Thursday, June 27, 2013

X-Men #2 Spoilers

Spoilers: At the Jean Grey School lab, Arkea awakens in Omega Sentinel’s body and attacks Beast. She knows Sublime is in there and is seeking to destroy him. For that end, she activates the Danger Room’s security protocols and locks the school. Rogue heads down to the labs to check the source of the security system hack. Elsewhere Psylocke and Rachel cannot sense the Jubilee's baby's mind. Rogue attacks Arkea. Omega Sentinel’s body tech makes it difficult to defeat her. Kitty and Storm join Psylocke and Rachel. Sublime explains to them that Arkea moves through technology. Storm orders Kitty to destroy every system in the school. Sublime says the only way to kill Arkea is to destroy the host body. Back at the labs, Arkea has neutralized Rogue and downloaded all data available. Upon analyzing the data, she’s worried about the one called Kitty Pryde since her powers are a threat Omega Sentinel’s body. Kitty is reluctant about killing Karima, which gives Arkea the opportunity to conclude downloading the X-men’s database and fleeing. Back at the Hangar, the X-Men pinpoint Arkea over the Atlantic and are ready to pursue her. Jubilee asks to go with them, taking the baby as well. Storm agrees. Storm, Psylocke, Rachel, Sublime and Jubilee take the blackbird, while Kitty stays at the school. Sublime reveals that Arkea was possessing the baby, and after she left it, his psyche was rebooted. At the school, Kitty gathers the students to clean up the mess left by the invasion. Bling! finds a bomb about to go off.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Uncanny X-Force #7 Art

Uncanny X-Force #7 Spoilers

Spoilers: Paris, 6 months ago – Fantomex and Psylocke are living together happily in love. He convinces Betsy to use her telepathy to cover his and Cluster’s tracks during their stealing sprees since the misdirection powers went to Weapon XIII. Psylocke is reluctant, but ultimately agrees once Fantomex tells her the money is for Mother who’s sick and in need of treatment. She’s also been avoiding Cluster, who’s living with them, but Fantomex makes her promise to give Cluster a chance. As time went by, Psylocke grows disappointed in Fantomex while getting to know Cluster better. Betsy is tired of the lives they’ve been living and upset that Fantomex only cares about stealing. Psylocke and Cluster have a heart to heart and Betsy realizes that everything she loved in Fantomex was Cluster all along. Betsy and Cluster kiss.

Madripoor, now – Psylocke and Cluster head to a club looking for Yau, a gangster at the service of Weapon XIII. They find him, but Yau’s ninjas attack the girls. Weapon XIII corners them and tells Betsy to surrender, otherwise he will shoot Cluster in the head. She complies. Weapon XIII ties Psylocke up and says all he ever wanted was a chance to prove how much he loves her.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Humphries' "Uncanny X-Force" Probes The Seedy Underbelly of Mutant Life

CBR News spoke with Sam Humphries about the latest developments in Uncanny X-Force's first arc, moving toward the future, his upcoming plans for the series, developing Bishop's backstory since his last appearance and the ongoing relationship saga between Psylocke and Fantomex.

CBR News: Sam, there's been a lot of interesting revelations in "Uncanny X-Force" since the last time we spoke. In "Uncanny X-Force" #5, Storm and Psylocke explored Bishop's mind, where they discovered Bishop was trapped in a possible future in the 68th Century. What has he been up to since the end of "Cable?"

Sam Humphries: The last anyone saw of Bishop, whether it was people in the Marvel Universe or readers, was when he was thrown into the 68th century as a strategic gambit by Cable. What that world was like and what Bishop has been doing were questions that remained unanswered.

That was one of the things that made Bishop an attractive character to me right off the bat. There was the potentially rich back-story in between then and now -- with "then" being the future, and "now" being the past.

He's in this world where humanity and Earth are plagued by these psychic demons called revenants, which are not entirely inventions of my own. They have a direct connection to some pretty significant pieces of X-Men continuity. What these connections are and how they are drawn back to the present, the Revenant Queen, and what that means for Uncanny X-Force will be revealed in upcoming issues.

It appeared from his memories that Bishop was a changed man in this possible future, but still haunted by his memories of trying to kill Hope. Was Bishop ashamed by what he had done? Was he able to process his crusade against Hope?

Bishop has undergone some changes. Here's a man who really and truly believed in the crusade that he was waging. One thing that's always been consistent about Bishop is that he's always been a zealot. When he was chasing after Cable and Hope, he wasn't a character who just liked to watch the world burn. He believed he was saving the world with his obsession.

Now he's been trapped in the extremely distant future and thrown into a world very different from ours. He had to contend with these revenants and he's encountered the Order -- the crew of people who have taken it upon themselves to save humanity from revenants.

All these experiences would change any person. Imagine the things that would occur to you and the changes that would happen to you if you were on a deserted island for a year. This is more severe than that!

I think some of the decisions that Bishop made in regards to Cable and Hope have come back to haunt him. And he's had a chance to take a moment, breathe, and reflect.

While we're on the topic of Bishop's memories, did Storm destroy Bishop's memory of trying to kill Hope while exploring his mind with Psylocke?

When Storm and Psylocke were performing this psychic examination of Bishop, they began experiencing memories from all over his life. One of the memories that Storm came into contact with after being separated from Betsy was the memory of Bishop hunting Hope.

When confronted by that memory Storm experienced all the anger, confusion, and rage that a lot of the X-Men felt when Bishop went so far over the edge that he began hunting down and trying to kill the only new mutant they had seen in years -- a little girl, no less. He was somebody who was a friend and trusted compatriot. So not only were they scared for Hope and the future of mutantkind, but they were also really hurt and confused by what had happened to their friend.

It appears that while Storm was in Bishop's head she made a rash decision. It's the kind of decision that telepaths like Professor X or Jean Grey vowed to never take on their own. Storm isn't a telepath though, and she's never had to make this kind of choice before. But if there's one thing we've learned from stories that involve telepathy and manipulating memories and identity it's that one bolt of lightning cannot change everything.

Storm isn't the only one messing with Bishop's mind. It's also under attack from a being we've seen before in the original volume of "New Mutants" and in the Craig Kyle and Chris Yost incarnation of "X-Force," the Demon Bear. Can you tell us more about this Demon Bear? Is this the one that debuted in "New Mutants?" Or are there many Demon Bears?

This is the Demon Bear that we've seen before in "New Mutants." It's a spiritual demon; a psychic and malevolent force of nature that existed thousands of years in the past, and now we know, survived to exist thousands of years in the future. The Demon Bear exists in the 68th century, and it appears to have been used as a pawn as much as Bishop has been.

The Demon Bear isn't the only malevolent spirit that came back from the 68th Century. The other Revenant appears to be one of the chief menaces from that time period, the White Owl who recently moved from possessing Bishop to possessing the young mutant Ginny. Can you talk at all about this being's goals and motivations? Is it acting out what it believes to be prophecy or history?

The White Owl Revenant is an entity that we'll see again shortly, and we'll learn a lot more about. It's a character with a direct connection to a fairly prominent X-Men villain of the past ten years or so. To say anything more would be saying too much. A lot of these questions will start to become clear in "Uncanny X-Force" #10.

While your cast explores the mystery of Bishop and the Revenants, the three Fantomexes were working their way back into the life of Betsy Braddock. We still don't know why Fantomex's relationship with Betsy fell apart, but is it safe to assume that whatever he did disappointed her and it's why she's been so angry in the first few issues of this series?

Yes, we saw a change in Betsy emotionally between the end of Rick Remender's volume of "Uncanny X-Force" and my new volume. Those changes are definitely connected to what happened between Betsy and Fantomex in Paris and what happened after they walked off together into the sunset to a happy ending.

What happened during that time period will be revealed in a three-part story that runs through issues #7-9. Part of the story in those three issues takes place in the present day in Madripoor where we see Betsy and the female Fantomex personality known as Cluster going after Weapon XIII, Fantomex's dark persona who has captured the sort of regular Fantomex persona.

Then the other half of the story unfolds in flashbacks in Paris where we see firsthand what happened between Betsy, Fantomex and Cluster during that time. We'll see what went so wrong between them all. The things that went bad went very, very bad.

What we've seen so far suggests that Fantomex's feelings for Betsy might be complicated by his feelings for Cluster and her feelings for Betsy. What exactly is the nature of this dynamic? Is it a love triangle in the traditional sense of the word? How does Fantomex feel about Cluster? Are his feelings for her romantic love? Egotistical love? All of those? None of those?

Those are great questions. I don't think there's anything traditional about this triangle [Laughs]. It's a very complex web that developed during that summer in Paris, which we'll see firsthand very shortly.

In terms of Fantomex's feelings, one thing that defines their relationship is that Fantomex and Betsy feel in love when Fantomex was one person. Later he was split into three different people. Certain aspects of Fantomex were split between the three of them. So the person who Betsy fell in love with may no longer be the same person. They have different aspects of each other and they are no longer together in a way that helps them balance each other out.

There are some aspects of Fantomex that are very "lovable," for lack of a better word, and there are some aspects that are very -- despicable. The way those traits were distributed is the crux of what happened to that relationship

Let's move from Psylocke's ex-lover to her old enemy in the cast, Spiral. You gave us a quick glimpse into Spiral's psyche in these first few issues. Those scenes seem to suggest that she's feeling lost and adrift after Mojo cut off her ability to traverse other dimensions. Is that what's going on, or is there more to what's troubling Spiral?

That's certainly what she's indicated, but Spiral is not a character that has been very trustworthy over time. Issue #6 will answer some of these questions, and it will also answer perhaps the most crucial question: what does Betsy believe when Spiral says these things? And after all this time and what's gone on between them, do they have any common ground?

Betsy has been kidnapped, mutilated, manipulated and changed forever by Mojo. He destroyed her life, but it's something that she survived, and pushed through. What Betsy has survived, Spiral has had to endure times ten. There's a question -- if we can have sympathy for Betsy can we have sympathy for Spiral as well?

I think that's an open question for all these characters, but Betsy is going to find herself in a position in issue #6 to make a decision, and act on it

What exactly did Ginny mean to Spiral? Did she make Spiral feel genuinely needed?

Yeah, Ginny is the first genuine relationship Spiral has had since she was a human. And although she's a six armed, cybernetic, cosmic, ninja, she's still human underneath all those swords, arms, and gear. So having the opportunity to have a genuine relationship is something that any human would value, and because Spiral is so unmoored right now, that relationship would be incredibly precious to her.

Although "Uncanny X-Force" has its fair share of troubled characters, there is one character who appears to be pretty happy go lucky: Puck. Is he as happy as he seems?

Like Betsy, Puck is a survivor. He's a hundred years old, he's been through a lot, and he's seen it all. I think Puck is someone who's leaned over the years that a positive and happy go lucky attitude is something that serves him well, especially in times of danger. He's like the rest of them though. He's got emotions that plague him; things that keep him up in the dark of the night, things that have troubled him over the years.

Puck came to Los Angeles to help Psylocke and Storm take down a drug dealer as a favor to Wolverine, but now that the favor has been accomplished why is he sticking around? Why hasn't he gone back to Canada?

The mission and Wolverine is something we're addressing directly in issue #6. We're addressing that partially with an appearance by Wolverine. He's coming from the perspective of someone who used to run with X-Force. He ran this team that didn't ask for permission, played fast and loose, and worked in the moment.

Now though Wolverine runs a school and there's so much trouble in the Marvel Universe right now. He's in a position to have an opposite reaction to the team. This is going to come to a head in issue #6 in a direct confrontation with Betsy.

Going back to your question about Puck, I think there's something about a team like this that really appeals to a personality like Puck. This is a team that doesn't ask for permission. It's a team that doesn't necessarily marry itself to one high faluting ideology or the other. Although he certainly has loyalty to Wolverine, it doesn't mean he's going to follow in lock step with the choices that Wolverine makes.

I've noticed that your titles of your first few issues are titles of Rolling Stones songs. Can you talk about why you chose the Stones and these particular songs?

There are four main albums that the Rolling Stones released between 1968-1972: "Beggar's Banquet," "Exile on Main Street," "Sticky Fingers," and "Let it Bleed." "Let it Bleed" is also the title of our first collection.

The titles of the first six issues are borrowed from songs you can find on four albums the Rolling Stones released between 1968-1972: "Beggar's Banquet," "Exile on Main Street," "Sticky Fingers," and "Let it Bleed." These four albums have been in heavy rotation while I write "Uncanny X-Force." Whenever I don't know what to do, I put them on and find my way.

The Rolling Stones recorded these albums when they were in exile from the UK for tax reasons, in places like Paris and Los Angeles. They lived this unmoored lifestyle that led them to some incredible places creatively, but some dark places as well. The act of breaking off on your own and going into uncharted waters is a double edged sword. That's because there's a lot of promise and a lot of danger. That's the kind of feeling I wanted to capture for all these characters in "Uncanny X-Force."

This book has a fun seedy crime feel to it and part of that comes from the censored profanity in the characters' dialogue. What made you decide to include that?

I like the black boxes because they felt a little riskier, a little dirtier than using dingbats. Back in the day before they started dubbing in safe words for swear words when movies aired on network television they just used to bleep words out. There's something a little jarring and uncouth about that; almost as jarring and uncouth as an actual curse word. Whereas, dingbats or some of the other solutions can feel a little more comical or cartoony.

The locales also add to that seedy tone. Moving forward, will you continue to explore the underbelly of Los Angeles and other real world and Marvel Universe settings?

Yeah I'm really excited about our next three issues because they take place in two different cities: Madripoor and Paris. They also take place in two different times: Then and now. We've also got two great artists who are tackling these issues and dividing them up between them. For the Paris pages, which tell this decadent love story we've got Adrian Aphona who's sticking with the book. Those pages are kind of this lush fairy tale of Betsy and Fantomex' summer together.

Then on the Madripoor pages we have Dalibor Talajic. He's got this great, dark gritty, noir-crime infused style to his work. So there's going to be a great contrast between the two stories that run through these three issues. It really brings the before and after of the relationship between Betsy and Fantomex into stark relief.

It's a great pairing. The issues look fantastic, and I can't wait for people to check them out.

You've had some great art talent on the book so far, and obviously quite a few talented artists for the upcoming arcs. What about the more immediate future? Who have you got coming on for art duties?

We've got the same art team for issue #6 that we had for issue #5. Adrian Alphona will handle all the psychic world sequences and Dexter Soy will handle all the real world sequences. Then as I mentioned, Adrian and Dalibor will handle the story running through issues #7-9

We've all worked hard to make sure that these books feel right and most of the credit for that goes to our editor Daniel Ketchum, who has taken a look at the stories and the outlines that I've been sending him and finding the right artists to do the job. So we've got Dexter Soy and Adrian on issues #5-6 and then Adrian and Dalibor on issues #7-9. That will mean that we've had Adrian Alphona on issues #3-9, which I believe is the longest streak we've seen from Adrian in many, many years.

Then starting in issue #10 we've got Ramon Perez hopping over from his recent stint on "Wolverine & the X-Men." Ramon and I worked together on "John Carter: The Gods of Mars," which was my first Marvel work. We had a great collaborative relationship and since the day the last issue of "Gods of Mars" went to press he and I have been looking for the right opportunity to team up together.

So we're really excited to work together on "Uncanny X-Force." I think this book really plays into a lot of Ramon's sensibilities. What we've got coming up starting in issue #10 is after Paris and Madripoor and the love triangle with Betsy, Fantomex, and Cluster we've got a return to Los Angeles and a focus on Bishop.

Moving forward, what kind of plans do you have for Bishop and the rest of the cast?

We'll focus on how what he's been through in the future is going to affect him moving forward in the present. That has to do with everything from Hope, to the revenants, to exactly what he brings to the table in the current day Marvel Universe. A lot has changed since he's been gone. We'll also have the threat of the revenants coming to the present day and colliding with Uncanny X-Force in a big way. We'll learn a lot more about who the revenants are, where they came from, how they connect to X-Men continuity, and what the Revenant Queen ultimately wants.

"Uncanny X-Force" #7 is on sale June 26.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Uncanny X-Force #7 Preview

Uncanny X-Force #7
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art by: Dalibor Talajic, Adrian Alphona
Cover by: Kris Anka

The Story:
• Secrets from the future and the past come to haunt Uncanny X-Force!
• What does Fantomex want from Betsy?
• What does Betsy want from Cluster?
• What does Cluster want from Fantomex?
• What does Bishop want from the 21st century? A body count or a good burger?
• And Los Angeles, lock up your humans: there’s a new mutant on the loose!

In Stores: June 26, 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

X-Men #2 Preview

X-Men #2
Writer: Brian Wood
Art by: Olivier Coipel
Cover by: Olivier Coipel

The Story:
• 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?

In Stores: June 26, 2013

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ultimate Comics X-Men #27 Spoilers

Spoilers: The 12-hour grace period the US Army gave to mutants is running out. The mutant resistance is ready to fight the soldiers when the time comes. The sentient seed somehow disturbs the Army's heat signature devices, which prompts the General to order their soldiers to take Utopia down. Jean Grey meets Psylocke in the woods and finds out the war is all her doing. Psylocke uses her telepathy to attack Jean and orders Farbird to return home. Jean reacts and hits her. Meanwhile, soldiers and mutants fight each other. Psylocke reveals to Jean that she's been working to take down Kitty and Utopia since day one, and every move (bombings, defects, double cross, shot) was her doing. Jean senses that she's not the real Psylocke. Elsewhere, the soldiers manage to sieze the mutants. Back to the psychics, Jean summons Farbird, who attacks Psylocke and defeats her. Farbird reveals he didn't fall for Psylocke's impression of Jean and didn't return home. Jean isn't able to find out who or what Psylocke is, she only detects the word 'mothervine'. With Psylocke taken down, her control over Jimmy Hudon breaks and he comes to his senses, not wanting to fight any longer. However Rogue orders the sentient seed to attack the US Army.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Psylocke Gets X-Force Revision for New Marvel Bishoujo

From Kotobukiya! The Marvel Bishoujo collection continues with a brand new version of the mysterious and beautiful telepathic mutant ninja, PSYLOCKE X-FORCE NINJA OUTFIT ver! Once a British woman with minor mutant powers, Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock's mind was transferred into the body of a ninja giving her additional martial arts prowess. A long-time member of the X-Men, Psylocke more recently joined up with the brutal mutant hit squad X-Force, comprised of mutants willing to do anything to get the job done and protect the world. Psylocke fit right in, using her awesome powers and debuting a cool monochrome costume. Based on a new illustration by master artist Shunya Yamashita, Psylocke has never looked better with her X-Force outfit and adorable Bishoujo styled face!

The deadly telepathic mutant crouches low with one leg in full extension, ready to leap into battle! Psylocke rests on one hand while the other holds her katana at the ready. She's never looked better in her X-Force outfit consisting of a sleek black skin-tight costume, thigh high boots, long fingerless gloves, and unique straps around her upper arms and legs. All of that is offset with a white belt decorated with the red and black X-Force symbol, and the tied off sash waves with unseen wind along with Psylocke's trademark purple hair! The dynamic mutant has a striking Bishoujo-styled face that combines her beauty with deadly focus. 

Sculpted by Busujimax (Takaboku Busujima), the new X-Force Psylocke reaches 8 inches high (1/7 scale) in her dynamic pose. A fantastic addition to any Bishoujo Statue or X-Force collection, this Psylocke is not to be missed!

Product Number: KOT11110
Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds

Thursday, June 13, 2013

X-Solicits for September 2013

Uncanny X-Force #11
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art by: Ramon Perez
Cover by: Kris Anka
X-men 50th Anniversary Variant by: TBD
• Newly reunited, the members of Uncanny X-Force must cope with the fallout of their recent decisions.
• Bishop gives the team more information about the dangerous threats they face – but can he be believed? Or is he only manipulating X-Force?
• Plus: the secret of the Revenants revealed!

X-Men: Battle of The Atom #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Frank Cho
Cover by: Arthur Adams
Wraparound Variant by: Frank Cho
Variant Cover by: Joe Madureira
Deadpool Variant by: TBA
Blank Cover Also Available
• The past, present and future of the X-Men collide in this 50th Anniversary event crossover! When investigating a new mutant, something truly horrible happens to the All-New X-Men that shakes time and space to its core. This is so dire that X-Men come from The Future with a message: The All-New X-Men Must Return To The Past!
• The ten-part crossover starts here with superstars Brian Michael Bendis and Frank Cho!
• Cho Variant Showns – Not Final

All-New X-Men #16
Writer: Brians Michael Bendis
Art by: Stuart Immonen
Cover by: Arthur Adams
Variant by: Stuart Immonen
Variant Cover by: Adi Granov
• Battle of The Atom Part 2!
• Wolverine vs. Future X-Men!
• Young Scott Summers and Jean Grey run away to stay in the present day!

X-Men #5
Writer: Brian Wood
Art by: David Lopez
Cover by: Arthur Adams
Variant by: Terry Dodson
Lego Variant by: Leonell Castellani Sketch
Lego Variant Also Available
• Battle of The Atom Part 3!
• The X-Men and Future X-Men pursue young Scott and Jean.
• Not all the X-Men agree that the All-New X-Men should be sent back.
• The cracks in the new all-female X-Men cast start to show.

Uncanny X-Men #12
Writer: Brians Michael Bendis
Art by: Chris Bachalo
Cover by: Arthur Adams
Variant by: Chris Bachalo
Emma Frost Variant by: Milo Manara
• Battle of The Atom Part 4!
• The Uncanny X-Men enter the crossover. Whose side will they be on?

Wolverine & The X-Men #36
Writer: Jason Aaron
Art by: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Cover by: Arthur Adams
Variant by: Kris Anka
Lego Variant by: Christopher Jones Sketch
Lego Variant Also Available
• Battle of The Atom Part 5!
• The end of the first month ends with a huge twist! NO SPOILERS!
• The fate of the All-New X-Men is decided here!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Uncanny X-Force #6 Art

Uncanny X-Force #6 Spoilers

Spoilers: In the physical plane, Cluster asks Psylocke's help to rescue Fantomex from Weapon XIII. Betsy says no, not after everything that happened. Spiral interrupts the conversation and teleports Psylocke elsewhere. She tries to convince Betsy that Ginny has given her a purpose and that she just want to rebuild her life. Psylocke has a hard time believing it and still holds a grudge against Spiral for the bionic eyes/body transfer incidents. Spiral says that they're not any different since Mojo has also destroyed and twisted her. Betsy decides to let Spiral go.

Psylocke holds a psychic conference with Wolverine. Logan orders her to go back to the school for her mission was a disaster and Spiral is still on the loose. Wolverine criticizes Psylocke for being off her game especially now that the stakes are too high and predators like Spiral should be dealt with. Betsy tells him that she let Spiral go and realizes Logan sent her on this mission because of the bad blood between them. Psylocke accuses him of manipulating her into doing the dirty work for him and calls him on his hypocrisy  The argument heats up, but the Demon Bear interrupts them. Betsy explains the bear got attached to her and is now hiding in her mind. Psylocke cuts the conference, upsetting Wolverine even more. Betsy wakes up in the physical plane, where Storm and Puck are still looking after the comatose Bishop. Cluster is with them. Psylocke tells her she will help her rescue Fantomex.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Uncanny X-Force #6 Preview

Uncanny X-Force #6
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art by: Adrian Alphona & Dexter Soy
Cover by: Marcos Martin

The Story:
• Secrets from the future and the past come to haunt Uncanny X-Force!
• What does Fantomex want from Betsy?
• What does Betsy want from Cluster?
• What does Cluster want from Fantomex?
• What does Bishop want from the 21st century? A body count or a good burger?
• And Los Angeles, lock up your humans: there’s a new mutant on the loose!

In Stores: June 12, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tuesday Q&A: Sam Humphries

Marvel.comWe approached writer Sam Humphries to fill us in on what went into the creation of the series and its storylines. In addition, we spoke with Humphries about his other ongoing assignment, UNCANNY X-FORCE, which heats up this summer. How do you feel about the issues to-date of UNCANNY X-FORCE? What are you most proud of so far?

Sam Humphries: Man, I'm always most proud of the issue I just wrote. I do feel really good about bringing back a couple of rad X-Men "villains" from very different eras. One becomes obvious in issue #6, if you haven't guessed already. The other won't become obvious for a few issues. But many hints are around the corner, and we've already seen their machinations first-hand. What's it like working with a character like Fantomex? He's become such a force in the X-Universe of late—what makes him so?

Sam Humphries: Everyone loves a scoundrel. But, as we will see in UNCANNY X-FORCE, being a scoundrel can really mess up your life., Finally, what can readers look forward to in the next few issues that you're really excited about?

Sam Humphries: Adrian Alphona, Dexter Soy, and Christina Strain on art! What else do you need? We've got a three issue arc starting in UNCANNY X-FORCE #7 that I'm really psyched on. Betsy has to come to terms with her relationship with Fantomex. Part of the story takes place in the present day, in Madripoor, where our heroes come face to face with Weapon XIII. Part takes place in flashbacks, in Paris, examining exactly what went so wrong between Betsy and Fantomex before issue #1. And things went really, really wrong. It's a lot of action, drama, and thievery with Psylocke, Fantomex, Cluster, the mysterious Weapon XIII, and all the sticky complications between them.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Welcome to the X-Men: Psylocke The X-Men franchise's latest mutation takes the action and drama that fans have come to expect from the team and multiplies it exponentially. X-MEN, the new Brian Wood and artist Olivier Coipel, stars six of the biggest characters in the X-Universe bound together by duty, fate and friendship to form a heavy-hitting fighting force.
series from writer

Fittingly for a book simply called X-MEN, the women that comprise the team represent time-tested, fan favorite characters with rich personalities. Wood skillfully brought the group dynamics germane to close knit teams to life while writing the previous X-MEN series last year.

X-MEN #1 finds Psylocke in an emotionally turbulent place. She's spent the last few years on Wolverine's black ops hit squad in UNCANNY X-FORCE, where she rebooted the love of her life after Archangel's ascension to an Apocalypse-level evil, thus leaving Warren Worthington a clean slate with no memory of their time together. More recently, her extreme attitude caused her to be removed as a teacher at the Jean Grey School.

We spoke to Brian Wood to find out if the psychic ninja's status quo will find balance in X-MEN. You previously wrote Psylocke in X-MEN last year. Are you approaching the character differently this time around, considering the struggles she's overcome in UNCANNY X-FORCE?

Brian Wood: A little, perhaps not as much as people might expect. Psylocke's primary role on this team is that of muscle, but in a very different way. My editor [Jeanine Schaefer] has unofficially tagged her "the point person" in the tactical sense of the phrase. She reprises her role, from my X-MEN run last year, as Storm's sort of second-in-command and confidant. She's emotionally distant because she's tabling her recent past experiences in UNCANNY X-FORCE, but she can't keep a lid on that 24/7, so we'll start to see some of the bad [expletive] coming to the surface as we move forward.

On a lighter note, I'm expanding her arsenal of weaponry. I like the idea of her using actual weapons like her psychic katana, as opposed to mental projections, and I've already given her a longbow in the first issue. I'd like to keep that up, so she has a full arsenal of medieval gear to use. Magik shouldn't be the only one who gets to swing around a massive sword. Psylocke has a pretty complex history. What key elements of her past do you think shape her the most?

Brian Wood: I like to think of her as a soldier above everything else. I'm looking for an extremely dry sense of humor to give her—not quite black and not at all sarcastic, but really cutting and brutally delivered at times. It's all part and parcel with her past dramas, a coping mechanism or a façade of sorts, but one that meshes perfectly with her role on the team. Psylocke's been so wrapped up in the seedier side of things lately, does she really trust anyone?

Brian Wood: I like to think she trusts her teammates here, but maybe with conditions. Considering that Jubilee's first big hero adventure was alongside Psylocke and Wolverine, does Betsy feel any affection towards Jubilee, specifically spurred on by the situation she’s approaching the X-Men with?

Brian Wood: The primary reason this whole team comes together is because they all have affections for Jubilee. This is why I've said in the past that, while Jubilee isn't the leader of the team, she is its focus. To use a phrase my wife likes: Jubilee is the glue. With Rachel Grey around, Psylocke isn't the only telepath on this team. Does this free her up to use her other skill sets more? And which do you think the character enjoys more?

Brian Wood: Man, how do you make that choice? Also, I think she deploys each power set in different ways and according to the situation. Since she and Rachel both share telepathy, they tend to gravitate towards each other in my scripts; they share scenes, they work as a unit at times. In #1, I have this extended interrogation session and so the two women can basically strategize in real time via telepathy without tipping off the prisoner. It's just one example.

But sure, it does mean that Psylocke can be free to just wade into physical battle if Rachel's there.