Sep 13, 2010

Interview with Marjorie Liu

I'm very sorry for the recent lack of news - I visited Croatia with my friends to spend the rest of the holidays on the sea. =) Now I'm back, so here's a new interview with Ms. Liu about Laura and also an amazing preview of the issue #1!

How much story time passes between the end of the recent "Second Coming" event, where Wolverine told her that she would no longer be part of X-Force, and "X-23" #1? Where is Laura physically and emotionally when the series begins?
Not a huge amount of time at all. She's messed up, honestly. She doesn't know where her place is anymore. While she was part of X-Force, her life was defined by "the mission." There was a job to do, and she did it. She was a good soldier.
But - what people love in war, they fear in peace. Or if they don't fear it, they don't understand it. And that's Laura's situation. She was great to have around when times were bad, but now that the world is settling down, well, what do you do with her? How do you treat her? Do you pat her on the back and say, "Okay, go be a kid now?" That's ridiculous. Except, that is what some of the X-Men try to do. Others who have had traumatic childhoods know better. She's not just a kid. She'll never be just a kid. She's a child soldier. That's a very unique psychology.
Of course, one can argue that all the kids on Utopia are child soldiers - but not like her. It's like comparing the students of an upscale military academy to the children of Sierra Leone who are forced into armies and then subjected to fear, brutality, and psychological manipulation to achieve absolute obedience. Those kids are dehumanized. The entire world is dehumanized, for them.
And now Laura is out of that army. How do you recover from that? How do you recover, when even your friends are afraid of you?

In terms of plot and theme, what is the opening arc of "X-23" about? I understand there's some connection to the current story arc in Jason Aaron and Renato Guedes' recently launched "Wolverine" series, which has the title character's soul trapped in hell while sinister forces inhabit his body, but I assume there's more to "X-23" than simply tying in with that.

It's about Laura coming to terms with this new life she's got. She doesn't see it as a second chance, because that implies that the first part of her life was a failure, and she doesn't feel that way. It was just life, and now she had to figure out a different way to live. She needs to learn who she is outside of the army, away from all these adults who used her. But - to tie in with the Hellverine arc - we've got the Devil tempting her back into that old life of death and war, which does hold a certain comforting appeal. Laura needs to make a choice. Does she go back to what she knows - or does she have the courage to go forward into the unknown?

Who are some of the major supporting players readers will see throughout the opening arc of "X-23?"
Laura's relationship with Hellion will be explored, but she also finds a caring figure in Storm - and in one other well-known X-Man who will play a very important role in her life (and in the second story arc, which starts with issue #4).

How important is setting to the overall opening story? Where does the opening story take place?
It takes place on Utopia and in the personal hell of Laura's mind, which will feel like another world entirely.

You mentioned in past interviews that much of this series is going to be Laura, on her own, exploring the world. Are there any locales you're dying to take her to? Say, some of Wolverine's favorite stomping grounds like Madripoor or the Savage Land?
I would love to take her to Madripoor. You'll definitely see her in China (I have this vision of her tromping all over the Great Wall, which I can't seem to shake), and she'll be heading back to New York City. Really, she can go anywhere she wants. And she will.

It seems like Daken and Laura have a lot in common and a lot of issues with each other. They met once before in the Utopia crossover. With you writing "X-23" and co-writing "Daken: Dark Wolverine," is there any chance we could see them run in to each other again in the near future?
Yes. Absolutely, yes. Readers have been clamoring to see Daken and X-23 go head-to-head, and we gave a taste of that in the recently released "Wolverine: Road to Hell." We wanted to hint at what the crossover will be about - but even that doesn't give a real sense of the rich, intense storyline that we're planning. These two have very different views of the world, but at the same time, they are very much of the man they're made from: Wolverine. Working with and against each other may bring out parts of their personalities that they don't expect.


But will X-23 truly be "on her own?" That's what Katja S. (that would be me)) was wondering, at lea.
Marjorie, you've said in the past that you didn't want Laura's story to solely focus on her romantic relationship with Hellion. Being a huge fan of these two characters, I was curious how you plan on dealing with this, or if you plan on mentioning this relationship at all?
Liu: Oh, yes. The first arc deals, in part, with Laura's relationship with Hellion. I've stated in the past that I'm not interested in exploring her role as a girlfriend - and that's still the case - but their ties to one another will be examined within these first three issues. After that, they part ways - at least for a little while. It won't be forced, I promise you. It should feel like a very natural result of what happens in issue #3.

Will either Daken or X-23 be doing any dating in their upcoming series?
Liu: Daken always has it going on with the ladies (and men), but I don't know if that counts as dating; although, he's going to come very close in issue #2. As for X-23, she'll be forming some deep and lasting bonds - but again, I don't think that's the same thing as going out on a date.
2) When Wolverine goes to hell, will it affect Daken and X-23 on an emotional level? Will they know about it (and will they care)?
Liu: Yes, to X-23. It's going to affect her in more ways than one.
3) In X-23 and Daken's new series, can we expect the two to go up against villains we've seen before? Or are you creating brand new baddies for these books?

Liu: You'll see Laura going up against an established female villain in her second arc (hint: it's not Kimura). I don't plan on creating any new characters, to be honest. I think the Marvel universe already has tons of great villains without adding another one to the mix.

4) Laura has never really had any formal education. How does this impact her in her life? Do you think she'd even be capable of sitting through any kind of class? And how old is she - would she be in high school or college?
Liu: That's a good question. Laura is a highly intelligent young woman with a wealth of life experience that very few could ever hope to match. That, in itself, has been an incredible education. Is she book smart? Well, she could be. She was raised in a lab, after all - meant to be a weapon - and as such, one would assume that she was taught strategy, languages, history and culture - all the things a good living weapon would need to know in order to assess a situation, adapt, blend in, etc.
I never felt that X-23 was meant to be a blunt force object. On the other hand, I don't see her ever sitting down in a formal high school setting. That doesn't mean, however, that she won't try to educate herself. The two are very different things - and an interesting side of her to explore.

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