Cullen Bunn digs up his favorite stories starring the killer robots!

Ever since they first debuted back in the mid-1960s, the Sentinels have become an indelible part of X-Men mythology. Created by the dynamite duo of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby—and by Bolivar Trask in the comics—they’ve taken different forms and served several masters over the years, but one thing remains constant about the purpose of their existence when it comes to the X-Men: Detecting and destroying mutants.

“Sentinels are so iconic,” says Cullen Bunn, author of the currently running X-MEN: BLUE, which will host the return of the malevolent mechanical menaces this May. “I can barely imagine the X-Men without them. They’re terrific adversaries, because—in most cases—they simply have no human personalities. They exist for one purpose—to destroy mutants—and they follow that directive with cold mercilessness.”

Since “[X-MEN: BLUE] issues #2 and #3 are loaded with Sentinels,” according to Cullen, we asked him to recount his favorite Sentinel stories from over the years.

Read on for some rock em’ sock em’ robot mayhem!

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #98

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #98

What is Marvel Unlimited?
“Merry Christmas, X-Men–The Sentinels Have Returned!,” “Deathstar Rising,” and “Greater Love Hath No X-Man” in UNCANNY X-MEN #98, #99, and #100:

“Sentinels know no holidays. They attack the X-Men…on Christmas! That’s just eeeeeeevil! And then, we get some crazy Sentinel versus mutant action…in space!”

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #142

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #142

What is Marvel Unlimited?
“Days of Future Past” in UNCANNY X-MEN #141 and #142:

“I remember picking up [UNCANNY X-MEN] #142—I read them out of order back in the day—and thinking that the image on the cover could not possibly be reflective of the contents. But it was. I can barely think of a scarier representation of the lethal capabilities of the Sentinels.”

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #194

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #194

What is Marvel Unlimited?
The Nimrod stories in UNCANNY X-MEN #194, #209, and #210:

“Nimrod—and later Bastion—has always been a favorite character of mine. He had all the cold mercilessness of the Sentinels, but he also had a bit of personality, too. And I loved that he had these automatic countermeasures for anything his mutant prey [threw] at him.”

New X-Men (2001) #114

New X-Men (2001) #114

What is Marvel Unlimited?
“E Is for Extinction” in NEW X-MEN #114-#116:

“Not only did this story give us Casandra Nova, but it provided one of the most chilling examples of Sentinel power. 16 million mutants killed in the blink of an eye. It was terrifying and grim and awful. After so many years as X-Villains, the Sentinels get a big shot of nastiness in the arm.”

See the Sentinels back in action with X-MEN: BLUE issues #2 and #3, available April 26 and May 10 respectively from Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina!

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Cullen Bunn calculates the conflict headed the Sith Lord’s way!

Only a Sith deals in absolutes. There’s no gray areas for them and it shows in writer Cullen Bunn’s DARTH MAUL limited series where the famous horned Sith Lord hunts down a Jedi Padawan against his master’s wishes.

To find out the why, we decided to delve further into the Dark Side—and Star Wars lore—with Cullen before issue #3 drops on April 26. We’re about halfway through Maul’s five-issue run. What can you tell us about the things we’ve learned about this character and the Sith so far that fans haven’t seen before?

Cullen Bunn: As for Maul, we’ve learned how unsatisfied he is with his master’s plans. We’ve learned that he’s not one to sit around waiting and that he’s been roaming the galaxy testing himself. We’ve learned that he has connections to some notorious bounty hunters. And we’ve seen a bit about the cruel training he’s endured. With the Sith, we’ve delved a bit into their past—something I’m not sure readers really expected—and saw some of their downfall. We’ve explored a bit about how the Sith see their differences from the Jedi. We’ve also seen how Maul sees the Sith as compared to the Jedi. How does this story differ tonally and thematically from the other comic-based Star Wars stories that have explored the past exploits of other iconic characters like Obi-Wan and Han Solo?

Cullen Bunn: This is a darker story than some of the others you’ve seen. Maul is cruel and cunning and devious, and he is walking a dark path. I wanted to embrace that for this series. We also get into Maul’s head in a very big way since we’re seeing how he justifies his actions in his inner monologue. He’s currently in Liam Neeson mode, trying to find a Jedi padawan who’s been kidnapped and is now up for auction. What does he want with a Jedi-in-training and how will it satiate his hunger for revenge?

Cullen Bunn: Maul is itching to test his skills against the Jedi. He’s been trained to hate them, to want them dead; but he is forbidden to strike against them. He wants to secretly rescue the Padawan Eldra Kaitis for one reason: so he can kill her. How does his plan overlap with the complex machinations of his master, Darth Sidious?

Cullen Bunn: His plans fly in the face of Darth Sidious. Sidious works slowly, weaving an intricate web of deception. Any Jedi entanglements could jeopardize everything he is working toward. If Sidious finds out about Maul’s betrayal, the punishment will be severe.

Darth Maul #3 cover by Rafael Albuquerque This is a character who is filled with hate and a penchant for taking action against his master’s wishes. In other words, he’s not the most pleasant fella in the galaxy, but since he is the protagonist of this series, how did you make him come across as the hero or at the very least, someone readers could sympathize with?

Cullen Bunn: I don’t think he comes across as a hero in any way. He is, after all, embarking on a quest to murder a Jedi. But I try to dig into his head and help the reader understand what he is thinking and where he is coming from. I show the reader some of the trauma he’s endured to get to this point. And I throw in a healthy dose of other villains who are worse than Maul, so we get a little bit of a black hat vs. black hat feel. As this series serves as a prequel to “Phantom Menace,” what was your approach to keeping readers surprised even though they know where Maul’s story eventually ends up in “Episode I”?

Cullen Bunn: My hope is that this series shines some light into some unexpected corners of the Star Wars mythos. Yes, we know what becomes of Maul in the future, but we don’t know how this adventure might have helped shaped what’s ahead. We also don’t know what becomes of some of the new characters you’re meeting in this book, and I think readers will come to care about some of them quite a bit. I also hope some of the connections to other corners of Star Wars lore will surprise readers. There’s lots of connective tissue to the movies, TV shows, and comics here if you pay close attention. Are there any other characters or stories in this universe that you’re itching to tackle?

Cullen Bunn: Oh, of course! I dearly hope this isn’t my last foray into the Star Wars universe. You’re talking to a guy who, as a kid, had Star Wars wallpaper and bedsheets, who had models of the ships hanging on fishing line from his ceiling, who sent away proofs of purchase to make sure he got Boba Fett and Bossk action figures. I love these characters and these stories. I could name a handful of characters I’d love to write about. Most of them would probably be bounty hunters—because I have a penchant for dastardly types—but I love Star Wars as a whole. Anything you can tease about DARTH MAUL #3 before it comes out in a few weeks as well as the rest of Maul’s solo story?

Cullen Bunn: In issue #3, Maul and Eldra Kaitis come face-to-face, and I think readers are going to get a real kick out of this new character. His planned abduction of the Padawan, though, will not go as planned. It might even mean that the two must work together in order for even one of them to survive.

Cullen Bunn and Luke Ross continue their Sith saga with DARTH MAUL #3 on April 26!

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Writer Cullen Bunn maps out the Merc with a Mouth’s latest murder spree!

The Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, cosmic beings across the universe—none of them stood a chance. Three years ago, Deadpool made history when he bombed, katana’d, and blasted his way through every last hero in existence. And guess what? He’s back for more.

This July, the newest super hero extinction event begins in DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN #1 and #2! Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajić, creators of the original best-selling series, return for an all-new five-issue run alongside the universe’s most dangerous man in red spandex.

We sat down with Cullen to learn more about the return of Wade Wilson and his thirst for super-blood in the brand new series. The first DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE ended with you, Dalibor Talajic, editor Jordan D. White, and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso about to be put to the sword. How did that end up going for you guys? Is Deadpool coming back again? Does the digital team have to worry this time?

Cullen Bunn: Those were Earth 617.5678 versions of Dalibor, Jordan, Axel, and myself. The versions here—on our Earth—are much [cagier] and hardy!

I don’t think you’ll be seeing Deadpool returning to the Marvel offices in this new series. While that worked in the original book, this new story is something altogether different. In your opinion, what made DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE one of the most popular trades in recent years? Everyone has their own reason—but why do you think people loved it so much?

Cullen Bunn: I’ve wondered that for years!

Look, I am very proud of that original story. I think Dalibor and I did something special with it, but I never expected it to have the reaction—and the longevity—that it has enjoyed. It’s still one of the most popular books I’ve ever worked on. I think it’s the kind of book that attracts readers because it’s an easy jumping on point. You don’t need to know much about Deadpool or Marvel continuity to enjoy the story. The average reader off the street knows Captain America and Thor and The Hulk and Deadpool, and that’s all you really need to get a kick out of seeing Deadpool slaughter all your favorite heroes. Over the years, so many people have told me that this was both their first Deadpool book and their first comic book in general! So I guess the general accessibility is a factor with relatively new fans. Other than that, I think the fact that DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE is unlike any other Deadpool book ever published helps with the book’s appeal.

Both of those ideas—the accessibility and the unique nature of the tale—were top-of-mind for the new series. A new reader can come off the street, having never read any other comic, and enjoy seeing Marvel’s most famous heroes get the ax. And this story is something completely different. It’s not a sequel or a remake, and it treads ground totally untouched by the original series.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again #1 cover by Dave Johnson What inspired you to bring Deadpool back for some more universe-shattering super hero murder?

Cullen Bunn: Writing DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE was such a blast for me, so of course I wanted to return to that well at some point. I wouldn’t have pursued it, though, unless I thought we had a new kind of story to tell and some interesting and unexpected angles to explore. The tale that we’re presenting here definitely gives us something new and exciting, so it’s time to pull the trigger! The Marvel Universe has changed quite a bit since the first killing spree; a bunch of new heroes in new positions all across the board. How’s the Merc going to approach these new victims differently?

Cullen Bunn: Everything about Deadpool’s approach to murdering these heroes is different. Even though we’re revisiting a story about Deadpool killing off your favorite heroes, this is a new tale, and we went to great lengths to make sure we weren’t walking the same path. As you said, the Marvel Universe is quite different than it was when we did the original series. It has evolved and grown. Deadpool’s murderous methodologies have changed, too.

That’s not to say he will have an easy time of it. There is a core group of Marvel heroes who are opposing Deadpool and trying to stop him. I think seeing these protagonists at work will be a lot of fun. Hey, maybe they’ll even stop Deadpool before he kills everyone! How was it partnering with Dalibor once again to create the sequel to one of the most visually epic—and disturbing—series in recent memory?

Cullen Bunn: Dalibor and I have talked about working together again—and working on this project in particular—for a few years, really ever since we wrapped up work on the original series. It took a while for the timing to be right, and I knew that only Dalibor could draw this beast. This series, though, is a little different visually. Without spoiling too much, Dalibor is playing with a variety of comic book styles. I think the look of this book will surprise a lot of people. I knew there were going to be plenty of challenges involved in bringing this story to life, but every time I asked Dalibor about it, he simply said, “Bring it on! Do your worst!” The first time around, Psycho Man got everything started by pushing Wade’s mind just past the tipping point. What can you tease about how Deadpool gets his taste for hero-blood this time?

Cullen Bunn: Well, I can tell you that Psycho Man is not involved in this tragic tale of woe, but absolutely keep an eye on the bad guys. Some classic Marvel villains have a hand in Deadpool’s murderous rampage. There’s a mystery to be solved and a real exciting reveal to be had further down the road.

The carnage begins with DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN #1 and #2, by Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajić, and available this July!

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Mutant expert Cullen Bunn lends a hand in evaluating the original five!

Here are my and Doctor Bunn’s notes and observations on the mutants as requested. You received their releases in advance and we have kept copies as well should their waiving of privilege need to be proven at a later date. Please let us know if there is anything further we can do to help

Jean Grey: With the knowledge of her future—or the future she would’ve had—Jean has proven to more assertive at a younger age than the Jean Grey who was not plucked from the timeline and moved forward. With this assertiveness has come some arguably problematic behaviors including overreaches in power and some manipulations.

Overall, as Dr. Bunn describes below, the main thrust of Grey’s therapy is about her feelings of responsibility for her teammates and the larger mutant community.

Dr. Bunn’s Notes: “Jean Grey has assumed a leadership role among the young X-Men, but she struggles with worry that she could be letting her teammates down. She has put her team on a potentially very dangerous path, and she feels solely responsible for their safety.

“She also shows concern over being patronized by the rest of the X-Men. She relies upon and confides in her teammate Scott Summers, who understands the struggles of leadership. Knowing that the older X-Men have faced great challenges in their lives, she hopes to prepare her team to better face the same level of threats.”

Cyclops: Summers, intriguingly, has followed an almost opposite path than Grey. Instead of the knowledge of his future making him more assertive and dedicated to assuming a leadership role, it has served to encourage him to take a step back. While supportive, he has gladly ceded the role of team leader to Grey. This stands in contrast to a Cyclops who once would literally fight teammates for the “honor” of leadership.

Knowing his future has also allowed him, it seems, to expand his attention beyond mutant concerns as demonstrated by his joining the Champions and exploring the idea of being more of a super hero and less of a mutant spokesperson/advocate.

Dr. Bunn’s Notes: “The destructive power he possesses—and the great discipline he feels he must always maintain—has contributed to Scott’s restrained, controlled, and rigid demeanor. He was the first of Professor Xavier’s X-Men, and he feels that this distinction comes with a great responsibility. Still, he is somewhat relieved that Jean has taken a leadership role for the team.”

Beast: Henry McCoy is an intriguing case to this writer. I’ve gotten to know the “adult version” as a devoted man of science so to see his teenage self beginning to dabble in more mystical pursuits has been both interesting and alarming. The client’s struggle to find a path when, of all the clients, his future seems the least fraught has certainly caught my attention, leading me to wonder if there has been some tragedy encountered by the client since he arrived that he has kept secret or that the adult McCoy has hidden or suppressed some painful memories while I worked with him.

X-Men: Blue #1 cover by Arthur Adams

Dr. Bunn’s Notes: “Hank is a man of many secrets. Since finding himself lost in our time, he has struggled to find his place in the world and his value to the team. This has led him to dabble in the mystic arts, a new interest that could prove dangerous for him.

“When cautioned about the risks inherent with the magical arts, he scoffed, saying that he has a ‘teacher’ who is guiding him in this new field of study. No record of this teacher could be found.”

Iceman: Of all the team, Bobby Drake seems to have taken the most advantage of this timeline, for lack of a better way to express it. While his confession of his sexuality was something he was rushed into by Grey’s mind-reading, he has since proven rather comfortable with both the self-knowledge of his desires and living an out life. While his adult counterpart has often seemed to vacillate between identities and responsibilities to the point that it was difficult to know if he had an authentic self, this teen seems comfortable, level-headed, and very aware of who he is.

Dr. Bunn’s Notes: “Bobby uses humor to mask his feelings of discomfort and nervousness. A great deal has changed for him since he arrived in our time. He has developed a romantic relationship with the Inhuman Romeo, and he is experiencing a wide range of emotions, as would any teenager. The fact that the young men no longer see each other as much as they once did—because of physical distance and increased responsibilities—causes Bobby a degree of uncertainty and worry. This anxiety appears to be manifesting as minor fluctuations in his powers.”

Angel: The popular conception of Warren Worthington prior to the traumatic destruction of his wings and subsequent alliance with Apocalypse was that he was a gifted and privileged adolescent who experienced little by way of adversity that was not directly associated with his wings.

This interpretation may have been true, but the teen Worthington in our timeline has shown himself to be far more complex. After being compelled to stay by Grey’s powers—as noted above, an unfortunate side effect of her increased assertiveness—Worthington has quickly shed his timeline homesickness, replaced by a sort of reckless arrogance. In some ways, he has become the least charitable assumptions about him: that he is a self-involved rich boy who only cares about his own glory. That would be concerning enough on its own, but paired with a violent streak that is unlike anything recorded about his adult counterpart’s years as Angel, it becomes something altogether worrying.

Dr. Bunn’s Notes: “At first, Warren was the most uncomfortable of the time-lost X-Men, wanting desperately to return to his point of origin. He has, however, now embraced this time period as willingly as—if not more so than—his teammates.

“With his abilities changing to be more dangerous, Warren has adopted more aggressive tactics in combat. Perhaps this has influenced a more impulsive side of his personality. Warren appears to be displaying near-narcissistic tendencies in his relationships with his teammates and others.”

This X-Men team will next meet with Doctor Cullen Bunn and his associates Doctors Jorge Molina and Matteo Buffagni on April 12 and the session notes will be found in the file labeled X-MEN: BLUE #1.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who knows his teenage version is out there somewhere, just whooping it up.

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The surprise stars of the epic Marvel crossover get their own series written by Cullen Bunn!

Remember when as a kid you staged massive monster fights with your action figures in the sand box of your local park? Well, who ever said those epic battles needed to end when we grew up? Not Cullen Bunn! The illustrious writer takes Kei “Kid Kaiju” Kawade and his beastie pals around the paddock for another earth-shaking ride this April in an ongoing MONSTERS UNLEASHED spin-off series.

That’s right. The behemoths don’t plan on going anywhere and they’re causing a bit of concern within the Marvel Universe—along with helping Kei and his allies fight evil. Cullen took a short break from monster hunting to tell us about the upcoming super-sized series that will re-awaken the kaiju-loving kid in all of us with some serious monster-on-monster action. Last time we spoke you briefly went into detail about the MONSTERS UNLEASHED spin-off series. Now that we’re getting closer to the first issue’s release on April 19, what can you tell us about the cast of characters that will be featured in it?

Cullen Bunn: The new MONSTERS UNLEASHED features Kei Kawade—Kid Kaiju, the boy with the power to summon and create monsters by drawing them—Elsa Bloodstone—famous monster hunter turned bodyguard—and a group of five monsters that Kei has created. These new monsters—Aegis, Mekara, Slizzik, Hi-Vo, and Skragg—form a powerhouse group of heroes unlike any that have been seen in the Marvel Universe. It’s their job to combat the most dangerous apex predators in the world: other giant monsters! In addition to the main team, we’ve got a great supporting cast. Parents, S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, Damage Control representatives, H.E.R.B.I.E. robots, and a host of villains, and that’s just to start! What’s the team dynamic like between the human characters?

Cullen Bunn: Kei and Elsa have a bond. They’ve been through the fire of the Leviathon invasion together, and they are closer for it. But, in Kei, Elsa sees someone who is as interested in monsters as she is. Yes, Kei loves them and doesn’t want to see them destroyed and Elsa was trained to wipe them out, but they share that bond. Kei’s parents don’t want their son to be a super hero. They know he can’t have a normal life, but they also don’t want him risking his life fighting gargantuan beasts. And then there are the government agents and super heroes who are seemingly always orbiting Kei and his monsters. Their interactions range from friendly to commanding to downright combative. What will their interactions be like with the monsters who are staying over into the new series? Is there a lot of fear of being squashed?

Cullen Bunn: When you’re dealing with monsters the size of buildings, there’s always a chance of getting squashed, I guess. This new team of monsters, though, all have their own personalities. In terms of how they interact, they are heroes like you would see in another team book. They have unique viewpoints, and they have lots of questions about their own origins, but they see Kid Kaiju as a friend, and they would face any danger to protect him. Now, Elsa and the monsters have a slightly more contentious relationship, but they recognize that they’re all working toward the same goal. Any person or monster you look forward to revisiting?

Cullen Bunn: I’m excited about all of the main cast. Kei’s new monsters were only in a few pages of the initial series, so it has been fun expanding their personalities and seeing them become fully developed characters. Kei and Elsa are, of course, favorites of mine, and I can’t wait to expand their supporting cast. Kei’s parents, Elsa’s relatives, their friends and allies and enemies. I’m looking forward to all of them. And there are Marvel villains and monsters—old and new—that I’m thrilled about bringing into the book.

Monsters Unleashed #1 cover by Arthur Adams Will there be any backlash against the use of these creatures after their attack on the Marvel Universe? Is every hero and secret organization now wary of what Kei can do?

Cullen Bunn: Oh yes! That’s a big part of the series. Kei is a young boy with what is potentially the most devastating power on the face of the planet. This means that many, many groups are keeping a watchful eye on him, all with different agendas. The Avengers want to train him. The Inhumans want him protected at all costs. S.H.I.E.L.D. wants him contained. Damage Control wants to make sure that the monsters don’t unleash massive collateral damage onto the world. But there are others who are very interested in Kei, too. Mole Man, who shows up early on, has use [for] Kei’s abilities. Lady Hellbender wants to know how Kei can summon monsters; when he started summoning creatures in the limited series, some of Hellbender’s menagerie vanished from their cages. And there is a group of villains—some of the most dangerous minds in the Marvel Universe—who want Kei for their own vile purposes. With a title like “Monsters Unleashed” there’s obviously an expectation of seeing these behemoths stomp around, and while they are massive personalities, they’re not the only ones you’ll be using to tell the story. How will you be balancing the monsters with the human characters to tell a more rounded tale?

Cullen Bunn: There will be monster-sized threats in this series, but there will also be challenges and dangers and interactions that a giant monster simply isn’t equipped to handle. Of course, an 11-year-old boy and a brash monster killer might not be equipped to handle them, either, but those are the breaks. So, every issue will feature monster action—not always monster brawls, mind you, but definitely dynamic monster awesomeness—human interaction, Elsa hunting human-sized beasties, Kei interacting with his parents and his teachers and the people who want to watch over him, and more! I feel like the series is pretty well balanced, more than the limited series was. You mentioned last time that S.H.I.E.L.D. and Damage Control are keeping an eye on this new team. What agents are on the prowl and are they concerned about the activities of specific team members or monsters?

Cullen Bunn: We’ll be meeting a new Damage Control representative who is working directly with various agencies—including S.H.I.E.L.D.—as a “handler” of sorts for Kid Kaiju and his monsters. You’ll be meeting some new characters, such as Damage Control agent Gloria Clark. You’ll also be seeing some familiar S.H.I.E.L.D. faces, some of whom have a long history dealing with giant monsters in the Marvel Universe. These factions all have different approaches to handling the monsters. Some want to guide them. Others think they are too big of a threat and are just waiting for an excuse to destroy them. Along with her knowledge of Dracula and Frankenstein, Elsa Bloodstone is a scholar on Marvel Monsters. Will she, as a seasoned monster hunter, be a parent-like figure to the younger heroes like Kei Kawade and Aegis, who will be taking these threats head-on? How will she be reigning in their naiver and more reckless tendencies?

Cullen Bunn: Elsa is a bodyguard, mentor, and friend to Kei. It’s not a role she’s very comfortable with. She’d rather be out there killing monsters. As you’ll see in the first issue of the new series, she’s still indulging her old monster-busting activities in order to work off some steam and keep herself grounded. Any words of advice before for the new team before they hit the ground running in April?

Cullen Bunn: Beware! That villain group I mentioned earlier is comprised of some heavy duty Marvel bad guys. They’ve tangled with every hero, from The Hulk to the X-Men, and now they’ve set their sights on you! They are recruiting any ne’er-do-well with a monster connection. They are planning on testing Kid Kaiju to his limits, and then use him for their own nefarious purposes. Kei—you’re in the Marvel Universe now. Your adventures will not be on the fringe, but right in the thick of things, so buckle up.

The mayhem continues in MONSTERS UNLEASHED #1 by Cullen Bunn and David Baldeon, coming April 19!

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Cullen Bunn prepares to steer the creature-filled conflict to an epic conclusion!

By Josh Weiss

Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’d still be able to feel the thunderous tremors being caused by the arrival of giant monsters in the Marvel Universe, stamping around above your subterranean home. And if the names Fin Fang Foom and Goom and Googam don’t ring familiar to you, they soon will be thanks to writer Cullen Bunn who has helped re-introduced some of Marvel’s most bloodthirsty behemoths with the Monsters Unleashed event.

In the wake of Civil War II, giant creatures mysteriously began to appear and terrorize the earth; it took the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe to address a threat that may not be as clear cut as simply punching skyscraper-sized beasties in their faces and/or multiple heads.

For MONSTERS UNLEASHED, Bunn teamed up with a team of talented artists—Adam Kubert, Greg Land, Salvador Larroca, Steve McNiven, and Leinil Yu—to bring these monsters—some well-known and some a little more idiosyncratic—back into the colorful Marvel spotlight. With just two issues left in this limited series, we spoke with the writer about the event so far, his Atomic Age aspirations when crafting the story, and the far-flung ramifications we can expect from the end of a major crossover event that he’s been preparing to write since childhood. As we begin to wind down on this awesome and—forgive the pun—monster-sized event, can you talk about what the ride’s been like for you from the idea’s inception to its fruition?

Cullen Bunn: I grew up watching giant monster movies, reading “Famous Monsters of Filmland” magazine, and reading monster comics. When I was very, very young, I wrote my own monster-centric comic titled “Attack of the Monsters,” featuring King Kong, Godzilla, and Mothra among others attacking the Earth. When I first heard about the initial idea for the series, I thought to myself how hurt I would be if I didn’t get the chance to write it. I’ve been preparing to write a book like this all my life. Monsters Unleashed drew on a rich mythology of Marvel monsters that dates back to the days of the late 1950’s, early ‘60’s. Was there a particular creature or creatures you especially enjoyed bringing back into the pop culture spotlight?

Cullen Bunn: When I started on this series, I was given a big packet detailing all of the classic monsters that were available. There were so many awesome beasts up for grabs. Of course Fin Fang Foom is a favorite, but I also fell in love with the visuals of Monstrom and the father/son dynamic of Goom and Googam. But I brought as many of the classic monsters to the series as I could. I really enjoyed writing the interaction between these monsters and between the monsters and the Marvel heroes. Given the fact that the central character behind the arrival of these monsters has the nickname Kid Kaiju” and that there were some really cool B-movie inspired variant covers released, were you influenced by any specific tropes of the classic B-grade sci-fi monster and kaiju movies of the 1950’s and ‘60’s when writing the story?

Cullen Bunn: Definitely. I drew inspiration from those classic 50’s “atomic horror” style movies and comics. I read and re-read a ton of classic Marvel monster books, especially considering how many of those creatures had starring roles in the series. I also drew upon many of my favorite kaiju flicks, like the original Godzilla and Gamera movies. The Godzilla movies of the Heisei era and movies like “Gamera 2: Advent of Legion” were particularly influential. What were some of your goals when you excavated these creations from obscurity? Did you hope to make them re-iconic” in the minds of comic book fans?

Cullen Bunn: First and foremost, I wanted readers to have fun with the series. And I wanted to honor the legacy of [Jack] Kirby, [Don] Heck, [Steve] Ditko, [Herb] Trimpe, and the other creators who brought these monsters to the page. And—yes—I wanted to establish the giant monsters of the Marvel Universe as important and legitimate forces to be reckoned with. My hope is that these beasties—the classic Marvel monsters and the Leviathons—are mainstays in the Marvel Universe for years to come.

Monsters Unleashed #5 cover by Adam Kubert

Monsters Unleashed #5 cover by Adam Kubert Have you seen your initial goals come true in the form of fan reactions to the event?

Cullen Bunn: I’ve seen plenty of people commenting on this series as a lot of fun. I’ve also seen folks mentioning that they’ve enjoyed seeing the heroes fighting by each other’s sides after such a tumultuous time among these characters of late. This event has brought the entire Marvel Universe into the fray. What was your favorite part about leaving no stone unturned by having everyone cross over in one epic series?

Cullen Bunn: It was awesome to show so many different heroes in so many different corners of the world, but—hands down—my favorite aspects of the series—at least my favorites up until the big twist at the end—were introducing “Kid Kaiju” Kei Kawade’s ancient cosmic history and writing the team-ups between the Marvel heroes and the classic monsters. Without giving too much away, how should readers prepare themselves for the end of this event?

Cullen Bunn: A fearsome enemy—the Leviathon Mother—is heading toward Earth, and she is far too powerful, even for the combined might of Earth’s mightiest heroes and their classic monster allies. In order to defeat her, Kid Kaiju will need to draw upon a power he didn’t know he had within him. That power will introduce something completely new into the Marvel Universe and establish Kid Kaiju as a major heroic player. It was recently announced that MONSTERS UNLEASHED will be getting its own ongoing spin-off series coming this April with you at the helm. Is there anything you can tease about it, like the threats Kawade and his team of monsters may be facing?

Cullen Bunn: In the event series, Kei was concerned primarily with the hundreds of Leviathon that were falling to Earth. Some of those monsters are still out there, and Kei, Elsa Bloodstone, and a group of monstrous heroes have been tasked with facing the most gigantic threats to the world. But, Kei will soon learn that monsters are not the only threats he’ll be facing. This book is firmly rooted in the Marvel Universe, and several very recognizable super villains have taken an interest in Kei. These villains—some of the most intelligent, devious ne’er-do-wells in the world—see potential in these giant monsters and potential in Kei’s unique abilities. In what ways will it be different from the event that spawned it and what are some of the repercussions it will have within the Marvel Universe?

Cullen Bunn: With the event, the pacing was frantic. Leviathons were falling to Earth one right after another, and there was little time for anything other than trying to push them back out to the depths of space. In the aftermath of this kaiju invasion, the heroes of the Marvel Universe now know that giant monsters could pose a significant threat to society in the future. Luckily, they have a new team of allies perfectly suited to battling these threats. But even a group of heroic giant monsters need looking after. Not only is Elsa Bloodstone keeping an eye on them, but S.H.I.E.L.D. and Damage Control are also watchful eyes on Kei and company. While the ongoing series will have lots of action and adventure, it will also give us the opportunity to dig into the personalities of some of these new characters in a significant way. If you had to give Kei Kawade one piece of advice about having his own Marvel comic book series, what would it be?

Cullen Bunn: I’d tell him to be careful around underground tyrants and intergalactic monster hunters.

The mayhem continues with MONSTERS UNLEASHED #4 by Cullen Bunn and Salvador Larroca, coming March 1!

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Marvel unleashes more monstrous mayhem in an ongoing series by Cullen Bunn and David Baldeon!

Earlier this week writer Cullen Bunn unleashed giant monsters on the heroes of the Marvel Universe.

“The focus is monsters and action and fun, but the book is important to the landscape of the Marvel Universe going forward,” Bunn told on Wednesday. “We’re introducing—and reintroducing—giant monsters to the world in a big way. And they’ll be a part of the world from this point forward.”

If you wondered what the writer meant by that, wonder no more: Kei Kawade and a host of colorful and chaotic characters will return for ongoing adventures after the MONSTERS UNLEASHED limited series concludes!

Appropriately still titled MONSTERS UNLEASHED, the new series from Bunn and artist David Baldeon features Kei—aka Kid Kaiju—as he teams with a new group of mysterious creatures introduced during the event: Aegis, Slizzik, Scragg, and Mekara. Along with ace monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone, this new team has goals and missions that remain largely classified for the time being.

We spoke with Bunn about the new series, its lead characters, and how the rest of the Marvel Universe might greet these new arrivals. Without giving away too much about the MONSTERS UNLEASHED limited series, what can you tell us about the premise of the new ongoing?

Cullen Bunn: Giant monsters have been reintroduced to the Marvel Universe, and after the events of the Monsters Unleashed limited series, the movers and shakers of Marvel’s hero community simply must take these behemoths seriously as a threat. With that in mind, Kei Kawade and a small group of new kaiju have been tasked with combating giant threats that surface all over the world.

From their hidden island base, Kei and a group of powerful monsters are on call, ready to face these gargantuan Leviathans wherever they may rise.

This is a series firmly rooted in the Marvel Universe. Kei, Elsa, and company will be interacting with a number of Marvel heroes, and they’ll be encountering some extremely powerful, extremely dangerous villains in addition to the giant monsters they must face. Let’s talk a little bit about the character of Kei, who we first saw in Totally Awesome Hulk. Was the plan all along to turn him into a major player in the Marvel Universe? His unique power set seems like a fun thing to play with in an ongoing series.

Cullen Bunn: Kei has been discussed, in one way or another, for a long while now. His abilities and origins have changed over the course of time, but I think the hope was always there that he would become a major player. His powers are unlike anyone else’s. If you really think about it, he’s insanely powerful, with the potential to be a world-changer, but he’s just a kid. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see where his powers take him and how they grow over time.

Monsters Unleashed by Art Adams

Monsters Unleashed by Art Adams What role will Elsa Bloodstone play?

Cullen Bunn: It might seem that Elsa is out of her depth when it comes to dealing with giant monsters. Put a mummy in front of her, and she can get the matter sorted straight away. A 30-foot tall dragon, though, is another story. Still, she’s an expert in monsters of all shapes and sizes, and over the course of the Monsters Unleashed series, she’ll form a bond with Kei. Now she acts as Kei’s adviser and bodyguard.

But if you’re a fan of Elsa creeping around old crypts, slaying vampires and the like, worry not. Her monster-killing habits are hard to kick. She’s going to be doing a little full moonlighting. What does artist David Baldeon bring to the title?

Cullen Bunn: David and I have worked together all too briefly in the past, and I’m so excited to have the chance to work with him on something like this. David draws one helluva monster, which is great because he’s going to be tackling a lot of them, as well as a lot of heroes and villains and the like. David also handles action, fun, and humor like a champ. Monsters Unleashed gave you a chance to play with a lot of the monsters that appeared before the Marvel Universe officially was born, but I imagine there’s still a lot of water in that well. What other creatures do you hope to bring into the ongoing at some point?

Cullen Bunn: Even though hundreds of monsters [appear] in MONSTERS UNLEASHED, it was impossible to showcase all of them. In this new series, I hope to write stories featuring some of the classic monsters I might have previously missed. There are some other existing creatures, like the Monsters of Evil who I introduced while writing VENOM, that I’d like to see get some panel time. I’m also excited to add in some monsters we haven’t seen before. Finally, we’ve only seen the first issue of the MONSTERS UNLEASHED limited series so far, which featured a massive attack by giant monsters and Earth’s heroes rising to battle them. After this attack, how will they react to a group of monsters that’s claiming to be fighting on their side?

Cullen Bunn: That’s an important aspect of this series. Kei and his monsters are under a lot of scrutiny from the heroes of the Marvel Universe, government agencies such as S.H.I.E.L.D., and corporate entities like Damage Control. And it’s not only the forces of good who are paying attention to Kei and his monsters. There is a sinister cadre of villains who are very interested in Kei and his unusual abilities.

Follow the Monsters Unleashed event going on now and get ready for ongoing action this April!

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Writer Cullen Bunn breaks down the first issue of Marvel’s monstrous new event!

Before the Avengers, the X-Men and Spider-Man ruled the newsstand, creators like Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck unleashed a wave of giant monsters that inspired terror and wonder in comic fans everywhere. Now those two concepts collide, as writer Cullen Bunn kicks off MONSTERS UNLEASHED, a five-issue bi-weekly limited series. Marvel recruited a murderer’s row of artists to draw the story, starting with Steve McNiven.

With the first issue of Marvel’s event series available in comic shops and digitally today, we sat down with Bunn to smash our way through the first bone-crushing, building-destroying issue. Cullen, the monsters have now been unleashed! How does it feel seeing the first amazing-looking issue hit stands? What was it like working with Steve McNiven on this issue?

Cullen Bunn: It’s thrilling to see this book come together, and I’m really excited to see what people think of it. I think it’s a story readers might not be expecting. The focus is monsters and action and fun, but the book is important to the landscape of the Marvel Universe going forward. We’re introducing—and reintroducing—giant monsters to the world in a big way. And they’ll be a part of the world from this point forward.

Steve is, of course, an amazing artist. I had no doubt that his work on the first issue would be breathtaking. He was an absolute delight to work with, despite all the crazy stuff I was asking him to draw. The comic features a wide variety of Marvel heroes, as it shows how the Avengers, X-Men, Inhumans, and others react to the giant monster attacks. Was there anyone in particular in this issue you enjoyed writing, even if it was just for a few pages?

Cullen Bunn: I love working on these stories that span the Marvel Universe, because it gives me this golden opportunity to write a wide range of characters, many of which I might not get the chance to write otherwise. There are definitely a few standouts for me. From the first issue, Hercules springs to mind. He’s a great character, especially when facing a threat of this nature. The dual Spider-Men are also a real joy to write. Rocket Raccoon, too, is a lot of fun for me. And of course, I love writing Elsa Bloodstone and Devil Dinosaur! With the Marvel Universe still recovering from Civil War II, plus the long-brewing Inhumans Vs. X-Men confrontation on the horizon, it’s interesting seeing everyone focused on a similar goal: stopping these monsters. Will these existing rivalries come into play as the series progresses?

Cullen Bunn: I’m not sure the heroes will have any spare time to deal with rivalries. The monster attacks we’ve seen in the first issue are just the beginning of something much, much more harrowing. There will be some nods to the current state of the Marvel Universe, but I didn’t want to dwell on those things. I was much more focused on a fun, entertaining read that anyone could pick up and enjoy. Beyond the Marvel heavy hitters who get to punch and kick and blast giant monsters, you have three characters in this first issue who aren’t directly tied to the action yet. Let’s start with Elsa Bloodstone, who appeared in NEXTWAVE and who you’ve written before in FEARLESS DEFENDERS. What exactly was she working on in the story?

Cullen Bunn: You can’t really have a giant monster apocalypse without attracting the attention of the world’s greatest monster hunter! Even though Elsa isn’t usually seen battling giant monsters, she still has access to a vast library of monster lore, and she’s heard hints of legends that may be tied to the crisis at hand. She’s trying to uncover the source of this monster invasion, and when she finds it, she’s going to do what she does best. Next, there’s Moon Girl, whose pal Devil Dinosaur wants in on the action, but she decides their time is better spent figuring out what’s going on. What’s her approach to solving this particular dilemma?

Cullen Bunn: Moon Girl is going to use her “phenomenal smarts” to solve the monster problem. Lunella has discovered that the monsters seem to be communicating—albeit in roars and screeches and the like—and she’s building a device to help her translate what the behemoths are saying. If she can figure out what the monsters want, it might illuminate a solution. Finally, there’s Kei, a fairly new character we’re really getting to know in this series. He spends most of this issue drawing monsters, with interesting results at the end of this installment. Who is he exactly, and how will he play into the bigger crisis?

Cullen Bunn: Kei has a very important role in this series. His powers, it would seem, make him a prime suspect for the source of this monster invasion. We’ll be seeing much, much more of him in the series, and we’ll be exploring the nature of these abilities and his connection to these monsters. Looking forward now to issue #2, what can readers expect from the next chapter? Any hints or teases? Will Devil Dinosaur get to come out and play?

Cullen Bunn: In our next issue, the monster attacks escalate in some dramatic ways. In addition, we’ll be seeing some outer space action. Elsa’s research brings her right into Kei’s life. And we’ll be seeing a huge team-up of heroes going up against a massive horde of classic Marvel beasts!

And yes, Devil Dinosaur will definitely get the chance to cut loose in some monster-fighting action, maybe not in the next issue, but he’ll get the chance during the series.

Pick up MONSTERS UNLEASHED #1 by Cullen Bunn and Steve McNiven right now, and look out for issue #2 on February 1!

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The writer of the mammoth event selects his crowning creatures!

The first issue of MONSTERS UNLEASHED drops next week on January 18, and if his gig as writer on the series didn’t tip his hate, Cullen Bunn loves Marvel monsters. We thought now would be the best time to check in on him and get an idea of which creatures he thinks of as his favorites.

“Asking me to narrow down my favorite Marvel monsters to any kind of finite list is an exercise in futility and frustration,” crows Cullen. “It’s a certainty that the moment I send this I will remember some awesome monster that I’ve missed. Thanks,! You’re the most insidious monster of all! But I’ll give it a go…”

“Everybody loves Fin Fang Foom, right? A giant space dragon with plans for world domination! His name is fun to say! He’s a pretty versatile character. He’s been menacing and terrifying. He’s been played for laughs. Heck. In DRAX, [co-writer] CM Punk and I put him in overalls and had him farming with Terrax on some distant world.”

“It surprises me that I’ve never really pushed to write a Werewolf by Night comic, because he has always been one of my favorite Marvel critters. I loved the idea of a pretty traditional werewolf going on adventures in a world full of super-powered folks. In a lot of ways, his story was like the Hulk’s, only exploring the supernatural and creepy side of Marvel.”

“I’m not sure if it was MICRONAUTS #7 or the first issue of the 1979 MAN-THING series that introduced me to the big green muck monster, but it was his namesake [comic] that really made me a fan. That issue haunted me, because it was such a tragic story. Man-Thing comes so close to regaining his humanity. He finds someone who cares about him. And he loses both. The last lines of that issue are certainly melodramatic. ‘Are those tears trickling down your face, monster? Tears for Dr. Oheimer, that good man who lies dead in your arms? Are they tears for the life that might have been, now vanished in the smoke of a raging inferno? No, monsters don’t cry. It must be the moisture of the swamp.’ But I love them!”

“A father and son team of would-be world conquering monsters. They’ve become a favorite duo of mine since I started writing MONSTERS UNLEASHED. I love the dynamic between the two.”

“Does he qualify as a monster or a hero? He’s one of the Eternals, and I’ve always loved his design, ever since I first saw him whooping up on Thor on the cover of THOR #285.”

“Before I ever read this cyclopean dude’s story, I dug him. The design of the creature was just great. It’s weird and creepy and scary.  He wasn’t a bad guy at all. He was stranded on our world and he was terribly, terribly frightened by how awful humankind was. We all feel that way sometimes.”

“No list of monsters would be complete without Devil Dinosaur. He may be my favorite [Jack] Kirby-created beast of all time. In his short-lived original series, he went on some unbelievable adventures. Giant spiders! Giants wearing dinosaur skulls! Cosmic entities! Aliens! It was pure imagination on the page.”

“Here’s a creature I wasn’t too familiar with, but he would have made this list based solely on his design. He looks like a creepy root system taking human shape. I have this weird fear of old, gnarly trees, and ‘It’ plays right into that.” 

“This guy doesn’t show up any more, but back in the day I thought he was awesome. I got an issue of SHOGUN WARRIORS in a three-pack of comics, and he showed up in the issue. He was a giant hand… with dragon head fingers… and the fingers could breathe fire… and they could detach and fly around on their own! That guy was great.”

Witness Cullen’s passion in action on January 18 with MONSTERS UNLEASHED #1, followed closely by issue #2 on February 1!

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Cullen Bunn discusses the upcoming solo adventure for this Star Wars stalwart!

On February 1, Star Wars fans will find themselves facing one of the deadliest of Darth Sidious’ apprentices and certainly the longest lasting one: Darth Maul. This meeting takes place in the upcoming DARTH MAUL limited series written by Cullen Bunn with art by Luke Ross.

Although the series focuses on the short period following Maul’s christening as Palpatine’s apprentice just before the events of “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” we decided to talk with Bunn about his thoughts on the most significant events that helped create the cerebral attack dog who quickly became a true fan favorite. If we’re being honest and upfront with one another, Cullen, let’s admit one thing: You’ve been given the chance to work with one of the baddest villains in the Star Wars toy box. What was your response when you found out about this opportunity and what is the major appeal to Darth Maul for you?

Cullen Bunn: When editor Jordan D. White called me and asked if I’d be interested in writing a Darth Maul comic, I think I responded with an adamant “Yes!” before he had even finished the sentence. As you said, Maul is one of the coolest characters in the Star Wars galaxy. Star Wars is blessed with a wealth of characters that you want to know more about. I mean, every background character in every cantina in every hive of scum and villainy is ripe for further exploration. But Maul ranks right at the top. We’ve seen a few different sides of Maul: obedient killing machine, madman, crime lord, cunning strategist. I was excited to write a story that might show off all of those aspects of the character. I also find it fascinating that the Sith are taught to embrace their anger, but Maul—because of his master’s planning—has to keep his in check. So let’s dig in here. When it comes to the most significant events in the life of Darth Maul, I think we have to go back to what is probably the best scene from “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”: the big showdown between Qui-Gon Jinn, a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul. What was your reaction to first seeing it when the movie first came out and how did it inform your take on the character?

Cullen Bunn: Yes, for me the showdown between Maul and the Jedi was the best scene in “The Phantom Menace.” It was exciting to see because Maul was so different than Vader, the only other Sith I had seen in action at that point. He was fast. He jumped. He used martial arts. He uses the Force to hurl objects with deadly accuracy. And that lightsaber! There’s a moment in that fight when Qui-Gon Jinn and Maul are moving down a corridor and these force fields are separating them. Qui-Gon sits in an almost meditative stance. But Maul is pacing back and forth, menacing, so impatient to kill his enemy. I feel like that moment really informed where I wanted to go with the character.stwmaul2017001_reis There’s also the Maul we that we meet back in the animated “Star Wars: Clone Wars” television series, years after his defeat at the hands of Obi-Wan. This takes place well-after the time you’ll be writing about, of course, but which moments from this series stood out the most to you in terms of developing the who Darth Maul would become?

Cullen Bunn: Yes, this is long after the story I’m telling, but “Clone Wars” still helped to inform the character. This is where you are seeing a different side of Maul, really digging into what makes him tick. He’s more than just an attack dog. As far as I was concerned, those aspects of Maul were always there. We just didn’t see them in “The Phantom Menace.” The Maul I’m writing plays a lot closer to this version of the character, I think. There are little bits and pieces that are left unexplained here, and I am able to connect the dots a little in my book. Naturally, this brings us to his current iteration as seen on the “Star Wars: Rebels” cartoon. Was there anything noteworthy that took you by surprise in his appearance here? The changes seem pretty obvious, but has he become someone altogether different for you at this point, especially when looking at the version you’ll be introducing us to later this month?

Cullen Bunn: Again, I look at all the changes to the character, and I feel like the seeds of those changes might have been with them for a long time, so I wanted to write a character that readers can see turning into the man they would see in “Rebels.” And I think I’ve found some interesting connective tissue between the comic and “Rebels”, too. There are definitely some things to look for fans of the series. Of course, he existed in the Legends material as well, and while no longer canon, were there any particular stories that stood out to you that really got to the heart of the character for you?

Cullen Bunn: I had not read many of the Maul comics before taking on this series. And I struggled with the notion of reading them. SON OF DATHOMIR was an easy choice, but I didn’t want many of the other books to influence me in a major way. After I came up with my pitch for the series, I had some time on my hands before approval, so I did go back and read the Legends stuff. I enjoyed quite a bit of it. As we wrap things up here, Cullen, is one thing in particular you think that will provide an equally momentous milestone for Maul in the story you and Luke Ross will be telling? Any hints as to what that will be?

Cullen Bunn: There are some major milestones for Maul in this book. Not only will you see how his training shaped him, you’ll also see him take actions that inform the man he will become and that could haunt him even in his latest incarnation.

There’s also quite a few guest stars I’m excited about in this series. Some are new, like Jedi Padawan Eldra Kaitis, but some are characters you’ve seen before and they may surprise you when they show up.

Get to know your Sith Lord in Cullen Bunn and Luke Ross’ DARTH MAUL #1, out February 1 and available at your local comic book retailer!

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