Wood could pretty easily sit on his laurels and continue with the status quo, but he and artist Terry Dodson, who's coming onto the title with November's "X-Men" #7 aren't going to be doing that. In that issue, the team will be in a state of flux and facing down a challenge from Lady Deathstrike and her new Sisterhood. We asked Wood about the issue and the changes it'll bring.
MTV Geek: This issue explores the ramifications of the "Battle of the Atom" event, and the solicitation says it'll result in some people leaving the team. Shaking up the lineup only seven issues in is a potentially risky move -- why'd you want to make that happen so early on?
Brian Wood: Well... the solicitation blurb by necessity is very brief and so is simplifying the situation rather drastically. I would defer explaining it until we allow the events of the Battle to play out as they should. But sure, I would agree that switching the lineup after 7 issues is possibly risky, except that it happens all the time in comics - characters introduced or ones that go join other teams, etc. I also have about 200 emails in my gmail archive from fans wanting to see their favorite X-Man on this team, so maybe it won't be so bad. I don't think it will. But like I said, let's wait and see how it plays out... the how, why, and where of the whole thing.
Geek: This issue also marks the return of Lady Deathstrike. Last time we saw her in a substantive way, as a member of the Sisterhood, it appeared her personality had been altered to be more submissive. Sounds like that's not the case anymore. Will that change be addressed?
Wood: This Lady Deathstrike is not submissive, no. In fact, she's leading this new Sisterhood.
Geek: She wasn't in charge of the Sisterhood before. What has led her to take over the team?
Wood: Well, that's the first scene of #7, so I don't want to spoil it too much. I'll say that this Lady Deathstrike is going to have evolved as a character in an interesting and maybe unexpected way. Lady Deathstrike, right now, is non-corporeal. She's software, she's in the cloud somewhere. So that's the first order of business, to help her solve that rather limited situation. Then she can get onto the business of seeking to destroy the X-Men. There's something so much fun about writing a hell-bent-for-revenge character like her.
Geek: I know the idea behind this series was the the X-Men team was going to be all women. It appears as though the villains are all going to be women, too. Is there really not going to be a story where Rogue, Storm and the team take down, say, Sebastian Shaw? Take down the patriarchy a peg?
Wood: Sure. Everyone was very specific at the start of the series, in the planning stages, that this book couldn't not have men in it. And in the first arc we had several, Logan's in #4, and there's loads of male X-Men in the event issues. The reason to have a Sisterhood as the next villain, or group of villains, was to create a sort of perfect counterbalance to the X-Men, a persistent enemy that, in a very directly way, is a mirror to our heroes. I think if it were a Brotherhood, let's say, it would read very much like a "take down the patriarchy" type of thing, and that would be like dumping fuel onto the fires of the fans out there who see, or assume, this book is some attack on men.
Geek: The solicit promises a "tense, intricate mystery." We don't actually know what the mystery is yet, though. Can you offer any clues?
Wood: Well, we know Lady Deathstrike's on the team. The rest of the Sisterhood... not the footsoldiers we'll see introduced in #7, but the "members of he board", the senior mutants who'll make up the Sisterhood... that's the real surprise, and the whole arc is a sort of cat and mouse story where the X-Men chase after Lady Deathstrike as she moves around, recruiting her Sisters.