Run down the list of new titles hitting MU!

What’s coming your way on Marvel Unlimited this month?

VENOM INC. is here and it’s sinking its inky tendrils into Peter Parker, Flash Thompson, and Eddie Brock! Visionary creator Ed Piskor gives you a refresher in X-history with X-MEN: GRAND DESIGN! King T’Challa stares down a monster in BLACK PANTHER – LONG LIVE THE KING, while the ROYAL INHUMANS become ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS! Then, it’s a return of some oldies-but-goodies with MARVEL 2-IN-ONE and TALES OF SUSPENSE! Plus, brand new story arcs starring OLD MAN LOGAN, MS. MARVEL, and WEAPON X!

And, stay tuned for new additions from these classic series: THE ‘NAM (1986), SILVER SURFER (1987), MASTER OF KUNG FU (1974), and MUCH more!

Week of 6/4
VENOM #158

Week of 6/11

Week of 6/18
CABLE #152

Week of 6/25
VENOM #159

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Greg Pak on whether Nuke can be trusted, as he forges an unlikely partnership with Sabretooth.

Thirteen, it has been said, carries bad luck with it. On January 17, the Weapon X team better hope that amounts to nothing but superstition. Because in WEAPON X #13, they find themselves divided, up against a nearly tireless foe in the Nuke Patrol, and their only hope of survival lying with the original Nuke and Sabretooth, two individuals not well known for self-control or loyalty.

We feel too freaked out to just wait and see what happens, so we hit up writer (and noted Numerologist) Greg Pak and asked him if the superstitions might be true. At the end of #12, we see Sabretooth encounter the one true and original Nuke. Without offering too much by way of spoilers, what is Nuke’s relationship to the Patrol beyond sharing a taste for facial tattoos and pills?

Greg Pak: What the heck—I’m gonna spoil it! Because it’s fun stuff.

The idea is that mysterious entities in the United States have sent paramilitary teams into Santo Marco over the years to assassinate President Duarte. But Duarte’s military has managed to thwart all of these attempts—and even captured his would-be assassins. Finally, Nuke himself was sent—and was captured! And at that point, Duarte’s scientists got to work, reverse engineered the pills that power Nuke, and Nuked-up the soldiers who had previously tried to assassinate Duarte! Now those soldiers form the Nuke Patrol and serve Duarte. But we’ll see what happens himself when the original Nuke gets free… The plot details hint at the possibility of Nuke aiding the rest of Weapon X, but how reliable an ally can he be? How in control of himself even is he?

Greg Pak: That’s the big question, isn’t it? In the classic Miller/Mazzucchelli DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN storyline, Nuke was prone to completely losing control in a spectacularly dangerous way. What makes his appearance in this story even more high stakes is that he’s apparently teaming up with Sabretooth, who’s the least in-control member of the Weapon X team, which is already a team of loose cannons.

Weapon X #13. Speaking of in control of himself, with Sabretooth effectively isolated from the rest of the team, how reliable can he be to follow the rules and help Weapon X over just indulging himself?

Greg Pak: Exactly! The huge fun of this team is how much they shouldn’t be able to work as a team at all. How does working with Yildiray Cinar enable you to realize not just the bloody conflicts Weapon X indulges in, but the moral quandaries as well?

Greg Pak: Yildiray is just a tremendous artist. We got to work together on one of my favorite Batman/Superman stories, which told an alternate world meeting between a young Bruce and a young Clark, and Yildiray delivered beautiful, affecting character work. Here he gets to cut loose with spectacular action, and I just adore all the mayhem. But he’s also delivering all that great emotional conflict and humor with every page and panel. As for the larger team, how are they faring without Sabretooth? What’s their physical state and state of mind?

Greg Pak: The team’s getting pretty brutally ripped up by the Nuke Patrol, so they’re getting pretty ticked off. Some huge decisions are coming up that will affect the team in a big way moving forward. Also, sometimes moments of great stress lead to unexpected emotional revelations. So get ready for some kissing! For holdouts who haven’t checked out the title yet, why is this arc the exact right time to jump aboard?

Greg Pak: It’s a new adventure that you don’t need a lot of extra info to dive into. And it’s a big, fun action story with pretty huge emotional consequences for the team. Also, we got kissing coming up in #14. KISSING! ACTION! MAYHEM! Dontcha dare miss it!


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Yildiray Cinar puts Sabretooth and company up against a super-soldier!

Yildiray Cinar will join one of the most dangerous crews in comics this fall—that’s right, he’s the new artist on WEAPON X with issue #12 on December 13! In addition to working with killer writer Greg Pak, who launched the book last year, the artist will also try his hand at bringing together the likes of Sabretooth and unbalanced super-soldier Nuke.

What kind of opponent could offer a big enough threat to two of the toughest fighters in the Marvel Universe? How about an anti-mutant militia upgraded to have the same powers as Nuke himself? Yeah, that seems like a big enough challenge!

We talked with Cinar about putting Sabretooth front and center, updating Nuke, and working with Pak! How has it been jumping on this book with Greg Pak so far?

Yildiray Cinar: It was pretty fast. After my two issue run on CABLE, [editor] Darren [Shan] asked me if I’d like to join WEAPON X and I jumped on it. I [have] had a chance to collaborate with Greg before. It is fantastic to be working with him again. This story is pretty fun and crazy! For you as an artist, what sets Weapon X apart as a group when it comes to them interacting both on and off the battlefield?

Yildiray Cinar: The characters make it by themselves. Weapon X is a very fun group of mutants. The best [feral mutants] of the X-Universe. But, in the end, they’re all different from each other, which makes this easier for me. This first arc finds Sabretooth and company going up against a group of Nuke-powered, anti-mutant militiamen. How did you work to make them all look like members of the same unit?

Yildiray Cinar: Well, they all use red pills and [have] flags on their faces. All crazy-eyed soldiers! That was easy! You also get to work with the original Nuke in this story. How was it putting your spin on that classic character?

Yildiray Cinar: I am a huge fan of [Frank] Miller and [David] Mazucchelli’s DAREDEVIL [arc] “Born Again,” so when I saw that original Nuke was in the story, I got really excited and happy. For this story, I am trying to portray a crazier version of Nuke.

Greg Pak and Yildiray Cinar cut loose with WEAPON X #12, coming December 13!

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Greg Pak sends his team of mercenaries and monsters into the fray!

Marvel Legacy heats up in the South American country of Santo Marco with “Nuke-Clear War” part one in Greg Pak and Yildiray Cinar’s WEAPON X #12 coming December 13. With mutant genocide taking place, Weapon X’s ragtag alliance of heroes and villains may be the only ones who can stop it. There’s just one teensy, tiny problem: he goes by Frank Simpson, better known as Nuke, and he’s got a band of super-soldiers on his side. They’re all hopped up on the red, white, and blue pills, which won’t make things any easier for the mutant good guys.

Speaking with Pak, we got the low-down on the brewing conflict of his newest WEAPON X storyline. Mutant genocide is a pretty serious development. Can you give a quick summary of where this is happening and why?

Greg Pak: Our story takes place in Santo Marco, the fictional South American nation that Magneto took over way back in [UNCANNY X-MEN #4]. I’ve set stories in the country a few times over the years—in my WAR MACHINE and STORM runs—and established it as a place where dangerous leaders have periodically led anti-mutant persecutions. Most recently, the Weapon X team visited Santo Marco during the Weapons of Mutant Destruction storyline, where they investigated the murder of a mutant named Jorge. As our new story begins, the dictatorial president of Santo Marco has started a new attack on mutants and anyone related to mutants, spearheaded by a platoon of ruthless super-soldiers who wear the American flag on their faces. So yes, if you’re a fan of Frank Simpson, a.k.a. the super-soldier known as Nuke, this is the story for you. What drives Weapon X to want to put a stop to it all?

Greg Pak: Weapon X is made up of loners, mercenaries, and even borderline villains who really shouldn’t be able to work together as a team. But they’ve managed to stick together over a series of missions in order to fight shared enemies; enemies that even barely-reformed villains like Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike see the need to take out. In this case, James Proudstar, a.k.a. Warpath, gets an emergency call from Acero, Jorge’s brother, asking for help. Warpath’s immediately committed to heading to Santo Marco to fight, but as you’ll see in the actual story, each of the other members of the team may need a little more convincing. In particular, Domino’s always got her eyes on the prize, which in her case is some kind of cash payout. And Sabretooth, as always, might have some other plan up his sleeve.

Weapon X #12 cover by Rahzzah How do these special super-soldier pills make the foreign militia an even match for Weapon X? 

Greg Pak: When Nuke was first introduced by [Frank] Miller and [David] Mazzucchelli back in the classic DAREDEVIL storyline “Born Again,” his managers used red, white, and blue pills to amp him up and cool him down. We’ll see those pills in action in this new storyline. Watch out for those red ones in particular, y’all! Will Weapon X have any mutant allies, either from the X-Men or the persecuted population they’re fighting for?

Greg Pak: Weapon X tends to work alone. They barely hold together as team—they’re not really built to play well with others. But Acero and his fellow Santo Marcans will play a role as well.

This is a great place to plug artist Yildiray Cinar, who makes his debut in the book with this storyline. He’s doing absolutely incredible work, making every one of our heroes distinctive and fun and full of character and making every new supporting character feel like a fully fleshed out, compelling, real person. And he’s totally eating up all the action. I’m loving every page he turns in, and Frank D’Armata’s colors are just gorgeous over his inks.

Track a loose Nuke in WEAPON X #12 by Greg Pak and Yildiray Cinar on December 13!

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Greg Pak on Weapon X's history and new threats to come.

Since its inception, the new WEAPON X title’s been cutting a bloody swath through a few of the darker corners of the Marvel Universe. Luckily, it boasts veteran comics scribe Greg Pak at its helm to guide it not only into the future, but to keep it grounded in the rich history of its characters and concepts.

We spoke to Greg about what’s to come in WEAPON X, as the book enters the Marvel Legacy era. Greg, as a Marvel writer, what does the word legacy mean to you personally? How much of it informs what you do on your books and most especially this one?

Greg Pak: From the time I first started writing for Marvel thirteen years ago, I’ve tried to approach each new project involving legacy characters with a mix of awe and fearlessness. Awe, because these are tremendous characters that have survived and thrived for decades and mean so much to their fans. And fearlessness, because in order to tell new stories that anyone gives a damn about, I have to dive into the thick of it, figure out what fresh take I bring to the table, take big risks, and try to tell a story that matters.

In practical terms, that means I’m always trying to get to the core of the character, trying to figure out the essence of what makes that character work. And at the same time, I’m trying to come up with new circumstances and angles and themes to take the character somewhere exciting. So legacy to me means respecting the origins, core, and history of the character—and striving to build on it to tell new stories that fans can dig their teeth into.

Weapon X (2017) #9

Weapon X (2017) #9

What is Marvel Unlimited? Within the narrative itself, is there a sense of legacy at the Weapon X program? What weight does history carry there?

Greg Pak: The Weapon X program’s legacy is a history of horror, vivisection, zealotry, and sadism. It’s also an institution that’s changed hands a number of times as different villains have taken charge. So I don’t think within the actual Weapon X program there’s much of a sense of company pride, so to speak. Each new director is just using the tools and resources of the program to further his or her own ends.

What I’m saying is, these aren’t very good people!

On the other hand, among the victims and subjects of the Weapon X program, there can be a shared allegiance based on their similar experiences. At the end of our last arc, Logan’s team in the WEAPON X book defeated Stryker’s Weapon X program—and then took the Weapon X name for themselves. So that’s a kind of new legacy they’re claiming. Likewise with our heroes: how do Logan and Sabretooth view the concept of legacy? And then Warpath and Domino—what about them?

Greg Pak: Logan and Sabretooth are two of the oldest mutants running around out there, and probably the oldest memory they share is their mutual hatred of each other. So maybe you could say that their sense of legacy on this team is tied up with this eternal conflict they share—which maybe means they both know they’re destined to tear each other apart some day again. But I don’t know if they really think in terms of “legacy” at all. They’ve both seen hundreds of friends and enemies die; they’re each nearly immortal and nearly unkillable. They’re haunted by their pasts, but I think that for their own sanity, they mostly live moment-to-moment, with Logan just trying to do the right thing through whatever means necessary at any given moment and Sabretooth just doing whatever feels good at any given moment.

Similarly, I don’t know if legacy means a ton to Domino, either. She’s got her own weird and tragic past, but she’s made a life for herself as a happy-go-lucky merc. She’s generally going to stick up for the underdog when push comes to shove, but she doesn’t have a grand plan of legacy building or anything like that. That’s one of the things that makes her interesting in the team, of course—she’s unpredictable, like most of the team’s members, which is key to the ongoing tension and drama in the group.

Warpath is a bit different, though. I think he’s very conscious of family and history—his most traumatic life experience was the murder of most of his family in Camp Verde. I think he feels a huge amount of responsibility to his family and tribe and to his extended family of mutants. At some point that bigger sense of responsibility and legacy will probably put him into conflict with other members of the team. Now, as a non-mutant, what holds Lady Deathstrike together with our leads? What’s her prime motivation in the book?

Greg Pak: Lady Deathstrike suffered similar mutilations and experimentation as Logan and Sabretooth and she was an early victim of Stryker’s new Weapon X, so when it came time to take him on, she was happy to team up with everyone else. She’s continued to stick with the team as they’ve taken on new challenges, but it’s an open question how long she’ll stay with the team or exactly what her true motivations are. Let’s not forget, it wasn’t too long ago that she was a straight-up villain and one of Wolverine’s and Domino’s worst enemies. Indeed. So, beyond all that, what getting you most jazzed about this book as you move forward?

Greg Pak: In our next storyline, we’re diving into the incredible mythology of Nuke, the patriotic superhero first introduced by Miller and Mazzucchelli in DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN. DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN was one of three or four books that pulled me back into comics when I was in college. It’s just phenomenally good storytelling and Nuke is such a tremendous character, so this new arc is a dream-come-true. The icing on the cake is that the great Yildiray Cinar is drawing, and he’s just a total pleasure to work with. Can’t wait ’til we can show it to you! Any hints at something specifically cool coming up? Some more big surprises?

Greg Pak: A big turning point in all of our characters’ relationships within the team is coming, and with big, big repercussions. Keep on reading!

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Getting inside the twisted mind of Stryker with writer Greg Pak!

Behind every Hulk-Wolverine hybrid stands a megalomaniacal and bigoted man named Stryker.

In the latest chapter of Weapon H’s tortured story, the madman continues his quest to destroy mutantkind. In response, Sabertooth wants to kill the Weapon before things get worse—though he’ll be met with resistance in the form of claws…as Logan and Laura Kinney join the fight. On October 11, Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente join artists Marc Borstel and Ibraim Roberson for “The Hunt for Weapon H: Part 3” in WEAPON X #9!

We spoke with Greg Pak to get a closer look at William Stryker and the newest iteration of the Weapon X program. Does Stryker have an end goal in mind here (other than the eradication of all mutants)?

Greg Pak: Honestly, that’s pretty much it. He’s a racist sociopath who’s convinced himself that God wants him to rid the world of mutants. He has other side goals along the way, and if he actually succeeded, he’d probably come up with a new target—because someone with that much hate in his heart always comes up with more targets. But his primary goal has always been the extermination of mutants. He’s been involved with Weapon X before—tell us more about his return to the program.

Greg Pak: He teams up with a genius scientist named Dr. Alba, who’s bioengineering the world’s most perfect killing machine with the DNA of various mutants and super heroes, including The Hulk and Logan.

What makes this delicious is that we’ve recently learned that Alba and Stryker have slightly different goals that may create massive problems for Stryker very soon. We’re also going to learn a bit more about what makes Stryker tick. Literally. I can’t say more. What kind of relationships does Stryker have with the mutants he’s hunting?

Greg Pak: He actually teamed up with Lady Deathstrike once upon a time. So there’s always the question of whether everyone on the team could really be completely on board. The team’s full of loners and actual criminals, so exactly how long their allegiance will last might change at any moment. The Hulk recently saved Stryker from Logan, Sabretooth, and Lady Deathstrike—does he feel indebted to the Hulk for that moment of mercy?

Greg Pak: Nope. I don’t think Stryker feels normal emotions like that. I think he’s wholly convinced of his personal righteousness and the correctness of his crusade and sees everyone else he encounters as tools for his use in pursuing that crusade. He might pretend to feel indebted, but only if it might benefit him at some point down the line. But he’ll never genuinely feel moral indebtedness to the Hulk—or probably anyone else. How does Stryker keep one step ahead of the mutants he’s trying to kill?

Greg Pak: You’ll have to read the books to find out! But no one on the team has strength and ruthlessness on the same level as Weapon H, the monster that Alba created for Stryker. So as long as Stryker controls Alba enough to control Weapon H, our heroes are in for a world of pain.

Follow WEAPON X #9, by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente with art by Marc Borstel and Ibraim Roberson, on October 11!

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What’s cooking in the lab? We asked Greg Pak to spill the beans!

The various Weapon X programs have been a thorn in the side of mutantkind for decades, but new management might turn that thorn into a chainsaw. On July 26, Reverend Stryker finally releases Batch H in WEAPON X #6, and we can only imagine what writer Greg Pak and artist Greg Land have in store for us. “They’re cooking up a killer, and we’ll see if our heroes can handle it,” warns Pak.

So just what kind of killer is Batch H? Unfortunately, I can’t give you a straight answer as Pak effectively danced around my questioning like a true, seasoned comic book writer. However, I can tell you that this creation branches out from the typical mutant powered goodie bag featuring Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Warpath, and Domino, to include some gifts from Totally Awesome Hulk! “That’s like a machine gun with a bazooka, some hand grenades and a bunch of knives thrown in; and then the Hulk is a nuke,” explains Pak, “He’s the strongest entity in the Marvel universe so if anyone has that power they’re a huge threat. They could wipe out all mutants.”

Now, which of Hulk’s abilities Stryker successfully melded with his freaky skin suit cyborgs remains a mystery. But, when asked what powers he would give a pro mutant operative to combat Batch H, Pak said you’d probably want something with Professor X’s mind, the ability to put people to sleep, and some kind of influence over emotion to pacify the threat.

Weapon X #6 cover by Skan

Dealing with this hodge-podge of overpowered superhumans won’t be the team’s only issue. “A key question being explored is, is the human recruit still there?” says Pak. Each cyborg starts as an average Joe, human host that Stryker recruits. And while a few arguably villainous characters on the team may be down for whatever, our usual heroes are definitely not. “They’re not murderers. They don’t want to kill anyone. So it’s very important to find out if the people are still there,” explains Pak.

“It’s chilling and it’s creepy and you’re going to want to read it,” teases Pak, “There are surprises coming, a big twist coming.” Plus, like everything else he does, there will of course be humor woven in. That includes more bickering from our favorite old married couple, Logan and Sabretooth, and more of the everyday office life characterizations Pak had a good time sneaking in. “One of the fun things in this whole series is seeing the every day life of the people in the Weapon X facility and how they deal with what they’re doing,” raves Pak, “It’s not one monolithic attitude. We get to see different ways of dealing with human atrocities,”

Get your action, horror, and office life fix on July 26 in WEAPON X #6 written by Greg Pak with art by Greg Land!

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Artist Greg Land unsheathes his visual plans for this new X-Men series!

Instead of creating living weapons of mass destruction, Weapon X plans on taking out the ones they’ve already made. Of course, the WMDs themselves have a thing or two to say about that in the pages of the April 12-launching WEAPON X by Greg Pak and Greg Land.

Specifically, Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, Warpath, Domino, and Lady Deathstrike don’t like the idea of being expunged like so many guinea pigs and will band together in the series to help each other not only stay alive, but also shut down the operation that firmly planted them in the cross hairs.

We talked with Land about mixing this volatile cocktail of characters together, making a few design changes, and working with Pak again after over a decade! You and Greg Pak have worked together in the past, even under the X-Men umbrella with PHOENIX: ENDSONG. How has your collaborative relationship evolved since then?

Greg Land: I just looked at the trade for PHOENIX: ENDSONG to see the publication date. Wow, it has been over 12 years since that project! I have not had the pleasure to work with Greg since then and I have been excited to work on another project [with him]. Getting into the book itself, the cast of characters includes Old Man Logan, Warpath, Domino, Sabretooth, and Lady Deathstrike. How is it for you digging into these characters and figuring out how they work from a design perspective? Were there any challenges in that process?

Greg Land: The challenge for [Old Man Logan] is that he is in street clothes all the time. Getting believable movement in regular jeans and button shirts for the action scenes is harder than the traditional hero spandex. Also I really am working to make his face look older; not just adding a few lines for wrinkles, but getting the feel of a man that has many miles of hard road under his belt.

With Warpath, I want to show his Native American Indian lineage. The strong cheekbones and nose are prominent features. With Sabretooth, I asked if we could go back to his long hair, wild man look. This is working great with the story and it gives us a visual difference between him and Logan. I have not gotten to work on the ladies too much yet, but I am looking forward to getting to draw them again! Greg has said he likes how these characters play off of each other on a personality level. Have you found the same thing to be true in a physical sense as they share panels and pages?

Greg Land: So far Logan and ‘Tooth have been the only ones in the same scenes for me. By going back to the long hair, wild look of Sabretooth, it gives us a nice silhouette difference between the two. Given this cast of characters and the fact that they’re being hunted down by Weapon X, I’m guessing we can expect healthy doses of action and violence. Do you enjoy digging into those scenes and figuring out the best way to make them work?

Greg Land: This is the challenge of working in comic books: how do I take the written word and make it move in a believable and interesting way? Greg has written some elements that I have never had to draw in or out of comics so this has been a good experience for me. It pushes me out of any comfort zone and makes me take chances with the designs and locations. These are the stories that artists love to work on. Always having to push themselves. Speaking of Weapon X. What can you tell us about the design and look of this new take on an old organization?

Greg Land: I want to give the Weapon X facility a creepy and sinister feel. Lots of hi-tech machinery and shadows. It is as much of a character as the individuals that work there. We are slowly showing some of the workers and I am looking forward to getting to expand on their individualities. There is a rich history of the Weapon X project and I want to give it respect in visual terms that it deserves. Can you also talk about some of the methods Weapon X will use to try and take out these incredibly formidable mutants and the design process behind them?

Greg Land: It is too early in the story for me to talk about the methods that will be used but I am sure Greg will have me working hard to come up with some interesting and dynamic visuals.

The hunt begins on April 12 in WEAPON X #1 from Greg Pak and Greg Land!

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Greg Pak crashes the Totally Awesome Hulk into the world of Weapon X!

By Josh Weiss

The Weapon X program has returned, and while it couldn’t be described as “better than ever,” it’s up to its old shenanigans of hunting down and eliminating mutants as well as utilizing their powers. However, this time there’s a bit of a twist: The lethal cyborgs at the program’s disposal also have Amadeus Cho—aka the Hulk—in their crosshairs! He’ll have to team up with Old Man Logan and Sabretooth to discover the murderous machinations against mutant kind in this summer’s brand-new arc, “Weapons of Mutant Destruction” coming to the pages of TOTALLY AWESOME HULK and the upcoming WEAPON X!

We spoke with writer Greg Pak, responsible for both books and the crossover, about exciting team-ups, man-eating aliens ,and the mysterious threat known only as Weapon Gamma. TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #19 will serve as a prelude to this arc. Was it hard to set the stage without giving too much away before it launches proper in June? 

Greg Pak: Well, no. Every issue in this whole storyline has its own internal story and matters so it does set some things up, but it also is its own adventure that plays an important role both in terms of plot and character at this moment in time. I don’t do kind of treading water stories [Laughs]. I strive hard not to do that kind of story, you know what I mean? If there’s gonna be a thing that sets something up [it] is because there’s an important element or character beat that is worth covering in that early issue. Every story is hard. To a certain extent there’s always new challenges with everything you’re trying to do, but I wouldn’t say this is any harder than any other part of the story. I will say it’s all ridiculously fun. We spent a lot of time developing this and nailing down all the details. I’d go into the Marvel offices and have big meetings with the editors and that’s hard work, but by the end of it, we were kind of cackling together as we figured out how big things could happen and some fun twists and in particular, just really fun character moments so that this thing is developing in a way that makes for hopefully, both a thrilling action story, but also has these great character development moments throughout so that it matters on every level. What’s been keeping the Weapon X program out of sight all these years and other than picking off mutants, can you tell us what else they’re after this time around?

Greg Pak: I can’t reveal too much; I don’t want to spoil what’s happening in the story, but I can say that yes, the big mission is the extermination of mutants. And that’s been from time-to-time in Weapon X—with various Weapon X programs over the years that has been an objective, but at other times, it seemed like they were more interested in just creating super soldiers for other reasons and other purposes, but that’s front and center this time around. There is a classic Marvel villain who has basically taken over Weapon X and we will reveal that individual as the story progresses and it will hopefully be a big shock and a lot of fun. What makes it a little different is that over the years there have been a bunch of different super soldier programs and the new Weapon X program is the best of the best. They are culling their technology and techniques from the past and picking the best methods and it’s bigger and badder than ever and they have a plan, and this plan, it’s a very specific and precise plan that could work [Laughs]. I think the other fun of it is that we are, and this will become clear as the story goes on, but we’re doing some real world building. We’re spending a lot of time with these villains. It’s a cliché, but it’s true that a great story really depends on the antagonists, that you need formidable and compelling villains in order to really get deep into your story and I’m really thrilled about what we’re doing with these villains and with this whole world that they’ve created with the Weapon X program. We’ve got two main villains and they’re just very interesting—they have a very interesting relationship and there’s some really interesting contrast between the two of them and I can’t wait until we can reveal more. Why target these specific heroes and villains like Old Man Logan, Sabretooth, Domino, Lady Deathstrike, Warpath, and The Hulk right off the bat? 

Greg Pak: That is an excellent question [Laughs] and the answer will be revealed…no, like I said, there’s a very specific reason why Weapon X is going after these specific characters and I’m not gonna give that up, but if you think about what those characters do and what they’re capable of, maybe readers will come up with their own ideas, but all will be revealed over the course of these few issues. Can you give anything away about this mysterious Weapon Gamma? Is its title related to the radiation that gave Banner and Amadeus their powers? 

Greg Pak: Well there’s an interesting image that’s been revealed of a big Hulk-like figure in a tank with some Wolverine claws and so, we’ll see what’s in Batch H as the story progresses. I cannot tell you more [Laughs], but Weapon X has a plan and that certainly appears to be part of this plan. Exactly what it is, we will see.

Weapons of Mutant Destruction Alpha #1 cover What was it like teaming up a wise-cracking teenager like Amadeus Cho with the more jaded and grizzled personalities of Old Man Logan and Sabretooth?

Greg Pak: That is a lot of the hook of the story. It’s just like I’m looking for interesting contrasts between our two main villains within our group of heroes. You always wanna have, particularly when you’re working in a team book, you wanna have different voices. You want every character to have his/her own distinct voice. So that makes not only just the rhythm of dialogue more fun, but it gives you drama and tension and humor and fun character beats. It allows your characters to develop, basically, when your heroes are challenging each other in interesting ways. It also allows you to dig deeper into the themes of your book and so, if we’ve got this group of badasses, basically, who are used to doing what needs to be done no matter what that is and then you’ve got Amadeus Cho who is, in a lot of ways, a much more idealistic hero who doesn’t believe that nothing is impossible. He’s all about possibility as opposed to a cynical acceptance of reality. The last thing he is, is a killer—he’s a Hulk so he’s a smasher now, but he’s a cocky 19-year-old kid who thinks he’s the best Hulk there ever was and part of that for him is that he thinks he’s smart and he finds ways around problems and cuts the Gordian Knot and doesn’t accept that the worst outcome is what needs to happen. He saves lives and he’s not a lesser of two evils kind of person. And so that’s a very interesting point of view to throw into the mix when you’ve got folks like Logan who have seen the very worst that humanity has to offer and has responded with the worst from time-to-time and folks like Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike in particular who are straight up villains—who have been straight-up villains many times in their careers, but who are now working with these heroes for reasons that will be revealed as the story progresses. It’s a lot of fun. My editors, as the story developed, they suggested bringing The Hulk into the mix and I thought about it for two seconds and I was like, “That really makes a lot of sense.” It makes sense just on this emotional character level. As you’ll see, it also makes perfect sense in terms of plot and our villains’ plans. On that note, how do longtime enemies Logan and Sabretooth feel about forging an alliance? 

Greg Pak: [Laughs] Well they hate each other’s guts, right? What’s beautiful about those guys too and it’s a classic kind of setup, they hate each other, but they also probably know each other better than they know anybody else on the planet. They’ve known each other longer than just about anybody else who’s alive and they’re so very in similar in so many ways. If the person you know the best is the person you hate the most, that’s a very interesting dynamic to play with so they’ve been a lot of fun to write. It’s the kind of fun thing where as they team up then they also know just how to get under each other’s skin, even though they’re working together so they’ve been great to work with together. How does Amadeus, as a non-mutant, feel about being hunted by the Weapon X cyborgs? 

Greg Pak: I think [Amadeus] is the kind of person who has always been an outsider his whole life. He’s not a person who’s like, “Oh, how strange it is that I’m a human working with mutants.” That kind of thought wouldn’t formulate itself in his head. He’d just be like, “Let’s do this!” [Laughs] If somebody’s out persecuting somebody, Amadeus is gonna be like, “This is garbage and this has got to be stopped.” Basically, Amadeus immediately identifies with whoever the underdog is like most great classic super heroes, but I think with Amadeus in particular, that’s a big part of his drive. He’s gonna stick with the underdog and feel right at home fighting alongside them until he finds out what his new friends are capable of. [Laughs] We’ll see what happens then. You’re re-teaming with artist Mahmud Asrar for this story. What kind of tone did you guys want the artwork to convey?

Greg Pak:  Mahmud is amazing. He’s been drawing [TOTALLY AWESOME HULK] for a while and I just love everything he does. You see it coming through in the “Protectors” arc we’re doing right now where we’ve got a bunch of Asian-American super heroes teaming up with Amadeus and they’re taking on these humanivore aliens who have basically kidnapped a bunch of Manhattanites and put them in a food colony outside of Seknarf Seven and so our heroes are fighting to save their lives, save all these New Yorkers. But in that storyline, it’s a big fun goofy story of a bunch of mostly young heroes and a few crotchety older heroes taking on crazy comic book alien super villains. And there’s also a lot of little fun dynamics and little moments between these characters and Mahmud just kills on all that! At the same time, it’s a big action story and there’s also these kind of some very emotionally searing moments in it and Mahmud’s killin’ all that too. So the new story, where you’ve got the WEAPON X book and the TOTALLY AWESOME HULK book coming together, has some of these lighter elements from [TOTALLY AWESOME HULK], but then some really dark stuff and some very hardcore moments and action. And Mahmud is a great artist to nail all of that so he’s doing a tremendous job. What will this arc mean for the future of mutantkind in the Marvel Universe?

Greg Pak: An excellent question. You’re gonna have to buy every single issue to find out. [Laughs]

“Weapons of Mutant Destruction” gets underway with TOTALLY AWESOME HULK #19, available May 24!

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Greg Pak revives the infamous program, whether the X-Men like it or not!

Weapon X has returned with a new leader and a new mission. But they won’t be around much longer if Old Man Logan and Sabretooth have their way. The deadly duo has gathered Lady Deathstrike, Domino, and Warpath and formed a new team to combat the revived Weapon X before they can get too far off the ground.

WEAPON X writer Greg Pak, who will launch the series next year with artist Greg Land, sat down with us to tell how this team comes together and what kind of threats they will face in the battle against this new enemy. Weapon X is back; what’s this new reformed program’s goal?

Greg Pak: The Weapon X program is back, and it’s more deadly than ever—but this time its objective isn’t just to use mutants. Now it wants to exterminate them. And the powers and abilities of this new Weapon X threat are so terrifying that you need both heroes and villains teaming up to handle it. So get ready for a blockbuster thriller of a comic book with a brutal group of heroes and anti-heroes stretched to their limits in a battle for the survival of mutantkind. And of course, we’re going to have tons of fun as our heroes drive each other crazy along the way. Wolverine and Sabretooth have a history, but this particular Logan hasn’t really seen much of this Sabretooth. What has it been like writing these two together?

Greg Pak: It’s a blast. You’ve got an older Logan, who’s been through a whole different set of experiences teaming up with this Sabretooth he doesn’t really know. It’s always fun to have these two characters tangle with each other, particularly when they have to team up for any amount of time. But this time, you have the added dynamic of an older, wiser—well, potentially wiser, anyway—Wolverine teaming up with a younger Sabretooth. They’re a blast to write together; you can put those two characters together and fun things will just happen. They’re so similar, and yet have different ways for dealing with the world and totally different sets of morals and ethics. So for them to find common ground and fight alongside each other instead of against each other, it’s a fun challenge. And, of course, you get the chance for hugely fun conflicts of all kinds. As a writer, one of the most fun things to write is characters who behave badly. And seeing characters who hate each other be forced to work together, it’s classic! How do Logan and Sabretooth end up pulling this team together to take on Weapon X?

Greg Pak: The question is whether these heroes and anti-heroes can come together at all and work together, and whether they can handle what’s coming. This new Weapon X is bigger and badder than it’s ever been and will unleash its attacks in ways we’ve never seen before. Logan’s pulling this particular team together is because he needs a team that’s the best at what they do, and are willing to go the distance. And yet you create huge problems for yourself when you get people this dangerous in the same room together. So the stakes and potential for disaster are pretty sky high. Logan and Sabretooth have clear stakes in this as products of the previous Weapon X program, but what motivations do Domino, Warpath, and Lady Deathstrike have to join the battle?

Greg Pak: Some of these characters are more strictly heroic than others, they’re always going to stick their necks out when someone’s in danger, that’s just who they are and what they do. But Lady Deathstrike, for instance, she’s not been like that, traditionally. But Weapon X is out to exterminate everyone, so there are certain points where you set aside your qualms about the people you’re working with to fight the thing that has to be fought. These folks are going to be at that stage, but as the story goes on, you’ll see who’s willing to do what when it needs to happen, and who’s not. There will be points where the job at hand requires genuine heroism, and there may be points where the job requires something else altogether. This is a story that will test how villainous our villains are, and how heroic our heroes are. And on the flip side, it will show us how heroic these villains can be, and how villainous our heroes could become. It will push both sides to their breaking points. Our characters are going to find things out about themselves that they may not like, and that may be good or that may be terrible.

And I’ll also say, I’m thinking of this book as a series of big, blockbuster action-thrillers. It’s going to be a big satisfying series of huge emotional and physical explosions. It’s the kind of thing that I love to do, which is combine big genre action with genuine emotional story. And we’ve got great, smart, terrifying villains, so it’s going to be very satisfying to see our team take them on.

Weapon X by Greg Land

Weapon X by Greg Land Will the team come up against any familiar foes or team up with any friendly faces?

Greg Pak: I’m not quite at liberty to disclose anything beyond our team just yet, but I can say for sure there will be some familiar faces and some totally new surprises. That’s always the most fun way for me to tackle: drawing some fun stuff from classic continuity while creating new threats from new angles. But who exactly is the figure behind this new Weapon X program? That’s a big part of the ongoing mystery of the book. Dontcha dare miss a single issue! What has it been like to work with Greg Land on art again?

Greg Pak: It’s great to get to work together again; this is the first time we’ve worked together since X-MEN: PHOENIX – ENDSONG almost 11 years ago now. Greg did a tremendous job on that, and we’ve talked over the years about trying to work together again, so I’m excited to be back with him again on another X-book. He’s been working on character designs and covers, and you can just look at Old Man Logan snarling on that cover and see we’re in for some fun action already. I think he’ll bring his great energy to this project, what I loved about working together on ENDSONG was that we had a lot of quiet, intimate moments between characters, and we had a lot of big, crazy action moments, and Greg’s good at delivering on all that. I’ve promised to give him lots of nice splash pages where he can go nuts. He’s capable of all kinds of stuff, and I’m hoping we can work all his artistic muscles on this book. What about this new project that has you most excited?

Greg Pak: I’ve done a ton of X-Men books over the years, but mostly limited series and short runs on some ongoing titles. So this is a chance to really dig into an ongoing series, and I’m really excited for that. It also harkens back to the themes of my favorite X-Men books growing up, and, in a way, this might be the most classic X-Men book that I’ve had the opportunity to work on; what’s more classic X-Men than heroes and anti-heroes teaming up to battle against genocidal monsters? And even just doing a book called “Weapon X” is pretty tremendous. Back in the day, that original Weapon X series [in MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS] was huge for me. It was up there with “Daredevil: Born Again” for me as this modern classic. So I’m happy to play in all these different sandboxes, and I really love this particular group of heroes and villains we’re working with.

I’ve inherited a lot of teams on different books over the years, and the best thing is when you can get to the point where you put any two members of a team in a room together and the scene practically writes itself, just by the virtue of the dynamics of those characters, little points of sympathy and conflict just present themselves naturally. I feel like we’ve got a really fun, focused group with these five characters. Each one of them makes total sense in the team, given the mission, but they all have their own distinct ethical codes and backgrounds, even speech patterns, that are all different in very fun ways. Jeff Lemire did great stuff with Lady Deathstrike in OLD MAN LOGAN that’s going to be incredibly fun to build on. We’ve already talked about Logan and Sabretooth, but then you think about Sabretooth and Domino, or Sabretooth and Warpath, or Warpath and Domino, and the different kinds of relationships these heroes are going to have. Warpath and Sabretooth are going to have a very different dynamic than Warpath and Old Man Logan. It’s figuring out who’s going to be friends, who’s going to even feel comfortable around each other, who’s going to be watching whose back, and who might be secretly sharpening the knives. It’s going to be a blast playing with all those dynamics.

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