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Jason Aaron Takes Logan to Class in ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ [Interview]

The X-Men as fans knew them have been split in two following the polarizing events of “Schism,” and it’s left the last guy anyone would expect to teach the next generation of Marvel’s less-than-merry mutants how to thrive in a world that hates and fears them. Starting today in the pages of Wolverine and the X-Men #1 (in stores and available digitally on comiXology), Wolverine is heading up The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning, his modern successor to Charles Xavier’s original institution, putting all manner of mutants, aliens and other gifted youngsters under one roof. Will Wolverine continue to be the best he is at what he does? Or will the title of Headmaster prove too much for the otherwise indestructible warrior? ComicsAlliance hit up series writer Jason Aaron to find out. Read the full interview after the jump.

CA: Wolverine and the X-Men seems like a pretty logical extension for the character you’ve been molding in his solo series over the past few years. In some ways, Wolverine has the most stability — and responsibility — that he ever has. What’s the biggest challenge about writing Wolverine in this latest scenario?

JA: The biggest challenge with writing Wolverine is really just finding a way to put the guy in peril. He’s got a healing factor so it’s hard to put him in any sort of physical danger, and he’s been around for 100+ years so it’s hard to throw him into any sort of predicament he hasn’t faced before. That’s why I’m having so much fun with this new series. We’ve never seen Logan faced with anything like what he’s gotten himself into now. He’s the headmaster of a school full of mutant teenagers. That’s not a role he’s going to adjust to easily. And it’s one that may kill him quicker than Sabretooth ever could.

CA: Creating a new series is often about world building, which is something you’ve almost literally had to do with The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning. What can you tell us about some of the new features this school will have that set it apart from Xavier’s School?

JA: I want this new school to have something weird and exciting around every corner. There’s a Danger Room, but it’s bigger and crazier than any Danger Room we’ve ever seen. There are classroom scenes, but they’ll only get weirder and more off-the-wall as we go. I want this to be the Xavier school turned up to 11. Xavier’s Mansion from the outside always looked like a pretty normal prep school. Some of the classroom scenes would seem pretty normal too. One look at this new Grey School and it should be blatantly obvious that there’s absolutely nothing remotely normal about this place. And we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg so far.

CA: Can you tell us a little about the creative exchange you’ve had with artist Chris Bachalo in creating the visual look of the new school? Did any of his designs surprise you or give you any new ideas about things to do later in the series?

JA: I just gave Chris a few ideas and he ran wild with it. And yes, the fact that he’s able to pack so much craziness into each and every page just inspires me to wanna go even crazier. Again, we’ve only just started to explore this new school. It’s secrets will continue to unfold over the course of the coming issues.

CA: What kind of student were you growing up? Have any of your own educational experiences seeped into how you approach what’s going on in Wolverine and the X-Men?

JA: Ha! Maybe, who knows. I was a good student. I was the quiet guy who knew a lot about movies and comics. I think being a father has been a bigger influence on this series and where I wanna take it. In the opening of Wolverine and the X-Men #1, Professor X tells Logan something that I’ve learned to be true as a dad: be prepared to not be “cool” anymore. Logan’s the authority figure now. Suddenly the snarling rebel has become “The Man.” As you can imagine, Logan’s not very happy about that.

CA: In terms of raw deadliness, how do you think The Jean Grey School For Higher Learning will stack up to similarly dangerous schools like Hogwarts and Starfleet Academy?

JA: The X-Men would kick ass at Quidditch, that’s all I know.

CA: Even as Wolverine runs the new school, he’ll still be getting up to some of his more traditional activities in his solo title. Having written one of the most definitive stories regarding Wolverine’s busy schedule, do you think it’s important to continue the pace of his adventures and overall presence in the wider Marvel universe?

JA: Sure. Wolverine will continue to have a major role in the Marvel U. If anything, his decision to open this new school will only make him a bigger player in the world at large. He’s a busy guy. And that will certainly be addressed in the pages of Wolverine and the X-Men.

CA: You’ve made it pretty clear that fans probably won’t be seeing Wolverine’s X-Men playing baseball in interviews and in the preview for the first issue. Is there anything else from the X-Men’s iconic past you definitely don’t plan on resurrecting?

JA: The annual swimsuit special. Or then again…

CA: Speaking of resurrections, Marvel’s released a number of not-so-subtle Phoenix teasers of late. I know you can’t give anything away yet, but considering how heavily Jean Grey’s shadow looms over Wolverine and the X-Men, can readers expect it to be a pivotal book in whatever storyline may or may not be on the way?

JA: Yes, most definitely. But I can’t say anything more.

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