Thursday, July 12, 2012

Uncanny X-Force's Truly Evil Brotherhood

Newsarama: Newsarama talked with Remender about bringing Daken into Uncanny X-Force, building the new Brotherhood, and — though he can't say much at this point — a small bit about his Marvel NOW! series, Uncanny Avengers. Courtesy of Marvel, we're exclusively debuting a page of art by Julian Totino Tedesco from Uncanny X-Force #28, scheduled for release on July 25.

Newsarama: Rick, as of Uncanny X-Force #27, Daken has joined the book as a major villain and leader of the new Brotherhood, which is a surprise on a couple of levels. What motivated you to use him? It certainly gets Wolverine more personally invested in the story, which up until this point focused more on Fantomex and Psylocke.

Rick Remender: That's definitely one of the reasons. The other is, as I was putting together the framework for the Brotherhood, I knew it was going to be a Wolverine arc, so I wanted to make sure there was a lot of personal context to these fights. If there's not personal context, if there's not something that you're heavily invested in seeing the outcome of, then it's just people throwing each other and punching sh*t. That's something I always try and find.

Early on, it occurred to me that Rob Williams had been doing a great job of making Daken into a villain, and he was leaning into that aspect of his character, and that this would be a really natural place for him to land. It also feeds into the father and son aspect that we've had in the series, with Evan and Fantomex, and the nurture/nature debate. I came up with a few ideas for how this could be an examination of the nurture/nature debate, and that led me to my conclusion. Here Logan is trying to raise Evan — Apocalypse — to be a good kid, and he never invited Daken to that school. Daken's always been in the grey between good and bad, but he's slid into bad enough times, and Wolverine has given him a pass, time and time again.

They all knew that if Evan went bad, what they'd have to do, so they're raising a kid that they've already had a hand in taking down once. It's a very slippery slope. I think there's also a lot of emotional context in Daken seeing that they're trying to give Evan this chance, but he never got that much attention or love, he was just sort of forgiven and swept aside. He's got a lot of baggage to deal with, and I like to work on the theme that a son will do anything to earn his father's respect — even kill him.

Nrama: And it seems that not only is Daken clearly the villain of the story, he actually himself sees it that way — and in fact, the entire Brotherhood is embracing being truly "evil mutants."

Remender: And that's sort of the idea. You always had the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but they never really entirely embraced the evilness. They were on the different side of the mutant debate with the X-Men, you had Mystique at one point running the show with Destiny guiding her hand, and it wasn't completely leaning into the evil. There was a relatable motive.
While there are relatable motives here, they're all very aware that what they're trying to do is get revenge, and to create a powerful army with their own brainwashed Apocalypse, so nobody can ever mess with them again, and they can go on their own dastardly business.

Nrama: It's an interesting dynamic, because there's always a lot of moral ambiguity from the protagonists in the series. 

Remender: The methodology of X-Force is something that they're forced to really examine. The consequences of what they have done are definitely still in play, and that was my plan from the beginning of the series — that they would do some awful things, but this time there would be such awful consequences that it would force them to reassess their motives. 

Nrama: Daken appeared to die at the end of his solo series — are you addressing that in the story?

Remender: Yeah, we resolve all that. 

Nrama: What went into building the lineup of the new Brotherhood? It's a stacked group — were you looking at putting together something of a supergroup of X-Men villains? 

Remender: Sure, and obviously a lot of the characters I've built up throughout the series, so there's personal animosity. You've got Skinless Man, who obviously doesn't care for Fantomex. You've got the Shadow King, who was a prisoner in Betsy's mind for many years, and is eager to get revenge on her. You've got the Omega Clan, who think Deadpool and Wolverine killed their family. You've got the Blob, who killed Nightcrawler's wife. You've got, obviously, Sabretooth, Mystique and Daken, who have a long history with Wolverine. And then you've got Evan — so you've got a fairly personal group, as well as what I think is one of the heaviest-hitting Brotherhoods we've seen. 

Nrama: It's a cliché to say "everything has been leading to this point," but clearly "Final Execution" is dealing with issues that have been building since issue #1. With a lot of things changing coming to Marvel — and you involved with some of the high-profile early announcements— is it possible that "Final Execution" is something of an ending, at least of the first phase of the book? 

Remender: It's definitely a conclusion to everything that's happened before. All of the loose threads are tied up. In he first 18 issues, we dealt with about 50 percent of what we set up, and this is the other 50 percent. By issue #35, you do get a beginning, middle and end to the whole thing, and then, thematically, it gets flipped a little bit, and moves over into Uncanny Avengers. 

Nrama: Does that mean that Uncanny X-Force is ending? 

Remender: It doesn't. It just means that after issue #35, aspects of the book shift over into Uncanny Avengers. 

Nrama: An interesting sort of side story to Uncanny X-Force recently is that you've also got to touch on some of the stuff elsewhere in the X-books, most clearly what Jason Aaron is doing in Wolverine and the X-Men. What goes into that type of coordination? 

Remender: Jason and I keep in really close contact, because we have characters jumping between our books, and we wanted to make sure that it was cohesive. Jason took Evan for a little while, and built him up as a person, and really put a spotlight on him over in Wolverine and the X-Men, and then he hops back over into this story, where we get to then escalate things, and tweak his life quite a little bit. Where he goes is up in the air still. I don't think people will anticipate it.

That's the thing I really loved about the X-books growing up, the interconnectivity. It's something that we've all made a real, concerted enough to try and make sure that these books line up and have threads that touch one another. 

Nrama: Plus Tabula Rasa showed up in Uncanny X-Men, and was one of the early settings of AvX. 

Remender: It's nice to see the stories bleed out and have presence in the other books. 

Nrama: Coming up in issue #28, it looks like Deathlok is coming back to the book? 

Remender: Yes. I don't think anybody will anticipate exactly how that will come together. There's some stuff that was set up with Deathlok that then gets paid out here in a pretty big way. 

Nrama: The first cover to Uncanny Avengers depicted six characters. Are you looking to stick to a smaller main cast, like you have in Uncanny X-Force? 

Remender: I like to have a core six, and to really build their characters, and get to know them and establish their dynamics. But for a team like that, you can expect things to grow a little bit, arc by arc, in terms of cast.

Nrama: Like what you've been doing in Secret Avengers. 

Remender: Yeah. Like you see in the upcoming Masters of Evil storyline, between #29 and #33, it mostly focuses on Hawkeye, Venom, Valkyrie and Ant-Man. The other characters are there, and they're playing a role, and Black Widow too, to an extent. You can have the bigger cast, but I think the trick is to only select so many of them for each mission, and then to move the focus around, lest it becomes a soup of too many characters. 

Nrama: Right, that has to be interesting — you're working on the Masters of Evil and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants at the same time. 

Remender: And it just sort of happened, the plans all sort of happened at the same time, but they're both stories that I've been writing on for well over a year or two. It's nice to see them come to fruition. Hopefully people will dig them, and we do justice to the legacy.
They're super-different. The Masters of Evil, in this case, is like an army. There's not really much personal context to that, which makes it more of a 007 villain, as opposed to a family member. 

1 comment:

CmX said...

Glad to know Remender confirmed UXF isn't ending! :)