Cullen Bunn on what’s to come for Kid Kaiju, including Fin Fang Foom… times two!

With big monsters, comes big responsibility…for Kei Kawade, at least. When you can bring massive behemoths to life just by drawing them, people start to take notice. Kei, AKA Kid Kaiju, currently enjoys his own ongoing series-MONSTERS UNLEASHED, from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Andrea Broccardo-and soon, he gets to join the Marvel Legacy initiative too.

In MONSTERS UNLEASHED #7 (out this fall), Kei and his colossal compatriots find themselves in the Savage Land, the classic Marvel locale untouched by time and populated by unfriendly beasts. Talking to writer Cullen Bunn we learned that the first arc will focus on classic creatures like Fin Fang Foom while also setting up important new developments for the future of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel.com: Can you talk a little bit about how this issue will directly tie into the Marvel Legacy initiative? 

Cullen Bunn: MONSTERS UNLEASHED started off as a bit of a love letter to all the classic monsters in Marvel’s vast history. With the new series, we’ve been focused on our new monsters. In this arc, though, we’re putting the spotlight back on one of the classic monsters in a big way. In addition, this story focuses on the idea of a kid struggling with powers that are new and unusual and scary to him. That’s the kind of story that made me love Marvel when I was a kid.

Marvel.com: Going off that, what kind of throwbacks can we expect to Marvel’s legacy of monsters from the Kirby era and the like?

Cullen Bunn: We’re spotlighting one iconic monster–Fin Fang Foom–in this arc. He’s arguably the most popular of the classic Marvel beasts, and he’s definitely one of my favorites. Wait. Did I say we were spotlighting one monster? I meant two. But they are both Fin Fang Foom. What does that mean? It means that while we’re honoring the legacy of Marvel comics, we’re also looking toward some very important things coming in the future.

Marvel.com: What about the Savage Land makes it so well-suited for a MONSTERS UNLEASHED story? 

Cullen Bunn: Besides the fact that the Savage Land is one of Marvel’s most legendary locales, there is an important reason that this story takes place there. When we first arrive in the land of prehistoric beasts, it is because Kei has a big secret he wants to reveal, but for various reasons he wants to be far away from modern civilization.

Marvel.com: How will Kid Kaiju’s band of world-saving monsters get along with the ones we’ll meet in the Savage Land? 

Cullen Bunn: They will not get along at all.

Marvel.com: In terms of an antagonist, what kind of threat are we looking at here, both to this land untouched by time and the world at large? 

Cullen Bunn: The threat in this story is huge–and not just physically. This creature is a threat to Kei, a threat to the Savage Land, and–if Kei and Elsa Bloodstone don’t stop it–to the world as a whole. As I mentioned, as much as this story honors Marvel’s past, it also looks to the future. The villain in this issue is just part of something much, much bigger and more terrifying.

Marvel.com: How does Andrea Broccardo’s artwork on this correlate to the story you want to tell?

Cullen Bunn: Andrea draws some great monsters and dinosaurs! He also draws great action and adventure. Most importantly, though, Andrea never forgets to keep the artwork fun. We’re telling an important story, but MONSTERS UNLEASHED is still a book you’ll have a good time reading.

Marvel.com: Will this experience be enough to turn Kid Kaiju into Man Kaiju?

Cullen Bunn: This might be a harrowing enough experience to age Kid Kaiju. It’s definitely going to open his eyes to the enormity of his abilities a little more. But I think he’ll still be a kid when it’s all over–a kid with some big responsibilities.

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The MONSTERS UNLEASHED maestro remembers his first interactions with Jack Kirby's work!

Join us this month to celebrate Jack ” King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created to change comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

Jack Kirby co-created some of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Universe. In addition to Captain America back in the 1940s, he also helped bring Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, Nick Fury, Hulk and the X-Men to four color life. Even before that, he worked on books like JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY and STRANGE TALES bringing weird, wild monsters into readers’ homes every month.

Cullen Bunn continues that tradition as the writer of many X-Men books–including X-MEN BLUE right now–and both the MONSTERS UNLEASHED limited series and the current ongoing which showcase many of those massive miscreants, while painting them in a new light.

We talk with Bunn about playing in Kirby’s sandbox with everything from the coolest monsters to the mightiest mutants!

Marvel.com: Do you remember when you first experienced Jack Kirby’s work?

Cullen Bunn: I couldn’t tell you a specific book that was my first Kirby experience, but I vividly remember sitting at the breakfast table in my Aunt Mary’s house in South Carolina, reading a stack of comics, many of which were clearly Jack Kirby stories. Even before I knew Kirby by name, I recognized his style, and I loved it.

Marvel.com: Were there certain lessons you learned about how comics work either visually or verbally from looking at his stories?

Cullen Bunn: The lesson I think I learned from Kirby could be boiled down to “go big or go home.” His stories are dynamic and bold and exciting. More than anything, Kirby was an “imaginer” and I don’t ever want to forget how important that is to comics. He brought his all to every page he worked on.

Marvel.com: Jack drew the first 10 issues of X-MEN. Did you look back to those earliest appearances before jumping into that pool yourself?

Cullen Bunn: Of course! I poured over those original stories again and again, and I even went so far as to read them in their original comic form–I’m a big X-Men collector–instead of in trade, just to enhance that old school feel.

Marvel.com: You got even further into pure Kirby with MONSTERS UNLEASHED. How did the idea to revive all of those great monsters come about?

Cullen Bunn: MONSTERS UNLEASHED was always intended to be a love letter to the classic Marvel Monsters and their creators. The trick, of course, was to figure out a way to bring them all together. Kid Kaiju, the boy with the power to summon monsters by drawing them, is a tribute to artists like Don Heck and [Steve] Ditko and, of course, Kirby, who brought them to life. He’s an ode to the childlike wonder Kirby brought to the page.

Marvel.com: When you started working on MONSTERS UNLEASHED, did you immediately start re-reading those comics?

Cullen Bunn: I did! I have a collection of old Marvel monster comics, and I broke them out and read those original tales. That’s a great perk of the job. For research, I can spend some time reading terrific old Kirby comics.

Marvel.com: Were there any monsters you weren’t familiar with that really surprised you in those issues?

Cullen Bunn: I think I had seen most of the monsters at some point over the years. Some of them I had encountered in other comics, drawn by other creators, though. Digging into the research, I was amazed by just how many of these creatures Kirby actually created. The list was pretty impressive. Some that were most interesting or with whom I wasn’t super familiar were Spragg, who is just an evil hill, and Trull, who was a killer steam shovel.

Fantastic Four (1961) #91

Fantastic Four (1961) #91

  • Published: October 10, 1969
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Marvel.com: You’ve mentioned being a fan of FANTASTIC FOUR #9193. In that storyline, Stan and Jack worked with Skrulls and other aliens, 1930s-esque gangsters and a giant robot monster in Torgo. Those issues are packed with cool visuals, but also some great Kirby face-acting as Thing struggles with all of it. Did that come into play when you were first discovering that tale?

Cullen Bunn: Yeah, for sure. This was another issue I just picked up off the rack at the grocery store, and it struck me to the point that I remember the very moment I first looked at the issue. There’s a splash page with the Thing sort of turning and brooding sadly toward the “camera” while Torgo stands behind him stoically. It’s a quiet image, but there’s so much emotion and drama on the page, it’s the one that I connect with in that arc.

Marvel.com: We’ll be speaking again soon about your love of DEVIL DINOSAUR, but in a lot of ways those original 1970s Marvel stories are pure, unadulterated Kirby. When you first read them, did that come across?

Cullen Bunn: Oh, yes! These days, I often go into the comic shop and ask to be pointed in the direction of a book full of “mayhem.” What I’m really asking for, I think, are books like Kirby used to create, with wild ideas and crazy events jumping from every panel. I’m always trying to recapture that wonderful feeling of reading those Kirby classics.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Cullen Bunn brings back a familiar face as part of Secret Empire!

Secret Empire gets the cold shoulder in the upcoming X-MEN: BLUE #7, out July 12, as writer Cullen Bunn and artist Cory Smith bring Emma Frost back into the mutants’ midst. Hiding since the war against the Inhumans, the former White Queen finds herself in a dark place despite being a ruler of the mutant homeland of New Tian.

Oh, and did we mention that she’s also receiving push back from both the X-Men and Magneto?

We spoke to Bunn about Emma’s return and some of the threats she’ll be facing, both physical and psychological.

Marvel.com: Just to catch everyone up, where has Emma Frost been hanging out before this issue?

Cullen Bunn: Emma has been in hiding since the events of [Inhumans Vs. X-Men]. But don’t think that means she’s been doing nothing. She has been very busy. She’s been building alliances and positioning herself to make some big moves. You’ll see some of that play out in the Secret Empire story. But we’re really going to be setting something really, really big up for Emma in the future. Ever since we revealed her return, I’ve been receiving messages asking me to immediately return Emma to her status as a hero. I understand the sentiment, but that’s not something I can do right away. Emma can’t just come back from where she was with the flip of a switch. She’s in a dark place right now, and if she comes back from it—that’s a big “if”—it will take time.

Marvel.com: Going off that, what’s compelling her to join the fray now?

Cullen Bunn: Emma is part of the “ruling council” of the new mutant homeland of New Tian, and she sincerely wants to see this new society succeed. But she’s still very angry—so angry—about everything that has happened of late. Sometimes when you’re full of rage, you lash out at everyone, including those closest to you.

Marvel.com: What will Ms. Frost bring to both X-MEN: BLUE and SECRET EMPIRE?

Cullen Bunn: In SECRET EMPIRE, Emma gives us a look at a world leader who has been deeply wounded. She wants what is right for her people, but she’s so hurt and angry that she is ruthless in her pursuit of her ideals. She’s an antagonist for the X-Men, without a doubt, because the X-Men simply cannot accept what she’s doing. She’s also—in my mind—a very tragic figure, because she has lost so much and she’s fallen so far.

X-Men: Blue #7 cover by Arthur Adams

Marvel.com: Do you have personal favorite aspects of her character that you enjoyed writing/exploring?

Cullen Bunn: Emma is proud and confident, and that’s always fun to write, but underneath is a great deal of pain that she is trying—unsuccessfully—to hide. That makes her a rewarding character to write. I am looking forward to exploring how she grows and changes for some time to come.

Marvel.com: What kinds of threats will she be facing and how are her powers well equipped to handle them?

Cullen Bunn: Emma can handle just about anything you throw at her. Initially, the threats she faces come from the X-Men as they make moves against her regime. But her biggest challenges in the future will be dealing with her own sense of loss without letting it drag her into madness. And she’s making some alliances that could be very, very dangerous for her in the future.

Marvel.com: Are there any more epic mutant returns in the cards?

Cullen Bunn: Oh, yes! We know about Emma and we know about Polaris. But even in the Secret Empire arc, there will be several other mutant returns. Some of the mutants that will be popping up will be changed in mysterious ways. These changes play into something big that we’ve already been building in X-MEN: BLUE and we’ll be exploring in future issues of the series.

Face the return of Emma Frost with writer Cullen Bunn and artist Cory Smith next week in July 12’s X-MEN: BLUE #7!

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Cullen Bunn sheds some light on how mutants fit into Hydra’s regime!

The time-displaced original Children of the Atom make up the X-Men Blue team, with Jean Grey, Cyclops, Beast, Angel, and Iceman working alongside their former archenemy Magneto. While it’s hard enough adjusting to a new era, these kids and their formerly villainous ally now also have a Secret Empire to contend with.

Where to even start?

We asked X-MEN: BLUE writer Cullen Bunn about issue #7, available July 12!

Marvel.com: First off, how has writing X-MEN: BLUE been different from some of the other X-Men projects you’ve worked on before?

Cullen Bunn: It’s interesting, because I was writing UNCANNY X-MEN and when I got the call that we were going to be shifting over to X-MEN: BLUE and it would be the original five time lost characters. I’ve been pretty honest with this—my first reaction was not overjoyed. Because as much as I love those characters, they’re not what I would consider my X-Men. Like, they weren’t from the era that I really got into X-Men. So I was a little hesitant! I wasn’t sure I was the right guy to write the book.

As I started writing those characters, though, and putting them through the stories I’d been planning on telling, I’ve become more and more excited about them. I’m glad that this is the team I’m writing, because they have a completely different dynamic and viewpoint on the world; I’m able to tell kind of “classic” X-Men adventures and “uncanny” adventures. I’ve come to really love writing these characters now.

Marvel.com: You kind of got to make them your own, then! So, now that we’re all nice and emotionally invested in these guys, how will the Secret Empire affect them?

Cullen Bunn: Well, without giving too much away…as we’ve seen in SECRET EMPIRE, California has been ceded to mutants as a new mutant homeland. On the surface, that looks great! It’s an opportunity for mutants and homo sapiens to live in peace together. But, as we’ll find in X-MEN: BLUE, that’s not necessarily playing out the way it’s supposed to. It’s definitely a situation where we have mutants in power and that power is sort of a corrupting force. It plays to X-Men Blue for a number of reasons.

First of all, Magneto—who’s acting as sort of a mentor for the X-Men—has said recently that he does not believe the idea of a mutant utopia works. He’s seen it backfire in horrible ways time and time again, and he keeps getting drawn back into that, lured into this idea of a mutant paradise; it is a dream [of his], but now he doesn’t think that dream will ever come true. He thinks that a place like New Tian is a disaster waiting to happen, and he wants no part of it from that perspective.

We have also seen, however, that Magneto and the X-Men Blue team have a beef with Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw and certain characters that are entrenched in this new mutant regime. And what we’re gonna see in X-MEN: BLUE is the new X-Men team almost as a rebel force at work inside New Tian.

Marvel.com: Will the Blue team take on the larger Secret Empire plotlines as well?

Cullen Bunn: There’s definitely some parallels with what’s happening in New Tian and what’s going on in the Marvel Universe as a whole, but I wanted to focus on it mainly from a mutant perspective. Again, without giving away too many spoilers, there’s a villain that shows up in these issues who I feel has a direct correlation with what’s going on with Steve Rogers and is cut from very similar cloth story-wise and we definitely lean into that to shore up those parallels even more.

Marvel.com: That’s so cool! It sort of unifies the different threads of the Marvel Universe narratively, like, a microcosm? Or even just winking at another storyline that’s happening.

Cullen Bunn: Yeah! The goal with these tie-ins for me is always that a reader can continue reading X-MEN: BLUE and not get thrown off too much by the events of the Marvel Universe. But this is such a big event! Things are changing in such monumental ways, there’s no way to [avoid it]. But I wanted to make sure that we’re seeing [that] story from a distinctively mutant point of view while not ignoring what’s going on in the world at large.

Marvel.com: So let’s talk Magneto. How is such a powerful character fitting into all this Secret Empire hubbub? Is he joining, holding back, fighting against it?

Cullen Bunn: We talked a lot about Magneto early on in the discussion about what’s going on in the world of Secret Empire and really, Magneto seems to be sitting this one out. For reasons of his own, he has struck a bargain that he’s just going to sit this one out and not interfere, and he’s agreed to that.

However.

The X-Men team is there in New Tian, and they’re obviously not just sitting back. Now, then the question will come—are they working on Magneto’s orders or against what Magneto wants? As the tie-in goes on I think there’s even a question posed like, don’t you think Magneto would have prepared for this? And we see some pretty big changes among the team itself as some of those contingencies begin to come into play.

Marvel.com: So it might be that he has something up his sleeve?

Cullen Bunn: Well, Magneto always has something up his sleeve. I think we’re gonna have come interesting interactions. He’s definitely taking a back seat in this tie-in and you don’t see him getting a lot of [face] time, but his actions are pretty important to the story and they’ll shape the X-Men Blue team after this event. And when we do finally see Magneto, I think we have an interesting interaction between Magneto and Steve Rogers in the arc that I’m pretty excited about.

Marvel.com: I know that you’ve been writing Magneto for a while, so I’m sure you’ll do him justice. After all, you know him pretty well—you guys are on, like, a first-name basis.

Cullen Bunn: [Laughs] I do kind of feel like I have a handle on where he’s coming from and how he would see what’s been going on in the world, but I also know that Magneto…he knows that, if he disagrees with this, it’s not something he can go into with guns blazing, so to speak, because that would fail. He’s got to be a little cagier about what he’s doing.

Marvel.com: How is the team reacting to this pseudo-utopia? Like, how are they taking it?

Cullen Bunn: Well, they’re not taking it well. [Laughs] It’s not going well for them. It’s a weird situation for them because here’s this place that should be a safe haven for mutants and yet they find themselves struggling against that very ideal.

In fact, I’ve often said that, to some degree, the world that they’re in right now? The New Tian mutant utopia is almost like their Days of Futures Past. They are seeing the world they’ve always been afraid they’d see happen, but they never expected these threats and these dangers to be coming from a mutant source to the degree that it is.

As well get into the first issue, we’re seeing the X-Men dealing with mutants who’ve been imprisoned and who are scheduled for psychic reconditioning because they don’t support the law of the land. That’s the kind of thing that scares the hell out of them, and they just can’t sit back and let it happen.

See how it all plays out this summer in X-MEN BLUE #7 by Cullen Bunn and Cory Smith, available July 12.

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Cullen Bunn lays out the victims in the Merc with a Mouth’s crosshairs!

Remember the year 2012? Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 60th year on the throne. Freakish physical specimens from around the world lifted heavy stuff and ran fast in a thing called “the Olympics.” The Mayan Calendar, regrettably, got proven incorrect in its prediction of the apocalypse. Oh yeah—and Deadpool killed the Marvel Universe.

On July 5, prepare to do it all over again—the Deadpool killing the Marvel Universe part—with DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN #1! Writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajić reunite with a brand-new five part series as the Merc with a Mouth ravages his way across all of Marvel existence one more time.

We sat down with Cullen to try and spill one or two secrets about what to expect when Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe, again.

Marvel.com: Cullen, can you tell us a few names on Deadpool’s kill list? Pretty please!

Cullen Bunn: He’s killing the entire Marvel universe! That means every name is on the kill list! Duh!

Actually, that’s not entirely true. This time around, Deadpool isn’t just setting out on rampant murder spree without direction. He has specific targets he’s trying to take out. I kept a growing list of everyone Deadpool kills in the series. That helped us keep all the deaths straight. Trust me, the list is very, very long.

I don’t want to get into too much detail, but I’ll give you an example of how this series is a little different than the original. When I wrote the first series, lots of fans gave me trouble when Wade killed Spider-Man in the second issue. I can’t blame them. It was tragic. And as a peace offering, in the second issue of this series, Wade goes after the entire Spider-Family. Those spider symbols might as well be targets.

See? I love you guys. I’m a giver.

Marvel.com: Who—or what—might be motivating the Merc this time around?

Cullen Bunn: I could tease them, but that would just make them very angry. They don’t like teasing. And they have Deadpool doing their dirty work for them, and I’ve already been killed by Deadpool more than once.

Did I say “them”? That would mean there’s more than one person pulling the strings, wouldn’t it?

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again #1 cover by Dave Johnson

It’s true. There is a vast conspiracy at work behind the scenes here. And while we reveal the members of this conspiracy in the first issue, I think figuring out the mystery of what’s going on will be a big part of the fun for readers.

Marvel.com: What kind of weapons might we witness in use?

Cullen Bunn: So many weapons!

As you can imagine, if Deadpool is going to kill some of the Marvel Universe’s heavy hitters, he’s going to need some heavy ordinance. I’m not going to reveal his top secret weapons cache. It’s top secret, after all. But Deadpool’s going to surprise the heroes—and the readers—as only Deadpool can.

Marvel.com: You’ve mentioned that Dalibor is working with a few different styles for this book—what could that mean?

Cullen Bunn: With this series, we’re going to be honoring the history of comics and the vastly different styles of comics that have been delighting readers for ages. Of course, we’re honoring these wonderful comics with excessive violence and bloodshed, but that’s what we do. Dalibor has the chance to play with plenty of different styles here, as we explore how Deadpool views the world…and how the world really is. Dalibor kept telling me to challenge him; to “make his eyes bleed”—so I went right along with his request.

DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN, by Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajić, starts the murder spree on July 5!

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Cullen Bunn unveils a new Intelligencia to take on Kid Kaiju and company!

Writer Cullen Bunn and artist David Baldeon deal with huge characters in MONSTERS UNLEASHED every month. However, with the series’ third issue, they’ll also be introducing some gigantic personalities all with malevolent intent: the New Intelligencia!

Originally gunning for The Hulk, this new take on the familiar group features The Leader, Mad Thinker, M.O.D.O.K. 2.0 and Mr. Sinister! As some of the most cunning minds in the Marvel Universe, they will put their giant heads together and come up with a way to target Kid Kaiju.

We talked with Bunn about building this new squad, playing with some of the most iconic villains Marvel has, and the joys of writing The Mad Thinker!

Marvel.com: Does this new Intelligencia have a specific goal or mission statement for lack of a better term? And how does that play into the series?

Cullen Bunn: This iteration of the group has the same mission statement as previous versions: evil through smarts. Okay, that’s not their mission statement, but it’s close. In the case of MONSTERS UNLEASHED, the New Intelligencia has found something they’ve not seen before. While each and every one of them has created monsters of one sort or another, they’ve always had to really work at it. Kid Kaiju, though, has actually created living, breathing creatures just by drawing them. To the Intelligencia, he represents the power of raw genetic creation, and that is worth studying.

Marvel.com: M.O.D.O.K. 2.0, Mr. Sinister, The Leader, and Mad Thinker are also fairly bombastic. How fun is it bouncing them off of each other?

Cullen Bunn: So much fun! They all have such unique personalities and approaches to reaching their malevolent goals. With this group, I wanted to show that Kid Kaiju and his monsters were going to be dealing with very real threats in the Marvel Universe. Each of the members of the New Intelligencia is a genuine threat in their own right. Working together, they are extremely dangerous.

Marvel.com: Leader, Mad Thinker, and M.O.D.O.K. have experience with this group. What made them bring in Mr. Sinister?

Cullen Bunn: Sinister, with his experience with cloning and such, was a perfect addition to the group. He is sort of a genetic expert. And I think people forget just how smart Mr. Sinister really is. His spot on this team is well-deserved.

Marvel.com: What sets the 2.0 version of M.O.D.O.K. apart from the others we’ve seen?

Cullen Bunn: Well, M.O.D.O.K. 2.0 is a clone of the original M.O.D.O.K., and he’s a little more calm and cunning than his predecessor. Of course, I always saw the original M.O.D.O.K. as a ranting fiend, so being [calmer] than him isn’t too hard. I also think he’s more cruel and scary. He actually wanted to become this abomination. Of all the members of the New Intelligencia, he’s the most evil, I think.

The Intelligencia by RB Silva

Marvel.com: Of this group, Mad Thinker’s been around the longest. What’s it like working with such a lasting villain?

Cullen Bunn: I love The Mad Thinker. I’m trying to approach him a little differently than we might have seen before. He has this weird, almost religious take on his own insanity. He’s frequently offering bits of strange philosophy regarding madness.

Marvel.com: The characters in this new version of the Intelligencia are mostly used to operating on their own or leading groups. How do they work together in a group situation?

Cullen Bunn: If anything, it will be the hubris of this group that tears it apart. Each member of the group believes they are the smartest, and there’s a little jealousy between them for that reason. Their minds are always working, always figuring out possibilities, but that makes them paranoid…maybe with good reason.

The Intelligencia makes their presence felt in MONSTERS UNLEASHED #3 on June 21 thanks to Cullen Bunn and David Baldeon.

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Cullen Bunn provides a tour for one of Marvel’s nastiest locales!

X-MEN: BLUE #6 sees our favorite mutants setting up shop on Madripoor, the super sketchy island historically populated by criminals, villains, and all kinds of shady characters. From the influence of A-list bad guys to the not-so-reliable justice system, we can think of more than a few reasons you might not want to make it your next vacation destination.

But writer Cullen Bunn has a different take—maybe Madripoor’s not such a bad place after all?

Marvel.com: Madripoor has a pretty much laissez-faire government, meaning plenty of cutthroat deals can go down…

Cullen Bunn: Sure, sure, but they throw the very best parties. I mean, look, do you want to go to the same boring old barbecue every weekend, or do you want to go the party where anything could happen? Yes, that “anything” might include getting held hostage by the Hand or some militant MGH dealers, but embracing excitement—that’s the Madripoor way!

Marvel.com: Because it doesn’t allow extradition, Madripoor basically operates as a haven for criminals. Though some of them may cut deals to help maintain the status quo, it still makes it a less than safe place.

Cullen Bunn: But every corner of Madripoor isn’t dangerous. If you can afford to hang out in High Town, you’ll be spending time with a much more civilized group of criminals.

And the X-Men live there now. Doesn’t that make you feel safer?

Marvel.com: As you mentioned, the Hand has historically had an interest in Madripoor—and you really don’t want to stick around when those guys get involved.

Cullen Bunn: Do we forget that the Hand have a sense of honor? They have a code. They are noble assassins and killers. You know how if you want to keep the spider population down, you keep wasps around? Well, the Hand is kind of like those spider-killing wasps. They help keep the population of other criminal elements down.

See? Glass half full…of ninjas.

X-Men: Blue #6 cover by Art Adams

Marvel.com: In its early days, a lot of pirates lived in Madripoor, and that tradition of lawlessness still impacts the way it operates today.

Cullen Bunn: That just means you don’t have the authorities breathing down your neck every time you want to jaywalk. People who live in Madripoor are free thinkers. They’re like artists who all live together to create a special kind of community. Yes, a good many of these “artists” work in a medium that involves crime. Some of them work in murder the way Rembrandt worked in paint. But let’s not get too judgmental.

Marvel.com: At various times, HYDRA, Magneto, and other villains have tried to use Madripoor as a base of operations, which has led to a fair amount of instability.

Cullen Bunn: Lots of villains have called Madripoor home, but now there are heroes like the X-Men getting in on the act, too. Not that the X-Men bring stability to their hometowns. They often only bring super villain attacks and building explosions.

But there are other groups who do want to see a little more stability in Madripoor, and they are working slowly but surely to do so. There’s this one group called the Raksha I’ve been hearing about a lot. They are making some waves with their efforts to shape things up in Madripoor. But I’m not really allowed to tell you much about them.

Visit scenic Madripoor in X-MEN: BLUE #6 by Cullen Bunn and Ray-Anthony Height, coming June 28!

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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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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

Marvel.com: 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!

Marvel.com: 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!

Marvel.com: 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!”

Marvel.com: 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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