane. What kind of impact has this had on him? How will it affect his decisions moving forward?

On January 3, writer Charles Soule and artist Phil Noto begin to answer those queries with ASTONISHING X-MEN #7! In “A Man Called X,” the mutants finally get their reunion—but it may not be exactly what they’ve expected.

We contacted Soule via telepathy to hear more about what to expect in the new issue.

Marvel.com: How has Professor X changed since we saw him last? Will we see a different Charles when he returns?

Charles Soule: As we’ve seen in ASTONISHING X-MEN thus far, Xavier’s spirit, or soul, or life force (depending on how you want to think about it) got taken after his death by one of his oldest and most powerful adversaries—Amahl Farouk, The Shadow King. Farouk brought Xavier’s spirit to his home, in the bizarre parallel dimension called the Astral Plane, where anything you imagine becomes real. So, since his death, Xavier has been held prisoner on the Astral Plane, with The Shadow King toying with him in all sorts of terrible ways. Even worse—time runs differently in Farouk’s dimension, so even though it’s only been a few years since Cyclops killed Xavier in the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN story, for poor Professor X it feels like it’s been millennia.

Marvel.com: What can you tease about how he’ll make his comeback?

Charles Soule: When we pick up the story in ASTONISHING X-MEN, Farouk and Xavier get embroiled in a sort of psychic chess game, with a group of X-Men (Old Man Logan, Psylocke, Fantomex, Rogue, Gambit, Bishop, Angel, and Mystique) as the pieces. The Shadow King plays the game to pass the time, and also to hopefully build himself a pathway out of the Astral Plane so he can wreak havoc in our world. Xavier does his best to beat him…but The Shadow King holds all the cards. We’ll see how it goes.

Marvel.com: Charles has a plan…but it sounds like not everyone supports it. What kind of push back will he face?

Charles Soule: As the story has developed, we’ve seen that the battle on the Astral Plane has had effects that have rippled out into our world, especially in London, where the story takes place. Some sort of psychic infection has been spreading rapidly among the city’s populace (including Bishop!), and the human authorities with the British Ministry of Defence look set to take drastic action to stop it from going any further. Beyond that, Gambit and Logan have both been possessed by The Shadow King and have gone around murdering people, and Archangel looks to be on the verge of losing his mind.

So…things are bad. If Xavier might somehow fix all this, it’ll take drastic measures. We’ll see if the cure will be worse than the disease.

Marvel.com: A lot of readers consider Xavier a favorite. What have you enjoyed about bringing him into this story?

Charles Soule: I like the fact that he’s really very morally grey. He’s not Magneto, but he’s not as far from him as he’d like to think—and the stories we’ve seen with him really bear that out. Xavier is brilliant, incredibly gifted, and always 10 steps ahead. That’s the kind of character I love to write. Also, I just missed him in the stories. Professor X is cool.

Marvel.com: What else would you like to mention?

Charles Soule: We have some fantastic artists coming up on the series for its back half, including my longtime partner on the POE DAMERON series, Phil Noto, for issue #7, and someone I’ve been dying to work with on issue #10—ACO.

Issue #6 ends Act I of the series, “Life of X,” but then we move right into Act II: “A Man Called X,” which flips the story a bit and makes it about something new that will feel completely organic with what we’ve already seen. And then there’s Act III…which will be the culmination of the whole thing. It’s been a blast to construct a series like this, and I hope people enjoy seeing where it goes.

Witness the return of Charles Xavier in ASTONISHING X-MEN #7, by writer Charles Soule and artist Phil Noto, on January 3!

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Charles Soule runs down the talented squad Poe has watching his back.

Resistance pilot Poe Dameron’s embarking on a new mission in STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #21, out November 21, and he’s going to need all the help he can get to score his ultimate target, the mysterious Lor San Tekka.

Good thing Black Squadron’s got his back.

They’ve had their ups and downs over the course of the series, even lost members, but the men, women, and droid of Black Squadron also have someone to back them up, namely writer Charles Soule. He knows the ins and outs of their strengths and weaknesses, and he’s ready to tip his hand to light them up for your illumination and edification.

Snap
“Temmin ‘Snap’ Wexley has been fighting evil in the galaxy since he was a little kid, as we saw from Chuck Wendig’s great ‘Aftermath’ trilogy of Star Wars novels, set right after ‘Return of the Jedi,’” says Soule. “He fought the Empire, and knows how important it is to prevent anything like them from rising again. So, he’s got enormous strength and resolve. He can be a little impulsive, though—he’s not always in control of his emotions—and it gets him into trouble.”

Poe Dameron (2016) #21

Poe Dameron (2016) #21

Jess
“Jessika Pava is fantastic!” raves Soule. “I love writing her. She’s a gearhead, who’s always tinkering with her ship and modifying it to make everything run more powerfully, better, faster. She talks tough and fights tougher. That also lends itself to her main weakness, though, which is that she always needs to feel like she’s in control—that stems from events in her childhood. If she doesn’t, her effectiveness goes way down, to the point where she almost collapses, psychologically.”

Karé
“Karé Kun is just one of those hyper-competent badasses you want on your side in a fight” Soule offers. “She’s been flying with Poe since before the Resistance was formed, and knows her job inside and out. However, sometimes she gets too job-focused, and forgets she isn’t just part of a machine. Black Squadron is a fighting force, but it’s also sort of a family, and she’s not always sensitive to that.”

BB-8
“BB-8 has no flaws!” insists Soule. “He is all strength, and I will hear nothing different!”

Suralinda
“Suralinda Javos is extremely smart, she can handle herself in a fight and, oh yeah, she can spit venom—literally,” Soule says. “Sura was a journalist in the New Republic, and an old friend of Poe’s who has been swayed to the cause of the Resistance by the evil she’s seen committed by the First Order. She’s got a lot of strengths, but she’s also the kind of person who will move into grey areas all the time if it thinks it will help her accomplish her goal. She’s definitely an ‘end justifies the means’ gal. That’s a slippery slope—but I love her anyway.”

Poe Dameron (2016) #22

Poe Dameron (2016) #22

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Charles Soule addresses Kingpin’s campaign for Mayor of New York City!

Talk about your eye-opening moments: Wilson Fisk—the infamous Kingpin—wins the office of Mayor of New York City and Daredevil’s powerless from stopping his old enemy from running roughshod over the town he loves…right? We checked in with writer Charles Soule to see if good things truly can happen to bad people in DAREDEVIL #595—coming November 8—or if Mayor Fisk has to be blind not to see what problems the Man Without Fear can cause him.

Marvel.com: So, Charles, can you fight City Hall in the Marvel Universe?

Charles Soule: If anyone might have a chance, it’s Daredevil, aka New York District Attorney Matt Murdock. After all, he’s armed with more than just his incredible fighting skills and enhanced senses—he has what might be the strongest power of all: a thorough understanding of the legal system. That’s not to say it’ll be easy, of course—the Mayor’s office is incredibly powerful in New York City, with city agencies at its beck and call—including, of course, the NYPD. Should be a hell of a fight.

Marvel.com: To say the least! But where’s Matt’s head at as he goes into this storyline? What’s he dealing with that might complicate his approach to the Fisk administration?

Charles Soule: Matt feels, to a degree, like his city has gone insane. Either that, or much more likely, Kingpin pulled one of his trademark shenanigans and rigged the system somehow. In either case, the place he’s sworn to protect has turned against him in some ways, and he’s having a hard time understanding or dealing with it. Plus, of course, Wilson Fisk knows that the costumed heroes are a huge threat to his plans, and he’ll take immediate steps to shut them down. Should be amazing.

Beyond that, we’ll have the return of a new character I introduced back in DAREDEVIL#11,  Muse, the serial killer artist who made Murdock’s life—and that of his apprentice Sam Chung, aka the young hero Blindspot—extremely complicated a little while back. Muse alone is almost impossible to handle, and when you add the Kingpin on top of it…it’ll be something.

Marvel.com: What exactly is Fisk’s single greatest qualification for being mayor of a major metropolitan city?

Charles Soule: As he tells the city in his campaign: he loves New York as much as anyone can, and he has a clear vision for improving it. Now, the question is whether the Kingpin’s city is the city New Yorkers would want. We know it’s definitely not what Daredevil wants.

Marvel.com: So, you’re sort of saying if he weren’t a criminal, Fisk might in reality become a good mayor?

Charles Soule: That’s something we’ll definitely be exploring. Just because The Kingpin is a crime lord doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to run a city. In fact, it might be exactly the opposite. It’ll be fun to explore.

Marvel.com: What are Matt’s greatest risks in opposing Fisk right now? Does he care what anyone in the city actually thinks of him?

Charles Soule: The biggest issue, really, is that to fight Fisk, Daredevil will have to fight the city itself, a place he loves and thought he understood. Not anymore. It’s very complicated for him morally and logistically, and he’ll have to figure out how he fits into this new puzzle. Things he took for granted, like the cops turning a blind eye—heh—to his activities, might not be so easily assumed anymore.

Marvel.com: What will New York’s criminal element do with this new status quo, in general?

Charles Soule: I’d say they’re pretty excited. One of their own has ascended to the big chair, you know? New York City’s their playground.

Marvel.com: Lastly, how its feel for you to go back to the original numbering with this issue?

Charles Soule: It’s always felt amazing to be part of the incredible Daredevil legacy, and returning to the original numbering with DAREDEVIL #595 cements that for me even more. Not only that, but I get to write DAREDEVIL #600! That will be an incredible issue; the culmination of the “Mayor Fisk story, with twists and turns I’ve been building to forever. I’m very excited for everyone to see where this is all going.

Hop on the campaign trail with Charles Soule and artist Stefano Landini with DAREDEVIL #595, arriving November 8!

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Discussing Daredevil’s Legacy with writer Charles Soule!

When it comes to the world of Matt Murdock, justice is blind. And for the last 53 years, that particular form of law has set him and his alter ego, Daredevil, apart from all other heroes in the Marvel Universe. But what happens when his life of sightless vigilantism can’t transition into legitimate authority?

Wilson Fisk runs the show in New York City in a typically sinister—but completely legal—way, which leaves Matt looking to get creative to bring down The Kingpin. And on November 8, the age of Marvel Legacy begins with scholarly scribe Charles Soule and artist Stefano Landini’s DAREDEVIL #595!

With Daredevil’s legacy of justice on the brink of disarray, we spoke with Soule about the upcoming issues and how he’d like to be remembered for his contributions to the classic character.

Marvel.com: How does the Marvel Legacy banner inform this new story? 

Charles Soule: My run so far has really been all about Matt Murdock’s legacy as a super hero. He knows he can’t be Daredevil forever, so he’s been trying to do something to make his city better permanently—whether he’s wearing the horns or not. In other words, he’s trying to leave a legacy. That extends to Blindspot, it extends to the law he’s trying to put in place during the Supreme storyline, and more. The Legacy story I’m telling—“Mayor Fisk”—is where we see whether he can make that happen, or if it will all blow away in the wind.

Marvel.com: In a sentence or two, what would you say is Daredevil’s legacy within the Marvel Universe? 

Charles Soule: Daredevil is all about resolve. His powers are sort of limited compared to some of the other marquee heroes, but it never stops him. He’ll do what has to be done in the pursuit of justice, and I think the other heroes see that.

Marvel.com: Getting into the story a bit, what can we expect NYC to look like under the control of Wilson Fisk? 

Charles Soule: It’s pretty cool stuff. Fisk has been in control of the criminal machinery of the city before, but here, he runs the legitimate side as well. So, in essence, the entire NYPD works for him—not to mention everything else in the city. Fisk can do whatever he wants without fear of reprisal, and he absolutely sees the possibilities in that. Daredevil does too, of course, and it terrifies him.

Marvel.com: What shortcomings do Matt’s abilities have against this threat—and what new strategies will he use to circumvent those shortcomings? 

Charles Soule: It’s mostly what I mentioned—Fisk is legit, which means Daredevil…isn’t. Matt Murdock has always been able to rely on his city as a safe haven, of sorts, but now it’s turned against him. It gets pretty dire for ol’ Hornhead, but I don’t think we’d want it any other way.

Marvel.com: What do you hope your own legacy to be when it comes to DAREDEVIL comics? 

Charles Soule: When you’re talking about “legacy,” it doesn’t get much more relevant than this title—with both the creative teams that have worked on the character and the stories themselves, DAREDEVIL is all about legacy. I think DD has more legendary runs than just about any other character in super hero comics.

My goal has always been to really try to stand alongside the earlier stories with my run—to not be a blip between otherwise memorable chapters in the life of Matt Murdock. I’d like to add things, and take things away, and write my DAREDEVIL—to do things that later readers can point to as signature elements of this period for the character. We’ll see!

DAREDEVIL #595, by Charles Soule and artist Stefano Landini, drops on November 8!

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Charles Soule and Jim Cheung launch a monumental adventure for the mighty mutants!

On July 19, Charles Soule and Jim Cheung present ASTONISHING X-MEN #1! But get your exclusive first look at pages from the issue right now!

Astonishing X-Men #1 cover by Jim Cheung

Astonishing X-Men #1 preview page by Jim Cheung

Astonishing X-Men #1 preview page by Jim Cheung

Astonishing X-Men #1 preview page by Jim Cheung

Astonishing X-Men #1 preview page by Jim Cheung

Astonishing X-Men #1 preview page by Jim Cheung

ASTONISHING X-MEN #1
Writer:
 Charles Soule
Artist/Cover: Jim Cheung
Only the X-Men can save us!
An ancient evil is attacking the world’s most powerful minds. It will have them by the time you finish this sentence, and a moment later, it will have us all. A band of X-Men discovers the truth behind the threat, but there is no time left. Psylocke, Old Man Logan, Bishop, Archangel, Fantomex, Rogue and Gambit will attempt to save a world that hates and fears them. Why? Because they are the X-Men.

From writer Charles Soule joined by a roster of superstar artists beginning with Jim Cheung. ASTONISHING X-MEN. It’s the X-book you need.

On sale July 19!

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Charles Soule gives us the inside scoop on his new series roster!

A surprising rag-tag group of X-Men bands together to save our world from a new threat with results—dare we say—astonishing.

Writer Charles Soule’s new series, ASTONISHING X-MEN, hits on July 19 and it boasts double the drama, triple the mutant action, and a roster of artists to rival that of the characters. But let’s get one thing straight; you won’t find a typical X-Men story within the pages of this book. Why, you ask? We talked to Charles Soule to find out just what makes this title so different.

Marvel.com: Can you set the scene for us? What’s going on as this book kicks off?

Charles Soule: ASTONISHING X-MEN begins with an attack on the world’s psychics, both super hero-types and not. It’s vicious, and quick, and things are looking terrible from page one. We pick up the main thread of the story in London, where one of these attacks is taking place. Psylocke is at ground zero, and sends out sort of a psychic distress call to anyone nearby who might be able to help. A group of X-Men arrives to see what they can do…and we’re off.

Marvel.com: How does this book differ from other “team” books?

Charles Soule: Well, it’s not a team, really. This isn’t a group of X-Men with a mission statement and headquarters. It’s a cast of super-powered people, all of whom have been involved in questionable things in their past, coming together to try to solve a problem. Mostly, I’m writing it like a novel, or maybe a TV show; different characters have different arcs, and are more or less prominent at different times. The whole book is something like a puzzle box, with many layers of reveals; it’s not a “villain of the week” thing, really. It’s one huge story, with a lot of pieces that are all moving quickly, which start to link up or latch together as the story continues. It’s just…intense, I’d say. Focused and fast.

Marvel.com: Roll call! Give us a run down of the cast and what each member brings to the table.

Charles Soule: Psylocke, Logan—Old Man version—Rogue, Gambit, Fantomex, Mystique, Bishop, Angel. They all have their strengths as characters, but what I like about them is that they’re all sort of compromised, in a way. They all have dark moments in their past, secrets, strange interactions with the rest of the cast. Makes for some fantastic soap opera, which in turn gives real emotion and stakes to the action beats—that’s what you want, I think.

Astonishing X-Men #1 cover by Jim Cheung

Marvel.com: What brought this mismatched group together and what’s the chemistry like? Any tension to deal with?

Charles Soule: The chemistry is interesting. Psylocke had relationships with both Fantomex and Angel. Fantomex has gotten together with Mystique before. Rogue is—sort of—Mystique’s daughter. Gambit and Rogue are one of the biggest romantic couples in X-land. Angel has a dark alter ego that he’s trying to work to deal with, the Archangel. Bishop was once a genocidal murderer—he was redeemed, but you know, still. And of course, back in his home dimension, Old Man Logan killed every last one of them. So yeah…there’s some tension.

Marvel.com: What is the biggest hurdle facing our heroes and what might they do to clear it?

Charles Soule: The main villain when we begin the story is a longtime X-Men foe: Amahl Farouk, aka The Shadow King. He’s an incarnation of evil and darkness that lives primarily on another dimension called the astral plane. He does manifest in our world from time to time, and he tends to do nasty things like possess people and use their bodies, or drive people mad. He’s a true X-Men “Big Bad;” the first “dark” mutant Charles Xavier ever met, back in the day, and the reason he started the Xavier Institute, to train up mutants to fight similar threats. The astral plane is sort of the Shadow King’s domain, and it’s a place where reality can warp and shift depending on the whims of the people inside it. Amahl Farouk tends to use that quality of the astral plane as a weapon, throwing people into their worst fears. He’s a tough foe.

Marvel.com: Where are the rest of the X-Men?

Charles Soule: As I’ve mentioned, the book moves very, very fast, and most of the events in the book take place before the other X-Men have a chance to get involved, or even get to where things are taking place.

Marvel.com: Do you have any favorite moments in the series so far?

Charles Soule: Every issue is being drawn by a different superstar artist, from Jim Cheung on #1, to Mike Deodato on #2, to Ed McGuinness, [to] Carlos Pacheco, and many more. I’m writing to each artist’s strengths, and making sure that they each get to do something sort of self-contained. Issue #3 is sort of a Wolverine-centered story, for example. They all delve into a lot of X-Men history and legacy, too—so that’s been fantastic, just seeing how all these artists approach this stuff. As far as specific moments, there’s a double-spread in issue #5 that I cannot wait to see. Should be incredible.

Marvel.com: Is there anything else you can tease about what’s in store for our heroes? Any surprises headed our way?

Charles Soule: Absolutely: there’s something big about this series that I haven’t discussed anywhere at all yet—and Marvel’s been great about working with me to make sure we keep a lid on it. There’s a key element to this book that I think will have people very excited, but I think it’ll be best for fans to discover it in the book itself. My Twitter feed should be interesting that day, for sure.

Start watching all the awkward group tension and surprise battles unfold in ASTONISHING X-MEN #1, written by Charles Soule with art by Jim Cheung, out July 19.

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The Sith Lord carries out his deadly mission under the pen of Charles Soule!

Many Star Wars fans cite the instant in “Revenge of the Sith” when the clone armies turn on their Jedi comrades and mow them down as one of the most heart-breaking moments in the films. Thanks to the insidious Darth Sidious, the Jedi fell swiftly in order to give birth to his galactic empire. And that, in turn, gave us one of the greatest villains in all of pop culture: Darth Vader!

This week, Charles Soule joins up with all-star artist Guiseppe Camuncoli to bring readers to that moment in time with the new DARTH VADER series out now. But before you get your copy, read on and find out why fans find this new series to be…most impressive.

Marvel.com: Last we spoke, Charles, you mentioned your interest in Emperor Palpatine, most notably that while he may be complete evil, you didn’t find there to be a lack of complexity with him as a character. Can you explain that a little further?

Charles Soule: Palpatine has an uncomplicated goal—ultimate power!—but he goes about it in an extremely complex, subtle way. His greatest power is his ability to manipulate, and you can’t manipulate without—and this word will seem strange when describing Palpatine—empathy. You have to truly understand what makes a person tick in order to move them in the direction you want without them realizing it, and The Emperor is a master.

Marvel.com: Now, as you know from all of the stories that have emerged in the years since “Revenge of the Sith,” Order 66 didn’t exactly kill off all of the Jedi. Do you see it as a one-time initiative or more like a standing executive order?

Charles Soule: I think it was a hard-coded part of the Clone Troopers’ “operating instructions,” if that makes sense. That said, it’s certainly emblematic of the Empire’s policy towards Jedi, which is basically: kill ‘em all. Whether the few Jedi survivors end up going from a literal application of Order 66 or another way—such as a certain brand new Sith with a grudge—the end result is the same.

Marvel.com: Aside from his immense power, what else do you think positions Darth Vader to be so effective at hunting Jedi?

Charles Soule: Well, he was one, which means he knows their tactics, their weak spots, their training. He has a thorough understanding of the Jedi mindset; always useful when hunting them.

Marvel.com: I’m always finding myself struck at the difference between the two identities of Anakin Skywalker: the powerful Jedi Knight and the Sith Lord. Do you think Vader’s armored and robotic self makes him more deadly or less so? Maybe put another way: which version do you think a Jedi on the run would want to face?

Charles Soule: No one wants to face Darth Vader in any guise. If I had to choose, though, probably the armored suit would be scarier, because it has various abilities and enhancements that allow Vader to be even more terrifying than he already was. Vader’s suit can take enormous damage and keep on ticking; he’s basically a Terminator.

Darth Vader #3 cover by Olivier Coipel

Marvel.com: Just for fun, let’s say you were a young Jedi on the run from the Empire, targeted by Order 66. What methods would you employ to remain off the radar?

Charles Soule: I would never use the Force again, for one thing. But what’s the point, then? If you’re a Jedi, you are a living vessel for the Force. This might sound harsh, but I think most Jedi would rather die fighting than renounce the Force forever.

Marvel.com: Darth Vader clearly stands at the forefront of the Emperor’s arsenal to extinguish the Light Side; however, one does not become Emperor through betting on only one horse. What other resources does Palpatine have at his disposal to continue the hunt for the Jedi?

Charles Soule: Well, the massive Imperial military, for one thing; and I’m sure he’s put bounties out and all sorts of things. But his primary tool other than Vader is a group of skilled dark-side adepts called the Inquisitorius, which was introduced in the “Star Wars: Rebels” TV series. We’ll see them in the DARTH VADER comic as well—maybe even their beginnings!

Marvel.com: We come to understand that, unlike Anakin Skywalker, the clones didn’t really have a choice when Emperor Palpatine gave the command to execute Order 66. Once the effects of the programming chip cleared, how do you suppose the clones who served alongside their Jedi compatriots felt upon discovering the genocidal tragedy they helped enact?

Charles Soule: The “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” TV show did a great job of establishing that clones were somewhat individual emotionally and mentally despite their identical physiologies. So, I’d guess they had a wide variety of actions. Still, like many regular galactic citizens, they were told that the Jedi were traitors. Some probably believed that, some didn’t; I don’t think it was uniform.

Marvel.com: Ultimately, we know that Order 66 wasn’t entirely successful with Jedi such as Yoda, Obi-Wan, Kannan Jarus, and others having survived the culling. Despite the tragedy of it all, do you think there was any good that came of it? Can we find any silver lining in such wanton loss?

Charles Soule: That’s a hard no on that one. Order 66 was heartbreaking. Despite the flaws of the Jedi Order—and I think there are a bunch—it was ultimately a force for freedom, generosity and good, which was brought down by a force dedicated to selfishness and the accumulation of personal power. Just a darn shame, really.

You can get DARTH VADER #1 by Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli right now, and look for more Order 66 aftermath in issue #3 on July 12!

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