Tuesday, April 24, 2012

X-Position: Remender Stays On Mission with "X-Force"

CBR: Remender is a joyful person who just seems to understand the darkness people can hide from the world, and he shows this off monthly in "Uncanny X-Force," "Secret Avengers," and "Venom." He's ready to spread some of his good-natured cheer and delve into several heavy matters as he answers your e-mails today. Take heed, and away we go...

Uncanny X-Force #25, on sale May 9.

Will you be fleshing out what "Age of Apocalypse" Kurt did during those ten peacetime years in between the fall of the Apocalypse and the rise of Weapon X?

Rick Remender:
We will be touching on this a bit. Kurt had married and we'll learn what happened to his wife. This plays into why he is still on our world hunting down refugees. Issue #25 will bring illumination.
The members of Clan Akkaba had a number of similar physical features. I'm curious -- were they clones? Were the women with birds heads wearing ceremonials masks or where these avian characteristics natural?

Rick Remender: The clan is comprised of humans who have served Apocalypse throughout the ages with the promise that one day there would be a grand ascension and they would all become mutants, bestowed with great powers. The bird-headed women were genetically altered. They were not mutants but were created, in my mind, in laboratories -- sexy, bird-lady laboratories.
In the new mythology that you've created around Apocalypse, it seems important for him to father an heir. In your view, was it a coincidence that every generation of Apocalypse's horsemen contained one female that was of child-bearing age (Deathbird, Autumn, Polaris, Ichsumi)? Was Warren and Logan's attempt to convert Psylocke and Jean based on their love for their former paramours? Or they did they just see them as good breeding stock?

Rick Remender: Apocalypse would choose the person to take his place by bestowing on them the death seed. Then when he died, the Death persona would evolve and take his place. As for a genetic heir, I don't think it's a coincidence that there is always been a young woman among his horsemen. The purpose of the genetic heir, in this case, young Holocaust -- or the baby inside of Pestilence -- has yet to be revealed.
In the new "Age of Apocalypse" series, Dark Beast is using energy siphoned from a Life Seed to resurrect possibly hundreds of alpha class mutants. Given that Warren was exposed to an entire seed, just how powerful is he now? "Herald of Galactus"-powerful? Almost Celestial-level?

Rick Remender: I don't want to give too much away here, but I know Jason Aaron has some very exciting plans for the character. He is far more powerful than we have seen; his body completely re-created by a Celestial Life Seed, within him the sum-total energies of a Life Seed. Just how powerful is he? What exactly is he capable of? These will be fun questions that Jason Aaron will be answering in the pages of "Wolverine and the X-Men." Big fun on the horizon.
I've truly loved your run. The only thing I had an issue with was what I considered a graphic description of the death of Charles Lehnsherr in "Uncanny X-Force" #19.1. I thought the fact that a toddler had been crushed, cannibalized in front of his father, sacrificed to Mephisto and possibly even molested by Demon-ock (given his "fondness" for children) was over the line. However, I'm aware that "Uncanny X-Force" is a dark book, and if I found this disturbing, that may have been the desired effect. I'm curious though...when you're writing a book as tonally dark as this one, can there be a line that you won't cross?

Rick Remender: If it is in service of story, I will cross any line. If it is feasible that something atrocious happened and it makes sense in the context of the story, and serves a good purpose, then I will go to whatever extent I need to. I had a very limited amount of space to establish that Demon-Ock had done something so heinous and hateful to Rogue and Magneto's son that there was a very personal animosity between them. It was also important to establish just how terrible the Black Legion are and what these monsters are capable of.

You'll find out more of what they did and just how vicious they are in "Uncanny X-Force" #25. I don't do anything haphazardly; it's all part of a bigger plan. Establishing what the Black Legion is capable of plays a big role in the upcoming story.

With the solicitations proving what I'd hoped and longed for, will Mystique have a large role in this new Brotherhood, given her obvious strong ties to the previous incarnations?

Rick Remender: She'll play a very large role. I would hate to give anything else away, so I'll leave it at that.

What will Kurt Darkholme's reaction be to finally meeting the 616 versions of his parents, Mystique and Sabretooth? I could see that being quite shocking even if Logan prepped him for it...

Rick Remender: Obviously, Kurt going up against Mystique is going to have some emotional ramifications. If you look at "Uncanny X-Force" #20, you'll see Wolverine in the Danger Room sequence beginning to prep Kurt for the day when he has to go up against Mystique and Sabretooth -- something that Wolverine has been preparing himself to do with X-Force. All of this will be touched upon during "Final Execution." And to be clear, I'm not committing to the idea that AoA Sabretooth is AoA Nightcrawler's father.

I'm a huge fan of the Weapon Plus concept from Grant Morrison's "New X-Men" run, so it's great to see you expanding upon some of the programs. Can we expect more previously unrevealed Weapon characters to appear? Any chance of seeing John Sublime showing up (another Morrsion character with Weapon Plus connections)?

Rick Remender: We recently revealed the Skinlessman, Weapon III. He has a history with Fantomex, much of which has yet to be revealed, but we do know Fantomex was behind getting him captured in Otherworld, leading to his having his skin removed. Fantomex also stole his sentient skin, turned it into bullets, and shot them all over the world, spread to the four corners as-it-were.

Skinlessman was a barrister in England, and a corrupt mutant, who was recruited into the Weapon Plus program by Father at some point in the 1970s. We also have hinted at Dr. Mindbubble who we saw briefly in the background in issue #18. He is a character I have spent a great deal of time developing and, while I have big plans for him, I'm not ready to begin discussing what or where.

You recently revealed in "Secret Avengers" that Father worked in Weapon Plus with two people named Mother and Brother. Are they both established Marvel characters or completely new? Since you've already laid groundwork for another Father storyline in both "Uncanny X-Force" and "Secret Avengers," I don't suppose we'll be seeing a crossover between the two titles?

Rick Remender: Get ready for an actual answer! Both of these characters are previously established. Mother is Fantomex's Mother, or at least the woman he thinks is his mother, the woman that he calls mother, or did before she was killed in "UXF" #5. Brother is James Braddock, the biological father of Betsy, Brian, and Jamie and among the very first AI scientists in the MU. How's that for a big answer to a question that you thought I wouldn't answer?

In the final issue of the "Dark Angel Saga," we saw an imagined life where Betsy and Warren were married with two daughters, one named Jean. Is it safe to assume they named her after Jean Grey? And I'm curious if you had a name for the other daughter that readers weren't aware of?

Rick Remender: I don't remember. I thought it was a nice touch that Betsy would've named one of their daughters after Jean. But, again, you have to remember this was all a fictitious life that Betsy painted for Warren. So all of the decisions and everything that we saw there were things that Betsy created in an attempt to give Warren a perfect life. And to Warren, it went on for a lifetime. So, really, Warren died on his deathbed, surrounded by loved ones, at home. He got a pretty happy ending. Betsy, on the other hand...

Around the time of your first "Uncanny X-Force" arc, I vaguely remember you mentioning the parallels between Hope Summers and the Apocalypse child. Depending on how AvX ends, will Evan/Genesis ever get to meet the Mutant Messiah in person?

Rick Remender: I've been writing notes and working up big plans for Evan since I created him. It's something that I've spent a lot of time on the phone with Jason Aaron and [editor] Nick Lowe discussing to make sure that our plans connect, interlock, and complement each other. We've cooked up a number of very interesting scenarios for Evan and where the future takes him. I'm pretty sure whatever you think we're going to do with him is wrong. The direction we're moving forward with Evan is going to be satisfying, fulfilling, and earth-shattering. Figuratively speaking. Or not. Wait and see.

As for Betsy's deal with Krokwell, where does that leave her? Is she unable to feel any pain, suffering, hurt, sorrow, or guilt? Will this cause her to become a more cold and distant person, much like what happened to her during the "Crimson Dawn" days? Is that what prompted her to make a move on Fantomex despite killing the love of her life just five issues prior to that?

Rick Remender: Whatever you imagine "sorrow" to mean, Betsy no longer feels that. In my mind, that includes remorse, grieving, depression, and some, if not all, forms of guilt. As to where it is taking her, that would be telling. But it's nowhere she's ever been before and I think it's a nice wrinkle for the character.

The new Brotherhood of Mutants includes three of the most dangerous enemies the X-Men have ever faced. Mystique holds a grudge against Wolverine; the Shadow King is a longtime rival of Psylocke; and Sabretooth has faced Logan and Betsy many times. Moreover, the Skinless Man and AoA Blob want to get their hands on Fantomex and Nightcrawler. Is this Brotherhood sort of an anti-X-Force?

Rick Remender: It's exactly that. And you still don't know who it is that put the team together. Though you might be able to guess which member of the team had prior knowledge of X-Force -- obviously the Shadow King -- I will tell you he was not the one to come up with their plans or to pull together the new Brotherhood. I was looking through former incarnations of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and I'm pretty sure this one is the most powerful (though, I'm biased).

Omega Red, Omega Black, Omega White, the Shadow King, AoA Blob, Sabretooth, the Skinlessman, and Mystique are enough unto themselves to earn that title, and once you see who the leader is, and what his ultimate goal is, well... I don't want to fall into hyperbole, but what we've got here is the most terrifying and powerful Brotherhood of Evil Mutants of all time. Hyperbole!

We've been shown a cover that seems to show the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, which includes the Skinless Man, Shadow King, Sabretooth, Mystique, and AoA Blob. Is that the entire group or are there more members? If there are more, do you have any plans to use old X-Force villains from the Mutant Liberation Front or someone like Krule?

Rick Remender: Those are some of the principal members, yes. I don't have plans to use the Mutant Liberation Front and I don't know who Krule is. Was he the big guy with the ponytail? Lots of huge crosshatch marks all over him? (Heh.)

Now that Cable is back and cured of the techno-organic virus, are there any plans for him to show up in this title? He did found the original X-Force after all and would seem to be a great fit with this cast as he has a lot of history with several of them. He also has no issues with proactively taking out the enemies of mutantkind.

Rick Remender: You will see Cable during the "Final Execution" storyline. You will never be able to guess how or why, but Cable and Hope both appear and play a big role in the second act of the story. Same with Deathlok, the Punisher, and Warpath. Nah, I'm kidding. Or am I?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Psylocke in Avengers vs. X-Men #2

I compiled every panel Psylocke was from Avengers vs. X-Men #2, which includes a brawl with Spider-Woman. Psylocke appears wielding her telekinetic (?) katana throughout the issue. Iron Man has built some anti-telepathy tech which he used against Emma Frost. Not sure if the same applies to every telepath in Utopia or if it was just used on Emma.

Psylocke and Fantomex by Phil Noto

Not sure if it's from an upcoming issue, or just a sketch. Source.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #24 Art

Uncanny X-Force #24 Spoilers

Spoilers: While Wolverine, Deadpool, and Nightcrawler try to ambush AoA Iceman in Madripoor; Jamie Braddock's funeral is being held in Otherworld. Fantomex wants to offer his condolences to Brian, who flips out, saying he was right that some dilemmas are so ugly that killing a child or a family member is the only way to solve them. Betsy stays by Fantomex's side, not saying a word or showing any kind of remorse. Meanwhile, in Madripoor, Kurt tries to use a detonator to blow Iceman. Bobby gets the upper hand, and the bomb ends up falling on the streets, where Wolverine takes the entire explosion to save the citizens nearby. Back at Cavern X, Fantomex asks Betsy why she didn't show any emotion at her brother's funeral. She reveals she gave her sorrow and her capacity to ever feel any again to Krokwel in order to save him. In Madripoor, Kurt teleports Iceman to a building with two smoke stacks. After remembering the time where both were good friends; Kurt wins the battle by throwing Iceman in a fire pit where he melts away. Back at Cavern X, Betsy goes to Fantomex, takes out her clothes and kisses him.

Friday, April 13, 2012

X-Solicits for July 2012

Uncanny X-Force #27 & 28
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Mike McKone
Cover by: Jerome Opeña
• X-Force land themselves somewhere you’ve never seen them.
• A new member joins the team!
• Rising star Julian Totino Tedesco (Venom: Circle of Four, John Carter Gods of Mars covers) joins the best creative team in comics for two issues!

AvX VS #4 (of 6)
• The premiere Avengers vs. X-Men tie-in! Two incredible fights every issue, torn from the pages of AvX.
• Daredevil vs. Psylocke! By Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force) and Brandon Peterson (New Avengers, Uncanny X-Men)
• Thor vs. [Classified] by Kaare Andrews (Ultimate Comics covers, Spider-Man: Reign)!

X-Men #32
Writer: Brian Wood
Art: David Lopez
Cover by: Jorge Molina
• Learn the secret origin of the proto-mutants!
• How long can Storm keep Cyclops from taking control of her team?

Uncanny X-Men #15 & 16
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Art and Cover by: Daniel Acuña
AvX Tie-ins!
• We can’t say much, or we spoil the event of the summer!
• The X-Men move against the forces of Sinister!

Avengers vs. X-Men #7 (of 12)
Writer: Matt Fraction
Art: Olivier Coipel
Cover by: Jim Cheung
• Cyclops changes the game with these three words: “No More Avengers!”

Avengers vs. X-Men #8 (of 12)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: Adam Kubert
Cover by: Jim Cheung
• Last stand in Wakanda as an out-of-control Namor invades this sovereign nation in pursuit
of the Avengers!
• And a shocking truth stands revealed that may cause fractures in the X-Men’s alliance!

Preview: Uncanny X-Force #25 (Unlettered)

Marvel is proud to present your first look at the landmark 25th issue of Uncanny X-Force, from the superstar creative team of Rick Remender, Mike McKone and Dean White! The epic saga “Final Execution” begins here and X-Force faces their greatest threat yet! Someone is arming the villains of the Marvel Universe with the most dangerous weapons known to man, and when Wolverine’s team traces it back to the Omega Clan, the black ops squad finds themselves in some hot water. And when the origins of the deadly clan are revealed, it will send shockwaves throughout the entire team and Logan in particular! With two rare stories by Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña included in this oversized issue, no fan can miss the explosive opener of Final Execution in Uncanny X-Force #25, hitting comic shops everywhere and the Marvel Comics app, this May!

Uncanny X-Force #24 Preview

Uncanny X-Force #24
Written by: Rick Remender
Pencils and Cover by: Phil Noto

The Story:
• Wolverine, Deadpool And AoA Nightcrawler Go On Mission To Kill Aoa Iceman!
• What’s Left Of X-Force Returns From Otherworld!

In Stores: April 18, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Deadpool #53 Art

Deadpool #53 Spoilers

Spoilers from X-Man's Comic Blog: We find out that Tombstone actually did give Hydra Bob the serum that would negate Deadpool's healing factor, with the deal being that Bob would alert Tombstone that Pool was vulnerable so Tombstone could kill Pool off. Pool is delighted by this turn of events and thanks Bob before teleporting away. Pool heads to X-Force and basically taunts them all for being suckers and doing his bidding. That pisses them off, which is exactly what Pool wanted, so he leaves before Wolvie can gut him. Pool teleports back to Bob to gloat that X-Force would make sure to kill him, but Bob rants at Pool, telling him that the deal Bob made was that in exchange for the serum, Tombstone had to kill Deadpool, nobody else... And if somebody else killed Pool? You know Tombstone would be taking it out on Bob... Bob goes on to explain that he had hoped that injecting Pool with the serum would make Pool realize how valuable life was, forcing Pool to forget his death wish... So now Pool is faced with the realization that if he dies, Bob, his only true friend, would die a brutal death at the hands of an angry Tombstone. As for X-Force? This issue ends with Wolverine declaring that they would be killing Deadpool for all of the crap he put the team through.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Emerald City Comicon 2012: Interview with Rick Remender

Omnivoracious: At Omnivoracious, we're no strangers to writer Rick Remender's work. We covered his creator-owned series Fear Agent all the way back in 2008 and followed his ascent to Marvel hit-maker on The Punisher. Now, he's writing arguably the best X-Men comic around, Uncanny X-Force, and he was recently named writer for another flagship title: Secret Avengers. A lot has changed since we last spoke with Remender at Emerald City Comicon 2009, and it was great to catch up with him on all of the aforementioned books, how his fandom influences his characters, and more at this year's ECCC 2012.

Omni: And now you’re onto Uncanny X-Force. You’re writing characters that immediately connect with fans because you’re writing them as characters, with dimension and real motivations. Psylocke’s backstory is so convoluted that it’s made her bland, yet here she’s someone who readers can finally understand. What about her appealed to you?

Rick Remender: It probably has a lot to do with my history with the character. I was a big X-Men fan in the 1980s/early 1990s, and when she started appearing was at the peak of my interest in the series: the Mutant Massacre. That led me to Excalibur, which led me to seeking out the UK stuff—which had her origin and told me more about who she was. It was clear that that stuff was very near to [Chris] Claremont’s heart, and that he was going to continue to draw from it, which he did. We saw the Siege Perilous, Roma, and Captain Britain. He clearly loved it. When I read it as a kid, it was very hard to find. It was printed in that magazine-sized format, and because of the hunt—that made it mine.

She was always a character I had a connection with and knew a lot about. When I finally had a chance to write her, I had a wealth of background to draw from because, you know, I was a fan. When you’re not creating the character, it helps to have a love for something that other people did create. And for Betsy, I did.

Omni: It’s also clear you have a love for the character Fantomex.

Rick Remender: I re-read all of Grant [Morrison]’s work with Fantomex a number of times to try to get the voice down. I think it’s one of those things where it’s so difficult to sell a new character to the mainstream audience, and when somebody like Grant comes in and makes so many new ones—and so many great ones—we should all endeavor to try to continue them. It was important to me to pay respect to what Grant had done and upon investigating the character and reading him, there was just so much there. He’s such a rich character and he’s so much fun. It wasn’t work, and that’s the best kind of character, I think.

Omni: It makes sense that you’re a fan of the 80/early 90s X-Men, because in The Dark Angel Saga we finally see the full evolution of Archangel. Is this a story that you’ve been dying to tell since those days?

Rick Remender: It’s not—OK, well, it is. When I first got the book and Archangel was already on the team, I started to try to connect dots. [Louise and Walt] Simonson started this thing with Archangel that was never really resolved. It was done away with and brought back and done away with and brought back. It was never defined or investigated, and it was never exploited to its full potential. I knew that when I was going to [write] Apocalypse, there was this obvious connection and the whole thing started to tell me its story. I worked really closely with series editors Axel Alonso and Jody LeHeup to make sure we were dancing between the raindrops, so that all the new stuff I added fit with what had come before and hopefully answered some questions that had never been answered before—and added new wrinkles to it all. Archangel and Apocalypse’s mythology essentially just told me 18 issues’ worth of story.

I wanted to show what would happen if Archangel succeeded as opposed to just saying “he’s going to take over the world!” I wanted to show that in one world, Apocalypse and his successors had taken over the world—and what that result was. So, we went to the [parallel universe] Age of Apocalypse to show what would happen if our team failed. As I started writing the beats, I realized that this was a great rifle over the mantleplace, because we’ve got all these X-Men who are indebted to our team, X-Force, and vice versa. Because our team couldn’t possibly deal with what I put them up against, in the third act—at the climax—Fantomex bails and goes to get the alternate X-Men, and that’s supposed to be the power-chord moment, where the AoA characters are coming here to help X-Force. It’s fun comics.

Omni: Next, all that hunting around for UK comics when you were a kid comes into play with the Otherworld arc.

Rick Remender: Otherworld is such a tremendous thing. It’s this world created by Herb Trippe, Chris Claremont, Alan Moore, and Alan Davis—all of the best guys fall in love with this place, and it’s something that isn’t used to its full potential at all. I wanted to go there and tell a story that not only showed Betsy Braddock’s family but to define her as someone making a choice to be who she is . So much of her life has been things happening to her and she just lives with it. I wanted her to choose to be become not who she used to be. I wanted her to choose her current family over her old family, and she then becomes a character who lives with her decisions, as opposed to somebody who has that thrust upon her and reacts.

As for the backdrop, there’s a scene in one of the old Alan Moore Captain Britain [issues] where Captain Britain is put on trial, and I wanted to emulate that with Fantomex. I re-read that a few times, and [artist] Greg Tocchini and I worked very hard to get the courtroom right and the whole thing. Occasionally, you have to scratch a certain fan-itch, and that was one of them.

Omni: Is another fan-itch a quasi-reunion of Excalibur? You’ve got Captain Britain, Nightcrawler—

Rick Remender: And Meggan and Widget, yeah. At one point, we considered that the arc might be six issues, and I had a natural way to get [former teammates] Kitty and Rachel Summers in there. But it felt like I was going a step too far to fan-service myself [laughs].

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tuesday Q&A: Kieron Gillen

Marvel.com: We checked in with Gillen about what’s ahead for the Children of the Atom as the war comes to Utopia, how Spider-Man will face a Juggernaut like never before in AVX: VS, plus much more.

Marvel.com: Now, which Uncanny X-Men characters will benefit most from the event, in a sense of growth as fictional characters, not necessarily in their "lives"?

Kieron Gillen:
I've said before, I've been building towards AvX. It's meaningful for all my key cast. The big people to watch? Scott, Namor, Hope, Emma, Piotr, Illyana and Danger. My other three—Storm, Magneto and Psylocke—have important roles too, but perhaps not on the same level of redefining them. They're actually more the people who are a half-step back from the chaos, and as such are about giving perspective on everything. “Benefit” is an interesting word, though. I'm not sure it's the word I'd use. It's going to be very hard on all of them.

X-Position: Kieron Gillen guides "Uncanny" into "AVX"

CBR: Now that Emma's on the mend, will Psylocke stick around in ‘Uncanny,' or was she more of a temporary substitute?
She's the substitute. Nine is a big field team, so more permanent staff is unwieldy. However, "substitute" is still an important supporting position. She's got some important roles to play in my "AvX" "Uncanny" issues.