The former problem student prepares for his next step!

Quintavius “Quentin” Quire is a male who presents as being in his late adolescence and in healthy physical shape. He is a self-identified mutant with ties to the mutant rights group the X-Men. Although he is mostly known by his given name, he has also been called “Kid Omega.”

The client was dropped off at the office by Thor with her ordering our staff, “You talk to him!” It should be noted that this is not the ideal start of a therapeutic sentence. However, Quire and this writer have a pre-existing relationship and he seemed to agree to a session without coercion so I did sit with the client.

When we last worked together, the client was a student at the Jean Grey Institute. In the time since, he has graduated, joined the X-Men, quit the X-Men out of conflicts with Wolverine, joined the Hellfire Club and seized control of it as the White King, and then quit that as well, going into isolation.

Despite all these changes, Quire presents in much the same way as when we first worked together. He recycled his lines about his distaste for psychology and psychologists, talking therapy, and his assertion that what I practice is “junk science.”

However, when the therapist began to dig into the series of rapid changes the client had recently experienced, his affect changed and it became clear that he was struggling to maintain his typical presentation.

Somewhat begrudgingly he disclosed the boredom that characterized his time with the Hellfire Club which left him confused and agitated. He had always felt he deserved power and leadership and when he gained it he found it rather empty and unfulfilling.

We also explored his complex feelings towards Wolverine, someone he characterized as an individual who only sought to make Quire act his worst just so he could say to the client, “See? Look how bad you are.”

Finally, he confessed he had gained some knowledge—although he was very vague about how or what—of his own death and the experience had shaken him. The therapist’s attempts to dig deeper only resulted in the client becoming more disconnected and dismissive of the session.

Therefore, I moved away from a past focus to a present orientation. The client briefly explained that Thor had been attempting to convince him to help with a re-emergent Phoenix Force. The client presented with anger and bluster at this point. He insisted on his independence and that he would not answer to anyone or follow orders from anyone, not even the “so-called God of Thunder herself.” While the client allowed that, yes, the Phoenix Force would be the biggest challenge he had ever faced and yes, he was aware what it had done, at various times, to Jean Grey and Emma Frost, he refused to admit to or even acknowledge the possibility he had any fears about it.

Abandoning the attempts to get the client to open up and knowing from previous experience he was rarely moved by the needs of others, this writer finally appealed to the client’s sense of self-preservation, arguing that if he faced Phoenix he may be hurt or killed but if he failed to, he’d make enemies of gods and likely would only be delaying an inevitable death by Phoenix, one that he would be less prepared for than this face off.

Given the rather resistant nature of the client, this writer is referring the client to Doctors Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman who have more experience with working with “wielders and victims of the Phoenix Force.” Their follow-up sessions will occur on April 26 and May 17. Session notes can be found in file MIGHTY THOR #18 and MIGHTY THOR #19

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist who will never grow tired of people telling him psychology is not real science.

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The Jean Grey Institute pupil we love to hate gets evaluated to join the faculty.

Quentin Quire is a male who presents as being in his late adolescence and in healthy physical shape. He is a self-identified mutant with ties to the mutant rights group the X-Men. Although he is mostly known by his name, he is also known as “Kid Omega.”

The client was referred to the writer for an employment evaluation. After being a student at the Jean Grey School, Quire is now being considered as an instructor at the institution. Although this writer and the rest of the staff here have a long standing relationship with the school, this is the first time Quire has been seen.

Quentin Quire by Nick Bradshaw

Quentin Quire by Nick Bradshaw

Quire presents in session as arrogant and dismissive. He mentioned, early and often, his disgust with having to see a therapist to be evaluated and the field of psychology as a whole. He reminded the writer often that he was a true master of the mind and that what I did was “a junk science.”

After repeatedly refusing to provide the faculty at the Jean Grey School with assurance that he would not attempt to use his mental powers to influence this writer, the client was fitted with a device made by Dr. Henry McCoy (aka the Beast) to dampen those powers. Throughout session, however, he repeatedly attempted to remove said device, with no attempt at hiding his actions, and also asserted on multiple occasions, facetiously, that he had deactivated the device and that he would know show this writer how ridiculous the profession of psychology really is.

On the other hand, Quire once fomented a riot and seized control of the Xavier School. Although he presents as unpleasant and possibly having Antisocial Personality Disorder, he has showed emotional and moral growth that would be unlikely, if not impossible, for a person with that disorder.

(It should also be noted that, at the time of the riot, the client was too young to have been diagnosed with ASPD, although he still might have been given a diagnosis of conduct disorder.)

Quentin Quire by Carlos Pacheco

Quentin Quire by Carlos Pacheco

He has demonstrated the ability to work with others in a healthy manner—although I would not guess at his motives for doing so. He has, as near as can be determined, not committed a crime in some time and has even, it seems on observation, developed a grudging respect for some of the faculty.

These signs are encouraging to this writer. Although I would urge tremendous care to be taken in bringing the client in as an instructor, I also would hypothesize giving him the position with some responsibility and (even minimal) trust might encourage him to continue this growth. Additionally, he can continue to observe and, hopefully, model the actions of the adult, arguably more socialized instructors.

I do not make this recommendation lightly nor would I suggest he should be given a very long leash. However, given the strides he has made so far, as a short-term, probationary step, with the possibility of extending, I think this could be a very helpful thing for Quire’s moral and emotional development.

Please see the file WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #1 from Doctors Jason Latour and Mahmud Asrar for their recommendations on Quentin Quire. Their report will be available for review on March 5.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Psychology intern at a small(ish) university in New York City. He works with gods significantly less than usual these days.

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Battle of the Atom rages on in new pages by Chris Bachalo!

This October, the X-Men event of the year heats up as Battle of the Atom rages on in UNCANNY X-MEN #13! Wolverine is down and bleeding out with no healing factor and the Jean Grey School is under attack from mysterious foes!

Is that a Phoenix Quentin Quire and who is the blue man on the cover?! From writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Chris Bachalo, comes the next can’t miss chapter of Battle of the Atom!

UNCANNY X-MEN #13 (AUG130841)
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Art by CHRIS BACHALO
Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
Variant Cover by CHRIS BACHALO
FOC – 9/23/13, On-Sale – 10/16/13

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The writer of Wolverine & the X-Men discusses his role in the major mutant event, fight scenes, Quentin Quire and more!

Wolverine & The X-Men #36 preview inks by Giuseppe Camuncoli

By Tim O’Shea & Ben Morse

If Wolverine and the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning staff and students expected to get a break after the Hellfire Saga, series writer Jason Aaron will quickly disabuse them of any such notion.

Starting in September, Aaron joins fellow writers Brian Bendis and Brian Wood in crafting the 10-part X-Men: Battle of the Atom event. To be precise his responsibility includes populating WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN issues #36 and #37—aka chapters five and nine—with plenty of time-traveling conflict and surprises.

From Aaron’s perspective, Wolverine, his students and staff will just be recovering from their battle with the Hellfire Club, before getting blindsided by the opening moments of the Battle of the Atom. In speaking to the writer about his role in the story, he reveals that the future readers glimpsed in WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #29 will be the “same future that we’re dealing with in Battle of the Atom.”

Aaron touches upon a variety of topics, including the increased impact of S.H.I.E.L.D. in WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN as well as how he sees a little of the past Wolverine in the present day Quentin Quire, in this wide-ranging discussion.

Marvel.com: Wolverine is kind of the central character of WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN. He’s a guy who usually has things pretty together. Where is his head space at, after going through the Hellfire Saga, everything he’s been through, and seeing all these unexpected faces?

Wolverine & The X-Men #36 preview inks by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Jason Aaron: I don’t want to say too much in terms of the end of the Hellfire Saga, as there’s a little twist there that I don’t want to give away. As far as the future, it’s something that’s been on his mind for a while. He’s been in an unusual position for about 30 issues in WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN as he’s headmaster of the school. That’s something he never saw himself doing and it’s a job he still struggles to do on a daily basis. We’ve seen him feel like he’s out of place, like he’s not the guy for this job, like it’s crazy for him to even consider trying to teach children. But he still labors and struggles on. We’ve also seen a few glimpses of the Jean Grey School of the future. We’ve got some idea of how things might turn out for Logan and this school. All of that plays in to the Battle of the Atom. Those glimpses that we’ve seen of the future in WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN, that’s the same future that we’re dealing with in Battle of the Atom. Different characters but as we go along, it’ll be obvious that it all ties together.

Marvel.com: You’ve been involved in a couple of events now. You were most recently involved with Avengers Vs. X-Men where you were working with several writers on the central series. With this one, it’s four titles with three writers. A lot of the time, you’re going to be writing a group of characters that you’re not usually responsible for. Most significantly, the All New X-Men. They have some major moments here, some of which will presumably take place in WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN. What’s it like when you’re working on a crossover with other people to pick up on plot points that other writers are putting in their books?

Wolverine & The X-Men #36 preview inks by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Jason Aaron: It’s wild. I think it has been similar to AVENGERS VS. X-MEN but a little more relaxed in that we’re all just writing issues of our own book instead of all of us writing one series. In some sense, with WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN, I have to put aside some of the usual cast members. Especially with the first issue, as it does not take place at the Jean Grey School. It’s not the typical setting for the book. You don’t see many of my students running around. Some of them may pop up over the course of Battle of the Atom but they’re not the main focus of the story. In some sense, a lot of it is writing characters from the other books, which is fun. In my first issue I got to write Brian [Bendis’] Uncanny X-Men. I got to write his kids and Cyclops, Emma Frost, and Magneto. That’s fun; you get to play with those toys that you don’t play with on a monthly basis. This stuff is all outlined, we do a lot of phone calls, we had a retreat. Everything goes through editor Nick Lowe, so we have a road map for this entire story. Fun little things still happen. It’s still fun when you’re going along and someone throws something down that someone picks up. There are always fun little surprises like that.

Marvel.com: Speaking of toys you don’t always get to play with, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a big presence in both of Brian Bendis’ books, ALL-NEW X-MEN and UNCANNY X-MEN. They’re going to be a big part of this crossover but they’ve not really shown their presence yet in WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN. How does S.H.I.E.L.D. figure in to your chapters of the story?

Jason Aaron: That’s one of the questions that I’m dealing with right now. What is S.H.I.E.L.D. really up to, what’s their role in all of this, and how it really changes their standing with the X-Men in a huge way; for the first time, we get to see what S.H.I.E.L.D. thinks about the fact that Wolverine has a school full of teenage mutants. In terms of them just keeping tabs on what’s going on with the X-Men, that’s certainly something they’re going to be interested in and we’ll see that interest continue after Battle of the Atom in the pages of WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN. The craziness that we’ve seen over the last couple of years in WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN just adds fuel to the fire of somebody like Maria Hill standing on the outside looking at the X-Men and how everything looks so scary, weird and dangerous. It’s not something that she can relate to or understand. Wolverine running his own school does not fit in with that and it’s not something she could have envisioned or something that she knows how to grasp.

Wolverine & The X-Men #36 preview inks by Giuseppe Camuncoli

Marvel.com: You also talked a second ago about how some of your kids and cast members are going to be popping up. When you were writing the story and breaking it up, were there certain cast members of WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN that you wanted to get in there; some that you obviously felt were important and had to play a role in this story?

Jason Aaron: Certainly the heavy hitters from the X-Men are in this story all along, but in terms of the kids, there’s a little bit with one of the kids in the first month that came from something that Brian Wood set up that I followed up on. In the second month, there’s really a bit for Quentin Quire that I knew would be coming down the road. Quentin will be having a couple of really important moments in the second month of Battle of the Atom.

Marvel.com: Let’s talk about Quentin Quire for a second. He’s obviously been front and center since Schism. He’s a character that you brought back from being away for a little while and he’s been a key part of WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN. What is it about that character that clicks with you and makes you want to write him and put him in so many situations?

Jason Aaron: I think he fits so [well] in WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN because of the change I was making to Wolverine. If you go back to the original All New, All Different X-Men days, Wolverine was the rowdy guy who was coming in [as] the voice of dissent. He was the guy who was going to butt heads with the leadership. He was the guy who was going to tell whoever was in charge when he thought they were full of crap. Now, we’re elevating Wolverine to the spot where he’s the responsible one, where he’s in the headmaster position. As uncomfortable as he may find it, that’s still the position that he’s in. So I needed basically the new version of what Wolverine used to be. Quentin Quire fits that role perfectly. He’s Wolverine’s worst nightmare. He’s a super powerful telepath with this deep-seeded rebellious streak. It’s been fun to watch the two of them butt heads over the course of several issues and also start to develop some sort of weird father-son relationship.

Wolverine & The X-Men #36 variant cover by Kris Anka

Marvel.com: Big stories and big events like this also mean big fight scenes. With something like Battle of the Atom, it’s that times four. You’ve got so many characters and you’ve got these huge fight scenes. It’s one thing to write dialog for these characters, it’s another to write fight scenes. When you’re planning and plotting these out, how do you do it with the big scale stuff? You did it with AVENGERS VS. X-MEN, but what’s the process of that?

Jason Aaron: It certainly is a challenge when you’re dealing with that many characters. Usually I just feel bad for the artist when I’m writing a page and it’s got so many characters on it all interacting and talking and fighting. It can be a lot to manage. For me, the important thing is that story-wise and fight-wise, to make sure that it’s not just a mess. I want to find a firm position for whoever is fighting and that you understand where these different sides stand and what they’re fighting about. The stuff I get to do at the end of the first month of Battle of the Atom, it’s kind of the first big fight, the precursor to the final colossal melee. It’s fun. It’s fun to bounce those characters off each other. We haven’t seen Wolverine’s side and Cyclops’ side come face to face too much in recent years since Schism. We get to bring them back together in a big way with these crazy future X-Men thrown into the mix. When there are so many cool characters to play with and so many cool moving parts, so many strong personalities, it’s just a blast to throw that stuff together. Usually the only problem is that I feel I could write forty pages of this instead of just twenty.

Marvel.com: With all the time travel elements and continuity stuff, how much history did you have to research for Battle of the Atom?

Wolverine & The X-Men #37 cover by Ed Mcguinness

Jason Aaron: I didn’t have to do too much just for the sake of this story. Since I got the X-Men gig I’ve been reading as many X-Men comics as I can. A lot of stuff I’ve read over the years anyway. Thankfully, that’s the kind of research that comes easily. But yes, because this is the big anniversary story for the X-Men, we wanted to include some notable callbacks to the past that involves all the major characters of the X-Men in the present day but also spoke of what is to come. I think it makes a cool story when you combine the past, present and future all into one crazy story.

Marvel.com: Both as a writer and as a reader and a fan, what’s got you most excited about this event? 

Jason Aaron: I think it’s the future X-Men that are in the mix. They’ve been fun to explore. Some will be surprising and some will be familiar. There’s a lot of surprises there and a lot of cool stuff that we’re setting up, not just for this story, but for what we’ve got going on down the road.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom kicks off September 4 and is available for pre-order right now!

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Sit in on Future History 101 with Kitty Pryde and guest lecturer Deathlok on Twitter

Ever wondered what it would be like to be a student at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning? To learn from Kitty Pryde, pass notes with Rockslide and have Wolverine as your headmaster? Well wonder no more!

On Wednesday, January 11 at 2:00 PM EST, you can log on to Twitter and grab a seat for Future History 101, directly from the page of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #4! Join Kid Omega, Idie, Rockslide, Anole, Broo, Kid Gladiator and Genesis in a class taught by Headmistress Kitty Pryde with special guest lecturer Deathlok!

All you have to do is sign on to Twitter and be sure to follow @JeanGreySchool, @JGSHeadmistress, @DeathlokL17, @GenesisHero, @KidGladiator1, @QQuire, @idie_okonkwo, @_Broodling_, @SANTORULES and @_Anole_. You can also keep track by tracking and using the #WXM hashtag. Then be sure you’ve got your pencils sharpened and ties on straight because class starts at 2:00 PM EST sharp on Wednesday, January 11!

Don’t miss this opportunity to attend the prestigious Jean Grey School! And remember: Headmaster Wolverine will be watching!

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Sign up now to interact with writer Brian Wood and editor Jeanine Schaefer

This January, a battle of mind and body unfolds between two of the world’s most dangerous mutants when WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: ALPHA & OMEGA, a limited series by writer Brian Wood with artists Roland Boschi and Mark Brooks pitting Logan against the rebellious Kid Omega, kicks off.

But you don’t need to wait two months as we’ll have Wood as well as editor Jeanine Schaefer joining us for a Next Big Thing chat this Friday, December 2, at 3 PM EST! Sign up for the liveblog below to get the play-by-play and submit questions in anticipation of this exciting new series!

<a href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=ff82cddc1c” mce_href=”http://www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=ff82cddc1c” >Next Big Thing: Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega</a>

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The Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega writer previews the showdown between Logan and Kid Omega

By Chris Arrant

Wolverine might be turning over a new leaf as headmaster of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, but some people can still bring back old habits. And if anybody can get on Logan’s bad side, it’s Quentin Quire, aka Kid Omega.

In the upcoming limited series WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: ALPHA & OMEGA, writer Brian Wood delves into the clashing personalities of Wolverine and Kid Omega while putting Armor in the crossfire. Although Wolverine might be the odds-on favorite in this match-up, Quire’s mind manipulation powers could be the perfect foil for the former Weapon X.

Beginning this January, this series marks Wood’s long-awaited return of Brian Wood to the Marvel after years of focusing primarily on creator-owned work such as DMZ and Northlanders. Partnering with artists Mark Brooks and Roland Boschi, the NYC-based author makes his mark in what’s promised as the first of several Marvel projects.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: ALPHA & OMEGA #1 inked preview art by Roland Boschi

Marvel.com: Wolverine has his name in the title of the book but Kid Omega shares the spotlight, even to the point of narrating. This would be Quentin’s biggest role to date, so can you tell us about the balance?

Brian Wood: Yeah, It’s unbalanced, actually, as Quentin really is driving the story. I think the relative “screen time” of the two of them is probably the same, but this is Quentin’s world, his point-of-view. I was given the mandate, if I can use that word, to really take Quentin and “run with him” in terms of character development, since he’s had a lot of appearances but they’ve not been super detailed in terms of who he is and what makes him tick. I wrote a hell of a lot of narration, and more than a few scenes of him talking aloud to himself, so we get a good look at it.

Marvel.com: One of the youngest X-Men, Armor, finds herself caught in the middle of this face-off. Can you tell us what part she plays in the series?

Brian Wood: She is caught in the middle, exactly, a bit of collateral damage in this Quentin vs. Logan battle royal. But there’s a bit more to it than that, and it’s something I am hesitant to talk about too much in advance. But just know she is not just there to take up space.

Marvel.com: How does this tie in with the larger story of Wolverine and the Jean Grey School developing in WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN?

Brian Wood: Only in the sense that this story takes place in the Jean Grey School alongside the events of the main story. There is no crossing over with Jason Aaron’s [series] in the active sense, although I can’t imagine that what Quentin and Logan get up to in my [story] won’t affect their relationship heading into the future.

Marvel.com: Wolverine might seem like a pretty straight-forward character, but the events of Schism and him now leading the new school put him in a different place. Can you tell us how this different mindset might affect this series?

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: ALPHA & OMEGA #1 inked preview art by Roland Boschi

Brian Wood: Logan is certainly changed. I personally find him to be much more nuanced, and there is a bit of that in my story, yeah. But Quentin picks a fight with Logan who is forced to fight in entirely on Quentin’s terms, in Quentin’s world. There’s not a lot of room for nuance and headmastering there. You might see a bit of the berserker in Logan instead.

Marvel.com: Wolverine’s powers are primarily physical, but Quentin’s are cognitive and telepathic in nature, something Logan might have trouble combating. What can you say about that face-off?

Brian Wood: On Quentin’s terms, in Quentin’s world—as quoted from the previous answer—also applies here. And yeah, absolutely, Logan’s going to have some trouble with that!

Marvel.com: What are your overall thoughts on Kid Omega after getting up to speed with him?

Brian Wood: I really like him; he’s a lot of fun. I took a peek around the forums and message boards and he seems to be kind of polarizing; plenty of people find his posturing annoying, but I don’t get that. As a writer it’s pure gold, perfect material to work with, the teenager who is just barely masking a whole trove of emotions under the surface. You kind of have to love him. Or love to hate him, at least!

Marvel.com: You’re no stranger to teen mutants; you wrote GENERATION X over a decade ago, and went on to do Demo and DV8: Gods & Monsters since. What’s it like for a maturing teenager to possess powers like these, especially in Quentin’s case?

Brian Wood: Well, it’s a world of difference, first off. What Quentin is as a mutant and who he associates with, it’s on a whole other level than the Demo characters, and even the GENERATION X kids as I wrote them—which was a lot like Demo, actually. To put it another way, Quentin is much more “super hero” than those other examples, so there’s a very different way I approach it. But I think deep down, in the core of all of these types of characters, is the same very emotional, very relatable thing that draws so many people to the X-Men. It sounds very cliché to say, but they are very very human, these mutants.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN: ALPHA & OMEGA #1 inked preview art by Roland Boschi

Marvel.com: For this book, artists Mark Brooks and Roland Boschi split drawing the duties. How are they breaking up the work?

Brian Wood: Tricky to explain, but will be immediately clear upon opening the book. Put briefly, there are two narratives in the book, two realities, and Mark and Roland are each handling one.

Marvel.com: You’ve been quoted as saying this is the first of several projects you’re hoping to do at Marvel. What’s it like using this as the beginning of your return?

Brian Wood: It’s funny, that whole “return to Marvel” phrase is used a lot and while it’s totally accurate, it’s not really the mentality I’m working with. It makes it sound like I’m passing through the gates on a brilliant white stallion or something! I think it was 12 years ago I was writing GENERATION X, and that’s a long time in its own right, but it’s also a long time in the sense that GENERATION X was my first ever freelance writing gig. I was a different person back then, and my work has changed so dramatically, that to me it feels brand new, working at Marvel. I have to prove myself. And that’s a lot of fun.

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The Marvel Architect previews the end of Schism and dawn of Regenesis for the X-Men, plus a new era for Incredible Hulk

By Chris Arrant

After months of rumblings, the simmering divide between Cyclops and Wolverine finally came to the surface in X-MEN: SCHISM #4. Writer Jason Aaron charts this new era in mutant history, from next week’s finale in X-MEN: SCHISM #5 into the all-new WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN series beginning October 26. No stranger to Wolverine after writing the character for over three years, Aaron nonetheless finds Logan in a new position as leader of the X-Men and himself tackling his first official team book.

Aaron will also be orchestrating a new take on Marvel’s Green Goliath with the INCREDIBLE HULK series that also kicks off October 26. Joined by legendary artist Marc Silvestri, the writer will turn the Hulk/Banner dynamic on its head and showing the “monster” perspective in dealing with the burden of sharing his life with a gifted, albeit sometimes maligned, scientist.

Aaron spoke with Marvel.com about these endings and new beginnings in an expansive interview.

X-MEN: SCHISM #5 preview art by Adam Kubert

Marvel.com: October is a big month for you; the finale of X-MEN: SCHISM and the beginning of both WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN and INCREDIBLE HULK.

Jason Aaron: Well, you’re right. The comics coming out next month were written a long time ago, and both series have been in the works for quite awhile. At this point I’m glad to see them both finally coming out, and for readers to see what I’ve been working on for quite awhile now.

Marvel.com: X-MEN: SCHISM has had a slow build, but in the last issue you really laid it all out there for the world to see. How did you narrow down on this concept of Cyclops and Wolverine fighting over the destinies of the younger mutants, and who would be on what side?

Jason Aaron: I think the argument fell into place pretty neatly; to me, it all makes perfect sense. This is the direction Cyclops has been moving in for awhile, and for Wolverine it’s his same direction as I’ve been charting in his solo books for years. As far as how the mechanics broke down, it came up initially at one of the X-Men retreats; [Senior Editor] Nick [Lowe] had an idea—really more of a situation or a predicament if nothing else—about a way to dramatize the philosophical divide in the X-Men world. It fell to me to write the book and figure out how to put them in that predicament, and then how to get them out. Instead of just having guys stand around telling you about the divide, the key to X-MEN: SCHISM was showing it in action; put Cyclops and Wolverine in a situation where their decisions are going to decide the future of the entire X-Men universe.

And it has been a slow build in the sense that the book is called “Schism,” and people were waiting for the split between Scott and Logan, but it was more than that. I like the idea that X-MEN: SCHISM #1 opens with those two close and as on point as we’ve ever seen them. Over the course of the next three issues, readers saw it fall apart because of the world they find themselves in and the machinations of the new villains introduced in the series.

X-MEN: SCHISM #5 preview art by Adam Kubert

Marvel.com: As you’re saying, although this break between Scott and Logan sits at the center of this series, we can’t forget that big Sentinel lumbering towards Utopia and the Hellfire Club lives on. How exactly will the wolves at the door, so to speak, play against this shift in the X-Men’s ranks?

Jason Aaron: Don’t expect everything involving the Hellfire Club to be wrapped up in issue #5. X-MEN: SCHISM is an introduction to the new Hellfire Club and to put them in place, but they’ll live on to pop up in WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN as the main villains for that book going forward.

As readers can see from the last page of X-MEN: SCHISM #4, the mutants have quite a problem: Cyclops and Wolverine are fighting each other and will spill over into #5, and at the same time battling with the giant Sentinel. As far as how it wraps up, that’s the big question for the final issue.

I think readers know where things are heading based on the advertisements for everything forward and the simple fact the book is called SCHISM, but the question for the final issue is this: how exactly will we get there, and what does the future hold for mutantkind?

Marvel.com: One thing that really struck me is how the mention of Jean Grey put things over the edge for Wolverine and Cyclops. We saw this briefly touched upon once before in an issue of WOLVERINE you wrote, but how would you describe this thing they share over a certain redhead?

Jason Aaron: Well, you can’t do a story about tensions between Cyclops and Wolverine without mentioning Jean at some point. It’s a love triangle that was at the heart of the X-Men for years, so I just like the idea that in the midst of a heated debate it’d come out. Once it got ugly, Cyclops went for something to hurt Logan and that’s the first thing to pull out: mentioning Jean. He pulls it out without mentioning her by name, but it’s spelled out.

X-MEN: SCHISM #5 preview art by Adam Kubert

And of course Logan fires back. That shows that things were getting ugly and personal. We’ve seen these two fight before, but nothing like this, nothing on this level.

Marvel.com: Just as X-MEN: SCHISM ends, your new series WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN opens up. What can you say about the line-up you have squared away?

Jason Aaron: I will admit that it’s certainly an eccentric line-up. It’s not what anyone would expect, but after I looked at the characters I’d thrown together I realized that I was pulling from all different periods of X-Men history. There [are] characters from the original Stan Lee and Jack Kirby issues; characters from several generations of Chris Claremont’s run; then there’s Quentin Quire from Grant Morrison’s run; and Idie from GENERATION HOPE, the absolute newest generation of mutant. It’s a group that traverses the entire X-Men history, all in a very new kind of book.

Marvel.com: Now that Wolverine sits as leader, who takes up his place on the team as the relative wildcard?

Jason Aaron: This is certainly a very different role for Wolverine, not just for the leadership role, but once readers see what the book is about they’ll understand that he’s in a spot that he’s not exactly comfortable with, or one he expected to find himself with.

As for the wildcard inside WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN, that distinction would probably go to Quentin Quire. He was kind of dragged onto the team in changes, and this is Quentin going back to who he was in Morrison’s run. He’s very much a rebel without a cause but we’ll see he’s not quite as angry or as much a trouble-maker as he seems; he’s kind of a poseur. We’re going to be exploring his motivations and who he is deep down, beyond the persona he has built up. And he’s certainly going to cause his share of trouble.

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #1 cover by Chris Bachalo

Marvel.com: Although X-MEN: SCHISM #5 doesn’t come out for a few weeks, I can’t think that it’ll settle all the issues the diverging branches of mutantkind will have with X-Men: Regenesis. What will Logan’s mutants go up against in their first adventures?

Jason Aaron: It won’t be a book about butting heads with Cyclops and his band of X-Men, not initially at least. Wolverine is going off and starting his own branch of the X-Men with a very different objective than Cyclops. This is very much a book about world-building, with both new characters and old characters in brand new roles. We’ve developed some surprisingly different takes on a couple characters that I don’t think people will expect to see in the spotlight. The line-up shown in the teasers shown so far doesn’t cover the entire cast of the book; it’s a big cast, which will make sense as the book unfolds. We have several distinct groups within the main cast which people will see develop, and there’ll be a lot of additional characters popping up in the book. There are more surprises coming before the book debuts, and as the series progresses.

Marvel.com: I assume Cyclops and his group will stay in San Francisco, so where does that leave Logan and his crew?

Jason Aaron: I can’t reveal that just yet, but I can say that they’ll definitely be leaving San Francisco and heading out somewhere else.

Marvel.com: While the mutants may be at odds, I see an ideal pairing for you with artist Chris Bachalo. How did he deliver?

Jason Aaron: Chris is already a legend when it comes to drawing the X-Men, and I was excited to have him on the book’s first arc so he could take part in the world-building. We’re building some new locations and adding some new characters to the mix. He really embraced the challenge, and has been excited to be a part of it. He gets more excited at the crazier stuff I throw at him. Issue #1 is jam-packed with craziness and it gets crazier as the series unfolds.

INCREDIBLE HULK #1 preview art by Marc Silvestri

Marvel.com: Speaking of crazy, I can’t let you go without talking about the new INCREDIBLE HULK series. We talked in July after the announcement at Comic-Con International in San Diego, but now that we’re closing in on the launch, how do your theoretical ideas of what the series would be match up to the pages you’re seeing come back in?

Jason Aaron: Well, you know what you’re going to get with Marc Silvestri on-board. He’s a legendary artist and his work continues to be on-target even going back to his stuff on UNCANNY X-MEN when I first became a comics fan. When you see his name on a Hulk book, you can imagine what’s inside: Marc drawing the Hulk smashing things. In INCREDIBLE HULK #1 you certainly get your share of action, but also with the gritty sort of character stuff I like to do as well. It’s a different talk on The Hulk. Greg Pak had an amazing run on the book and took the character to new heights in terms of story and grand epics. For what we’re doing here it’s a different sort of epic; we’re going back to basics, flipping the Hulk/Banner dynamic.

Marvel.com: The preview pages show some really monstrous individuals fighting The Hulk, and in some cases, living with him. What can you say about this?

Jason Aaron: Once people see the direction the book is going in issue #1 and where Bruce Banner is, it all kinds of makes sense. We’ve seen a lot of different Hulks over the past few years, but for this we wanted to focus in on the one main Hulk. In the first three issues though, you’ll see a lot of other hulked-out creatures and monsters for Hulk to lock horns with.

Marvel.com: What have been the seminal Hulk works that formulate your understanding of Bruce Banner and his alter ego?

Jason Aaron: The first run on the Hulk that really pulled me in was John Byrne’s short stint on [INCREDIBLE HULK]. It was really the first time Hulk and Banner split apart, and was certainly an influence on what I’m doing here, [though] obviously I’m taking things a different direction than what Byrne did. I also read Peter David’s run as it was coming out, and he pretty much defined in every way how I think of The Hulk and the Hulk/Banner dynamic. Beyond that, the Bruce Jones run fairly changed the tone and flavor of what a Hulk story was, and I enjoyed that.

INCREDIBLE HULK #1 preview art by Marc Silvestri

Probably what I’m trying to do in the new INCREDIBLE HULK series is somewhere in the midst of all of that; Peter David’s characterization, the crazy antics of Byrne’s run, and the darker elements brought forward by Jones.

Marvel.com: Will the series primarily work on it’s own as a stand-alone, or does it interact with the larger Marvel universe?

Jason Aaron: Initially the series pretty much stands alone. I wanted to do a book that was very reader-friendly and focused on The Hulk. In the future however, given what’s happening next summer with the Avengers movie and The Hulk playing a prominent role in that, readers could expect to see The Hulk integrated in Marvel’s comic universe as well.

Marvel.com: You’ve played Cyclops and Wolverine as both having viable viewpoints and not demonizing them. With Bruce and The Hulk, are both their motivations understandable for readers or is there a clear-cut villain in this story?

Jason Aaron: This is a very different sort of situation than X-MEN: SCHISM. In some sense, I’m attempting to balance the scales in the whole Hulk/Banner dynamic portrayed for most of Marvel history up until now. The typical set-up is that Banner is the genius scientist and The Hulk is a burden that’s always held him back. I wanted to flip that on its ear, and show it from the Hulk’s perspective. As you can imagine, he sees it very differently.

As we’ll see in issue #1 after they’re split apart, The Hulk finds peace for the first time. He is free for the moment, until he gets pulled back into the craziness because of his connection to Banner. This series shows Hulk as the hero and Banner as the monster.

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Can Cyclops and Wolverine work together against the Sentinels?

Marvel is pleased to present your first look at X-MEN: SCHISM #2, from Marvel Architect Jason Aaron and artist Frank Cho. The blockbuster X-Event of the summer continues as Sentinels threaten to wipe out all of Mutantkind! It’s up to Wolverine and Cyclops to band the X-Men together and tackle the threat head-on, and with tensions boiling one of them will go too far. Find out this July why the fate of mutantkind remains unclear in X-MEN: SCHISM #2!

X-MEN: SCHISM #2 (MAY110679)
Written by JASON AARON
Art and Cover by FRANK CHO
Variant Cover by FRANK CHO
Rated T+ …$3.99
FOC – 07/04/11, ON SALE – 07/27/11

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