Friday, August 30, 2013

Making Battle of the Atom Plans with Brian Wood When spoke to Jason Aaron about X-Men: Battle of the Atom earlier this week, he discussed the creative opportunity it presents the three writers working on Battle of the Atom, noting, " get to play with those [characters] that you don’t play with on a monthly basis. This stuff is all outlined, we do a lot of phone calls, we had a retreat. Everything kind of goes through editor Nick Lowe, so we have a road map for this entire story. Fun little things still happen. It’s still fun when you’re going along and someone throws something down that someone picks up." In a collaborative dynamic such as Battle of the Atom, how much do you relish working with Bendis' and Aaron's characters that you don't normally "play with on a monthly basis"?

Brian Wood: To me, the best part about all of this is working with Jason and Brian, something I've not really done before. The characters, sure, but that's not the big draw for me. This is my first real collaborative event, and I respect both of those guys' work, so I enjoyed seeing and learning how one of these things gets put together. As I answer these questions, I'm finished writing the event, I'm all done, so I can look back and recognize it was a wild ride, a bit hairy at times with all the moving parts and I can really understand the work involved. I don't think any editor works as hard as a Marvel editor organizing an event like this. And this was a small one! How critical is it to you, in a creative situation like this where you are writing installments of a larger event, to strike a balance between advancing the action of the event plot while also servicing the evolving dynamics of the X-Men series that you are still in the early stages of developing?

Brian Wood: My editor and I were both careful to make sure that "our" characters had moments to shine in the issues of the adjectiveless title. This event has a cast of dozens—and dozens—so it was tricky, but crucial. We had to make sure that we slipped in the character moments and the small advances specific to that time. So: critical yes, not easy, yes, but I think we did it. It's also worth noting that this is only two issues we're talking about here, a pretty brief detour all things considered. X-MEN #4 featured some great scenes of Jubilee reflecting upon her past. Was one of the reasons you pursued this angle was to serve as a juxtaposition for X-MEN #5 and #6 where the team, including Jubilee, sees a glimpse of what could be their potential future?

Brian Wood: We saw the need for a one-shot story for #4 well before the actual event story was formed. So we approached it with different goals; less about the event and more of a "what can we do with this space that's both standalone but feels vital?" I wanted a Jubilee story, and I think it made sense to have a Jubilee/Logan story since they are close but haven't been together in a comic for a while. Logan enables me to talk about Jubilee's past a little, and he's someone she can open up to. Pure character moments, not related to the event in a direct way. Do you have an opportunity for some interaction between Rachel Grey and young Jean Grey in your Battle of the Atom issues?

Brian Wood: Absolutely; both from me and the other writers. Can you elaborate on how the events connected to BOTA prompt the "cracks in the new all-female X-Men cast" to start to show? The team is made up of people of firm convictions and passions, so it should surprise no one that the potential for ever-increasing tension was there all along.

Brian Wood: Well, we've started that already in the first arc, when Rachel and Storm find themselves at odds over the decision involving Karima, Storm taking the practical route and Rachel the emotional one. I should remind people that this grouping isn't an official team in the pre-meditated sense; they came together to help Jubilee, so there's no clear hierarchy of leadership or defined roles. So they have to work it out if they want to stay together. I think that they think they have team potential, but maybe aren't there just yet.

There's also some significant "cracks" within the event story itself, which I am a little hesitant to detail in advance. Artist David Lopez joined the X-Men for a three-issue stint starting with X-MEN #4. A few months back you spoke with about David, noting: "I love David's work and it clicks just right with my words." How reassuring is it to have that kind of rapport with an artist, knowing you can trust Lopez to craft the visual storytelling that best serves your writing?

Brian Wood: It's the reason why I always try and work with past collaborators when I can, especially on creator-owned work. The creative team learns each other, their quirks and ticks and likes and dislikes, and if you already know these things, you can really hit the ground running; makes everything smoother, faster. Judging by the solicitation text for X-MEN #6—"Rachel Grey is the only X-Man qualified to defeat the mystery opponents"—it is clear that Rachel steps into the spotlight at this stage of the BOTA event. Your whole X-MEN cast is a collection of heavy hitters, no doubt. But when juggling the power dynamics of such a gathering of characters, what appeals to you in utilizing someone like Rachel in your cast? 

Brian Wood: The story dictated it, really; there are crucial points in the story where it's really a telepath's time to shine, and there are enemies with special resonance to Rachel, so she steps up. Trying not to give too much away! Speaking of your X-MEN cast, we have already discussed Jubilee and Rachel, but are there certain other characters that really get some nice moments in the spotlight of your issues amidst all of the ongoing intense action?

Brian Wood: Psylocke, of course, with her expanding arsenal of telekinetic medieval weaponry, that's always fun. Bling!, sort of to my surprise, is sticking around as a close friend to Jubilee; that wasn't in the original plans but sometimes as you write, things just seem to make sense. So good for Bling!, getting some extra screen time. I just wrote a fun battle moment with Rogue. And Shogo—he may surprise you. As a writer and as a reader and a fan, what’s got you most excited about this event?

Brian Wood: I think events get a bad rap for all sorts of reasons, but people always buy them anyway. I think events can create situations that can't happen in a book's regular story, and that right there makes it appealing. Events can show you new things, and in this case, there [are] a lot of new things going on. There's this whole extra layer of story in BOTA that hasn't even been hinted at yet. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

X-Men #4 Art

X-Men #4 Spoilers

Spoilers: Beverly Hills – Jubilee and Wolverine take Shogo on vacation to Jubilee’s hometown. Jubilee shows Logan the house she grew up in. Wolverine offers to buy her the house, but Jubilee declines. Then, they have lunch in the same mall Jubilee saw Storm, Rogue, Psylocke and Dazzler for the first time during their night out. At the end of the day, Logan ends up buying the house for Jubilee.

Northern California – The X-Men aboard the Blackbird approach an airplane with an engine fire. The airports are offline due to a fire and the plane isn’t allowed to land. Storm orders Psylocke, Kitty and Rogue to come up with a rescue plan while she talks to Rachel, who’s still upset about the way Storm handled the Karima/Arkea situation. The girls’ plan involves anchoring the plane with TK. Psylocke creates a TK crossbow for that end and lets Rogue borrow her powers. Meanwhile, Storm and Rachel keep arguing inside the Blackbird. Neither come to an agreement. Rogue manages to link the airplane with the Blackbird with TK, which overloads Psylocke. Rogue’s TK wears off and Storm comes to her rescue. The airplane is safe to land and Storm is proud of what they did together.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

X-Men #4 Preview

X-Men #4
Writer: Brian Wood
Art by: David Lopez
Cover by: Terry Dodson
Variant Cover by: Sara Pichelli
• After the game-changing events of PRIMER, the women of the X-Men must contemplate the future of their makeshift team.
• Are the X-women ready for the BATTLE OF THE ATOM that’s right around the corner?
• Meanwhile: Jubilee may still look like a kid, but she finds herself burdened with some very adult responsibilities. What kind of plans can a mutant vampire teen mom make for her own future?


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Uncanny X-Force #10 Art

Uncanny X-Force #10 Spoilers

Spoilers: In California, the Revenant Queen orders her servers to bring Bishop’s head. In Los Angeles, Psylocke probes Bishop’s mind and is convinced he’s telling the truth about him being a member of the Order and bringing the Queen and her revenants to the present time. The revenants assault X-Force’s hideout looking for Bishop. They aren’t able to attack Psylocke because she’s “protected”, but the others aren’t as lucky. Storm takes Bishop elsewhere to protect him, but the revenants chase them. They make Storm drink the owl blood, which torments and shames her to no end. The same happens to Puck. Psylocke decides to unleash the Demon Bear to protect Bishop at all costs as he’s the only one who knows how to stop the Queen. Without the Bear’s protection, Psylocke is forced to drink the blood, which also makes her face all her failures in her mind. Bishop manages to escape, but the Revenants aren’t too worried as now they have the revenants of Psylocke, Storm and Puck. They’ll use them as a bait to lure Bishop. Elsewhere, Bishop is ready to retaliate.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

X-Solicits for November 2013

Uncanny X-Force #14
Written by: Sam Humphries
Art by: TBD
Cover by: Kris Anka
• The REVENANT WAR kicks into high gear as the Uncanny X-Force must battle their fiercest enemies yet!
• The truth about the revenant Owl Queen is revealed – and she’s even more dangerous than any of our heroes expected!
• Meanwhile, Storm has been keeping her cards close to her chest – but the one she finally plays is out of this world!

X-Men #7
Written by: Brian Wood
Art and Cover by: Terry Dodson
• The six-part “Muertas” arc kicks off with the return of Lady Deathstrike!
• Can a new Sisterhood be far behind?
• Meanwhile, the X-Men regroup following the Battle of the Atom – and a new member joins the team!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Uncanny X-Force #10 Preview

Uncanny X-Force #10
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art by: Ramon Perez
Cover by: Kris Anka

The Story:
• The skies of Madripoor run red as Uncanny X-Force face off against Fantomex...Fantomex...and Fantomex!
• We know what Psylocke did last summer, and it’s a doozy! Find out in this edition of Uncanny X-Force True Hollywood Story.
• Storm has no tolerance for your drama. She is a mutant, a goddess, and a headmistress. She’s got enough going on. Stop with the five-paragraph texts. Do not email her. No voicemail.
• What happens in Paris, stays in Paris...unless Puck finds out, in which case it’s probably all over Twitter!

In Stores: August 14, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

X-Position: Humphries Teases "Uncanny X-Force's" Future

CBR: Sam Humphries joined X-Position this week to answer all questions about the recent and future developments facing his "Uncanny X-Force" squad, including the reappearance of Demon Bear, Storm's recent actions in Bishop's mind, how the future-shifted X-Man's reappearance will affect the rest of the X-Men's corner of the Marvel U and more.

With "Battle of the Atom" coming out pretty soon, will you get a chance to write Betsy meeting up with young Warren? Since you've had a chance to really get into Psylocke's head (on occasions, quite literally), do you have a cool take on what that meeting would be like?

Humphries: No plans for Betsy to meet young Warren, most of my cool takes on Betsy right now don't involve her in a relationship with someone else. I do love the O5 though -- dropping Spiral in the middle of that crew would be a lot of fun.

Will we see the return of Psylocke's precognition abilities that she has shown in the past?

Humphries: Let's see, I am getting a vision of the future and I see -- no precog powers for Betsy. Sorry!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

X-Men Legacy #14 Spoilers & Art

Spoilers: Legion has contracted several British mutants. His plan is to use them to wipe mutophobia off Great Britain, having them doing good deeds. He snuck Psylocke into the Ministry of Defense. Betsy used her psi-blade to cut out traumatic experiences of the troops.