Tuesday, March 28, 2017

'Astonishing X-Men' To Have New Artist Each Issue, Beginning with Jim Cheung

Newsamara: The artists drawing the previously-announced Astonishing X-Men relaunch have been revealed. The July-debuting title written by Charles Soule will be illustrated by a new artist in each issue, beginning with Jim Cheung and going on to include Ron Garney, ACO, Phil Noto, Greg Land, and Ramon Rosanas.

"The threat facing our heroes touches on all corners of the X-Men mythology," said Axel Alonso, Marvel's Editor-In-Chief. "So each issue - illustrated by a superstar artist - will dig deep into one of your favorite pieces of X-Men lore, with some eye-popping surprises along the way. The last page of issue one definitely qualifies as one of those, and it's bound to make X-Men fans very happy.”

Astonishing X-Men was originally advertised to begin in June, but it is now scheduled to debut in July according to Marvel.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Charles Soule Lays Out His Astonishing Mutant Landscape

Announcing Cheung, Garney, ACO, Noto, Land, Rosanas and more bringing the story to life!

Marvel.com: It shouldn’t be too astonishing that the X-Men are as popular as they are. After all, their collection of diverse of mutants offers a never-ending grab bag of super powered mayhem that usually goes toward saving the day–when they’re not too busy butting heads with the Inhumans, that is. Simply put, there is no shortage of classic “X-Men” content and one particular title is about to re-enter the limelight.

After a four-year hiatus, Marvel is bringing back the “Astonishing X-Men” series this summer under the confident pen of writer, Charles Soule who’s not too worried that he’s got some big shoes to fill. We’re also excited to announce that Jim Cheung, Ron Garney, ACO, Phil Noto, Greg Land, Ramon Rosanas and more will be bringing the serialized, ongoing story to life with some incredible artwork.

Get pumped for the returning title by checking out our interview with Charles who discusses the book’s iconic cast, its use of the entirety of Marvel history and how the series will mutate under his skilled direction.

Marvel.com: “Astonishing X-Men” is a title whose original run spanned from the mid-1990s to 2013. What was the most exciting part about being the person responsible for relaunching it?

Charles Soule: “Astonishing” is one of the fundamental “X”-titles for me, especially the Whedon/Cassaday run. It’s some of the best “X-Men” storytelling of all time. So, exciting, yes – also somewhat terrifying. But like any book I take on, I’ll do my best.

Marvel.com: Over the years, the series was written by a litany of big Marvel creative minds like Joss Whedon, Warren Ellis, Marjorie Liu and Greg Pak. How were you hoping to approach it differently than these writers did in the past? How did you pour your own heart and, forgive me, soul into the writing?

Charles Soule: I’d like to think that any story I do will be different from the other incredible talents who have worked under this banner in the past, just because I’m not them. This sort of “Murderer’s Row” legacy isn’t anything new to me, though – from my very first Marvel project (“Thunderbolts”) to Daredevil to pretty much everything I’ve done, I’ve been working on titles that have superstar creators in their past. You just put your head down and write your story and hope that it can stand next to the other books in the line.

Marvel.com: Going off that, can you talk a little bit about the artistic vision you had for the look and feel of the series?

Charles Soule: I mostly want it to feel epic. I’m trying to go as big as I can both for character moments and “page-feel,” if that’s a term I can coin. I remember when Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch were working in what was termed “widescreen” back on their “Ultimates” project. I’d say it’s something like that, but within every massive beat there’s a character moment (or ten) to back it up. Mostly, I wanted to anchor “Astonishing X-Men” in the real world, so-to-speak. Many times the big superhero stories take place away from population centers, especially mutant stories. I get it – a superhero slugfest with a bunch of civilians around complicates things immensely. I’ve done it myself many times. Setting your battle scene on a remote glacier solves a lot of storytelling problems. However, I think the X-Men are at their best story-wise when they’re not only fighting super-villains, but their activities are seen through the lens of the human world. So, we’ll get a lot of that here – a lot of the action takes place in the heart of London, with all the attendant repercussions. Good times all around.

Marvel.com: We know the series will feature a veritable Who’s Who of fan favorite X-Men (i.e. Old Man Logan, Archangel, Mystique, Rogue, Gambit, Psylocke and Fantomex), but what can you tell us about the villains being featured in the story?

Charles Soule: Not too much just yet… but we’ll get there! I want it to feel like a nice reveal, but the way the story is designed I can pull in bad guys from literally any era of Marvel history. The book is built like a bit of a puzzle box, with multiple layers of reveals. Part of the fun of certain “X”-stories is speculating about what’s really going on, and this is definitely one of those.

Marvel.com: Now onto the heroes. What was the decision process behind choosing these specific characters to make up this team other than being adored by fans and veterans of the original run?

Charles Soule: It’s a mix of characters who I really wanted to write and characters who hadn’t been seen in a bit, or both! I wanted a bunch of people I knew I could write well, but who also had lots of history with each other. All of these people have been “bad guys” at one point or another – checkered pasts all around. Many of them have dated each other, or have been in love triangles… it’s just a feast of drama, and the soap opera stuff is part of what makes the X-Men great. It’s fun to write all these folks, especially in a really focused story like I’m telling in Astonishing. The book has a specific point, story and end goal… which you’ll see soon enough!

Marvel.com: Will we be seeing a different team dynamic than we’ve seen in the past and were there any specific characters you had a blast writing?

Charles Soule: I’ve said this before, but this book doesn’t have a team. It has a cast. It doesn’t have a leader, either. It’s like a novel, or a film, or a TV series. There are characters who are more or less prominent from scene to scene, but this isn’t a story about superheroes coming together with a shared goal to fight bad guys, with a base, and cool coordinated costumes and so on. This is a bunch of flawed, extremely powerful individuals who find themselves in the same place at the same time as something very intense and potentially world-ending happens. Then, we see what they do next. It’s a pretty cool ride, I think.

Friday, March 24, 2017

#tbt: X-Men Annual #2 – The Revanche Saga, Chapter 6

#tbt: X-Men Annual #2 – In the Danger Room, Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee and Revanche are having a training session, which does not go as Revanche planned. Jean Grey, Cyclops and Psylocke discuss Psylocke’s current predicament - the Kwannon situation. Jean Grey telepathically probes Psylocke’s mind, and the women witness a young Betsy attacking her brother, Brian. Written by Fabian Nicieza and Art by Aron Wiensenfeld. Read full summary here.

Stay tuned to the conclusion of this story next week!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Marvel Solicits for June 2017

Secret Warriors #3
Matthew Rosenberg (W) • Javier Garron (A)
Cover by: Tradd Moore & Matthew Wilson
Variant Cover by: Chris Samnee & Matthew Wilson
Mary Jane Variant Cover by: Javier Rodriguez
SECRET EMPIRE TIE-IN! The team’s quest to unite the Inhumans will bring them into the land of the only people who truly understand the dangers they face: The X-Men! But, uh, it does NOT go well…Quake’s leadership forces Ms. Marvel to make some tough choices about what she is willing to do to win this war. And all of this leads to a shocking showdown with [REDACTED]!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

X-Position: X-Men Blues Cullen Bunn Teases Magneto’s Machinations

CBR: This week in X-POSITION, “Uncanny X-Men” and “X-Men Blue” writer Cullen Bunn returns and answers all of your questions about Psylocke, Monet, Magneto and more.

Despite putting a fight, I got the feeling that Magneto had somewhat of a death wish during his fight with Psylocke. It felt like he was okay and at peace with his life coming to an end there. Will this fight with Betsy affect him during your run on “X-Men Blue”?

I think Magneto having a death wish is pretty close to the truth. Did it feel to you like he might have been holding back a little? Like he might have been planning to die? Elixir was right there, ready to bring him back, wasn’t he? The fight will continue to have long-lasting ramifications for Magneto, both internally and externally.

First and foremost, Psylocke went and blabbed to everyone that she killed Magneto. Now everybody thinks he’s dead.

Why did you decide to end “Uncanny” with a conflict between Psylocke and Magneto? I know they have their differences, but Psylocke knew from the beginning what kind of person Magneto was.

Psylocke did know what kind of person Magneto was, but she warned him time and time again that if he cut out of line she would take him down with extreme prejudice. My decision to end the series with that moment boils down to me feeling that this put a nice bow on the series and tied everything together. From the beginning, it was about Magneto and Psylocke.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

X-Solicits for June 2017

X-Men: Gold #5
  • Marc Guggenheim (W) • R.B. Silva (A)
  • Cover By: Ardian Syaf
  • Mary Jane Variant By: Anthony Piper
  • Double ships every month!
  • Each new generation of Sentinel has been DEADLIER than its predecessors…and 0101 is no exception to that rule! As the X-Men race to stop the perfect mutant-killing machine from executing its programming, they’ll find themselves asking one question: Are they the hunters…or the hunted?

X-Men: Gold #6
  • Marc Guggenheim (W) • R.B. Silva (A)
  • Cover By: Ardian Syaf
  • Double ships every month!
  • The perfect mutant-killing machine has MUTATED. As the X-Men fight for their lives against the most fearsome SENTINEL yet, one X-Man decides to do the unthinkable! Will it take the life of one X-Man to save the rest?

X-Men: Blue #5
  • Cullen Bunn (W) • Julian Lopez Velarde (A)
  • Cover By: Arthur Adams
  • Mary Jane Variant Cover By: TBA
  • Double ships every month!
  • The X-MEN and their new teammate investigate the NEW MARAUDERS. Who are they? And what do they want? Guest-starring MS. SINISTER and a whole gang of nasties you won’t want to miss!

X-Men: Blue #6
  • Cullen Bunn (W) • Jorge Molina (A)
  • Cover By: Arthur Adams
  • IT’S A PERFECT DAY IN MADRIPOOR…OR IS IT? – Double ships every month! Of course nothing can ever go right for the X-MEN — even when they’re exploring the streets of MADRIPOOR! But, then again, what did they expect? Sunshine and lollipops? It’s freaking Madripoor, guys!!!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

X-Men ResurrXion

Flashback Friday: Psylocke

Marvel.com: Betsy Braddock has had one weird road to being a super hero! Psylocke might be throwing down with Magneto in this week’s UNCANNY X-MEN #19, but she might not have been so bold back in her first appearance. In fact, as longtime X-fans will know, the woman known as Betsy Braddock has actually changed more than her appearance since she first showed up in the Marvel UK comic CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8 in 1976 by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe.

The sister of the title hero, Betsy displayed some telepathic abilities, worked with S.T.R.I.K.E., and even took over as Captain Britain for a brief adventure. She would go on to appear in other Marvel UK books like THE DAREDEVILS and SUPER SPIDER-MAN AND CAPTAIN BRITAIN before making the jump across the pond in NEW MUTANTS ANNUAL #2.

In that issue, Mojo and Spiral jumped her and used her to help dazzle the children of Earth with a new animated series. Though executing the usual evil plan, Mojo did help restore Betsy’s previously lost sight and granted her the name Psylocke. After the New Mutants rescued her, she decided to attend Xavier’s school in order to get a better handle on her powers.

After serving with the X-Men for a while, an amnesiac Psylocke wound up in the Hand’s possession where they continued to brainwash her into thinking herself the assassin Lady Mandarin. The group also altered her appearance so she would more seamlessly blend in with Hong Kong. Luckily, Wolverine restored Psylocke, as seen in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #256–258, but Betsy retained the incredible fighting skills she learned as well as her now-iconic psychic knife.

Around this same time a ninja named Kwannon also appeared with Betsy’s old face. The case of mistaken identity bounced back and forth for a while until ultimately coming to a conclusion that left Psylocke in control once again. Braddock continued fighting the good fight, even getting a power upgrade thanks to the Crimson Dawn, but she fell in the first few issues of X-TREME X-MEN; she got better in UNCANNY X-MEN #455.

Later she helped the reality-hopping Exiles save several existences in the pages of both EXILES and NEW EXILES. She also played a big part in X-MEN: SWORD OF THE BRADDOCKS and starred in her own 2010 limited series. Upon fully returning to the Marvel Universe, Psylocke has become a big part of the X-Men again, appearing in books like UNCANNY X-FORCE, X-MEN, and UNCANNY X-MEN.

Flash Forward

The most recent volume of UNCANNY X-MEN marks just one more step in the long relationship between Psylocke and Sabretooth. They first met one another in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #213, not long after Betsy enrolled at the school. After quickly taking out Rogue, the then-villainous ‘Tooth entered the mansion to do the same with Betsy, but she used her powers—enhanced by Cerebro—to stun him before running away. Braddock held her own pretty well, but ultimately Sabretooth got the drop on her, but not before Storm and Wolverine showed up to pick up the slack. Later in UNCANNY X-MEN #328, Psylocke stepped in to stop an enraged Boom Boom from getting herself killed in Sabretooth’s cell, an act that led to her own evisceration. While running around with the Exiles, Psylocke actually started a relationship with the Age of Apocalypse version of her enemy. Most recently, the two came together on the same team.

Friday, March 17, 2017

#tbt: X-Men #24 – The Revanche Saga, Chapter 5

#tbt: X-Men #24 – Behind Xavier's mansion, at the Boathouse overlooking the Spuytin Dyvil Cove, Revanche and Psylocke practice stalking one another to see who is the better assassin. Finding themselves too evenly matched the two women decide that they cannot fight one another because they are like mirror images of each other. Appearing suddenly, Wolverine asks them if they will fight all the time or just get on with their lives. While in Psylocke's bedroom in Xavier's mansion, Revanche and Psylocke decide to come to a stalemate, still unsure though of the extent of their connection. Written by Fabian Nicieza and Art by Andy Kubert. Read full summary here.