In Marvel Comics’, writer Greg Pak and his artistic collaborators have introduced a new iteration of the titular, top secret super soldier program. This take saw the Weapon X program create a new batch of living weapons and unleash them upon an unsuspecting mutant population. Standing in their way is a ragtag band of anti-heroes and villains, whose ranks include original Weapon X program test subjects Old Man Logan and Sabretooth, the mutant mercenary Domino, her former X-Force teammate Warpath, and the cyborg known as Lady Deathstrike. This winter, that team continues its campaign to protect mutants from genocide with a mission to a small South American country that brings them face to face with the ghost of another Weapon X subject: the super soldier known as Nuke.
It all happens in Weapon X #12, the kick off to a new Marvel Legacy arc by Pak and artist Yildiray Cinar titled “Nuke-Clear War.” The storyline pits Old Man Logan’s team against a platoon of mercenaries powered by the same red pills that energized Nuke, leading him on a rampage though Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen in the ’80s. In an exclusive first interview with Pak about the arc, the writer divulges to CBR information about the band of mercs, the established Marvel nation they’re working for, and what the arc means for the series moving forward.
CBR: In December’s Weapon X #12, you kick off a new arc titled “Nuke-Clear War” which sees your cast going global in their campaign against those who commit mutant genocide. What can you tell us about the country they’re headed to? Is it an established Marvel locale? Or a new one you’re introducing?
Greg Pak: Our heroes are heading to Santo Marco, the South American nation that Magneto took over way back in X-Men #4 (1964). Over the years, I’ve written a number of stories taking place in Santo Marco. In my War Machine and Storm books, we established that there’s a strong anti-mutant sentiment in the country that’s led to frequent repression and atrocities.
Most recently, during the “Weapons of Mutant Destruction” storyline [a recent crossover between Weapon X and Pak’s Totally Awesome Hulk series], the heroes of Weapon X discovered that a mutant named Jorge had been murdered by Stryker’s cyborgs in Santo Marco. Now things have escalated horribly and our heroes are returning to help Jorge’s family and neighbors.
When the team arrives in Santo Marco, they’ll have to contend with a mercenary platoon, but these aren’t your average run of the mill soldiers of fortune they’re enhanced by some of the same technology that created the super soldier Nuke. How dangerous are they? What made you want to bring the legacy of Nuke into the book?
One of my favorite Marvel storylines of all time is the Daredevil epic “Born Again” that introduced Nuke, the unhinged super-soldier with the American flag tattooed on his face. So when my editors pitched me the idea of Weapon X facing a platoon with Nuke powers, I couldn’t resist. There’s an excellent reason for the presence of Nuke-powered soldiers in Santo Marco, but I ain’t spilling just yet! Just know that every one of them is as pumped up as Nuke has always been, that red, white, and blue pills play a huge role in the story, and that you wanna preorder Weapon X #12 with your local retailer today!
What can you tell us about the emotional status and dynamic of your cast when “Nuke-Clear War” Begins? Will they have any new additions to their ranks, or guest stars assisting them in this story?
There’s a big surprise guest star at the end of the first issue of this storyline. I can’t tell you more for fear of spoilers, but it’s a character I’ve never written before and I’m thrilled to have the chance to feature.
Your artistic collaborator on “Nuke-Clear War” is Yildiray Cinar, whose recent Marvel work includes super soldier like characters Captain America and Cable. So it seems like he’d be a great fit for this arc in particular. What do you enjoy most about his style?
I love what Yildiray does. We worked together a few years back on a story about a young Clark Kent and a young Bruce Wayne on Earth 2, and he brought so much subtle emotion, humanity, humor and texture to those pages. The tone of our Weapon X story is a lot darker and a lot more brutal. But Yildiray is making every character feel human and real, which is incredibly important when you’ve got a team of badasses, killers, and criminals. We have to get a little under these characters’ skins, have to believe in them as real people rather than just stock badasses, for the story to work, and Yildiray’s totally delivering. He’s also just a phenomenal sequential storyteller, and everything from the naturalistic body language of the characters to the kinetic action is totally on point.
Finally, Weapon X going global in their crusade against Mutant genocide could lead to some very interesting and dangerous consequences for you cast. How important is this arc to the larger story you’re telling in the book? What kind of year will 2018 be for your cast?
It’s big. All throughout the series, we’ve played with this notion that Logan’s barely keeping this team together. He’s got semi-reformed criminals like Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike on the team along with a badass like Warpath and a wild card like Domino. There’s always a hundred reasons why the team should break up or tear into each other instead of any other target. So it’s kind of up to Logan to help find that one reason for them to stay together, fighting for a good cause at any given time. Exactly how long he can sustain that dynamic has always been one of our big questions, and things are about to get tested in huge ways. This storyline will set some things in motion that will have a huge impact on the huge challenges that will face the team in 2018.
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