Friday, December 30, 2011

X-Men #23 Preview

X-Men #23
Written by: Victor Gischler
Pencils by: Will Conrad
Cover by: Adi Granov

The Story:
• The pulse-pounding conclusion to “Machines of War”!
• The fate of an oppressed people in the hands of War Machine and the X-Men!
• So many Sentinels they blot out the sky!

In Stores: January 4 , 2012


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Deadpool #50 Teaser

Deadpool is joined in the milestone issue by his teammates in X-Force who will play a large role in the upcoming storyarc, according to Way. "Deadpool's teammates on X-Force are also going to be part of 'Dead,'" Way said. "Since he's one of their own they feel some responsibility for what's going on, so they get drawn into the chaos and before they know it they're deeply enmeshed in things." Barberi's teaser depicts Deadpool as he faces his teammates Wolverine, Psylocke, Fantomex and Age of Apocalypse Nightcrawler with his back to the reader. While Barberi will handle the interior pages, Marvel revealed earlier this month that Dave Johnson would be providing the cover image to Deadpool's 50th issue. Not much else is known about Deadpool's ultimate suicidal plot, but one thing is certain: the New Year should be very good to Deadpool fans.
Full Article

X-Position: Top X-Moments of 2011

CBR: Right before the end of 2011, CBR asked you - their faithful X-POSITION readers - to send them your favorite moments of the year gone by from the various X-books. Here they are!

1. The Year of Idie

2. X-Force's Uncanny Year

This was another "moment" where I, as judge of this list, had to stretch things. Many emails and forum postings mentioned "Uncanny X-Force" moments from the beginning of the year, and then -- in the same breath -- turn around and add events from the book's end-of-year storyline. My hands felt tied, so I'm naming the entire year's worth of stories as moment #2. And if you don't like it -- get your own column!

If January's issue was #4 and December's is #19, that means we had sixteen issues of "Uncanny X-Force" in twelve months (not including the .1!) . For this book, that turns out to be a good thing!
-- Al Gonzalez

"Uncanny X-Force" is by far the most compelling X-series since Carey's adjectiveless run on X-Men. Smart, funny, tragic, and dramatic -- just essential reading for any X-fan. If I had to pick one story line, it is the ‘Dark Angel Saga'…or Fantomex shooting young Apocalypse.

In just one year, Rick Remender managed to redefine Psylocke and bring her back to her core. To watch every stage of the decay of her relationship with Warren leading to the final confrontation between them was very profound and quite sad. I don't think she was ever written this good. Also props to Opeña who got rid of her thong and gave her pants!

Archangel/Psylocke's heartbreaking love story gets my vote. It's not a specific moment, but…it was a thrilling to witness pretty boy Warren becoming one of the most compelling villains to ever grace the X-pages. It's just great stuff.
-- Ben Tennyson

Archangel asking Betsy in issue #16 "Does it cause you pain to know I manipulated you? That your love is the reason I was allowed to hide and thrive?" was like a punch to the soul. Everything about Archangel/Psylocke this year was just that good in my eyes and number one in my book…
--Like a Butterfly

This is a book that has been consistently good since its inception, but between the conclusion to "The Apocalypse Solution" and the epic craziness that has been Archangel's ascension, 2011 has been a rollercoaster all the way through. The stunning artwork from Jerome Opeña has been the perfect companion to Remender's story.
-- Toboe

3. Jean Gret Visists Wolverine

4. Rogue and Magneto Sitting in a Tree...

5. The Starjammers Return; Polaris and Magneto Reunite

6. The Entire Age of X Storyline

7. Cyclops' Leadership

8. The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning

9. Scarlet Witch Calls for "More Mutants"

10. Gambit vs. Daken

11. Iceman and Kitty's Kiss

12. The Birth of Rahne's Child

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Uncanny X-Force #19 Spoilers

Spoilers: Fantomex explains to Evan (Genesis) that the faith of the world depends on him becoming a good leader and a good person and that's why Evan must be sent to the School. Logan tries to convince Jean not to return to the Age of Apocalypse, but it's useless. Jean and Sabretooth return, while Nightcrawler decides to stay. Psylocke has to come to grips with the fact that "Warren" is nothing more than a new being created by the Life seed in his likeness. Fantomex tells Logan he cloned the child because he wanted to see if under different circumstances, the kid could be a good man. Logan says it's not the right time to tell the truth to the kid and asks Fantomex to trust him. Wolverine then calls Beast and Kitty and reveals everything about X-Force to them. Beast is upset, but comes to terms with it. It's decided then that Genesis and Angel will be sent to the school, while X-Force will work as on-call campus police, ensuring that no bad guys will show up at the school's doorstep. Later, Captain Britain shows up at Cavern-X, coming from a portal. He tells Fantomex he must be punished for his crimes and orders his Corpsmen to retrieve Betsy, for she must be cleansed and returned to her proper station as Otherworld needs her.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Remender on The Dark Angel Saga and Beyond

Newsarama spoke with Remender for further insight into the major moments of "The Dark Angel Saga," and discuss what's coming in the very near future of Uncanny X-Force, which ships issue #19 this week.

Newsarama: Rick, I just re-read all eight parts of "The Dark Angel Saga" and the prelude to prepare for this interview and one thing that really struck me is how dense it is — the amount of characters in play, traveling between two different dimensions, and all of the ties to past Marvel continuity. When the trend in mainstream superhero comics is often to be as streamlined as possible, in a lot of ways this seemed to be in the complete other direction — which is not to say it was in any way inaccessible, but was it all intentionally geared more towards long-time readers?

Rick Remender: For me, the responsibility is to use things that long-time readers recognize in a way that new readers can understand. I made sure to introduce and develop these things in the story as if they were they new elements. While the Age of Apocalypse can be familiar to people who have read the original series, and read the series that happened 5-6 years ago, or any of the Exiles stuff where they touched on it — if you read that stuff, I make winks and nods, and I build off the continuity in a way that's respectful of it. But at the same time, I also explain it as it could be a brand new thing that you don't have to know anything about. They say, "It's a dimension where Apocalypse took over, and we're going to go there. You don't really have to have read anything to get it.

Now, if you have read it, and you understand the relationships of those characters, and what their interpersonal dynamics are, then you get a little more payment in terms of, "Oh, that's right, because this one time Nightcrawler did this, and that's why he's doing that." But if you don't know the background, and you don't know the Easter egg beats, you still get the same information, story-wise. In terms of that stuff, I've tried to be very mindful, and introduce everything as if it was a new element. The story was intended to be read from issue #1 to issue #18 — well, really #19 — it really is one big story. And #5.1 is included in that, but #5.1 actually plays a much larger role in year two. I think the responsibility for any of this stuff is to service both types of readers, and hopefully we've managed to do that.

Nrama: Speaking a little bit more of "The Dark Angel Saga" in the broader sense, it also maintained a balance between the bigger stuff — fight scenes, cosmic entities, hyper-compressed evolution — and character moments which are seen throughout, not only in the main dynamic of Warren and Betsy, but also a lot of important screen time for Wolverine, Fantomex, Deadpool and Deathlok. Is it difficult to achieve that balance in a story like this, or does it just sort of come with the territory?

Remender: That's planning. At the beginning of this story, as we were beating it up, I made a map of what each character does and where they get their moments. Before I put together the very first outline, and before [former Marvel editor] Jody [LeHeup] and I really got into breaking it apart, we had discussed the basic story arc a few times, and then I sat down and figured out, "Where does each character shine?" You've got a cast of six characters including Deathlok that you've put on the board, and that's not including Dark Beast or any of the villains who you also want to give an arc to, and have some sort of satisfying conclusion with.

For Wolverine, it was really the Age of Apocalypse. He's got a daughter with Mariko, a woman he loved for a long time and almost married. And here's Jean Grey, alive. And here's Nightcrawler, alive. And here's Sabretooth, his archnemesis, a good guy, alive. To me, that's a Wolverine story. For those three issues, we really do zero in on Wolverine and his mindset, and how he's dealing with that, and the rest of the characters take something of a back seat to it.

Once we get back and find Archangel has torn up Cavern-X to find The World and is after the Life Seed that Dark Beast tricks them into going to get, it then sort of shifts over to being a little more Betsy-centric. Then, after she allows herself to be taken prisoner, we focus on Fantomex, Deathlok and Deadpool, and we give those three guys a couple of issues to really shine, and really get to know their plight, while in the background you've got Betsy and Warren bubbling, and Wolverine has been melted at that point.

With Deadpool, he basically made it clear that he would have fought to the death to save Fantomex, the guy who had been sort of sh*tting all over him for a long time. I felt like that was enough of an arc for him. I felt like that was a heroic, selfless thing. He basically dove after a giant Iceman, and all he had left was a sword — and he did, he got Fantomex free. That felt like a big thing for that character to come around to do. To overcome his distaste for Fantomex, who had been sort of terrible to him, and done some terrible stuff, and not only to overcome that, but to put himself in danger to protect his teammate who he had become friends with.

And then as for Wolverine, he fights until his very end, but I just hate when Wolverine is so goddamn powerful. He's not. He's just not. Wolverine up against a cosmic deity like an Apocalypse? It's not going that far, in my mind. I don’t care how it’s been portrayed in the past. Not to be a total D&D geek, but if I had to get out my manual and start rolling die, I'd say that Archangel ascended to the role of Apocalypse takes down Wolverine, so it was important to me that he did.

Nrama: Moving to the more specific points, let's get right to the ending of Uncanny X-Force #18. While I think a lot of folks were expecting a more conventional "death" at the end of the story, there's still definitely a loss — can you clarify the status of Warren at this point? Mindwiped?

Remender: He's dead. Warren is dead. I know where he's ending up, I know what we're doing with him for the next year. Our intention right now is that Warren died. His soul died, his mind died, he died. But that Life Seed stuck in his gut regenerated something. It took the husk that was there, of Archangel, and it regenerated something else. It took that dead body and made this new body. What is the body, and who's the person inside? It's not Warren Worthington. It's not as simple as amnesia. That's a different person.

There's going to be cynics. For us, it was important not to just do, "And he died." We wanted to do something that was more of a knife in the gut, where he dies, and Betsy gets to live with him in this telepathic trance, where they get their lives together how it should have been. You think you've got some kind of closure, then you get the up moment of Warren returns — everybody is happy and excited — and he pushes Betsy aside and says, "Who are you?" Warren did die, but here's this person who looks just like him. It's even worse than him dying, in my opinion.

Nrama: I discussed recently the nature of comic book deaths as it related to the Fear Itself aftermath issues with Matt Fraction and Tom Brevoort, who essentially said that they wanted to do something different, since readers so easily see through them at this point. Did a similar kind of feeling motivate you?

Remender: This was a lot of back and forth with Jody and [Marvel senior editor] Nick [Lowe] in the X-Office. We did play with just, "He's dead-dead, and his body is disintegrated," but it just felt flat.

The way we landed, Betsy feels him released, he's dead, but the Life Seed does something, gives us more to play with later. Then we came up with an idea that I can't really reveal yet, and that'll be sort of the ongoing mystery with Warren.

Nrama: So Uncanny X-Force will continue to follow Warren's story?

Remender: For a little while. Just keep reading.

Nrama: With something as significant as one of the original X-Men essentially ceasing to exist as he has been, are we going to see reactions to this from beyond X-Force and into the rest of the X-Men?

Remender: You will see some reactions coming up, in the next month. But they’re so splintered — it's not the family it once was. We'll just leave it at that.

Nrama: Getting back to that sequence of what could have been between Warren and Betsy — early in the story, we saw Fantomex comment that Warren and Betsy weren't really in love, and that their relationship was more about dependency. So was that montage about sort of dismissing that point, and legitimizing their love as something real?

Remender: Yeah, and I think there might have been some validity to what Fantomex said, but that's the nuance of any complex relationship. There are going to be some things like that you could focus on. And I really didn't want to answer the question until the very end, where it was clear that, yeah, these people loved each other, and they were in some very strange situations and circumstances. The relationship might have had some uncommon challenges, but they did love each other, and that was what I really wanted to hit on at the end.

Nrama: One more specific thing I wanted to bring up — the decision to put AoA Wolverine in the Apocalypse role in his timeline. Certainly, that was a different side to Wolverine than readers are used to — what motivated that decision?

Remender: When we were building the story we went through a couple few options as to who would be Apocalypse in the AoA world. It served a number of purposes — one, we wanted to establish what it was that was happening to Warren. You were watching what happened in the Age of Apocalypse world, you saw what would happen in our world, so it was a nice look of what we were trying to fight to stop. And, to establish that whoever serves as Death will eventually take the role of Apocalypse. Just set that mythology up visually for us.

As for the choice of Wolverine, it really came down to dramatic punch, in the fact that I wanted to have some emotional beats in there with Jean and our Wolverine, and the best way to get that was to also have her separated from her Logan, and that way, when our Logan shows up, they're both sort of, "Oh my god." A kick to the gut.

We built that up, and then David Lapham will be picking that up. I touch on that one more time — I do an Age of Apocalypse story in #19.1, and then that rolls over into the new Age of Apocalypse ongoing by Lapham and De La Torre. And it is amazing. It's really, really good stuff. It's a post-apocalyptic world where mutants have taken over the planet, led by Wolverine, and you're following a squad of the last humans as they're trying to stay alive and turn things around. That was Jody's idea, to make humanity the focus of the new Age of Apocalypse stuff, and I fell in love with it, and so did David, so we all worked really close to build something up there.

Nrama: So, coming up in the title — looks like we've got a story with Captain Britain in Otherworld? And that AoA Nightcrawler is sticking around?

Remender: Yeah. We deal with why and how and all of that fun stuff in issue #19, which comes out in a week. And then we deal with the repercussions. We saw a scene in issue #5, I think, where Betsy had a hologram Danger Room session where her brother absolved her of her sins and told her he loves her. Now we get to see what her brother's really going to do when he finds out. There's what Betsy wishes he would be, and there's what Brian actually is, and I'm a big fan of the character.

During the course of "The Dark Angel Saga," Betsy could no longer tamp down her psychic link with Brian, so their connection was re-connected, and Brian ended up seeing what Betsy had been doing, and what she is doing. So Brian and Jamie, her brothers, they act, and that's what our inciting incident is. But they've also got a history with Fantomex that we will be revealing. And you'll also get to see the Skinless Man, who is one of Fantomex's archnemeses, who we've never met before, and there's a statue of him in The World. He is a product of the Weapon Plus program.

And we get to meet Betsy's family. For new fans, you get to see another side of Betsy and who she is and where she comes from, and for old fans, you get to see Meggan, and Captain Britain, and Widget, and Nightcrawler, Otherworld, and a big black metal Dungeons & Dragons fantasy take place over in the dimension between all dimensions.

Nrama: And with Captain Britain also a part of Secret Avengers, might there be some interaction between the two books?

Remender: That would be fun, yeah. Maybe I'll do that. I do go back and forth on it. Those two trains could definitely collide, but I don't want to promise anything until I know for sure that story-wise it's going to matter, and it's going to have some lasting consequences, and feel important.

Nrama: Deathlok had a lot of fun moments during "The Dark Angel Saga." Will he be sticking around in the book?

Remender: He'll come back, but it's not going to be for a while. He's got this tachyon transmitter, so he can talk to versions of himself from the future, so he's always gaining different intelligence from different versions of the future, and calculating probabilities. So he's off doing various things trying to maintain a soft and comfortable existence for mankind, and every so often that pulls him towards X-Force, and to become involved in their shenanigans. He's not gone for good, but he's gone for a little while.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Commentary Track: "Uncanny X-Force" #18 with Rick Remender

CBR: In our latest Commentary Track, Rick Remender joins CBR for insight into some of the pivotal scenes of Uncanny X-Force #18, which will have a dramatic impact on the long form story the writer is telling in "Uncanny X-Force."

CBR News: Rick, you open things in a big way, here! On this page. it looks like a machine in the form of the Deathlok Prime cyborg learns how to love.

Rick Remender: That's the thing about the dichotomy between the AI and the human part of Deathlok. The human half is a mindless psychopath, and his identity has not yet been revealed. Deathlok Prime is a dude who is an awful, vicious psychopath, but the AI became self-aware and started processing the concept of love.

It's this good-hearted, heroic AI I've been building on from the stuff that Jason Aaron set up in "Wolverine: Weapon X" where Deathlok Prime first appeared. He's now turned into sort of a hippie. He's all about love and caring. I thought that was a fun direction to take the Deathlok cyborg.

We know that your upcoming run on "Secret Avengers" involves the evolution of robots and other artificial life forms, so it seems this scene might have some significance to both your work in that book and upcoming issues of "Uncanny X-Force."

[Laughs] Wow! Connecting the dots all ready. Yes, you will see Deathloks in "Secret Avengers" and you'll see Deathlok Prime in "Wolverine & the X-Men," so the Deathlok cyborgs are far from done. The more I dig into the Deathloks, the Weapon Plus Program and all of these really cool robot species in the Marvel Universe, the more potential I see for cool stories.

This is something that was actually percolating back when I was working on the FrankenCastle stuff in "Punisher." I was thinking about making an army of robots before I was thinking monsters, all these other cool robots that have never been given as much spotlight as the shiny super heroes. That's when I started cooking up the automaton revolution and all the upcoming Descendants stuff.

The first part of that was seeded in "Uncanny X-Force" #5.1. Lady Deathstrike throws out some clues in that issue. Then -- I don't want to give anything away about the story itself, but there's an image in issue #6 of a shiny Apocalypse in white armor that offers up some clues as to what we did in this issue.

We've had up to issue #19 broken down and plotted for about a year and a half, now. It was something Jody and I wanted to make sure was plotted out well in advance, so you could reread it and catch lots of clues and fun stuff. If you go back and look at "Uncanny X-Force" #5.1 and #6, you'll find a bunch of clues as to what's coming up in both "Secret Avengers" and "X-Force."

In this scene, Fantomex tries to get Archangel riled up with jealousy, teasing Warren about how his girlfriend Psylocke chose Fantomex over him. In light of this and his elaborate plan to take down Archangel, which also we see in this issue, we have to wonder: How does Fantomex feel about Psylocke? Does he truly have feelings for her, or has he made romantic advances toward her because he thought she might be of strategic importance? Or was it a little bit of both?

That's a really good question. The character has three brains. We haven't addressed what those three brains do, but in issue #16, we did reveal that they have different opinions and they each run the show on separate occasions.

Maybe all of his three brains have different objectives and, who knows, one of them he might not even be aware of. What he's done with Betsy and Kid Apocalypse and all these different pieces definitely does leave us with some questions at the end of the story that we'll dig into in the second year of the book.

At the top of this page, it looks like the battle to save Warren Worthington's soul is coming to a conclusion, though the war against Apocalypse's followers, the Akkaba Society, will rage on.

Yeah, I wanted this threat to build to a point where there was no clean resolution at the end. I wanted it to feel like this was a threat that was well beyond our characters. You have to feel that the heroes are out of their elements and in over their heads in order to really build tension.

It was important to me that these villains be built up in a way that they're such a threat that our characters barely manage to make their way through them. You want to see the heroes succeed, but in some cases, they didn't make their way through all the villains. In some cases, they just got really lucky. So, you end up with a lot of pieces that are still on the board moving forward as well as what Dark Beast revealed is inside Pestilence.

Also, that is a living, breathing Sinister Iceman in the upper left corner on page 5, panel 2.

On the bottom of the page, we see that Fantomex has survived being stabbed in the head by Archangel. Can you comment at all on what this means for him in terms of health or his mental "misdirection" powers?

He lost a brain -- that much is clear. It was stabbed. That's something that will be followed up on later, but if I address it now, I risk tipping my hand and spoiling some stuff.

In "Uncanny X-Force" #4 Fantomex shot and killed the newly youthful Apocalypse and then takes a sample of his blood. Later, we learn Fantomex used that blood sample to grow a clone of kid Apocalypse, which he's keeping in a tank in the Weapon Plus Facility known as The World. Here, we find out that Fantomex has been using the tank to provide the clone of Kid Apocalypse a heroic upbringing. When did you get the idea to transform Kid Apocalypse into the hero Genesis.

That was literally from the very beginning. As we started to put together that very first arc, the question became, "How can we make this 10 times more interesting and get a year's worth of stories out of it?" We didn't want the series to be four to five issues of fighting different opponents. It was paramount to me that it be this boiling, churning cauldron of falling consequences for their action.

As I started writing that first arc, I laid down some of the Archangel problems. You can see Betsy in Warren's head, trying to fight back Archangel right there in the very beginning of issue #1. After he read that scene, editor Jody LeHeup pushed to really move Archangel forward as the main villain. So we got to work. We knew where the story ended fairly early, but Jody and I spent hours on the phone beating the rest into shape.

And as for Fantomex, people will get some clues about what he's up to when they read issues #19-20.

This scene was also making sure Fantomex wasn't unredeemable based on what he did at the end of the first arc. I wanted him to be a heroic and intelligent character like he's been written to be. So he needed to have more going on and a guy with three brains needed to have other motives. Those other motives might seed into year two with the Descendants stuff taking place in "X-Force" and "Secret Avengers." Fantomex is definitely going to play a role in both of those books.

It seems that constructing and implementing a plan like this is an argument that Fantomex should be leading X-Force. Does he want to lead the team?

I honestly don't see that character wanting any sort of leadership. A leader has a lot of eyes on him, and Fantomex if anything is mysterious. We won't really discover his true motives and what he's up to until, I believe, issue #28. What he's in the midst of doing and his motives for doing it involve not wanting to be in the spotlight.

I did want to show that if he was thrown into a situation where it was sink or swim, he would figure out a way to swim. I think the circumstances dictated that he take on a leadership role for a while, there, and he did a good job, but I don't think he wanted it.

In this scene, we get a glimpse of Genesis' virtual life, where it looks like he's been growing up on a farm in Kansas. Is this a wink and nod to a certain "Super" hero from the Distinguished Competition?

[Laughs] No, not at all. I just think it's a fun little Kansas farm. I don't even know which character you're referring to. [Laughs]

Okay, maybe it's a wink and nod, but the idea is just that he was raised on a farm in Kansas by a couple of loving, caring parents to be a moral and ethical person, and to be a hero. It's helping Fantomex deal with the nature versus nurture debate. We see a lot of Fantomex's thought process, or at least what he wants people to see of it, in issue #19.

Here, Archangel and Genesis are battling. Since this is his first real fight ,we have to wonder, how powerful is Genesis?

He's powerful, but I think in the end he's not as powerful as Archangel. He's basically a young Apocalypse. So he's still a bad ass.

In this scene, Archangel and Genesis go crashing into a massive hall full of stone statues of some interesting looking characters, like Doctor Mind Bubble and the Skinless Man. Are the statues in this hall of new characters that we haven't met yet?

They are. The Skinless Man will appear in the upcoming Otherworld arc of "Uncanny X-Force." He is a product of the Weapon Plus program. And Doctor Mind Bubble is somebody I have big plans for. All I can say about him right now is that the Weapon Plus Program created him in the '60s.

I'm planned so far out ahead at this point, I knew those characters were going to appear, so I thought this would be a hell of a place to seed them. Again, I'm just a nerd for that stuff. I love knowing that the writer has a far reaching plan.

Here, we get the end of an emotionally powerful telepathic illusion. What was it like writing this scene? You seem to have a real emotional attachment to the characters of Warren and Betsy and their romantic relationship.

Absolutely. I think if you don't try and tap into what these characters really want you can't write them effectively. To me, these are two characters who have very chaotic lives. They're never going to get a normal life. They're never going to move to a cabin, have a couple of kids and teach them how to paint and make pancakes on Sunday. They're never going to get that.

Of course, we all want what we can't have. So that was something that I wanted to make sure, if it hasn't been said out loud, that this is what these people want in their heart of hearts; to have some semblance of a normal life back. There, at the end, Betsy gives that to Warren before he goes.

It seems an illusion that intricate would require a lot of raw telepathic power to create. What does this scene say about Psylocke 's telepathic abilities?

The Jean Grey of the "Age of Apocalypse" reality opened Betsy's mind up. She unlocked a lot of stuff. In this issue, you saw the giant, Phoenix-like butterfly effect Betsy generated when she was fighting Archangel. She knocked him down with that. No one had accomplished that to this point -- she hadn't been able to get into his mind before that either. He had just been this thing that was way, way beyond her. Whatever Jean Grey did when she was inside Betsy's head unlocked some potential.

We're going to be seeing a lot of that. She is an Omega level. One thing we wanted to accomplish with this story was that Betsy comes out a full fledged Omega level mutant, on par with Xavier or Jean. In my mind, that's what was accomplished when Jean unlocked the powers in her head.

A couple pages earlier Betsy, apparently kills Warren by stabbing him with the Life Seed, but here we have a guy who looks very much like Warren did in his non-Archangel form, only he doesn't know who Psylocke is. What can you tell us about this scene? Is this Warren we're seeing, or somebody completely different?

Warren died. We knew we wanted this storyline to end with a character death, but let's face it, character deaths are just becoming flat. No matter how well they're written or what kind of emotional punch they have, we've just seen too many characters die. I wanted Warren to die, and Jody LeHeup, my old editor and a huge part of this year's success, also wanted Warren to die, but we didn't want it to be just another death. It was workshopped with the X-teams and everyone fell in love with this version of Warren's death.

I really fell in love with the idea that Betsy says good bye to Warren and watches him die. She feels his mind dissipate from his body. She's then pulled away from his dead body with the Life Seed stuck in it. And at the very end, after you get over that emotional beat and you see her talking with Jean, here comes Warren stumbling out into the snow! Only, it's bittersweet as he has no memory, no trace of the man he was. He's an all-new being.

Our big question now is, what is he? What is this thing that looks like Warren and has these feathery, angelic wings? It's definitely not Warren. There isn't a trace of him or Archangel left. A Celestial Life Seed is something Celestials plant on a dead planet to give new life to the entire planet. Now, we've just shoved one into Warren Worthington and it erased whatever was there, but it built something new. He's essentially a blank slate. I think that really twists the knife in Betsy's stomach more than anything else I could cook up.

This scene brings "The Dark Angel Saga" to a close, but does it also wrap up your initial longform story for the book? Are you now going to move onto a different longform epic?

It sets some new things in motion, but it's not really the end of our long orm story. The Otherworld arc is just a continuation of this arc. One idea gives birth to another idea, and I just end up writing one big story.

That's what I say to people about my creator-owned book, "Fear Agent." They're like, "I bought issue #28 and I didn't know what was going on." I reply, "That's like watching 'The Wire:' season four, episode 2." I think you need to start at the first issue and move forward, because I don't always write in a way where you can cleanly hop in later. I know no editor wants to hear me say that! [Laughs] Just go back to the first issue and move forward.

You can jump right in and enjoy the Otherworld arc, but it's playing off of all that's come before. "The Dark Angel Saga" raises a lot of questions, and many of them don't have answers by the end of the arc. So this arc isn't the end of our longform story; it's the end of Warren's chapter in it.

Now, we're dealing with Betsy's fall out from all of this. I don't think anybody is going to anticipate Betsy's arc for next year, so the Otherworld arc is really about Betsy's reaction to what happened, Fantomex and the consequences for what he's been up to, as well as the rest of the Braddock clan being hip to the fact that this guy is someone to be wary of.

The other big question is, where do you go from here? How much story time has passed when "Uncanny X-Force" #19 begins? And is this the issue where you explore some of the fallout from "Schism?"

I think, chronologically, we're saying that "Schism" happened before "The Dark Angel Saga" began, so this is something that Wolverine has been dealing with that is removed from the schism with Scott, which is fine. I don't think that one thing necessarily has to affect the other, but you're not going to find out what happens to every single character in "The Dark Angel" saga unless you buy "X-Force" #19 and "Wolverine & the X-Men" #4.

Those two books feed one into the other. To really get to the end of "The Dark Angel Saga" and see where it all goes, you're going to want to buy "Wolverine & the X-Men" #4 as well as "X-Force" #19. I want retailers to know that as well, because I don't know if it was solicited. In case you're reading "X-Force" and not reading "Wolverine & the X-Men," it's a wonderful series. I highly recommend it, and this story moves over there now.

How does it feel now that everything but the epilogue of "The Dark Angel Saga" is complete and available to readers?

I hope the way we approached this story was emotionally satisfying and warranted being sealed in a black plastic bag. We wanted to do something that was unique but still felt monumental and epic. I hope it pays off. I hope people are emotionally satisfied by the end of the journey with Warren. It's a hell of a responsibility to take a character like that off the board, and we didn't take it lightly. If you love the first year of "Uncanny X-Force," please make sure to also thank editor Jody LeHeup at his Twitter handle -- @JodyLeHeup.


Uncanny X-Force #19 Preview

Uncanny X-Force #19
Written by: Rick Remender
Penciled by: Robbi Rodriguez
Cover by: Rafael Grampa
Variant Cover by: Nick Bradshaw
Spoiler Variant available

The Story: The aftermath of The Dark Angel Saga! A member lost! New members gained! An Avenger discovers the secret of X-Force! Fantomex and Ultimaton must allow the world’s most powerful weapon to leave their care. Elizabeth Braddock must say goodbye to the man she loves. New friends must stand and make a suicide march. Next generation superstar artist Robbi Rodriguez joins Rick Remender to break your heart.

In Stores: Decemebr 21, 2011


Uncanny X-Force #18 Art


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Uncanny X-Force #18 Spoilers

Spoilers: Deathlok reasons his way out of War's spell, which prompts Dark Beast, War and Pestilence to run away from him and the Amazing X-Men. Dark Beast orders Ship to leave immediately for they must protect Archangel's heir inside Pestilence's womb. Meanwhile Fantomex and Psylocke confront Archangel. Warren stabs Fantomex in the head. Psylocke attacks Archangel, but hesitates to kill him. Warren knocks her out. Fantomex calls Ultimaton at the World and tells him to let the Apocalypse boy clone out. Meanwhile, Sunfire struggles to deal with the remaining villains. The Apocalypse boy has been programmed to believe he's a hero, and Ultimaton tells him he needs to save all of them and defeat Archangel. The boy calls himself Genesis and fights Archangel; however he's easily defeated by Warren. Psylocke surprises Archangel and stabs him with the seed. Sunfire, on the other hand, cannot contain Genocide's flames and explodes. Warren comes to his senses, and Betsy tells him everything is going to be okay. Psylocke uses her telepathy to make Warren believe they had a wonderful life together with their two daughters and growing old together, endind up in Warren's peaceful death. Fantomex, Deathlok and Ultimaton retrieve all the remaining X-Force and AoA X-Men members and take them to E.V.A. Jean tells Psylocke she knew she could do it. Betsy thanks her for... Warren. Warren shows up nude confused. Betsy runs to him and kiss him. Warren only asks who she is...

Super Hero Squad Online: Meet Psylocke Psylocke bursts into 'Super Hero Squad Online' as the newest playable character in this character vignette from the game! Psylocke brings her awesome fighting skills to "Super Hero Squad Online" as one of the game's newest playable characters!

The X-Men's resident psychic ninja joins her fellow Squaddies to fight the forces of evil throughout Super Hero City and beyond! Play as Psylocke now at and add her to your personal Super Hero Squad.

Keep your eyes peeled to as we continue to bring you more spotlights on the Squaddies from "Super Hero Squad Online," and vist to play the game yourself!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

X-Solicits for March 2012

Uncanny X-Force #23
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Greg Tocchini
Cover by: Leinil Francis Yu
• The trial of Fantomex concludes!
• The Multiverse is in Danger, the Captain Britain Corps is in shambles and it is up to X-Force to save the day.
• A terrible choice must be made for the protection of all reality!

X-Men #26
Writer: Victor Gischler
Art: Jorge Molina
• The X-Men fight to rescue Jubilee from the hands of her vampire brethren!
• The forgiven fight to protect their own!
• Featuring the deadliest mercenaries in the entire Marvel Universe!

Uncanny X-Men #8
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art & Cover by: Greg Land
• The conclusion of Tabula Rasa!
• Namor does the unthinkable to save the day.

Uncanny X-Men #9
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art: Carlos Pacheco
• Prison Break!
• Featuring the Avengers!

Deadpool #52
Writer: Daniel Way
Art: Ale Garza
Cover by: Dave Johnson
• ’Pool’s Epic “Dead” Storyline Continues!
• Deadpool wants to die…can he make it happen?
• Will X-Force stop him…or pull the trigger?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

10 Avengers Vs. X-Men Match-Ups We Want to See

Newsarama: For our latest countdown, we've put together our own list of 10 possible conflicts we'd like to see at some point during Avengers vs. X-Men. Some are obvious, some are considerably less so, but all would be pretty cool.

10. Secret Avengers vs. Uncanny X-Force: This one is a no-brainer. Not only are both of these teams black-ops squads that do the things that their parents teams don't want to do, both of the books are currently written by Rick Remender. It would actually be more difficult to not do this fight than to do it. (Possibly not an actual fact.)

The individuals combinations are also exciting -- it looks like Venom's becoming a Secret Avenger soon, which could mean a'90s-tastic collision with Deadpool. Sibling rivalry in the form of Captain Britain vs. Psylocke. And Fantomex is cool against pretty much anybody. Fantomex vs. Hawkeye. Fantomex vs. Black Widow. Fantomex vs. Ant-Man? Make it happen, Marvel!

During's livebog, Brubaker responded to a fan’s question if Ms. Marvel and Psylocke will have a part in things, and he confirmed both will be in the series.

The Best of Marvel Comics in 2011

According to IGN, these are the titles that every comic book fan should have on their pull lists in 2012.

2. Uncanny X-Force: X-Men books have a reputation for being burdened by continuity and inaccessible to newcomers. Uncanny X-Force proved this doesn't have to be the case. Spinning out of the events of Second Coming, this series sees Wolverine revive the covert squad of mutant assassins as they battle a reborn Apocalypse, the Reavers, and other threats to the mutant race.

This series is a prime example of how a book can be more than the sum of its parts. Rick Remender is a talented writer, but when paired with an artist like Jerome Opena, the result is pure comic book magic. Uncanny X-Force achieves that rare blend of ingredients – it has gripping plot twists, memorable action sequences, terrific visuals, ample doses of humor, and some of the best character work you'll find in a Marvel book. Whether you've been following the X-Men franchise for decades or only just jumped into this universe, Uncanny X-Force will grab your attention and never let go.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Greg Tocchini Art from the Otherworld Arc

X-Men #22 Art


X-Men #22 Spoilers

Spoilers: While Storm, Colossus and War Machine struggle to fight with the Sentinel in the open air; Psylocke, Warpath and Jubilee are battling Puternicstan soldiers inside the warehouse. Meanwhile, the Puternicstan Governor orders her scientists to program the Sentinel Army to attack Symkaria, hoping the X-Men will follow them. Storm, Colossus and War Machine take out the Sentinel; and Domino forces the doctor to bring her where the action is. Domino meets with Psylocke's team at the warehouse, from where the Puternicstans activate every Sentinel unit they have to attack Symkaria. Jubilee takes Warpath's knife and uses her abilities to plant a grenade in a Sentinel, but there are thirty more of them. Storm uses her powers and a powerful hurricane is formed in the path of the Sentinels...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Uncanny X-Force #18 Preview

Uncanny X-Force #18
Written by: Rick Remender
Pencils by: Jerome Opeña
Cover by: Esad Ribic

The Story:Dark Angel Saga Conclusion. Rick Remender (Venom, Fear Agent), Jerome Opeña (Punisher, Fear Agent) and Dean White (Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man) bring you a tale of devastation, bravery, and salvation.

In Stores: December 14, 2011


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How Uncanny X-Force author Rick Remender dreamt up Archangel’s very bad day

io9: One of the more colorful X-Men titles on the stands is Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force. Replete with gorgeous visuals (courtesy of artists like Jerome Opena) and steeped in X-Men lore, Uncanny X-Force has been a rock-solid read for fans of full-blown mutant insanity.

io9 recently caught up with Remender to chat about the conclusion to the "Dark Angel Saga," an eight-part yarn he's been spinning for the last few months. With the finale in comic shops next week, Remender elaborated on the creative method that transformed the good-natured (if angsty) X-Man Archangel into a crazed villain with aspirations for global armageddon.

First off, "Dark Angel Saga" encompasses so many bizarre corners of the X-Universe. How did you formulate this roller coaster ride through the history of the X-Men?

I'm versed in it, I'm a nerd. When I was a kid, the X-Men were my jam. In 1984, I mowed lawns to save up money for back issues of Secret Wars. I extrapolated on what was already there — after we killed Kid Apocalypse [in the first arc of Uncanny X-Force], it almost became A Beautiful Mind situation in connecting the dots. For example, "What is Archangel?" "What is Apocalypse's true connection to the Celestials?" There were all of these things that were always hinted at, but never cohesively explained.

You see the seeds of the "Dark Angel Saga" in the first ten page of Uncanny X-Force. Psylocke is inside Warren Worthington's head, fighting Archangel as a separate entity. I wanted the very extreme ending of the first arc — Fantomex's murder of Kid Apocalypse — to have a domino effect. You can go back in time and kill Hitler, but what worse person rises because of that? What is this new chain of events from these decisions? These events were Chekhov's rifle on the mantel.

People always ask me, "Where should I start on Uncanny X-Force?" Unfortunately, I write big mega-arcs, so I tend to say "Issue #1!" The book is built like an HBO series. I wouldn't tell people to start at Season 3, Episode 4 of The Wire.

In the "Dark Angel Saga," you put the X-Men from The Age of Apocalypse through the wringer. Were you surprised about the amount of alternate dimension superheroes you could kill with impunity?

That was all part of a whole other plan. In Uncanny X-Force #19.1, I'm launching the Age of Apocalypse ongoing series. It's all leading to something in that issue. Editor Jody Leheup and I were working together pretty closely with an idea that he had, and then we integrated it into both the "Dark Angel Saga" and also the Age of Apocalypse series. That's the inverse of our world: instead of 200-300 mutants left, there are 2000-3000 humans left. The rest of the world is populated by mutants. It follows a band of humans and few mutants who are familiar to us. But yeah, I don't slaughter characters willy-nilly for shock value.

I really liked how you took the Blob — the ultimate doofus villain — and made him one of the most formidable bad guys in the Age of Apocalypse.

I love the Blob. This version allowed for a dirtier approach. He's been fiddled with in the laboratories of the Dark Beast. He's way more depraved than our Blob, he's covered in acne, and he uses his powers in a lot of strange ways.

Fantomex was introduced in Grant Morrison's run on New X-Men and then fell off the radar for a few years. Since then, you've made him one of the marquee X-Men characters again. How'd that work out?

Matt Fraction and Jason Aaron had really gone to bat to get the character back in play. By the time, I took on Uncanny X-Force, he was someone who was around. The fun part's been taking a lot of characters who may have a central commonality and then finding all the interpersonal connective tissue. I'm digging through Fantomex's collective history with Wolverine, Deadpool, and the Weapon Plus program. We'll be exploring that next. We will see some new Weapons that have been created in the last 30-40 years.

I know you can't give away too much, but what will the team's status quo be post-"Dark Angel Saga?"

It will stay a lot the same. They will have new responsibilities, but they'll be trying to maintain their secrecy and preemptive takedowns of villains before they can twirl their mustaches and reveal their schemes. There are four issues in Otherworld coming up. Greg Tocchini, who is a genius, will be illustrating that.

The Otherworld's the dimension between all dimensions, where Captain Britain and the Captain Britain Corps protect the Omniverse. I like that there's a door that leads to every dimension in the Starlight Citadel. That's why I put Captain Britain in my upcoming run on Secret Avengers.

Does that mean we'll see a crossover between Uncanny X-Force and Secret Avengers?

That would be a pretty cool thing, a pretty natural connection there. If I were to be writing those two books and have characters like Beast who are teamed up with Wolverine on other teams, Captain Britain who is related to Psylocke, a whole cast of characters that are all interconnected, I might cross them over at some point. Who knows?

What are Rick Remender's top X-Men story arcs?

Obviously a couple hundred issues of Chris Claremont X-Men. We'll definitely see some things from the Australian years reflected in Uncanny X-Force. I'm going to be using Lady Deathstrike quite a bit. We'll see an Excalibur reunion of sorts in the Otherworld arc, so I'm drawing from that stuff as well. Let's see, Chris Claremont, Grant Morrison, and I would be an asshole to leave out Louise and Walt Simonson who created the foundations of this Apocalypse mythology that I've been building upon.

Uncanny X-Force #18 will be out Wednesday, December 14.

Marvel Announces "Avengers Vs. X-Men" For 2012

LinkCBR: For months, Marvel Comics has been promising something big coming down the pike for readers invested in the Marvel Universe. The planned 2012 project has been described by Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso as "not part of a cosmic event, but a Marvel Universe event," adding, "Very soon, we're going to reveal all. Three simple words that speak to the hardcore Marvel fan and the guy or gal on the street who's seen one or two super hero movies."

Today, those three words became clear: "Avengers Vs. X-Men."

In a story published on the USA Today website, the publisher announced a 12-part bi-weekly series debuting in April. The core "Avengers Vs. X-Men" title will be co-written by Marvel's "Architect" writers -- Brian Michael Bendis, Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction -- and drawn by big name artists Frank Cho, John Romita, Jr., Olivier Coipel and Adam Kubert.

The appeal of the series is obvious, Alonso told the newspaper: "You've got two populations whose motivations are simple and understandable and defensible. That's part of the beauty of this. You're seeing a story that evolves out of 'What would you do?'"Link In a separate article, the mechanics of the title and its promotion were laid out, from each issue being scripted by one writer who then hands the story off to another for the next issue, to plans to integrate Google+ into the ongoing promotional efforts.

On a story level, the focus of 2009's X-Men "Second Coming" crossover, Hope Summers, will once again be the center of attention in "Avengers Vs. X-Men," as the presumed host for the returning Phoenix Force. In fact, it's the threat of the returning Phoenix Force that will instigate the conflict in the first place, Alonso says. "The Phoenix Force is the spirit of destruction and rebirth. It razes worlds to create something new. It's bad news if you happen to be living on the world about to be razed. It's great news if you're what's going to be the outcome of that world."

Also taking center stage is the Scarlet Witch, who, in many ways, instigated this conflict years ago when she used her reality-altering powers to all but erase mutantkind from the planet. Bendis, who scripts her story in the series' prologue issue, told the newspaper,"She's been on a road of almost impossible-to-perceive redemption over the last few years and now is going to come face-to-face with the Avengers."