Friday, December 21, 2012

Ron Garney's "Uncanny X-Force" #1 50th Anniversary Variant

Remembering Psylocke with Remender

CBR: After Psylocke made the decision not to kill the villainous Shadow King in "Final Execution," fate rewarded her by reuniting her with her lover Fantomex, who had been murdered early on in the storyline. That reunion came in "Uncanny X-Force" #35, where Fantomex's three brains were transplanted into three different clone bodies; the murderous Jean Philippe, the roguish Fantomex and the nurturing female clone known as Cluster.

Rick Remender: "It felt good to give Betsy and Fantomex that ending, but it was also hard to drop the mic and walk away from them because I love both of those characters," Remender said. "Betsy made the decision to not kill the Shadow King, and I think that's the end of her arc. She had plenty of reasons to want to kill the Shadow King, but she didn't. She found a way to capture him and deal with him. She really came full circle and in my mind, she's done with murder. That's the end of that arc for her. She's learned that lesson."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Building Uncanny X-Force Pt. 2


Marvel.com: So why did you pick Puck, everyone’s second favorite short Canadian super hero, to be on the team?

Sam Humphries: [Laughs] I liked having Puck because I feel like that’s a character where there is a lot of untapped potential, there’s a lot that’s ending up there that’s never been seen before. He’s a kick-ass character who has a background as an adventurer and he used to be a bouncer at a bar, so he’s kind of this tough Canadian Indiana Jones.  He’s also short in stature, but you don’t see that really in the way he conducts his life. He’s the kind of guy who goes into a situation and never thinks twice and thinks he’s going to kick ass. And he’s also a smart-ass, and I have a team of very serious characters, so I was excited to have a guy in there to crack a joke once in a while.

Marvel.com: So he’s a bit of comic relief?

Sam Humphries: I would not say he’s comic relief. He’s a character that laughs in the face of danger.

Marvel.com: You also have Storm on the team. Because this is kind of a wet works, black-ops down and dirty team, and she’s usually seen as a much more regal and noble character, how do you bring her into all this?

Sam Humphries: The wet works team was the previous incarnation of the book, and that’s not what this team is, so to have her as a part of this team makes a lot of sense from a character perspective because these are all characters that feel like misfits in a misfit world. This is a post AvX world where Wolverine is running a school and Rogue is on an Avengers team, so there’s no space left for the characters that are truly uncanny; the truly weird, the truly bizarre, the characters that kind of straddle the line between hero and villain, and Storm is one of those characters. She has been through the whole queen and goddess thing, and then Black Panther annulled their marriage, and now she’s trying to figure out where her place is. Her old home, the Xavier school, is gone, and the Jean Grey School is not quite the same as she remembers, and people are always walking on egg shells around her because of the divorce and everything, so she will find a home as a part of their team.

Marvel.com: Is the Mohawk going to make a comeback?

Sam Humphries: It’s back, across all books. It’s a done deal. It’s Storm and not only is the Mohawk look awesome, but the first time it came around, it was really a symptom of her emotional state at the time, as she wasn’t sure where she fit in in the world. And this is another phase of her life where she’s feeling the same way. So I’m really excited for the changes that are coming to Storm and what the Mohawk symbolizes for her. I’m excited.

Marvel.com: Very cool. So you have this team of four very powerful mutants—so what’s their threat? Who are they taking on that they have to fight so hard and so cool?

Sam Humphries: Well the big bad guy of the book is Bishop. He hasn’t been seen for two years and for about two years before that, he was kind of an anti-hero, as he was hunting Cable and Hope across time lines He really believed, perhaps wrongly, that he was doing the right thing by gunning after Hope, so to speak. With that mission over and failed, he has been trapped in the year 6700 AD. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in that year, but also fighting your way back to the present, that’s got to change a guy. This is going to be the same Bishop we’ve seen for years, but he’s been changed, and with that will change his power set a bit.

Marvel.com: So one thing I was really impressed about when I went through your team list is that it’s incredibly diverse. There’s not a single American on the team—

Sam Humphries: Wait there are no Americans on the team?

Marvel.com: I don’t think so.

Sam Humphries: God, you’re right. I didn’t even know that, that’s awesome. [Laughs]

Marvel.com: That is even more amazing that you didn’t even know that because it shows that it wasn’t diversity for the sake of diversity. This is an actual team of people that you thought through and none of them happen to be American, and they’re just incredibly diverse. That must be incredibly exciting as a writer. Or do you find it intimidating?

Sam Humphries: This is what the book is all about. Writing UNCANNY X-FORCE is an opportunity to write an X-Men book that is completely different than what you see in the other X-Men books. This is not UNCANNY AVENGERS, this is not ALL-NEW X-MEN, this is not WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN. It’s not a classic X-Men lineup. I don’t have to check in with what Cyclops is doing in every other issue or whatever, so that’s not just part of the mandate, but part of the fun. If I am not trying to work on different characters and get different character dynamics, then I’m not really doing my job, so knowing that that’s what the book is all about, I really went for it and really made the most of this book in this way.

Marvel.com: Is there anything else you want people to know before they pick up issue #1 of the book?

Sam Humphries: Yeah, we haven’t talked about our mystery character yet.

Marvel.com: I didn’t even know there was a mystery character.

Sam Humphries: Well there’s not a whole lot I can say about Cluster except for what’s been seen on the first issue cover, which is that she’s a female character in a costume reminiscent of Fantomex.

Marvel.com: And Fantomex should be very familiar to people who have been reading Rick Remender’s UNCANNY X-FORCE. So maybe there’s some sort of relationship there that will be explored?

Sam Humphries: I would say there are clues in Rick’s last issues.

Marvel.com: Did you talk to Rick about that, or are you just rolling with what comes your way?

Sam Humphries: Me and Rick and have been talking a lot, and he’s sent me all his notes. At the time, he had scripts for a bunch of issues and that kind of stuff. Rick was very generous about it, he doesn’t expect nor does he want me to just follow his blueprint for what he had planned already. I’ll put it this way. What I’m doing with that mystery character blew Rick’s mind, and Rick is a twisted guy.

Uncanny X-Force #35 Art

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Uncanny X-Force #35 Spoilers


Spoilers: Psylocke visits Brian at Otherworld, asking for forgiveness. Brian says that he discovered in Sr. Bradock’s journals that Fantomex had three brains and the fact that he was able to fight the conflicting voices in his head was a testament to his character. Brian assures that nothing will ever come between him and Betsy again. Psylocke asks him to store the Shadow King and the Apocalypse Armor in Otherworld. At the Jean Grey School, Deadpool meets Evan and says he’ll always be there for him when he needs. Wolverine and E.V.A. visit Psylocke at her apartment in Manhattan, saying they have left something unresolved. Betsy asks what the Old Logan from the future whispered to him; Logan recalls he said that if he didn’t kill Daken, Daken would murder his students. Wolverine, Psylocke and E.V.A. head to the Sky Facility where they meet Deadpool. E.V.A. reprehends Deadpool for starting the mimicking sequence without the proper adjustments. E.V.A. explains that the three Fantomex brains were intact. The mimicker ended up cloning bodies for each of them. Two male (the mostly Fantomex one and a mutant-hating one), and one female (the nice one, Cluster). Jean-Philipe and Cluster take Betsy to visit their “Mother”. Betsy kisses Jean-Philipe, saying that just for once she’d like to imagine a happy ending.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Building Uncanny X-Force Pt. 1

Marvel.com: Sam Humphries talks about recruiting Psylocke and Spiral, working with Ron Garney and more!

Marvel.com: The first thing I wanted to know is are you an X-Men guy, or is this your first foray into the world of X?

Sam Humphries:
This is hardly my first foray into the X-world.  I was a huge X-Men reader/obsessive growing up. I guess I was actively reading on a monthly basis starting around Inferno, but I went backwards pretty far throughout the entire [Chris] Claremont era including NEW MUTANTS, X-FACTOR and EXCALIBUR; so I am no stranger to the X-Men universe.

Marvel.com: So are you bringing some of that sensibility to UNCANNY X-FORCE?

Sam Humphries:
Yes and no. The best version of these kinds of books are where you can meld the shock of the new with the intrigue of the old, so it’s always a balance, and there’s a lot of things that I want to do in this book that hearken back and touch upon [old] stories and spin them in new directions, but there’s also things that I want to do that I never recalled having seen before in the X-Men universe. It’s a balance, you want to do a little of both.

Marvel.com: You’re following up Rick Remender’s well-received run on UNCANNY X-FORCE. 

Sam Humphries:
I love Rick’s UNCANNY X-FORCE. I’ve loved it even before Marvel knew my name, much less offered me the book. I think it’s great. I have the privilege of knowing how it ends. It has a fantastic ending that really wraps up his story. Throughout his entire run he asked questions, he addressed them, and the last issue is kind of the equivalent of Rick dropping the microphone and walking off stage. [Laughs]

Marvel.com: There’s the Marvel style of making comics, but there also seems to be the Marvel style for ending comics, where you leave the guy who’s coming after you in awe of what you just did.

Sam Humphries:
[Laughs] Yeah, exactly. You’re talking to the guy that had to fill in [Jonathan] Hickman’s shoes on ULTIMATES, so I have a little bit of experience.

Marvel.com: So you already have a little bit of scar tissue built up.

Sam Humphries:
Exactly. I have some posttraumatic stress disorder that I’ve already coped with. [Laughs] But I love Rick’s run enough to respect it, but I also love it enough to really leave it alone. Rick’s story is its own thing, it has a beginning, middle and end, and I have no desire to try to be a watered down Rick Remender. That would just suck for everyone involved. Nobody wants to see that. Rick doesn’t want to see it; he’s not going to be flattered by it. Marvel doesn’t want to see it, people won’t want to read it, the retailers will be unhappy, so this is a new story. UNCANNY X-FORCE is a title that has a history of reinvention while always staying on the fringes of the Marvel Universe and the mutant universe, and we’re definitely going to keep that tradition going. We’re taking what Rick has built and where he’s left those characters and we’re taking a turn into new territory.

Marvel.com: So let’s talk about the team. Were you given carte blance as to who you picked on the team? How did that process go?

Sam Humphries:
I was given complete freedom to pitch the team that I wanted. It’s a shared universe, so you don’t always get what you want. There are characters that are busy elsewhere and that there are already plans in place for them, but I had complete freedom to come up with a team chemistry and a team dynamic that I felt suited the kind of story I wanted to tell. It’s a very collaborative process [that] involved a lot of fun conversations with myself and Senior Editor Nick Lowe and Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso; it’s a process where it’s fun to get the feedback and throw ideas back and forth, and make each other cringe and laugh, and shake each others heads and all that kind of stuff. Never at any point was there a mandate that I had to use this character or it had to be this type of situation.

Marvel.com: So the one character that’s sticking around on the team is Psylocke. Why did you want to keep her around from Remender’s run?

Sam Humphries:
She’s always been one of my favorite X-Men characters and I really love her for being a survivor. And I see her as a survivor on two levels. One is that she is a survivor in the Marvel Universe in the comics. She’s died and been reborn, she’s had to kill her own brother, and she’s been through failed relationships, all sorts of stuff. I really admire her character for always getting back on her feet. But on a kind of larger meta level, she’s a fictional character that exists in a shared universe; this is a character that has survived quite a lot shifts in direction and changes in the fashion of comics, quite a lot of different versions of her have come and gone, but the core of Betsy has always remained, and that’s something that I’m really excited to write.

Marvel.com: Was she the first character you decided on because she was already on the team?

Sam Humphries:
She was one of the obvious choices because she was already on the team and has a history with X-Force, but for me what really clinched it is where Rick is leaving her at the end of [his run] and where I wanted her. She’s a great character to use as the center of your book because she’s everything; she’s a strong personality and she’s a total badass, so she’s a great character to always come back to in a team book. She’s a good tone-setter for sure.

Marvel.com: Who was the next most obvious choice for you to have on the team?  

Sam Humphries:
The next most obvious choice for me was Spiral.

Marvel.com I think Spiral is the one that I’d imagine people are the least familiar with.

Sam Humphries:
Well, she’s traditionally a villain, but she’s a character that kind of sits in between the X-Men and a larger villain, Mojo. [She] and Betsy [Psylocke] have a lot of complicated history together, and I really wanted to see what it would be liked to put them in a room together, so to speak. Spiral is also a sword fighter, she has multiple arms, and she’s also a total badass.

Marvel.com: She just has such a cool look.

Sam Humphries:
Absolutely. She’s just one of those classic Art Adams character designs that has barely changed and shifted over the year.

Marvel.com: Speaking of art, how awesome is it to be working with Ron Garney?

Sam Humphries:
Oh my god, it’s great. His pages have been coming in for a while now and they look fantastic. He’s a great storyteller, he’s got great sense of action, and he does really well with characters; I think his character work is not always noticed because his action work is just so bombastic. But I’m super excited to be working with him on the book.

Marvel.com: Outside of Psylocke and Spiral, who have you been the most exited to see him draw on the team?

Sam Humphries:
Definitely Puck. He does a really great Puck. He did not disappoint me. Puck is awesome.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Comic Book Legends Revealed: Psylocke


CBR: Welcome to the three hundredth and ninety-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, was Psylocke’s death in X-Treme X-Men originally meant to be x-tremely temporary?

COMIC LEGEND: Chris Claremont killed off Psylocke in X-Treme X-Men with the intent to return her to life very soon after

STATUS: True

Awhile back, I did a feature on how Psylocke was originally going to be killed off during the Psi War storyline. While she survived that tale, it was only a couple of years later that she was killed off in the second issue of Chris Claremont and Salvador Larocca’s X-Treme X-Men…

Claremont, though, merely planned for her death to be temporary, with the idea being that when she returned, she would be stripped of all of the Crimson Dawn stuff that had been added to her story (including her facial tattoo) plus perhaps even returning her to her original body (and not the Asian body she ended up in).Larocca even worked up a design for her return…However, this was during a period where Marvel had decided that no characters would return from the dead, so Claremont’s plans were squelched.

Three or so years later, though, Joss Whedon brought Colossus back from the dead (a character that both Claremont AND Grant Morrison wanted to use in their X-Men runs but couldn’t because he had just been killed off before New X-Men and X-Treme X-Men began)… So in 2005, Claremont was able to follow through and return Psylocke from the dead.

Uncanny X-Force #35 Preview


Uncanny X-Force #35
Writer: Rick Remender
Art: Phil Noto
Cover by: Julian Totino Tedesco

Final Issue!
• Final Extinction concludes and so does Uncanny X-Force!
• Rick Remender’s landmark run comes to a conclusion with one of the most shocking moments in X-Force history.
• What will become of what’s left of X-Force?






Psylocke Joins "Marvel: Avengers Alliance"

Marvel.com: Get ready agents--details are in for the next "Marvel: Avengers Alliance" PvP tournament! Do you have what it takes to score some of the awesome awards?

If you participated in the Season 2 PVP, requirements for each league are the same. Prizes include silver and gold for their respective leagues, and Psylocke for the Adamantium League reward!

Score Psylocke in this tournament, and get the jump on your foes with her pre-emptive psychic counters against enemy attacks and weaken your opponents' minds--then level up your hero and acquire even more skills!

Other rewards for the third season of PvP include a Scroll of Angolob for Diamond League and Bruiser's Power Armor in the Vibranium League.

Now, if you've yet to do so, join the millions of social gamers and Marvel fans who have already joined S.H.I.E.L.D. by playing "Marvel: Avengers Alliance" at http://www.Facebook.com/AvengersAlliance, where the game is one of the most highly rate in Facebook's App Center, or at http://www.Playdom.com.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sam Humphries on Tumblr

eyesofamaranthine asked: Hey Sam, what are your favorite Psylocke stories?

Humphries: "Off the top of my head, I love the House of M story from Uncanny X-Men #462-465. The Acts of Vengeance story from Uncanny X-Men #256-258 is a big one of course, the art in those issues still kicks ass. And Uncanny X-Force, obviously."

stegosnoreus asked: Psylocke vs Storm, will it ever happen?

Humphries: "Storm and Psylocke are close friends, but they're coming from very different places right now. As a result, when it comes to what the team should do in a given situation, they will often find themselves on opposite ends of the spectrum. And if the stakes get high enough..."

pianofights asked: Psylocke's brother disapproved of the last Uncanny X-Force team, what would Brian think of this new team?

Humphries: "He would disapprove of Betsy, who is upper class British birth, carousing with the scoundrels and outsiders. But there's a part of Brian that yearns to cut loose too..."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ultimate Comics X-Men #20 Spoilers & Art

Spoilers: Mach Two talks to Warpath about how she’s going to use the gun they stole from Kitty to take her down, however Kitty knows they stole the gun. Jimmy reveals to Kitty that she needs to keep everyone within 5 miles, beyond that, the land is tainted with radiation. Meanwhile, Blackheath has created mutated seeds, which will grow and adapt despite the inhospitable environment. Elsewhere, Psylocke telepathically influences Rogue to doubt Kitty’s competence as a leader. Days later, Iron Man visits Utopia upon Kitty’s request to check on these super seeds as Kitty wants to make business with him. Tony Stark is interested in them and will announce his new acquisition to the world. Tony warns Kitty that people will attack the reservation in order to capture the seed; therefore, he lends Iron Patriot to protect the mutants. At night, Mach Two uses her power from afar to point the gun at Kitty. The gun then targets Jimmy, who had slept with Kitty.
 

X-Solicits for March 2013

Uncanny X-Force #3
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art by: Ron Garney
Cover by: Kris Anka
Variant Cover by: Salvador Larroca
• This is it! Bishop vs. Uncanny X-Force!
• Bishop has amazing new powers that help him take down X-Force. But how did Bishop get the new power?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

X-Position: Brian Wood's Ultimate X-Men

CBR: This week, "Ultimate Comics X-Men" writer Brian Wood joins X-Position to shed some light on the direction of the Ultimate Universe's X-Men answers reader questions about everything from whether fan-favorite characters will appear to the challenges of writing in the Ultimate U.
 Ben has a very detailed question about Psylocke. Very detailed.
I know there was some minor controversy regarding Psylocke showing up in "Ultimate X-Men" #19 without any explanation after she died during "Ultimatum," but whatever the reasons for her resurrection are, I was confused by her characterization. Betsy, or Colonel Braddock as she was introduced in the Ultimate universe, was an adult woman who was an agent for the British Intelligence Service, worked undercover for Xavier and then fully joined the X-Men, working alongside the likes of Storm. Now all of the sudden, she shows up in Reservation X, voting for a fourteen year old kid she doesn't even know to lead her and betrays her former allies along the way. It's like a whole different character. Why would Betsy do that? What are her motivations?
Brian Wood: Maybe it is a whole different character? Suffice to say, this will be addressed, I won't just drop that on you guys and let it ride.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sam Humphries Gets "Uncanny" with "X-Force"

CBR: Over the past year plus, Marvel Comics "Uncanny X-Force" has hit comic shops with a surprising mix of neon-tinted science fiction, broken hearted killers and critical acclaim. But when writer Rick Remender ends his run with the series in its next, 35th issue, the franchise won't be ending with him. As part of the ongoing Marvel NOW! relaunch of the publisher's superhero titles, "Uncanny X-Force" will be reborn under the pens of writer Sam Humphries and artist Ron Garney.

On the other side of the coin is returning heroine Psylocke. The writer had to play coy so as to not spoil her role in Remender's final issue. "With some characters, we're specifically picking up on threads Rick has so generously left dangling...and where Betsy's life is at is one of those threads," he said. "She's in a similar place to Storm. They have a lot to bond over." Humphries described her as a survivor both as an X-Man and as a character.
Spiral, the multi-armed carryover from the Mojoverse, is probably better known to "Marvel Vs. Capcom" video gamers, they explained. "She can't be a part of the whole 'Uncanny Avengers' scheme. She can't go to the school. She can't join Cyclops and his crew. She has nowhere to belong to right now," Humphries said. "Her trying to get by put her in direct confrontation with Betsy and Storm." He added that the history between Spiral and Psylocke will play a big role in her first appearance in issue #1 and beyond. "She's a surprise," Lowe said. "She was the character Sam threw out that completely threw me for a loop...but I thought, 'You know what? That would be awesome!'" The writer added that she has been a villain for years, but "You're going to see a side of her that's never been explored before...she's not just a villain but a victim of Mojo."
Asked whether Psylocke would lead the team, the group played coy. "Betsy is exactly where I want here...she's where I wanted to take over writing her as a character in that she's really interesting to me," the writer said. "In my mind, Betsy is as strong in the Marvel Universe as Wolverine, Rogue, Storm or any of those characters. What that means in the reality of who will lead the team" remains unknown as there are multiple people with leadership potential.
Finally, the panel was asked about a potential crossover between "Cable & The X-Force." Nothing official was confirmed, but Humphries talked up the fact that Psylocke and company view themselves as the only legitimate X-Force team, and so tensions between the two groups would be high. Particularly, he noted one book starring Cable and one featuring Bishop meant that some old rivalries would have to clash eventually.

Comic Book Road Show Talks To Sam Humphries

Comic Book Road Show has interviewed Sam Humphries to talk about his current run Marvels the Ultimates and the upcoming Marvel Now comic Uncanny X-Force. Click on the link to listen to the whole interview. Sam talks a lot about X-Force, Storm, Puck, Spiral and Bishop as well. Here's what the said about Psylocke:

Sam Humphries: "I love Betsy. The book came with Betsy, and that’s how I wanted it. She’s one of my favorite X-Men characters because she’s a survivor. Not only is that a character attribute for her as a fictional character, but her character as part of the Marvel universe has also been a survivor. She’s been through so many changes, transformations, evolutions, different visions, yet this is a character who’s about to be the center of a Marvel NOW book. She is still up there as one of the biggest mutants in the Marvel universe and that speaks a lot about the character and what people love about her. There’s a danger because she almost turned into a joke of a 90’s character. There was a risk there, but she’s someone I really enjoy writing and she is really the center of this book. Something happens in between Rick’s last issue and my first issue to Betsy that kicks everything in motion. What that is I can’t say, but it’s going to set Betsy into a new direction personally that we haven’t seen before."

Regarding Psylocke's relationship with Storm, Sam hints that Storm will find out about Psylocke's actions in Remender's X-Force such as killing her brother Jamie. He adds that "they’re really going to bond because they’re both going through transforming periods in their lives."