Wednesday, October 27, 2010 Rick Remender Talks Uncanny X-Force A secret group of battered heroes, the “X-Force” team carries out super-powered ‘black ops’ missions behind the scenes of the Marvel Universe. Local writer Rick Remender (Fear Agent, Punisher) helped to assemble the heroes, and has created for himself a rich stage where his characters can explore the consequences of their actions. The Portland Comic Book Examiner spoke with Remender about his relaunch of Marvel’s X-Force title as Uncanny X-Force.

Christian Lipski:
Congratulations on a successful launch, I think.

Rick Remender: Yeah, it sold out in 24 hours or something.

CL: Can you talk about how you chose the team?

RR: Initially it was something the editors had been talking about, and by the time I pitched on it and the final elements were being put into place, it was important to me that all the members be characters who had been tampered with, and characters who for all intents and purposes should be villains, but because of their integrity and their character they find a way to remain heroic. We ended on a team that met that criteria.

CL: They had the same background that a lot of villains have, but for some reason they chose not to go that way.

RR: Yeah, or they’re heroes that were subjected to things that were catastrophic or twisted enough that most humans would have come out of it and then leaned into the villainous nature.

CL: Right, Angel became the horseman of death. That’ll put a cramp in your style.

RR: That’ll put a cramp in your style, right. And Fantomex was created to be a Sentinel, and Wolverine was created to be an assassin, Psylocke had her mind shattered and was trained by the Hand, and Deadpool, Weapon Plus obviously. So they’ve all got that link, and the members who join the team will have that as well, in the future. I like that these people have that in common. It bonds them as a family, and to me that was a very important part of the X-books, that there was a family element.

CL: You seem to take a kind of ‘glass is half-full’ sort of look at the characters, not that they’re good characters degraded to the point that they’re walking the line between good and evil, but that they’ve risen above their experiences and chosen to do good.

RR: Yeah, I think that ultimately for me when I think about it, if you’re taken aside by a band of mystic ninjas and your mind is smashed and tampered with and tainted, and somehow you overcome that and manage to get up every day and fight for the common good, and do what you can to help people... It’s like [the movie] Munich, it’s a band of assassins who have to go out, not necessarily even for revenge, it’s a step above that. I’m not a fan of capital punishment, but in terms of the Marvel Universe, there isn’t just *a* Hitler, there are dozens of Hitlers, dozens of people capable of the kind of terrible mass murder that stains humanity forever. And in terms of characters like Apocalypse, that’s his whole goal, that the mutants evolve and the humans disappear, and so in terms of what this guy’s after, and what sort of solution you come to, there’s no imprisoning him, there’s no talking him down. He’s going to murder a lot of people unless you kill him. When that scenario’s put in front of the characters, these characters do these sorts of missions so that the other X-Men don’t have to. They do this, I think, because they’re capable of it, because it’s necessary, and because they want to spare their family members from having to confront these choices.

CL: They’re kind of taking on the sins for themselves rather than forcing Cyclops, for example, to have to deal with it, or to fail to deal with it.

RR: Yep.

CL: So there are going to be some more members of the team coming up. Does that mean some of the existing members are going to go away?

RR: No, I definitely wanted to start it with a smaller cast and slowly build, so that the dynamic of the five could be established before we start meeting other characters.

CL: Kind of the core of the group?

RR: Yeah, and it’s a smaller tighter group, so it’s easier to convey the dynamics and the characters and get them established in the first arc and the second arc and then slowly bring the next couple cast members, and then do the same [with them] so that by the first year, you understand the dynamics and the characters and how they interrelate.

CL: There are a lot of opportunities for interacting just between the five as it is, between Fantomex and Deadpool, Wolverine and Fantomex, you saw those two kind of face off against each other, in a little competition at the beginning.

RR: Sure, playful…

CL: A gentleman’s bet...

RR: ...gentleman’s bet...

CL: …for millions of dollars of cognac…

RR: Ha ha, right.

CL: I’m looking forward to seeing how Betsy [Psylocke] and Fantomex and Warren [Angel] interact, just from that initial flirtation.

RR: Yeah, there are some zigs and zags in the drama that will play in unexpected ways that should be enjoyable for fans of the characters.

CL: You’ve mentioned that at some point Fantomex and Deadpool are going to have some words about Deadpool’s motivations, and what drives him.

RR: Yeah, I think that those two characters aren't going to be enemies, but as I’m writing them, they naturally tend to, because of their similarities, get on each others’ nerves. That happens in life, when one group of friends already has a joker, and someone comes in and they’re funny, the first guy starts to feel a little threatened, you know. In term of these guys establishing their footing and finding who they are, there’s gonna be some head-butting.

CL: Yeah, looking forward to seeing how that plays out.

At the book’s launch at Cosmic Monkey Comics, you talked about developing Deadpool as a character, as a person a little bit more.

RR: Not in the first arc, but as it progresses we get to see more. I think this cast of characters are going to call him out, with the constant goofing around and the way his mind works. Though I do think the guy is schizophrenic and insane, I think that when you have to be around that for a certain amount of time you want to call it out, present him with logical ways of looking at himself. That maybe he can’t avoid psychoanalyzing himself, his own behavior.

CL: It sounds like you’re going to be breaking new ground on this character.

RR: We’ll see. The things I’ve read about him, a lot of this stuff was already there, and then the exploration for the rest of it is going to come from naturally occurring ideas as I’m writing him, so I’m just going to explore that stuff.

CL: I’m interested in seeing how these characters progress.


FSaker said...

Am I the only person in the world who doesn't think Fantomex and Deadpool are similar AT ALL?? I really don't get this constant comparison; both make jokes, so what? Deadpool is completely insane, has healing factor and skills in martial arts, with a goofy style of humor similar to Spider-Man; Fantomex is sane, with powers that I still don't understand well but without Deadpool's powers, with a dry style of humor similar to Emma Frost.

Really, it amazes me that even Rick Remender considers them similar, as he's the one guy who should be aware of their differences.

Nevertheless, the first issue of UXF was amazing, and I'm glad to know that it sold out in 24 hours! Congratulations to Remender and Opeña!

centurion said...

@Fsaker: Hi. I just got X-Force 1. An amazing issue indeed and certainly a chance for Betsy to be A-list again.