WonderCon 2012: EXCLUSIVE Interview! Greg Pak on X-TREME X-MEN

Today at WonderCon, during the “Talk to the Hat” panel, Marvel Comics Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of Publishing, Tom Brevoort unveiled the details around the news of the relaunch of X-Treme X-Men.  This time around, X-Treme X-Men will be written by Greg Pak, who you’re familiar with from his long legacy of working on Hulk and Hercules as well as most recently Alpha Flight and the most excellent Red Skull Incarnate.  Pak will be joined by artist Stephen Segovia, who he previously worked on the Silver Surfer mini series in 2011.

We got the chance to chat with Pak about what fans can expect from X-Treme X-Men and what they need to know going into it.

iFanboy: You recently wrote an arc of Astonishing X-Men that introduced some interesting things in the world of the X-Men. Will X-Treme X-Men be building off the events of Astonishing X-Men and if so, how?

Greg Pak: In Astonishing X-Men #44-47, we threw Cyclops into an alternate reality where he teamed up with some unexpected incarnations of his closest friends and took on a massive threat to mutant-kind across multiple worlds. The new X-Treme X-Men book starts as Cyclops reaches back through realities to find out what happened to his Alterna-X-Men friends — and all hell breaks loose.

iF: X-Treme X-Men is going to be starring Dazzler, a fan favorite character who’s been under-used recently. What’s your approach to Dazzler and how does she fit in to the X-Treme X-Men picture?

GP: DAZZLER! You have no idea how much fun I’m having writing her. She’s been up and down and all around and at times has probably felt like an alternate universe character in her own world. In other words, she’s a perfect character to throw into a story like this where she’ll be tested in entirely new ways and discover what she’s really capable of.

Cyclops was the perfect lead for that Astonishing X-Men story — he’s a natural leader who could rally this team of alterna-X-Men — and he had a ton of great, complicated, conflicted emotions from Schism that the story let him work through. And that’s why Dazzler is so perfect for X-Treme — in our world, she’s the ultimate show biz, superhero survivor, an icon and inspiration and probably the semi-embarrassed star of her own “Behind the Music” doc. She’s wry and funny and she’s seen it all — but she’s also still searching for her true path. X-Treme is where she’s hit with her biggest challenge — and where you’re gonna find out what a rock and roll hero really looks like.

And in a funny way, just in terms of sheer power, she’s right on par with Cyclops. They both generate massive amounts of energy that they can fire at opponents — she can even create solid light bolts that aren’t too different from Cyclops’s optic blasts.

Get ready, folks. She’s coming for ya.

X-Treme X-Men #1

iF: You’ve introduced Kid Nightcrawler and Howlett in Astonishing X-Men and they’ll be players in X-Treme X-Men, for those unfamiliar with them, who are these new characters and how are they different from their Marvel Universe Counterparts?

GP: Howlett is former Governor General James Howlett of the Dominion of Canada and Viceroy of Her Majesty’s Expedition to Shangri-La. He looks older than “our” Wolverine — about fifty, with a pulp adventurer’s fedora, duster, and handlebar mustache. And instead of adamantium, his skeleton is laced with golden adamantine, the metal of the gods.

Kid Kurt is a ten year old from an alternate universe in which grade schoolers take classes on Quantum Mechanics and the Practical Uses of Infinity. He’s got a Spider-Man lunchbox, a purple belt in taekwondo, and he is awesome.

iF: With the announcement of X-Treme X-Men, it brings to mind 2 previous Marvel Comics that ran in the early/mid 2000s: the first X-Treme X-Men written by Claremont and the alternate dimension hopping title Exiles. How does this new X-Treme X-Men differ from those titles and will there be any links to the past history of those titles?

GP: X-Men editor extraordinaire Nick Lowe and I definitely talked about Exiles when we were planning my Astonishing run. But we had the good fortune of being able to use the biggest characters in the X-Universe for our story. So that lets us carry our alterna-Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Emma Frost over to the new X-Treme book. And every issue of the book will introduce new incarnations of big X-Men — and explore them in ways that we hope will blow your mind and see the characters you love in entirely new ways.

We’re not planning to tie the book too tightly to previous stories or alternate universes — the goal is to create new stories and worlds that will bring out the characters and themes we’re playing with in the biggest way possible. But the legacy of that X-Treme title is important to me as a signal that anything is possible in this book. We’re pushing all the flashing red buttons, ignoring all the danger signs, and pushing our characters to their limits.

iF: We’d imagine that working within alternate dimensions allows room for creativity. How has the collaboration between you and artist Stephen Segovia to bring these new dimensions to life been going?

GP: Stephen and I had a blast working together on our 2011 Silver Surfer book. We’ve just started digging in, but he’s going to eat this thing alive. He knows how to deliver the kind of insane, mindbending adventure that’s just perfect for a book like this.

iF: X-Treme X-Men promises to bring together a team from multiple dimensions to save the universes from the greatest threat ever. What can you tell us about this threat and how it will play out over the ongoing nature of the series? Will it be a persistent threat or just the first adventure for this new team?

GP: We’ll discover the nature of the threat over time. I’ll just say it’s massive and it twists back to hit the 616 Universe with some real emotional heft in a way that you won’t see coming.

X-Treme X-Men #1 ships in July 2012 from Marvel Comics


  1. Alright I admit that Greg Pak can definitely write a fun, universe hopping comic.

    But nothing here tells me a long term plan. Marvel definitely doesn’t give Pak a long time to do a story so I say I give it 3 issues before we hear the inevitable.

    Plus that title is X-tremely stupid. I guess they were going to call it Exiles but then they realize no one ever buys that book when it relaunches.

  2. I LOVED Exiles. That said, aren’t we already seeing a version of this with the AoA book that spun out of Uncanny X-Force? Besides a team made up of X-versions from multiple universes and it WON’T be led by Blink?! We’ll see…

    And the title is dumb. 🙂

  3. I wish they had just let this continue in Astonishing X-Men. Aside from Mike Perkins art, this sounds much better than what will be in that book next.

  4. I’m just glad it’s not in regular continuity, I’m already buying too many x titles I didn’t need a new one

  5. Looks kinda cool.

    Although I admit the title immediately makes me think of board shorts and red Mountain Dew.

  6. Sounds like a great book, but there’s so many X-books already! Still I may buy it.

    • There are so many books in general! But I also may pick this up. I have always enjoyed alterna-X-Men, especially Exiles before Claremont. Pak and McKone’s arc on Astonishing brought me back to the title and I think I’m willing to continue following these characters.

  7. This sounds very interesting.

  8. Many a snarky comment popped into my head when I saw this announcement, but I’ll digress and simply ask: does the market really need another X-men book?

    My gut tells me no, but my gut also told me to try the Vegan chocolate chip cookies my wife made (i.e. they were horrible).

    I hope that Pak and crew are able to bring something fresh and new that brings fans to the book because there is a lot of competition out there already for the 900 other X-men related titles.

  9. I’m in!

    Howlett is great!

  10. Dazzler? SOLD. Love it.