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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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 Marvel.com 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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

Marvel.com: 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. 

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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!

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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, Marvel.com! You’re the most insidious monster of all! But I’ll give it a go…”

FIN FANG FOOM
“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.”

WEREWOLF BY NIGHT
“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.”

MAN-THING
“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!”

GOOM AND GOOGAM
“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.”

KARKAS
“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.”

MONSTROM
“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.”

DEVIL DINOSAUR
“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.”

IT CRAWLS BY NIGHT
“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.” 

THE HAND OF FIVE
“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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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.

Marvel.com: 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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Deadpool’s crew must pick where they stand when Inhumans and X-Men make war!

As the events of Inhumans Vs. X-Men unfold, the Marvel Universe will select where to place their allegiance. And you can bet the Mercs for Money won’t sit on the sidelines. So just who will our favorite mercenaries be aligning with? DEADPOOL & THE MERCS FOR MONEY writer Cullen Bunn gives us the scoop on what’s coming as the team enters the fray beginning with February 1’s issue #8.

“Mercenaries usually side with the group that has the deepest pockets,” he explains. “In the case of [Inhumans Vs. X-Men], though, the Mercs for Money forget about the cash and take a stand for what they believe in. They side with the mutants, but that will get them into a lot of trouble. Of course, each member of the team has his or her own reasons and ideologies.”

Deadpool
“Deadpool has a vested interest in protecting mutantkind, so siding with the X-Men to destroy the Terrigen Cloud—basically a no-brainer for him.”

Domino
“As a mutant, Domino doesn’t see much of a choice here. But—even more than that—she considers it the right move. ‘Sometimes you strap on your guns for cash. Sometimes, you do it because it’s what’s right.’”

Masacre
“Where Deadpool leads, Masacre follows.”

Gorilla Man
“Gorilla Man considers the mutants in the right here. He has nothing against the Inhumans, but he sees them as blinded when it comes to what Terrigen has cost. That said, he’s the first to test the rest of the team to make sure they join the fray for the right reasons.”

Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #8 cover

Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #8 cover

Machine Man
“Machine Man has run the scenarios. As he sees it, destroying the Terrigen Cloud does not doom the Inhumans. They would have time to figure out an alternative. The mutants however, face a more dire situation and they do not have time to figure out some other plan.”

Hit-Monkey
“He doesn’t care, really. He’d throw poop at mutants and Inhumans alike.”

Negasonic Teenage Warhead
“Negasonic does not want to see a war between the Inhumans and the X-Men. She also doesn’t want to see her people—the mutants—die due to Terrigen poisoning. This young merc has a lot of power. So she feels she can actually do something that would prevent a war altogether.”

Ren Kimura
“Hold on a second! Ren Kimura isn’t a member of the Mercs for Money! But at least in one timeline, Ren—last seen in my series FEARLESS DEFENDERS—has joined the team. This Inhuman has a very unusual outlook on Terrigen.”

Slip past the battle lines in DEADPOOL & THE MERCS FOR MONEY #8, on the way from Cullen Bunn and Iban Coello on February 1!

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Cullen Bunn provides a character sketch for a key figure in the upcoming event!

Remember the joys of sitting down with a notebook and doodling for hours? Maybe you copied some of your favorite comic panels from memory or turned a teacher into super villain without many changes. Well, what if your drawings conjured the subjects to life and threatened the world? That’s the problem facing Kid Kaiju in the pages of MONSTERS UNLEASHED.

The character actually first appeared in the pages of TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #3 in which he seemingly brought Fin Fang Foom to Hawaii after drawing the giant green dragon. Now, catch a glimpse of Kid Kaiju’s new look thanks to Terry Dodson.

The upcoming event features the return of many Marvel mega-creatures created by geniuses like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. The five-issue series will ship bi-weekly starting January 18 and feature a story by Cullen Bunn with the artistic talents of Adam Kubert, Steve McNiven, Salvador Larroca, Leinil Yu, and Greg Land.

We caught up with Bunn to discuss some of the finer points of this new character, the card designed by Dodson, and how all of this plays into Monsters Unleashed.

Marvel.com: What can you tell us about Kid Kaiju’s abilities and how they play into Monsters Unleashed?

Cullen Bunn: Kid Kaiju—or Kei Kawade, if you prefer—is something an enigma in Monsters Unleashed. He has a unique and potentially very dangerous ability. He is a talented artist who happens to be obsessed with monsters. So far so good. Nothing out of the ordinary there. The trick is that any monster he draws manifests physically. He draws Fin Fang Foom, for example, and Fin Fang Foom is summoned from the depths of space. Kei has no control over these monsters. Once they get here, they are free to do as they please. As you can guess, that could lead to some fairly sizable problems for the world as a whole.

Once Kei’s abilities are discovered, the heroes of the Marvel Universe scramble to better understand these fantastic [powers]. What are the limits? Can Kei summon heroes as easily as he summons monsters? Can he banish monsters as easily as he summons them? What happens if he draws Fin Fang Foom as a dead creature? A new power set has now appeared, and figuring out its intricacies will be a key to solving the crisis the world is facing.

But Kid Kaiju’s powers have deeper roots than anyone could possibly imagine. He’s only 11 years old, but he has a connection to an interstellar force of destruction that has destroyed countless planets.

Kid Kaiju by Terry Dodson

Kid Kaiju by Terry Dodson

Marvel.com: Even though Kei’s abilities sound like the stuff of childhood daydreams, it also seems like a lot for a kid to handle. How does he stand up to that pressure?

Cullen Bunn: Kei is just now coming to understand that this is how his artistic ability impacts the world. His abilities both terrify and excite him. That can be a dangerous combination. He doesn’t quite grasp just how much influence he has on the world. It seems at first that it’s all fun and games. As he comes to terms with just how much is riding on his shoulders, he begins to feel a little more pressure and fear, especially when he realizes that his own life is in the gravest of danger. By then, though, there will be no turning back.

Kei’s parents are a little more frightened by his abilities. When we first meet the Kawade family, we discover that Mom and Dad have some inkling that all is not right with the world. They’ve moved several times, always not long after the appearance of some giant monster. They are coming to the realization that their son might be responsible for the arrival of these monsters.

Marvel.com: What was the design process like for putting Kid Kaiju together with Terry?

Cullen Bunn: We’ve glimpsed an early incarnation of Kei before in the pages of TOTALLY AWESOME HULK. But that was just a couple of panels, and we really didn’t delve into the character. I wanted this to be a complete overhaul and reintroduction of the character. Terry really just took the few descriptive lines we gave him and ran with it. This is a character I think readers are really going to fall in love with and, considering where we’re heading with Kid Kaiju, I can’t imagine a better design.

The catastrophic chaos of Monsters Unleashed kicks off on January 18, 2017 with MONSTERS UNLEASHED #1!

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Cullen Bunn and Jorge Molina mix the original X-Men with Magneto!

Inhumans Vs. X-Men promises to bring big changes for both sets of characters, one being the return of the color-coded X-Men teams—X-MEN BLUE and X-MEN GOLD!

The former will bring together five young time-displaced mutants—Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Angel—and their greatest enemy, Magneto, as they attempt to create a world where humanity no longer fears mutants. It’s a long way from the Magneto these X-Men encountered in their past, but can they trust him? Only writer Cullen Bunn and artist Jorge Molina know for sure.

We caught up with the two creators to find out more about this team’s new focus and what to expect when the original X-Men team up with the Master of Magnetism!

Marvel.com: The original X-Men are now working with a man they see as one of their greatest enemies. What could possibly go wrong? But seriously, given where they are in their careers and relationship with Magneto, what brings them together with their greatest enemy?

Cullen Bunn: You’re absolutely right! It feels like this “alliance” is just waiting to blow up in the faces of this team! They need a good reason to work with Magneto. But I’m not telling you what that reason is just yet. Magneto has some interesting reasons for relying on the original five. And he has some challenges in store for them. The X-Men, on the other hand, will have an agenda that sounds a lot like “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”

Marvel.com: That being said, these aren’t exactly the original X-Men we know from the stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby anymore; they’ve gone through a lot of changes since arriving in the present day. What’s your take on each of them as they come into the story?

Cullen Bunn: This team has changed so much since coming to our time. That causes them a bit of concern, actually. In theory, they have to go back to their own time at some point, right? Otherwise, doesn’t everything fall apart? But they are no longer the same people. They can’t return the way they are. What’s more, they’ve adjusted to this world. Some of them—like Iceman—[don’t] want to return to their original timeline. He’s built a life for himself in this time. Beast hasn’t abandoned science completely, but he’s started dabbling in magic. Scott has started branching out away from the X-Men, playing the role of super hero with groups like the Champions. Angel has embraced his warrior spirit—and cosmic powers. And Jean is now taking on a role many think she should have held all along: She’s leading the team.

X-Men Blue by Arthur Adams

X-Men Blue by Arthur Adams

Marvel.com: Cullen, you’ve been writing Magneto for quite a while now, through some pretty dark times for mutantkind and the character himself. What’s his mindset as this story begins?

Cullen Bunn: Without giving too much away, Magneto has come to realize that his way doesn’t work. Mutants are heading into what could be a new golden era for them, and they don’t need terrifying guys like Magneto running around. The original X-Men, though, represent the best of the best, Xavier’s original dream in the here and now. So he’s going to help guide them to greater heights. Of course, he has other items on his agenda, but those will have to wait to be revealed.

This is definitely not a gloomy or dark series like some of my X-books. It’s much more of a classic X-adventure tale. But Magneto provides an edge and hint of danger lingering in the background.

Marvel.com: Besides the original five X-Men and Magneto, are there any other mutants the two of you would like to use in the book?

Cullen Bunn: So many mutants! If you’ve read my UNCANNY X-MEN run, you’ll know that I love the mutants of the Marvel Universe, and I enjoy bringing in characters you haven’t seen in a while. That will continue. I’ve got some exciting guest stars and villains coming up in this book. This book provides the opportunity to see some mutant encounters you would never, ever expect.

Jorge Molina: Personally I’m a big fan of Gambit since I was a kid, so any chance I get to draw him is always welcome. Plus redesigning him would be fun.

Marvel.com: What sorts of threats can we expect in the comic? I can’t imagine Magneto’s recent associates, like Mystique and the Hellfire Club, not having an opinion about him allying with the X-Men like this.

Cullen Bunn: Magneto’s actions and former alliances definitely create the groundwork for some of the threats the X-Men will face. In the first issue, you’ll see one of the greatest super villain duos of all time, and there’s more to come! Classic X-villains! New adversaries! The X-Men will not have a lot of time to sit on their laurels.

Jorge Molina: Having read the first issue, all that I can say is that some old classic villains are back giving the X-Men a hard time, just like the old days.

Marvel.com: Finally, what sort of relationship will this book have with its “sister” title, X-MEN GOLD? Can we expect to see Kitty Pryde and company sooner or later?

Cullen Bunn: The Gold and Blue teams are out there in the same universe, so there’s every possibility of them meeting. It’s not in the works for the immediate future, but it’s bound to happen!

Follow Marvel.com and our social channels for the latest on X-MEN BLUE and the rest of ResurrXion!

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Cullen Bunn and Luke Ross breathe new life into a classic villain!

Darth Sidious’ first apprentice receives his own five-issue limited series in DARTH MAUL, written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Luke Ross, debuting in February of 2017.

Set before the fall of the Galactic Republic, the book reveals new insight into Maul, his training, and his servitude to the man who will bring about the rise of the Galactic Empire. We chatted with Bunn for additional intel on what to expect.

Marvel.com: Cullen, what was your reaction when you first saw Maul on-screen in “The Phantom Menace”? At that moment, what was the allure in him for you?

Cullen Bunn: Darth Maul was, as you might imagine, my favorite character in the film. At this point, the only Sith we had seen on the big screen were Vader and the Emperor. But here we have this menacing, devil-like creature with these piercing, evil eyes. And he moved! He wasn’t slow and menacing. He was quick, moving in blurs, and lethal! I loved that we were seeing a new kind of Sith. Though he was only in the movie for a few short scenes, he left his mark. I couldn’t help but wonder what had driven his brash, impatient anger. That’s part of what we’re exploring with this book.

Marvel.com: Who is he as we head into DARTH MAUL? How much of an identity does he possess apart from his obedience to Sidious?

Cullen Bunn: That’s one of the things I’m most excited about with this project. In “The Phantom Menace,” Maul is presented as a rage-filled attack dog. But Maul is a complex character. This story allows us to really dig into the things that make him who he is. His hunger for revenge is caged, yes, but he’s cunning and tricky. He’ll find a way to indulge his desires. My hope is that we’ll see many unexpected sides of Darth Maul in this series.

Marvel.com: How much of a role does Sidious play here and of what kind?

Cullen Bunn: Because of his connection to Maul, Sidious has an important role in this series. He does not appear in every issue of the series, but his presence is felt throughout the story. Sidious has been the guiding hand leading Maul down a particular path for so long, and he is a very strict master. His rules trouble Maul because they seem to contradict themselves. Embrace your anger and impatience. But stay hidden and bide your time. This both drives Maul mad and seemingly pleases Sidious. We’ll really explore their relationship in this book.

Marvel.com: Overall, what’s the atmosphere and mood like in the galaxy at the time of this series? How much of that will we see in the story?

Cullen Bunn: There is a sense of impending danger that permeates the galaxy. The power of the Force is weakening. The Jedi can feel a growing darkness. That sense of foreboding—the sense that the other shoe is about to drop in a catastrophic way—is reflected throughout the galaxy. Much of this story takes place in the shadows. That is, after all, where Maul must operate in order to keep his existence secret. We’re going to be seeing the dark underbelly of the galaxy.

Darth Maul by Rod Reis

Marvel.com: Has Maul been tasked with the hunt that kicks off the book? Is it important to his growth as a Sith, or to Sidious’ schemes?

Cullen Bunn: While this adventure is important to Maul’s growth as a Sith, he has not been tasked with this hunt. Quite the contrary, in fact. He has been operating under very strict orders from Sidious, and the most important of those orders is to avoid the Jedi. But Maul has been taught to hate the Jedi, to hunger for revenge, and to give in to his emotions. He discovers through his own channels that a Jedi Palawan has been captured by a galactic crime lord. He decides to act on this knowledge without his master’s knowledge. He’s going rogue.

Marvel.com: What is his prey like? Where are they in their own learning of the Force?

Cullen Bunn: Really, Maul is stalking several different individuals in this story. He’s testing himself by hunting some of the most dangerous prey in the galaxy. His primary target, though, is the Jedi Padawan Eldridge Kaitis. She, like Maul, is quite powerful, but she is still learning to use her gifts. Also, like Maul, she finds herself struggling against the rules and codes imposed upon her by her order. She and Maul have more in common than either one would at first believe.

Marvel.com: And what do you love about what Luke Ross will be doing on DARTH MAUL?

Cullen Bunn: Luke is a terrific artist, and I’m a huge fan. I think his gritty sensibilities and skill with action sequences will really wow fans. He gives this series a very distinct feel from the other Star Wars comics.

DARTH MAUL by Cullen Bunn and Luke Ross makes its mark beginning in February of 2017!

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