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Brian Wood And Terry Dodson On The Return of Lady Deathstrike In ‘X-Men’ [SDCC 2013]

As revealed at Sunday’s X-Men panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Terry Dodson is joining Brian Wood for the next big arc of X-Men following the events of Battle of the Atom. The story brings back Lady Deathstrike and introduces a new Sisterhood of villainous women to go toe-to-toe with the all-female X-team.

ComicsAlliance spoke to Wood and Dodson about the new storyline, Dodson’s approach to the cast, what it means to have a female team, and rumors of a change in the roster.

 

Comics Allance: Brian, there was a lot of talk online about the all-female roster, with a few people speaking out against the idea. Now we know the book is a hit, do you feel relieved? Vindicated?

Brian Wood: Well, relief for sure, but that’s true of any project, any new launch. Vindicated suggests boasting, which isn’t the case. I think I’m just really happy that it launched so well and was so well received and reviewed.

Certainly there was a lot of talk leading up to launch about the all-female cast, as well as a historical expectation that these things just do not sell, and I said in some lead-up interview that not only do I hope that this book is an exception, but that its the start of a reversal of that unfortunate trend. We can hope, anyway.

CA: It sounds like there’s a shake-up in the works following Battle of the Atom. Can we assume that we’ll still be looking at an all-female team? Is it important to maintain that?

BW: Yeah, there’s been zero talk of changing that status. It’s totally important to maintain that, to stick to the plan, but also… honestly, how much does it matter that they’re all female, when it comes to the actual story?

That was always the thing I was most anticipating with the launch of the book: readers realizing that this isn’t some thinly disguised political tract or something like that. If you can call the taking of an iconic title like X-Men and doing something atypical with the gender makeup of the cast as a sort of subversion of expectations, then the fact that that this title is, as is true, primarily identifying [as] a straight up action-adventure X-Men book, is just a double subversion.

A much simpler way to put that would be: haters, you never had to worry at all, did you? Whether it be the ladies or the men, the X-Men can bring it no matter what.

CA: Terry, you’re known for drawing some of the most beautiful women in comics. Who are you most looking forward to drawing?

Terry Dodson: Sorry but nothing sexy here … Jubilee and the baby! [Shogo Lee.] That is just simply fun stuff to draw.

After that, Storm has really been rockin’ that Mohawk, so that will be cool to play with, and there’s a creepy looking updated character that will be great as well – you may have heard of her … Lady Deathstrike!

CA: So you’re planning a new look? 

BW: Yep, with suggestions from both Brian and editorial Lady Deathstrike will have a brand new “costume”- yet harkening back to her familiar look.

CA: Brian, what makes Lady Deathstrike such a fearsome foe?

BW: Oh, so many things. What I like about her the most is that she is so driven by vengeance, and that’s great stuff to a writer. It’s so easy to make that vengeance take a detour into irrationality, unpredictability, and even insanity, and what’s more fearsome in a villain than that?

CA: Can you tell us anything about the members of her new Sisterhood?

BW: Not much! But I can say there are two groups of villains – a ‘henchmen’ level of the Sisterhood that we’re introduced to initially, and then the ‘senior’ level. Those are just informal labels, obviously. But it does suggest to the readers that there’s some big names that’ll be joining this Sisterhood. And this Sisterhood is not just a done-in-one-arc set of villains. I’m designing them to be persistent, long-term counterbalances to the X-Men.

CA: These X-Men women have some of the most distinctive personalities in comics. Terry, how easy is it to capture that on the page?

TD: These female X-men characters are so defined and I have such a familiarity with then that it really feels like returning home drawing them – they practically draw themselves. And Brian has done such a great job with the book, so I just need to not drop the ball!

CA: Brian, the Lady Deathstrike story is still a few months off, and you’ve got your current arc and Battle of the Atom between then and now. Can you drop any hints about what fans can look forward to?

BW: Well, people who know Lady Deathstrike know that, right now, she exists as software. She’s in the cloud, as it were, a digital consciousness. So the first order of business is to get her into a physical body, stat. And we do that, in what I think is an interesting and unexpected way. Maybe the typical cyborg body isn’t the way to go, there.

Other things: a new cast member for the X-Men! And the rehabilitation of another – perhaps not in the way you might expect. Poor Karima Shapander – don’t think this current “possessed-by-Arkea” [status] is the only screen time she’s going to get in this title.

Also, Shogo Lee! More than just a chubby face.

Terry Dodson joins the book with X-Men #7, arriving in stores and online in November 2013.

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