Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mutants Are "Natural Resources" In Wood's "Ultimate Comics X-Men"

CBR: In March, you kick off a new arc titled "Natural Resources." What exactly is it about?

Brian Wood: The mutants are privatized by the government. Literally, they are declared a resource and property and are denied their human rights. An attempt is made to round them up and, presumably, create things like the sentient seed as a government program. Very similar to the way a government may privatize an oil company. They figure, we made mutants, so we own them. The US needs to rebuild itself, and fast, following "Divided We Fall." They need to regain their world superpower status. That's about all I can tease up-front. We'll also see some progress on the Mach Two storyline, and some answers to the questions readers have about Psylocke.

Uncanny X-Force #2 Art

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Uncanny X-Force #2 Spoilers

Spoilers: Downtown LA, Bishop unleashes against the cops. Meanwhile, Betsy telepathically influences a man in the club to help her fight the mind-controlled partygoers. Inside their minds, Betsy finds the little girl controlling them. Storm and Puck find the girl being kept on the vault. Spiral arrives and teleports the girl away with her. Puck manages to be teleported along them. At the rooftop, Spiral defeats Puck easily. Spiral seems attached to the girl, Ginny. Storm rescues Puck from falling from the rooftop and engage Spiral in a battle again. Inside the club, Psylocke goes berserk and fries everyone’s mind. At the rooftop, Spiral teleports away again and brings the girl with her. In Hungary, Fantomex and Cluster go on a date. Cluster says that she misses Betsy. Fantomex says he doesn’t. Regardless, Cluster thinks that Dark Fantomex must miss her too, and that they need to protect her from him. Back to LA, Storm concludes that Spiral’s powers must be limited since she only managed to teleport to the rooftop, so she must be close. Storm and Psylocke realize the girl is a new mutant, and that she was mentally influencing the partygoers. Betsy tracks the girl via telepathy before Spiral could place an anti-tracking bracelet on the girl. X-Force finds Spiral, but the encounter is interrupted by an angry Bishop, who looks more powerful than ever. Storm and Psylocke are shocked to see him. Bishop attacks Psylocke and state they have no idea what he is now, seemingly possessed by the Demon Bear.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

X-Position: The "All-New" Brian Bendis

CBR: This week, Brian Michael Bendis continues his responses to fan questions about his other X-Book, "All-New X-Men," which features the original five X-Men transported through time to the present and trained by Kitty Pryde as they adjust to the shocking events of the last fifty years of continuity.

I saw in an interview that you eventually plan on having Psylocke come face-to-face with Teen Angel. It was said a few times during Rick Remender's "Uncanny X-Force" run that Betsy and Warren at least discussed the possibility of leaving the X-Men and starting a family together. I'm interested in how you see Psylocke's mental state pushing and pulling her when she has to bargain this new, hardened demeanor she's had in Sam Humphries' "Uncanny X-Force" and the obvious emotional toll it would take to see a young version of one's deceased true love. Will this be an exchange that quickly comes and goes, or something that bears down on them both for a while?

Brian Michael Bendis: I will only say that there are some big surprises coming for Warren Worthington III. You've laid out a whole scenario there. This is a great question, but you've already written your own answer that's fantastic and well thought-out. I'm going to show you something and see what you think of it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Marvel Teases "Marvel" #1

CBR: Marvel Comics has kicked off the new week with a teaser for a project referred to simply as "Marvel" #1, including the names of dozens of the publisher's characters.

No further information has been made available at this time. You can spot Psylocke between Kid Omega and Iron Man.

Marvel #1
Begin with the best super heroes in comics -- Marvel does it FIRST!! HUGE story coming soon to fans, worldwide.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sam Humphries Talks Psylocke

Uncanny X-Force writer – Sam Humphries – answers Psylocke related questions on his Tumblr.

With Spiral on the team, is there any hope that we'll see Betsy's original body again?

Sam Humphries:
IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN Betsy’s original body became Kwannon and Kwannon died and the body was destroyed. It was all very complicated and I had to hire a tudor to help me understand it all, so I think I am going to let poor Kwannon rest in peace.

Do you have plans to address some aspects of Psylocke's life that are barely touched anymore like that she's filthy rich or that she was a popular fashion model gracing the covers of Vogue or the friends she had back in England, I mean, this kind of stuff that is related to Betsy Braddock (not Psylocke). I feel like we barely know her apart from the superheroing side.

Sam Humphries:
Have you been reading my scripts??? Betsy is our central character so the short answer is yes. The other short answer is check out the first page of issue 3.

What sports would Psylocke follow? Football (soccer)? Rugby? Cricket?

Sam Humphries:
Good question. Probably none — she’s more into music and fashion. But I bet she enjoys a good MMA fight once in awhile.

Uncanny X-Force #2 Preview

Uncanny X-Force #2
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art by: Ron Garney
Cover by: Kris Anka

The Story:
Bishop Vs. Uncanny X-Force!
What secrets does the man with the "M" on his face bring from the future?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Uncanny X-Force Solicit for May 2013

Uncanny X-Force #5
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art by: Adrian Alphona
Cover by: Kris Anka
Variant Cover by: Ed McGuinness
• Guest-penciler Adrian Alphona (co-creator of Runaways) joins UXF!
• Psylocke digs deep into Bishop’s head and what she finds will shock you!
• One of the biggest X-Villains of the past 20 years threatens the Uncanny X-Force!

'Runaways' Artist Adrian Alphona Returns to Comics with 'Uncanny X-Force'

ComicsAlliance: Artist Adrian Alphona took the superhero scene by storm when he and writer Brian K. Vaughan created Runaways in 2003. Four 24 issues, Alphona's singularly youthful, highly expressive style endeared readers new and old to the brand new group of super-powered kids, giving Marvel a legitimate modern perennial with Runaways. And then... Alphona was gone. The artist popped up rarely in the comic book biz, drawing a cover here, a one-off single issue of something there, but it seemed that fans hoping for a new Alphona run of anything were out of luck.

That changes in May when Marvel releases Uncanny X-Force #5, beginning the first multi-issue comic book serial Adrian Alphona has drawn since leaving Runaways in 2007. The pairing of Alphona with Uncanny X-Force writer Sam Humphries is very fitting, as Humphries has always been something of a Runaways evangelist, praising the book from the rooftops of LA and loaning out copies to everyone who crossed his path over the years (including myself). Certainly, Humphries' new Uncanny X-Force run recalls some that angst-and-action magic from Runaways.

Alphona's hard at work on his first Uncanny X-Force issue, but we were able to take a look at some of his character studies and talk to Humphries about the new story.

ComicsAlliance: Sam, I know that you're a big Runaways fan from back in the day, and now Adrian Alphona is drawing your big book for Marvel NOW. How's it feel?

Sam Humphries: Runaways by Vaughan and Alphona is one of my favorite Marvel runs of the past 10+ years. I nicked a couple elements from it for Uncanny X-Force -- the marginal, outsider status of the team, the Los Angeles location, and I almost grabbed a character (who may show up down the line. Now we get Adrian, and I couldn't be more psyched. [Current Uncanny X-Force artist] Ron Garney is the co-father of mutant ninja noir and is difficult to follow, but Adrian is a great addition to our twisted little family.

CA: What is it you love so much about his work?

SH: Adrian's got great emotional range for his characters, and that's great for a book like Uncanny X-Force where there's a tendency for characters to be spiky and snarky. But Adrian's also got a fantastical side (if you've seen his gorgeous sketchbooks, you know). So I'm excited to flex that side of his artistic ability as well.

CA: What kind of story have you crafted to fit this auspicious occasion?

SH: Adrian's got a chunk of pages in issues #3 and #4, showing Psylocke on a crucial psychic mission, and his depiction of the mental plane is going to be killer. In issues #5 and #6, Adrian's going to take you on a wild ride into the future as we fill in just what the hell Bishop has been up to in the 68th century, what led him back to the present, and the reasons behind his brutal changes. It's the saga of cowboy Bishop, and it's going to change the way people have thought about him for the past five years. Adrian has got an ability to be versatile without sacrificing beauty, and we're gonna push that to the limit by giving him a ton of weird, alluring, mutant ninja noir stuff to draw.

Adrian Alphona will draw select pages of Uncanny X-Force #3 and #4. His first full issue, #5, goes on sale in May in finer comics shops and digitally from ComiXology.

Ultimate Comics X-Men #22 Spoilers & Art

Spoilers by Plawsky: After Kitty's announcement of the seed, the world is in uproar; stocks are down, corporations are angry; and third world nations are desperate for their hunger cure. Husk shows up to the mutant camp in Utopia. Kitty meets with her, upset about how she left the group when she killed five mutants. Husk claims to have been brainwashed, but is now cured, and tells of other mutants who are making their way to Utopia. Bobby is excited to see Paige, and they reunite. On the Utopia perimeter, Jimmy and Tony Stark set up surveillance equipment. An unknown F-22 flies at them, but Tony jumps in his armor and makes quick work of the plane. Upon interrogation, the pilot reveals nothing. By Tony's suggestion, they let him go. Kitty addresses the mutants, saying they need to put aside their differences and stand as a nation united. During her speech, the greenhouse blows up, seemingly destroying the seed. This drives the group apart again, and Mach 2's group, including Psylocke, Warpath and few others, leaves the camp; Bobby and Husk join them. It's revealed that Kitty and Tony blew it up to keep the seed hidden for now, but they still have some. In DC, an unidentified group meets to discuss how to take down the mutants.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

X-Position: Brian Wood

X-Position: Upcoming "X-Men" writer Brian Wood answers fan questions about his all-female mutant team, selecting the cast and the his desire to return to the "Generation X" crew.

Due to Psylocke not being too fond of the Avengers (per "Uncanny X-Force" #1) are Betsy and Anna going to butt heads?

Brian Wood:
It's funny, it took me a second to realize you meant Rogue, since I am conditioned to think of her as Marian now because of the Ultimate book. Um, there's no immediate butting of heads in my scripts but you raise a good point. I think I'll be watching Sam [Humphries] and Rick [Remender's] books to see what unfolds, since they have a bit of a head start. And like I've said, this first mission the (my) X-Men take is one of shared necessity, and the plot moves at like mach five, so there just isn't the space for anyone to indulge beefs.

How big will prior relationships between these women be in your story? They'll all been on long tours of X-Men duty together through various teams. When they come together in your book is it because of shared history working together or more happenstance that they assemble?

Well, both, really. Like I said upthread, the selection of these X-Men for this book had a lot to do with the fact they have shared history and bonds already in place. And that is basically responsible for the formation of the team, since its something created by necessity in a moment of crisis. This isn't a formal team in the sense they rent out space for an HQ and declare themselves a team with a group high-five or something. Going forward, I don't know if it will turn into something more formal, but they all are sort of already based out of the JG School and have positions and roles there, so I don't see it happening in the foreseeable.

I've long thought Storm or Psylocke were well known and appreciated characters that a multitude of stories could be told about them, its always struck me as odd female characters so rarely get anything approaching the exposure Wolverine and Deadpool get. Given that I see more and more young adult women gravitating towards comic books over the past few years, why do you think it's difficult to sell ongoing female led series to the readership?

I think there's a series of barriers. You can't just write spectacular YA or female-oriented comics and stand back and watch the crowds of new readers flood in. They simply won't flood in, because of any combination of the following: shops that won't order the books and/or run a shop that invites this readership; lack of marketing and outreach to overcome these barriers; truly inclusive stories and art that have mass appeal and aren't written and drawn from an overly male point of view; hostile male fanboys ready to shut newbie women down for expressing an interest; and the entrenched social stigma that comics have always carried. It's a ridiculous situation, and even the most targeted attempts, like the DC Minx line for one example, will only work a little bit.

What's the answer? I don't know. "X-Men" #1 is a step in the right direction, but at the same time that book, and others like it, will be outmatched on the shelves that month by dozens of other books that take us many steps in the wrong direction. So while I don't know what the magic bullet answer is, I think its something that can't happen on the comic book page alone, it has to be a social change, within the publishers, within the direct market, and within the readership.

But let's take a look at the effort Marvel's doing in these very recent months, with this book, with "Fearless Defenders," with "Captain Marvel," with "Uncanny X-Force," and so on.

Including the original teams of X-Men, the New Mutants, X-Force, Generation X and the various other collection of students, the X-Men boast tons of potential characters to choose from. How did you decide upon your initial cast? Will this cast be permanent going forward or subject to change?

It's permanent for the foreseeable future -- I'm trying not to get ahead of ourselves and start entertaining question of lineup change when we're still a few months away from its launch! As far as the lineup, it was partly my choice and Marvel's. I knew I wanted to keep writing Storm, and when the chance to include Jubilee presented itself, of course I was into that. And part of the point of this title is that these characters are X-Men heavy hitters, characters with history and pre-existing relationships with each other, characters that can immediately bond and work as a practiced X-team. And, obviously, to be a sales draw. Everyone wants this book to succeed, so fan-favorite A-listers are necessary. Let's see the book launch big, hold its numbers, and deliver strong stories for awhile, and then we can see about tweaking the recipe.

As far as gender and super hero comics go: Why do you think the X-Men as a franchise has been such a gender inclusive place for such a long while? Do you think it had to do with early writers "being the change they want to see in the world", and thus creating universes/characters who had agency and depth?

: I think the basic concept of the X-Men just naturally lends itself to very human, multi-faceted, complex characters, and the writers that really "get" that produce amazing X-Men stories. It's essentially a book designed to be inclusive on all levels, and on both sides of the cash register. And the proof is right there, in the history of the title and the fan base, like you say. I think the franchise could also stand to step it up a notch, with more A-listers of color and transgender characters. It's a fine line to walk, since its easy to slip up and have something like that come off as a stunt or preachy, and there's a portion of the fan base who will take it as that no matter what. But I'd love to see the X-Men push past that like a steamroller, and instead of baby steps just blow the doors off and be the example of an inclusive comics series. There's no other franchise in comics that could do it like the X-Men.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Psylocke Available in Avengers Alliance

For those that aren't aware, Psylocke is now available for purchase in the Facebook game Marvel Avengers Alliance! 
Note: she kicks ass

Friday, February 8, 2013

X-Men Solicit for May 2013

X-Men #2
Writer: Brian Wood
Art and Cover by: Olivier Coipel
Variant Cover by: Amanda Connor
• The school is on lockdown... but if the bad guys can’t get out, neither can the X-Men!
• John Sublime is back, but is one of the X-Men’s scariest villains not who we should be afraid of?
• Who or what is Arkea?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Brian Wood on the Importance of an All-Female X-Men

Newsarama: Brian, one thing I'm curious about with the new X-Men book is exactly what role this X-Men team will be playing in the broader X-ecosystem. There are, as always, a lot of X-Men titles, but Marvel has been careful to make sure that each one fills a different niche; on your previous adjectiveless X-Men stint, that team had a very specific role. Other than the obvious all-female premise, what does this book cover that doesn't fit in All-New X-Men or Wolverine and the X-Men?

Brian Wood: Well, I am hesitant to say what any other book doesn't do, because I don't want it to seem like I'm suggesting a deficiency anywhere... also I'm not privy to other writer's future plans. But like you said, the X books all tend to have an identity, and this one is that of a straight forward action-adventure, epic fight scene, big villain, bombastic X-Men book. Classic, but not retro. An approach that fits perfectly with the straight-forward title "X-Men".

Nrama: I really like the idea that though it's an all-female cast, it's still called X-Men, and not something like "X-Women." But given that, it does seem to at least leave open the potential for a male to join the cast at some point. Is that at all a possibility if the story calls for it, or is "all-female main cast" an intrinsic part of the book's DNA?

Wood: It's impossible to say what's going to happen way down the road, but there has been zero talk of changing the lineup to include a male character, not from my editor on up the chain of command to [Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso]. But while the core cast of the book is these six women, this is not a title designed to be devoid of all men. I'm sure they'll be some appearing as guests in arcs as needed... it would be sort of boring without it, and sort of a waste of chances for good character moments.

And the title... I've been talking about this quite a bit online, because there are fans who can't wrap their mind around the fact this book is called X-Men. I sorta can't wrap my mind around that, that the absence of some alpha male somehow invalidates these six women's identities as X-Men, identities that go back decades through continuity. As my editor told me early on, these women are X-Men. They just are, period, always have been. So we sometimes get accused of "segregation," a truly ugly word, or whatever, but I truly feel that to call this book X-Women or something like that, only suggests that these characters are a subset, or a spinoff, or even just off to one side, when I think any X-Men reader would admit that these women have more than earned the honor of being called X-Men.

I'll defend this all day long.

Nrama: The X-Men books definitely seem to have a proportionately large amount of female readers, as you noted in your interview with Wired. A reason you cited is the flawed, relatable nature of the characters — in what way do you see those qualities as especially appealing to female readers? What else about the franchise do you think has attracted a sizable female audience over the years? 

Wood: I'm trying not to stereotype readers. Obviously all readers can appreciate very human, very relatable characters. But I think its true that, looking at the broad swath of mainstream superhero comics, the bulk of them are not as introspective, or as nuanced as the X-Men have been at their best. Most are written and drawn from a very male point of view, pandering to the largest demographic of readers, and at times with a sexist point of view, with lots of T&A and so on... this is not news to anyone. I've never felt the X-Men were like that. There is such a relatively large population of amazing female characters in the X-world, more than enough that books like this can exist and make sense, and they are historically written in a way that's inclusive to all readers, and the proof of that is obvious. Not just women, but to LGBT readers as well. 

Nrama: In terms of positioning and promotion, this certainly seems to be your biggest work at Marvel yet, and in terms of mainstream superhero gigs, maybe the biggest such book in your career, even though you were writing the previous X-Men series just a few months ago. Though obviously you've had success with a variety of different projects — from creator-owned series to properties as major as Star Wars and Conan the Barbarian — how validating is it to be on a "Big Two" superhero book that's being treated as a big deal, with some of Marvel's biggest characters as the stars? 

Wood: It's been a big couple years for me, yeah. I'm definitely enjoying this time... it seems like a lot of writers have that time of their career where they get these great mainstream offers, seem to be everywhere, a sort of 15 minutes of fame thing. This is clearly my time, and I'm enjoying it immensely. The success of Star Wars is beyond even what I was secretly hoping for, and Star Wars has a reach that goes wayyyy beyond the comic book world — the emails I get from readers and fan sites and organizations around the world really speaks to that. This X-Men book I suspect will go the same way, and I'm just sort of hanging on for dear life, trying not to screw it up. 

Nrama: Let's talk about a few of X-Men's characters individually, starting with the main focus, Jubilee. There's been a lot of debate online about her current status as a vampire, which it's clear that you're sticking with. How does that status quo affect your approach to the character, both in how she acts and how she uses her powers? 

Wood: Well, yeah, as someone who wrote Jubilee a long time ago, I wanted to use those classic powers of hers... the vampire thing was just something I wasn't sure I knew what to do with. But my editor gave me some great advice, which was to thing of the vampire stuff as a mutant power set. So, instead of thinking of her as "vampire Jubilee," think of her as "Jubilee with vampire powers." Which seems like a minor distinction at first, but is actually quite a profound difference. The vampire thing can't and doesn't define her... she's Jubilee! That defines her. The vampire powers definitely are a twist, but in no way does it change her personality or her core character traits. 

Nrama: Rogue is also in the book, making something of a return to the X-Men given that she's now a member of the Uncanny Avengers and has been out of the X-titles for a couple months. Does that "promotion" change the character at all, in your view? 

Wood: Well, I'm trying not to worry too much about these character's positions in other titles. That's not to say these books will be contradicting each other — everyone's working to make sure that's not the case. I'm just trying to write the best Rogue I can, bringing back the brawler in her, the wild card persona that's fallen a little bit by the wayside recently. Not as a response to any one thing in particular, but because I think that's the best way to write her. 

Nrama: Storm and Psylocke look to be going through something significant in Uncanny X-Force, and they're both in X-Men as well. Since you are using a lot of shared characters, is it challenging at all in what you can and can't do, or is it all pretty much standard operating procedure for writing in a shared universe? 

Wood: I imagine it's pretty standard. And this is where I rely heavily on my editors, Jeanine Schaefer and Nick Lowe, to sort of guide me in this respect. I generally just try and forge ahead and let them tell me what needs to be reined in or changed, rather than worrying about that at the start and trying to invent a story to fit into the available space. Go big and edit, rather than start small and safe, is another way to put it. But yeah, its a challenge, often a frustration, but at the end of the day its really just another learned skill, one that gets easier the more you do it. any one thing in particular, but because I think that's the best way to write her. 

Nrama: By nature, X-Men team books tend to be fairly fluid — you mentioned on that Pixie and Bling will be in the first issue. Though it looks like the main six are the initial focus, do you plan on pulling from the wider X-verse for the team (or at least the broader cast of the series), or is it a little stricter than that? any one thing in particular, but because I think that's the best way to write her. 

Wood: This cast of six is very firm and fixed I have brief moments with Bling and Pixie, sure, but right now, and for the foreseeable future, this is our cast. We'll have villains come and go, and I'd love to still use Sabra as Storm's friend and asset, like I did in last year's X-Men. There's also someone who'll show up at the end of #1, a bit of a surprise/twist character appearance, but these are all secondary to the main six. I think they'll stay that way for at least the first year, if not longer.