Thursday, January 12, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #20 Preview + Interview With Remender

Uncanny X-Force #20
Written by: Rick Remender
Pencils by: Greg Tocchini
Cover by: Leinil Francis Yu
Venom Variant Cover by: Paul Renaud

The Story:
• The Trial of Fantomex begins! Part 1 of 4
• The X-Force team journey to Otherworld!
• Guest starring Captain Britain and the Captain Britain Corps!

In Stores: January 18 , 2012

iFanboy: To go along with some of this amazing art that you can see above, Ron Richards from iFanboy spoke briefly to writer Rick Remender about the upcoming arc to give us an idea of where Uncanny X-Force was headed:

iFanboy: So now that the Dark Angel Saga has concluded, what’s to come in issue #20?

Rick Remender: Issue #20 is a bit of a connector to the Dark Angel Saga. I still like playing with the idea that these dominoes that they set in motion are still falling. The tribunal/court in Otherworld run by Saturnyne and Captain Britain have decided that Fantomex must be eradicated. We reveal in the first few issues that Fantomex only exists on 616, he is something of an anomaly that should not exist for a few reasons that are mysterious and Brian [Captain Britain] fears him. There is a connection to the Braddock family that will be fun to see people’s reaction to.

The story is about, for those who the un-initiated, Otherworld is the dimension outside of all dimensions. In Otherworld, there is the Tower Omniverse, that’s run by the Captain Britain Corps, Merlin, Roma, Saturnye and all these really cool characters and they basically guard every dimension and in this tower there’s a doorway that leads to every dimension, and their job, The Captain Britain Corps, which are various Captain Britains from every dimension, gather and do their best to keep everything sane and logical. So they have taken it upon themselves to abduct Betsy (Psylocke) who is Captain Britain’s sister, and to put Fantomex on trial for his crimes and that’s where we open up the story.

iF: Captain Britain, Otherworld, Saturnyne, these are all old Alan Moore concepts that were then picked up by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis. Some pretty big names there. Why hasn’t anyone touched these concepts and why do it now?

RR: I don’t know why no one has. To me, when I realized that no one else had really dug in to it, and it had been touched upon in the late 90s/early 2000s by a few different people, but it was never really dug back into. So that seemed like a terrifying prospect. Like maybe there’s a good reason not to try and play in the playground of Alan Moore, Chris Claremont and Alan Davis. Maybe it’s a better idea to say, “Hey, those guys are pretty great and I should probably not do that!” (laughs)

I do think that Captain Britain and Otherworld, this stuff is as rich as anything that Thor has to offer, no question. It’s basically the English/Celtic mythology thing with Merlin and Arthur. It really does have as rich of a history as Norse mythology and Thor. Frankly, the Tower Omniverse with all those doorways is far more interesting to me than anything else that could exist. This tower where you could basically walk up and go into any reality, and we’ve seen some of those realities in various What If…? issues. It just opens up so many possibilities.

If I mess up, it will be pretty obvious given the caliber of people who have come before me and what I’m trying to put together here. It was a frightening prospect. I went back and re-read all that stuff and got versed. I had to make notes on how I will handle it and what do I have to say with this and what’s the difference with mine? Why would I bring it back up and do I have a story to tell? And I did. It really also gives us a chance to take a good, long look at Betsy Braddock and her family. Which is the thing that really defines character and in this case Betsy’s connection to Otherworld and her family and her relationship with her family now that they know what she’s been up to. As well as Fantomex and his relationship to her family which will make things strange and interesting between them moving forward. It was the same thing as the Apocalypse stuff. It was really cool stuff that had been left on the sidelines for a while and I was like, “Well, okay, I’ll take that!” (laughs)

iF: This week we saw the events of the Dark Angel Saga spilling into Wolverine & X-Men #4, and on the Marvel press conference about Secret Avengers, it sounded like this story in Uncanny X-Force would be spilling into Secret Avengers?

RR: Yes. I don’t want to make anyone have to buy another book. That was always the frustrating thing for me as a reader when it was like “Now, if you want to see what happens next, go buy…” You don’t have to read one to enjoy the other or to get full story. Otherworld is a 4 issue story, it has a beginning, middle and end. Like every thing else in X-Force, it sets up the next arc, and then bleeds into the next arc. We already have our tracks laid for the second year, so there are plenty of things that will pay off big. But if you do happen to read this and you read Secret Avengers, you’ll get a richer view of the story and you’ll have a richer view of Captain Britain and what he does.

iF: Your approach to Uncanny X-Force as been interesting to me as a reader, with a series of stories that tie into a larger narrative arc, kind of like what Claremont used to do. Was that the approach from the get go?

RR: Well, that’s the other big thing, the mega arc. I grew up reading Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men, that stuff really grabbed me. I loved it when 2 years later something that was seeded would blow up in their face. I think that was something that going into it, I thought that if I’m going to do an X-Men book, that every chapter would have a beginning, middle and end. So if you just bought Deathlok Nation, you get a story. If you just bought any of the arcs, you’d get a full story. But I think the fun of it is it also fits into a bigger picture and when you read it all in a row you get a better story in a big season every year.

iF: With issue #20, you’re working with Greg Tocchini again. Why pull him into Uncanny X-Force now? Was there something about his art that fit this story or was it more about scheduling?

RR: Greg and I have been looking for something that was big fantasy. We have a creator owned project that we’ve been talking about forever. Three of the things we wanted to do, one of them was a big fantasy epic. When I was planning this arc out, I knew we needed somebody who could match Jerome Opena, and in many ways Greg does, and we needed somebody who could bring a scope and flair to fantasy stuff that would make it unique. Greg is in a class of his own when it comes to designing stuff. He has a beautiful, fluid style and his designs are so incredibly unique that I thought this would be a great time to get our fantasy stuff out of the way. Dean’s been doing a terrific job over him. I’m so spoiled, it’s really nice work.

iF: Talking about Tocchini has me curious about Last Days of American Crime, when we spoke last you said that there would be more. Are there any updates on that?

RR: We’re in production on American Crime, volume 2 right now with a different artist who hasn’t been announced yet. Different, but equally as amazing to Greg. Greg and I are neck deep in X-Force right now, making sure we can keep the quality that the book has had so far and I think we definitely have. He’s definitely the one doing the doing the heavy lifting. It’s much easier for me to write, “Double page spread! 45 zombie trolls come stomping around Dragon-Town.” I promise that’s way easier. It’s the way easier side of the job to be on. (laughs)

But yeah, we’re doing Last Days of American Crime volume 2 and it’s slow going because the artist we’ve got is amazing and we want to make sure we’ve got plenty in the can before we do a big announce and launch. And then Greg and I will do this arc of X-Force and we’re talking about our creator owned stuff and some potential projects to come after this.

iF: I have to admit, as a fan of your pre-Marvel work, it’s good to hear you talking about creator owned work again…

RR: I’m having a lot of fun playing int he Marvel sandbox and playing with all the different characters that I grew up reading, it’s definitely a ton of fun. But it’s also a very different exercise than creating your own characters and your own worlds. I don’t ever anticipate I’ll stop doing one or the other. I hope that I can find a nice middle ground and keep doing them both.


JJ.Froud said...

why is Brian like a class A douchebag? Also, that Venom variant is awesoooooome

whitephoenix said...

So cooL!

BTW Psylocke is a playable hero for all players in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online. No longer just a Comic-Con code.

Chris said...

Rick Remender is STILL the man!

I really want to read Wolverine and the X-Men now though...I only have issue 1 (bought it as a sample), and these tie-ins make me want to get into it...

FSaker said...

Nice interview! Remender makes his work seem so simple, yet rare are the writers that can do such an accurate and rich story as he can.

It's surprising that Fantomex only exists in Earth-616; I thought that only applied to Rachel. Maybe Hope as well.

I loved everything in this preview! Great variant Venom cover (Betsy as Venom... somehow I kinda like this idea), great art, great dialogue between Psylocke and Captain Britain (and @J.J.Froud, yes, he's acting like a douchebag... then again, it's probably hard to find out that your sister has been killing people around the world)... and am I seeing things or did Greg Tocchini draw Betsy as if she was caucasian, instead of eurasian? Could she have swapped bodies AGAIN??

Rahsaan said...

"and am I seeing things or did Greg Tocchini draw Betsy as if she was caucasian, instead of eurasian? Could she have swapped bodies AGAIN??"

Please don't get my hopes up! I love Asian characters, like Jubes and Karma and Sunfire, but Bets needs to just be herself again.

Okay stopping now before I'm accused of beating a dead horse.

Tazirai said...

Love the pink suit in the background painting, reconnecting her to her past, and Otherworld.

She DOES have a point about The Captain Britain corps though...

QKC said...

now THIS is comic art!!! Beautiful to look at. Enough Greg Land already!! (the spider fight in Uncanny #5 is laughable at best, & the cover even moreso).
Anyway, Awesome UXF! I don't remember them being so cold to each other but I like the direction. It might make sense, since they live such different lives & are very busy people. I can't wait!!