Interview: Greg Pak Unleashes X-TREME X-MEN

Greg Pak is about to get extreme. Better yet, he’s getting X-Treme with his upcoming title X-Treme X-Men. Spinning out of his arc on Astonishing X-Men, Pak is bringing a couple of familiar, yet completely different faces to the Marvel Universe in a title that will no doubt be causing some buzz this summer. Pak recently took time to discuss the book with Comicosity and what readers can expect from X-Treme X-Men.

Aaron Long: Best to start at the beginning, how did X-Treme X-Men come to be?

Greg Pak: Earlier this year I wrapped up a four issue run on “Astonishing X-Men” that featured a group of X-Men from alternative realities coming together to save the day from a megalomaniac alterna-Xavier named Savior. Even at the very early stages of planning that storyline, X-Men editor Nick Lowe was speculating that we might be able to spin a book out of the storyline that would star these alterna-X-Men. And so it came to be!

AL: The initial lineup for this team features a character that you seem to be brimming with enthusiasm about…how does Dazzler fit into this book and what are your thoughts on her character? She’s been through a fair number of ups and downs….

GP: I definitely wanted a character from “our” universe to lead our team of alternate world X-Men, and in discussions with the X-Editors, Dazzler’s name kept coming up. And once I started to think about it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Dazzler’s just perfect for the role. She’s a down-to-earth character with a great sense of humor who would be a great POV character through whose eyes readers can see these crazy cross-dimensional hijinks unfold. Dazzler’s also a great fit as a character with tremendous potential who’s ripe for this kind of hero’s journey. Dazzler’s incredibly powerful — her energy generation power is pretty similar to Cyclops’s in a lot of ways. And we’re going to give her plenty of opportunity to shine as a warrior and leader.

But most importantly, Dazzler’s just an absolute blast to write. I’ve totally fallen for her. She’s smart and funny and self-deprecating and she wears her heart on her sleeve and she’s a pop star who’s gonna save the world with rock and roll. Seriously. Buy this book, y’all.

AL: The other two team members in this book are different takes on two very well known X-Men, Nightcrawler and Wolverine. Can you discuss what is driving Kid Nightcrawler and Howlett now that they’ve entered the mainstream Marvel Universe and how others may react to a second “Wolverine” being around?

GP: Our Wolverine is James Howlett, former Governor General of his world’s Dominion of Canada and Her Majesty’s Special Envoy to Shangri-La. He’s a gentleman adventurer in the Teddy Roosevelt mode with a special connection to things mystic and magical and divine. He also has great facial hair.

Our Nightcrawler is a kid named Kurt Waggoner from his world’s United States of California. He’s a scientific genius whose hero is Spider-Man. We also have Emmeline Frost-Summers, the Emma Frost from the steampunk world Warren Ellis introduced in his “Ghost Boxes” books. And get ready for an interesting new Xavier or two.

All of these characters are going to be roped into a very specific mission that I can’t reveal right now for fear of spoilers. I’ll just say that the stakes couldn’t be higher and yet there’s enough gray in interpreting the mission that each of our characters will face some big struggles and conflicts as the story plays out.

AL: Will the events of Avengers Vs. X-Men have an effect on X-Treme X-Men or will the events in the book be somewhat self-contained?

GP: It’s a separate story — and while X-Treme will eventually curve back around to smack right back into the heart of the Marvel Universe, for the moment, you don’t have to know anything or be reading anything else to jump on board with the book.

AL: Any final words for Comicosity’s readers about X-Treme X-Men?

GP: Stephen Segovia is drawing the first arc, and boy is it pretty. Stephen and I worked together on the Silver Surfer mini a couple of years ago, where he his boundless imagination. We’re giving him entire new worlds to create, and he’s eating it alive.

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