Analyzing a mutant Marvel Legacy with writer Cullen Bunn!

Mojo may seem like a goof, but writer Cullen Bunn needs you to know that the villain has you—and the X-Men—fooled.

The mutant crossover continues between X-MEN: GOLD and X-MEN: BLUE as the two squads unite to wage war with Mojo, Sentinels, the Brood…and the past. On October 11, Bunn joins artist Jorge Molina to keep the fight alive as Marvel Legacy begins with X-MEN: BLUE #13!

Cullen took a moment to warn us about the danger of Mojo, the devious delight of unveiling Team Blue’s connection to Magneto, and the joy of collaborating with Marc Guggenheim. What made this the perfect time for a crossover between Blue and Gold?

Cullen Bunn: What’s more thrilling than two X-Men teams coming together and facing a threat that they simply cannot face alone? There’s a long-standing tradition of two different X-teams joining forces, mixing up the rosters, and facing some dire threat. With the Marvel Legacy initiative, it seemed like the perfect time to revisit that tradition in a big, action-packed, fun way. How did you decide on Mojo as the villain to bring these teams together?

Cullen Bunn: First of all, Mojo is awesome. I’ve been planning a Mojo adventure for a while now—there are hints of it in my UNCANNY X-MEN run. When we started talking about the Marvel Legacy arc, though, we knew we wanted to have the Gold and Blue teams come together, and my Editor [Mark Paniccia] suggested that this could be where the Mojo story takes place. I couldn’t agree more. Mojo gives us a great opportunity to revisit some of the greatest moments in mutant history—the Asgard War, the Mutant Massacre, the Death of Phoenix, Days of Future Past—because he has such vast abilities to warp reality in a deadly way.

Deadly. How would you describe your take on Mojo?

People forget this about Mojo—yes, he’s kind of a goofball and he cracks weird jokes. But he’s also extremely powerful and can be scary as Hell. Mojo can be terrifying and menacing. He’s still a character with a lot of humor, but he’s not to be trifled with. In this story, his back gets pushed up against the wall, so to speak, and that makes him extremely dangerous. I just looked at some lettering notes from one of the issues, and the Editor had written “So creepy!” on a Mojo scene. That’s exactly what we’re going for. Sometimes you hear that Mojo operates in an alternate reality, so his threats aren’t all that real. Well, in this story he’s coming to our world—and we absolutely do not want his plans to succeed. How does the Blue team react to their Gold counterparts? How about Mojo?

Cullen Bunn: The teams get along fairly well. There are some very interesting dynamics here. Cyclops and Rachel, for instance. Old Man Logan and Jimmy. Storm and Bloodstorm. Of course, the 800-pound Master of Magnetism in the room is that the Gold team does not yet know that the Original Five are working with Magneto. That’s going to change in this story, and it will put some tension on the relations between the groups. Describe the collaborative process between you and X-MEN: GOLD writer Marc Guggenheim. How’s it been?

Cullen Bunn: Marc and I both have X-Men lore wired into our brains. I know for certain that Marc’s notes for X-MEN: GOLD included “softball game!”—just like my notes for X-MEN: BLUE. I’m not one hundred percent certain, but I’m pretty sure he also had plans for Mojo. Working together has been an absolute blast. We had some phone calls early on to discuss the story, then we started trading planning documents back and forth, adding to the story, making it crazier and more epic. How have your respective artists, Jorge Molina and Mike Mayhew, contributed to that process?

Jorge and Mike helped so much in defining the look and feel of Mojo’s world—we’re seeing a lot of it here—and of Mojo’s technology and the “weapons” with which he attacks Earth. Also, seeing these two talents casting the current X-teams into classic situations—and classic clothing—is something special. Given that Mojo lends himself to both humor and horror, how would you describe the tone of the crossover?

Cullen Bunn: This crossover is all about action and classic X-Men adventure. In some Mojo stories, the X-Men are thrown into silly or goofy situations, but not here. These adventures are serious business with real stakes. This feels like a fun story, make no mistake, and there will be plenty of moments of humor—some of it fun humor, some of it dark—but I don’t think what we’ve got here could qualify as silly. The X-Men are trying to save themselves, but they are also trying to save the world, and time has started running out. Tell X-Men fans why they need to get onboard with this crossover.

Cullen Bunn: I think you could start this arc without reading either book beforehand, really. We give you everything you really need in those first couple of issues. Of course, you should read both GOLD and BLUE, because you’re missing out on some really awesome fun in those titles, but you can let this be your introduction to either or both teams and still have a blast.

X-MEN: BLUE #13, by Cullen Bunn and artist Jorge Molina, launches on October 11!

Read More

Cullen Bunn on the upcoming crossover with X-MEN: GOLD.

With X-MEN: BLUE #13, out October 11, the book enters into not only a saga-riffic crossover with X-MEN: GOLD, but also into the Marvel Legacy event. How will it all impact this team of merry mutants? How do they win against mighty Mojo and uphold their legacy? We asked writer Cullen Bunn to spill all—and still look good doing it. Cullen, in a way, X-MEN: BLUE’s legacy stretches from Stan and Jack to Brian Bendis—what does legacy in general mean to you as a Marvel writer? How does it play into what you do?

Cullen Bunn: For me, legacy is a part of every Marvel comic I ever loved, every Marvel comic I’ve written, and every Marvel comic I will write. And it goes beyond the idea of a “shared universe” or continuity, although those elements are certainly part of it. As a writer, I always try to honor the legacy of the creators who came before me, and I’m always hoping to contribute in some small way to the stories that will be told in the future.

This story, for instance, is an obvious love letter to all things X-related, but we’re telling the story through the eyes of the mutant heroes who star in the books today. We’ll have the action, the interaction, the romance, the heartbreak, the joy, the weirdness—all the things that make the X-Men one of the best superhero dramas of all time! And we’ll leave some lasting marks on the characters and the Marvel Universe. Within the book itself, what if anything does legacy mean to your cast? How much of what they do is impacted by it?

Cullen Bunn: In this crossover story, we see the idea of legacy playing out in some really interesting ways. The original five X-Men are here, and they started it all for the X-Men, but since they are young men and women lost in time, they are looking toward living up to the legacy of the modern X-Men. The modern X-Men are living up to Xavier’s ideals and dreams—and the O5 represent that to them. But we’re also dealing with Mojo in this story, and he is in a unique position to really throw the X-Men into situations that remind them—sometimes in a deadly way—of where they came from. The X-Men will be reliving some of their greatest hits, only with a Mojo twist. Hang onto that Mojo guy for a Mojo-ment—who if anyone do you feel of your leads might get more focus going forward? Has any one of them been underserved, in your opinion?

Cullen Bunn: There are a couple of characters who haven’t gotten the spotlight they deserve, namely Angel and Iceman, and I have plans for bigger stories for them in the future. There are also some really insane plans in place for Jimmy Hudson. Eventually, he’s going to be getting a code name, but I think it’ll surprise everyone how that comes about. It’s not what you’re expecting. I promise. X-MEN: GOLD #13 starts this story—what is the Blue Team’s relationship like right now with the Gold Team? How do they work best together? What about in the worst way?

Cullen Bunn: The relationship between Blue and Gold starts off on pretty good terms in this story. Once the trouble starts, they even break into teams that are a mixture of Blue and Gold members, giving us some wonderful opportunities to see interactions we might not normally expect. But the Blue team has a big secret–that they are working with Magneto, and that’s not going to sit well with the Gold team at all if they find out.

Spoiler: they find out. Okay, now Mojo. What’s up with Mojo? What level of trouble will be causing the teams?

Cullen Bunn: Mojo is a villain I’ve wanted to use for a long while. Heck, I hinted at this story back in my UNCANNY X-MEN run. The thing with Mojo is, in the past he’s always been confined to this alternate reality. Some readers think that makes him unimportant. Well, this time, Mojo is coming to our world, and he has big, evil plans for us. He’s going to turn our love of media against us. Believe me, when this is over, Mojo will have left his mark on the planet Earth. How does a villain like Mojo bring out comic book, heh, gold in terms of two teams of X-Men interacting to fight him?

Cullen Bunn: What’s fun about this story is that Mojo has these almost god-like abilities, and he uses them to make TV shows. In this case, though, he’s calling up some of the most intense moments of X-Men history, and we’re going to see some awesome scenes honoring the legacy of the X-Men. How does Scott Summers deal with Days of Future Past? How does Storm feel about being thrown into the Asgardian Wars again? How would Magneto react if he suddenly appeared in the Morlock Tunnels during the Mutant Massacre? Fun! So, what’s it like to continue to collaborate with artist Jorge Molina? How is this particular storyline bringing out his strengths?

Cullen Bunn: Jorge is a beast! He’s simply an amazing artist, and I am throwing some wild action scenes and bizarre set pieces and characters his way. He has tackled it all with a Mojo-like glee. These pages are going to blow readers away!

Read More

Cullen Bunn details Beast’s bewitching future!

On September 13, writer Cullen Bunn and artist Douglas Franchin bring a magic wand to X-MEN: BLUE #11 as Hank McCoy (A.K.A. Beast) finds himself dealing with a sudden case of sorcery.

But how does he get these powers? How will he use them? And most of all, why does a brilliant scientist need to rely on the supernatural?

The answers to these questions—and more—come to light soon, but in the meantime, we decided to ask Cullen about what these new abilities could mean for the mutant Mr. McCoy. Beast has always been known for fighting with his claws and animalistic instincts—how might magic change his reliance on those abilities?

Cullen Bunn: Magic could change everything for Beast. Since coming to this time, he feels like he’s always running to catch uptechnology and science have left him in the dust, and it feels frustrating to no end. Beast has always relied on his scientific know-how and gadgeteering more than his muscles and agility, but now he feels as if he’s lost quite a few steps. Magic seems like a way for him to find a new groove. Like you mentioned, Hank McCoy is a gifted scientist and scholar. What does this newfound talent do for his outlook on the natural world?

Cullen Bunn: Hank approaches magic as a new science. Not that different, to his way of thinking, than chemistry or biology. He’s learning the “rules” of this science so he can master it. But magic is much more mercurial than any natural science—it has a way of slipping out of control no matter what you do… What kinds of challenges and dangers come along with these new powersespecially when bestowed upon an X-Man?

Cullen Bunn: Magic has been a part of the X-World for a long time—and it always seems to cause trouble for the mutants. When you get greedy for magical knowledge, you run the risk of making mistakes or drawing the attention of dark powers. That’s really the problem that Beast starts dealing with. He has called up a power that he cannot easily put down. What else can we expect to see in issue #11?

Cullen Bunn: There will be a few new characters popping up. And we’ll be seeing some magic-influenced versions of X-Men (who are being dubbed the Hex-Men) that I’m very excited about.

X-MEN: BLUE #11, by Cullen Bunn and artist Giovanni Valletta’s, drops on September 13!

Read More

Cullen Bunn brings Wade Wilson’s latest murder marathon to a close!

Another one of Wade Wilson’s homicidal rampages comes to an end in issue #5 of DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN, out September 27. The limited series from writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dalibor Talajic came as a follow-up to the duo’s wildly popular DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE from 2012.

Bunn has big plans for the finale this time around and it’s chock full o’ villains. We caught up with Cullen to discuss the specifics of the last issue, why killing Spider-Man hit a high point and how the bloodshed has just begun for the Marvel Universe. The last DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE concluded with Wade entering our world to take vengeance on the real-life Marvel editors like Jordan D. White. What kind of epic ending can we expect this time around?

Cullen Bunn: The ending of this story will be vastly different [from] the tale we told before. We’re not having Wade break through the ultimate fourth wall here. The final issue of the series will see Wade facing off against a number of villains, including those who corrupted his mind and set him against the Marvel heroes in the first place. We’ll be seeing some pretty intense encounters with the likes of Magneto and The Red Skull. The ending of this series, I think, is much more tragic than the end of the previous tale. Did you consider any other conclusions than the one you settled on? Can you give us an example or two of rejected ideas? 

Cullen Bunn: I always had this ending in mind. As most readers have guessed, this story takes place in the same world as the classic Wolverine tale, “Old Man Logan”—at least, it takes place in a version of that reality. In this world, Logan killed off most of the X-Men, but Deadpool had a big role to play in the deaths of many of the other heroes as the villains finally got organized and made a play for world domination. At one point, I thought of ending this series with an encounter between Logan and Deadpool in the ruins of the world, but I decided against it, saving that for some time later, maybe. What about this limited series will you miss the most after the release of issue #5?

Cullen Bunn: I love working with Dalibor. He’s such a great collaborator, and I like his dark take on Deadpool. I’ll miss the way he draws Deadpool’s masks and eyes, if that makes sense. I’ll also miss playing with the idea of different comic book formats. Comparing Deadpool’s current adventures to a manga style world or a horror comic or even an ad for pastries was a lot of fun for me, and it was like a walk down memory lane of all the types of comics that have influenced me over the years. What are your top three deaths of this series and why?

Cullen Bunn: The death of Peter Parker in issue #2 is a favorite, because it is just so terribly dark. For the same reason, the death of Spider-Woman is dark, but for different reasons. Both of those deaths played so well with the theme of Deadpool seeing sort of light-hearted and zany adventures even though he was doing something awful. And the deaths of Moon Knight and Punisher was fun for me, because Moon Knight put up one hell of a fight. Do you think there’s any way Deadpool could come back to kill the Marvel Universe for a third time? If so, how would you go about writing it?

Cullen Bunn: Sure! There’s probably a way to do a similar story in a few years. One of the nice things about this series is that the Marvel Universe has changed so much since the original tale. There’s no telling how much the Marvel Universe will change over the next few years! As for how to write it, I’m not sure just yet. It would have to be vastly different than either of the other stories, and I think I’d have to up the ante in terms of horror and brutality, which may be tough.

DEADPOOL KILLS THE MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN comes to a close on September 27 thanks to Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic!

Read More

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Read More

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! 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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? 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. 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 for more throughout Kirby Month and beyond! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

Read More

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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. 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!

Read More

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! 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.


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. 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. 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. 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.

Read More

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. 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. 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. 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. 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!

Read More

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! 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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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.

Read More