Aaron Wraps HULK, Takes WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN to Year Two

Incredible Hulk #15.

Marvel's October 2012 solicitations cemented two important details about the near future of writer Jason Aaron at the publisher: 1) That his Incredible Hulk run was ending that month with issue #15, and 2) Wolverine and the X-Men is not ending or getting relaunched as part of the "Marvel NOW!" revamp, with the Jean Grey School continuing into its second year. Of course, there is still one piece of mystery surrounding the writer; the exact nature of the "Worthy" teaser released earlier this week with his last name (and artist Esad Ribic's) attached. But while more on that remains to be revealed, Newsarama talked with Aaron about the end of his Incredible Hulk run and what's coming up in Wolverine and the X-Men — along with a tease concerning his unannounced creator-owned follow-up to Scalped, which is ending its 60-issue run at DC's Vertigo imprint later this month.

Newsarama: Jason, though a lot at Marvel is turning over post-Avengers vs. X-Men, it’s been established that Wolverine and the X-Men is continuing on in the "Marvel NOW!" era. What can you say at this point about the near future of the book?

Jason Aaron: Things continue on full-speed ahead. The second year kicks off with issue #18, in October, with Nick Bradshaw back on art. The last few of the AvX tie-ins really have some dramatic turns for a few of our characters that set the stage for everything to come. I’m super-excited. I’ve said all along, they’ll have to drag me kicking and screaming away from this book, so I’m here for the long haul.

Wolverine and

the X-Men #18.

I still feel like I’m just getting started on this book. We had eight issues before we dove into the AvX stuff. There’s still a lot of ground to cover. I’m just glad to be chugging along on that book.

Nrama: Right, the status quo was quickly overturned by AvX, and it looks like things will once again be very different at the other side of that.

Aaron: The cast will be shaken up a little bit. A couple of characters will go away. We’ll have at least one high-profile addition. There will be a whole new role for Angel. A couple of our students will go directions they certainly did not anticipate. The Hellfire Club will up their game in a big way, as they suddenly have a whole new objective in mind in terms of how to deal with the Jean Grey School. For the first big arc that starts with #18, the main villain will be none other than Frankenstein’s Monster, who comes to Salem Center with his very own murder circus. So it's basically the X-Men versus Frankenstein’s Murder Circus.

Issue #18, the first post-AvX issue will deal with some of the fallout. There’s massive fallout from that book in terms of the X-Men universe.

Nrama: And presumably, the book will be affected by what’s set to go down in Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen's All-New X-Men.

  Aaron: Bendis and I, we obviously both go to the Marvel retreats. We've been talking about this stuff for months, and I’ve read the first several issues. There certainly will be crossover and tie-in there, just the way things have been in the X-Men universe recently.

Kieron Gillen and I had the same sort of relationship — we talk a lot and we share. You’ve got two different X-books with very different flavors and mandates, which I think is great. If you’re going to do a bunch of X-Men books, it's nice for them to each have their own very clear purpose, and I think we’ve certainly got that with these books. Certainly from time to time you’ll see things connect together.

Nrama: Then also in October, your Incredible Hulk run is ending.

Aaron: Issue #15 wraps up the whole big story that started with Incredible Hulk #1. We always intended to be one big story with a very clear beginning, middle and end.  

Incredible Hulk #13. Nrama: Not that 15 issues is a small number of issues, especially in today's market, but your Hulk run was always intended to be a finite one?

Aaron: It was always meant to be one story, and I knew the stuff I would be setting up in issue #1 would be the stuff I would wrap up by the end of it. The last arc is called "Hulk United," which is kind of a bookend to my first arc, which was "Hulk Asunder." All of the things that have come into play over the course of those previous 14 issues all start to come to a head. I deal with this weird dynamic that I’ve created between Hulk and Banner.

Nrama: The last time we talked, you mentioned plans for a new creator-owned book, given that Scalped is ending imminently. Is there any news on that front?

Aaron: It's happening, it’s just not at a place where I can announce it yet. There is a book, there is an artist, there is a company. Everything’s on the table, we're just not close enough to let everybody know. It is in the works.

Scalped #60. As long as I’m in comics, I want to be doing some kind of original, creator-owned work. And this will be something that I think people who enjoyed Scalped will be into. It’s something in the same sort of vein.

Nrama: Right, well, clearly the last year has been a busy one for you in terms of work-for-hire Marvel stuff.

Aaron: I’m much less busy now than I was six months or a year ago. AvX is wrapped up, and I'm writing my last issue of Hulk this week, Scalped is wrapped. A lot of those things that I’ve been working on have wrapped up, and now I’m just forging ahead with new stuff.

I look at somebody like [Jonathan] Hickman, and what he’s done, and that’s kind of what I want to do. I want to do more of the short, creator-owned projects instead of diving into another Scalped; another 60-issue ongoing series. I've got a bunch of ideas I want to get out there. That’ll be my focus for the foreseeable future.

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