Friday, January 31, 2014

X-Men #10 Preview

X-Men #10
Writer: Brian Wood
Art by: Kris Anka
Cover by: Terry Dodson
Variant Cover by: John Cassaday
Animal Variant by: David Lopez

The Story:
AN ALL-NEW SISTERHOOD! The X-Men have taken down super villains, aliens and their own future selves…but never all at the same time! Lady Deathstrike has put together an all new Sisterhood, her own illuminati to take down the X-Men and take over the world. Recruiting the likes of Typhoid Mary and Enchantress, her cabal go on a global hunt for the most powerful of them all…an enemy who holds the X-Men responsible for her almost-destruction. Meanwhile, M settles in and Rachel comes to terms with her relationship with Sublime.

In Stores: February 5, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Uncanny X-Force #17 Art

Uncanny X-Force #17 Spoilers

Spoilers: Hope stabs Bishop with the psimitar, to the dismay of Cable and the joy of Stryfe. Spiral teleports all members of both X-Forces aboard an airship to the abandoned bunker. Colossus and Puck attack Stryfe. Peter manages to hit Stryfe once, but is ultimately defeated. Boom Boom and Nemesis are next, but fail to strike a blow. Psylocke tries to control Stryfe’s mind, but it’s useless. Stryfe taints her about her Shurayuki Blade before Colossus comes to Betsy’s rescues and smashes his head. Elsewhere, Spiral teleports the others to where Bishop and Hope are. Hope reveals Bshop’s got a clean cut and will recover; Hope didn't kill him as she didn’t want to disappoint Cable. Stryfe is upset and gets ahold of all X-Force members, but didn’t expect to stab him from behind with his own psimitar. Stryfe forces Hope to mimic his omega-level limitless powers, hoping she won’t bear such power and destroy everything within 10 miles. Styfe flees, leaving the X-Forces for dead. Bishop teaches Hope to master Stryfe’s powers and focus it upwards. Later, the X-Forces regroup. They’re unable to track Stryfe. Hope tells Bishop he earned a pass but makes no promises for the next time they meet as she still hasn’t forgiven him. Cable thanks Bishop for saving Hope. Storm wants Psylocke to go back to the school with her, but Betsy refuses. Cable compliments Psylocke for handling herself well before and tells her the future looks very bright for the first time in years.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Uncanny X-Force #17 Preview

Uncanny X-Force #17
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art by: Harvey Tolibao and Soy Dexter
Cover by: Ramon Perez

The Story: “Vendetta” Part IV
• Classic X-Force villain STRYFE has returned! And he’s eager to exact his revenge on the man who left him broken and adrift in the timestream: CABLE.
• As Stryfe’s plan comes to bear, Hope is brought face-to-face with Bishop, the man who crusaded across centuries in a mission to exterminate her. But this time around, she’s ready to retaliate…and they’ll hold nothing back as they race to destroy one another.
• Don’t miss this no-holds-barred, knockdown, drag-out X-FORCE event! Because when the dust settles, only ONE X-Force team will be left standing...

In Stores: January 29, 2014

Thursday, January 23, 2014

X-Men #9 Spoilers

Spoilers by Seriena: The team splits up: Jubilee and Karima are trying to track down Deathstrike, while Monet is out in Budapest. Storm and Psylocke are meeting Sabra and Gabriel Shepherd. Rachel is interrogating Sublime, and comments that anything between them was a terrible idea. Sublime abruptly senses Arkea becoming aware again. Jubilee and Karima find Deathstrike (and company) and tell Rachel, who updates Monet and sends her after them. Storm and Psylocke are trying to get Sabra and Gabriel to help defuse any international incidents they might cause while hunting down Arkea. Deathstrike, Enchantress, and Mary arrive at a base of operations (body shoppe) in a skyscraper in Dubai. Reiko, Deathstrike's accomplice, assures them that everything is secure/safe/etc. before taking the Arkea sample out. Things don't go as planned and Arkea promptly possesses Reiko. She then hacks the entire 'secure' network. Deathstrike offers the Sisterhood to Arkea in exchange for power. Arkea agrees. Monet arrives in style, ready to wipe out the entire seven floors the Sisterhood's body shoppe is in. Unfortunately, Arkea's managed to restore Enchantress's power, and she and Deathstrike confront Monet while Mary evacuates Arkea. On the way out, Arkea decides she wants to find two more of the X-men's enemies. Back at the school, Rachel and company are realizing that Arkea's changed targets from Sublime to the X-men. Monet puts up a fight, but can't overcome Enchantress. Arkea starts popping up all over the planet, and something is going wrong with Karima. The story ends with a number of Sentinels at the bottom of the ocean reactivating and marching off.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cable and X-Force #19 Art

Cable and X-Force #19 Spoilers

Spoilers: Nemesis warns that the tracker he had shot into Cable hasn’t pinged since the teleportation. Both teams head to a junkyard so Forge can build a telepathic amplifier to boost Psylocke’s powers and then find Cable. Meanwhile at a bunker, Spiral tries to attack Stryfe, who uses his powers to make her teleport to a fishing boat in the ocean. Cable knows he’s no match for Stryfe now. Elsewhere, at a Stark Industries junkyard, Nemesis and Forge build the makeshift Cerebro while both X-Forces members chat a bit. Forge apologizes to Ororo and explains how the Adversary had influenced his behavior when they last saw each other. They also talk about Storm’s failed marriage. Back to the bunker, Stryfe incites Hope into killing Bishop, freeing her and handing her the psimitar. Stryfe teases Cable while enjoying seeing him defeated. Hope hesitates to kill Bishop and demands an explanation for his actions. Bishop apologizes but says he’s no different than Cable, who kills innocent people based on his visions. This upsets Hope greatly. Back to the X-Forces, the amplifier is ready, and Psylocke mind tracks Cable, Hope and Bishop but is unable to pinpoint their location. She tracks Spiral instead in the middle of the ocean, and the X-Forces come to her rescue. Spiral reveals Stryfe blocked her powers, but Psylocke undoes it as long as Spiral takes them to wherever Cable is. At the bunker, Stryfe locks Cable in a cell and shows him Hope beating Bishop through a camera. Stryfe says Cables is the only one to blame for teaching Hope rage and violence.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cable and X-Force #19 Preview

Cable and X-Force #19
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Art by: Angel Unzueta
Cover by: Ramon Perez

The Story:
"Vendetta" Part 3! For years, the mutant Bishop relentlessly chased Cable and his adopted daughter Hope Summers through time and space on a mission to wipe her out of existence. Though they narrowly escaped with their lives, the scars still remain. Now, the man who has haunted Hope's dreams has returned to the present - and he's working with their fellow X-Men?! Hope is out for blood, and nobody is going to stand in her way, even if she has to take down all of Uncanny X-Force to get it! But as Hope exacts her revenge, a much greater threat closes in from the shadows - and one of the X-Men's deadliest villains returns! Can Hope fend off her demons, or is this the beginning of the end for her and X-Force?

In Stores: January 22, 2014

X-Men #9 Preview

X-Men #9
Writer: Brian Wood
Art and Cover by: Terry Dodson

The Story:
Muertas, Part 3!
• Lady Deathstrike’s new Sisterhood set their sights on the X-Men, and Psylocke is in the crosshairs!
• A foe awakens... and neither team might be able to handle her!

In Stores: January 22, 2014

Thursday, January 16, 2014

X-Solicits for April 2014

X-Force #3 & 4
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Art and Cover by: Rock-He Kim (Issue #3), Jorge Molina (Issue #4)
Variant Cover by: John Romita Jr. (Issue #3)
Issue #3:
• X-Force races their foe, ruthless arms-dealer Volga, through the jungles of Brazil to locate a mutant who might be the key to his undoing.
• But can Psylocke curb her bloodlust long enough to complete the mission?
• And a new member is introduced to the team!
Issue #4:
• X-Force goes head to head with France’s superhuman black ops team!
• But will X-Force’s resident Frenchman Fantomex botch his teammates’ mission?

X-Men #13
Writer: Brian Wood
Art by: Clay Mann
Cover by: Terry Dodson
Variant Cover by: David Marquez
Bloodline Part 1
• Jubilee is haunted by Shogo’s past… or is it his future?!

Uncanny Avengers #19
Writer: Rick Remender
Art and Cover by: Daniel Acuña
Variant Cover by: Agustin Alessio
• Avenge The Earth Continues!
• Kang’s Chronos Corps arrives on Planet X with a terrible offer!
• The former members of the Uncanny Avengers must reunite to save the Earth!
• Magneto’s all-new X-Force are out for the blood of a Summers!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Uncanny X-Force #16 Art


Uncanny X-Force #16 Spoilers

Spoilers: Cable and Psylocke drop their weapons, but aren’t able to reach an agreement on how to handle de Bishop/Hope situation. Cable shoots fire, but Storm knocks him down. Cable’s X-Force comes to his rescue. Elsewhere, Bishop and Hope find themselves locked with power dampeners. Hope blames him for destroying her childhood. Bishop assures her he’s a different person now. In the meantime, Forge demands Psylocke’s X-Force to return Cable while Nemesis tags Cable with a tracker. Psylocke orders Spiral to teleport Cable away, but Domino is right at her heels. Spiral and Domino face each other. Back to Bishop and Hope, Stryfe appears before them and reveals he’s the real deal, the same Stryfe who Bishop left for dead at the hands of Apocalypse. Stryfe tells Hope that it is Cable who’s actually his clone and makes her an offer: to make all her wildest dreams come true. Meanwhile, both X-Forces head to Cable’s whereabouts. Storm summons her winds, but Forge shoots at her accidentally. Psylocke tries to argue with Colossus, but it’s useless. Puck runs a truck over Peter, while Betsy gets ahold of Cable. Boom Boom throws a bomb at her, giving enough time for Nemesis to inject adrenaline into Cable, waking him up. Cable orders Nemesis to shoot at Spiral with a mind-controlling serum. Cable makes Spiral teleport him to Hope’s whereabouts while both X-Forces are left behind. Stryfe welcomes Cable.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

X-Position: Spurrier Winds Down "X-Men Lehacy," Prepares "X-Force"

CBR: Si Spurrier has a few irons in the Marvel Universe fire. Whether it's his current run on "X-Men Legacy" set to end at issue #24 or the recently-announced "X-Force" title ready to debut later this year, the writer is well-embedded in the X-Men's current lore. But with "Legacy" coming to a close, Spurrier is ready to transition to a different dynamic: a new X-Force team assembled by Cable in the wake of a mysterious incident.

What is Cable's status at the start of the series both physiologically and power-wise? Is he still T-O virus free and just using an exoskeletal metal arm, or has it come back and made him a cyborg again? Does he have his traditional powers or just the precognition that he developed in the recent "Cable and X-Force" series? What's up with that weird headgear and eyepatch he's wearing?

Spurrier: Those mostly fall under the "wait and see" bracket, alas. All will be revealed. And all I can tell you is that if at any stage you start to suspect that either a) I've screwed up and not thought something through or b) all is not what it seems, I'd urge you to favor "b" as the likely candidate. Which isn't to say I'm incapable of screw-uppery, just that I've spent a looooooong time thinking this all through and I think the little puzzlebox of mysteries and, "Huh, whats?" I'm going to be laying down before you will come together quite nicely in a timely sort of way.

So, let's tease a few things. The new "X-Force" story begins about a month or two after an event which Cable refers to as "the Alexandria Incident". All we know about it, at the start, is that a lot of people died and folks are generally blaming mutantkind. One of the major threads in Arc 1 will be about the team -- and us -- finding out first what happened and second who was behind it. And, oh so much more importantly, third, how it affected the people who were there.

Cable was there.

More prosaically: his power set is pretty wonky. Like I said above, the "flawed but determined" dynamic is something I'm keen to champion, so in general I prefer to avoid super-powerful characters in full control of their gifts. In Cable's case his starting point spins directly out of how he's left at the end of the current "Vendetta" crossover, so I must be a tad circumspect about giving things away.

I like the teaming up of Cable and Psylocke in this, as it's kind of a mash-up of classic "X-Force" and "Uncanny X-Force" in that regard. Is this in anticipation of the "X-Force" movie, which is rumored to be a combination of the two, or just a coincidence?

Spurrier: I know nothing about the movie, sorry. That said I don't trust coincidences, and in simple Good Common Sense terms it makes perfect sense to include two recognizable and compelling characters, both with a historical association with the title, in the same place. I wouldn't be at all surprised if whoever's making the movie felt the same way, but that's pure conjecture on my part.

Are you building a long-term story in X-FORCE, or will it be shorter story arcs?

Spurrier: Both, actually. I've waffled-on endlessly elsewhere about my instinctive dislike for Stories Without End. The older I get the more certain I become that "story" (that is: a three-part process involving beginning, middle and end; or thesis/antithesis/synthesis for the more Doc-Nemesis-minded among you) is a critical and unique but completely abstract concept permitting human beings to digest information. Just as our notion of the visible spectrum of colors would be completely alien to, say, a mantis shrimp, who can see like a billion other colors you can't see, so do our brains restrict our ability to process data by parceling it up into little bundles of satisfying code we call story. Every act of creation, every human event -- painting a picture, singing a song, telling a joke, having a conversation, going for a walk, or, yes, writing a tale -- is at its most satisfying, most memorable and most emotionally resonant when it is easily expressed and easily absorbed as an entity with beginning, middle and end.

Fuck, I'm getting nonsensically trippy. Ignore me. The point is that this is the sort of stuff I get very excited about, but not really something readers desperately need to know about or care about if they don't want to. But in my experience it definitely tallies that stories achieve maximum value, maximum punch, maximum importance, when they have an ending.

Which, of course, is problematic when you're embarking on a theoretically unlimited ongoing run on a new series. My personal solution is to regard an ongoing book as a Series of Serials. A modular tale, if you will. Every so often everything draws together, the story gets its ending. And then launches afresh with a new theme, a new controlling idea, a new set of theses to be rattled against their personal antitheses. It doesn't matter if some or all of the characters are still around, it doesn't matter if the new controlling idea is an evolved extension of the last one: all that matters is that writer and reader alike are able to say here a story began and here a story ended. What lies in between is a discrete and wholly-satisfying narrative.

That doesn't mean you can't also build a web of escalations and foreshadowings which link stories together, of course. I hope "XLeg" readers will agree things have interrelated in these little modular units and in the wider sense as we've gone along. But I would argue the best way to generate that continuous sense of heading towards something is if, no-brainer, you actually are. So, to answer the unasked question: Yes. I know broadly how my stint on "X-Force" will end, regardless of how quickly we get there.

Since "X-Force's" announcement, many fan complaints involve the backward characterization of Psylocke and the team's inclusion of Fantomex; however, I don't agree with those assessments, which brings me to these questions:

Spurrier: (Wait -- people complaining about the backward characterization of Psylocke? How's that? Nobody's read a single episode yet, as far as I know. How does anyone have any idea about which direction I intend to ch--

[sound of gears clashing, pause for blinking, then slow ahhhh as Si remembers we're talking about the Internets here, aren't we, that paradisiacal farmland where the teensy seeds of speculation grow seamlessly into the spooky orchards of assumption -- hanging heavy with the oily fruits of outrage -- and all of it without a single nourishing drop of Fact.]

Let's eat some more chocolate, shall we? Om nom nom.)

Psylocke doesn't want to kill, yet she joins a kill squad. Is this because she feels obliged to make sure this team doesn't go too far across the line; thus, acting as the team's moral center (like how her back is turned on Kim's amazing "X-Force" #2 cover)?

Spurrier: Yeah, that's a wait-and-see, I'm afraid. But don't fret: I haven't forgotten that Psylocke is attempting a tao of non-lethality. And yes, I know that makes her inclusion in X-Force an odd choice. I refer you to some of the above wafflement, particularly the bit about If It Looks Like I've Made a Mistake or Gone Against Continuity It's Probably Because There's a Really Good Reason. Which there is.

I personally love Fantomex to death, but how do you, as a writer, deal with a character who's generally disliked by most fans?

Spurrier: Glad you like him, but let's just quickly unpick the tail-end of that question there. "Generally disliked by most fans"? I'd lay odds -- and please forgive me if my supposition is dodgier than your supposition here, but I'm in a betting mood -- I'd lay odds that what we're actually talking about here is a very vocal set of Anti-Fantomexers in one or more online communities to which you belong? In which case, that's cool, I'll address that in just a moment. But it's always worth remembering that we humans are brilliantly programmed to assume that our own opinions, or those of our immediate groups, are reflective of the massmind. That's the basis for every prejudice, every all-gang-together act of neotribal expression there is. I'm as guilty as everyone, and for what it's worth you can see why our brains think this is a good strategy: nothing forms social bonds quicker than being united in negativity. Of course it's super-easy to spot the flaw in this little behavioral subroutine when we hear about other groups getting all uppity about this or that when we ourselves don't agree. (My personal bugbear at the moment is spokespeople for angry, frothing, racist little uber-rightwing groups here in the UK proudly declaring things like "We English have had enough of all these immigrants coming over here and..." blah blah blah. We English? Nobody fucking asked me!)

It's a lot harder, naturally, to be objective about the relative scale of a group when you're part of it. Of course I'm not for a second suggesting that people who disapprove of Fantomex are even remotely identifiable with the unreconstructed willfully-ignorant xenophobic outrage-junkies of the BNP and its ilk, but the point is obvious: just because an individual or a group claims to represent the majority doesn't mean they actually do. As in all things Internet-esque, Spurrier's First Law always applies: Factions speak louder than herds.

But okay, for the sake of the question let's pretend that "most fans" really do generally dislike Fantomex. (Hell, maybe they really do, and all the time and energy and money Marvel spends researching and contemplating the relative saleability of its brands is completely wasted.) My feeling is this: if a character like Fantomex (who, to me, has so much potential for fascinating storylines and truly compelling character journeys) is generally disliked, then it's quite simply my job to set things right.

From what little I've seen of the online complaints I'm guessing the major beef folks have with Fanto is that he's sometimes crossed the line into a Joke Character whose capacity for interestingness has been sucked dry. I think a few people are also unhappy about the fact that Psylocke and Fantomex are in a book together when everything that need be said about their recent romance has already been said. As with the above comment about the "backward characterization" of Betsy, I figure people have leapt to a whole bunch of conclusions. They're in a book together? Ugh, that means the whole thing will be about their bloody love life. 


Rumor control, here are the facts: devoting even the teensiest bit of thought to who/what/how Fantomex is will provide you with a literal plethora of exciting possibilities about how he as a character could provide new, resonant and emotionally complex tales. I've chosen to focus on a couple of those possibilities in the first couple of arcs, but I don't feel as though he's in any danger of suddenly running out of worthwhile applications. (Incidentally, remember that a character doesn't have to be completely and constantly likable to be serving a very important role in a story. Fantomex is undeniably obnoxious sometimes. That would only be a problem if the writer, the other characters, and more interestingly he himself was unaware of it.) 

Psylocke's emotional journey is one of the main reasons I got involved with this project. I don't think it's giving away too much to say that Fantomex's role in that journey is 100% not "the boyfriend."

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Uncanny X-Force #16 Preview

Uncanny X-Force #16
Writer: Sam Humphries
Art by: Harvey Tolibao
Cover by: Ramon Perez

The Story: “Vendetta” Part II

• Classic X-Force villain STRYFE has returned! And he’s eager to exact his revenge on the man who left him broken and adrift in the timestream: CABLE.

• As Stryfe’s plan comes to bear, Hope is brought face-to-face with Bishop, the man who crusaded across centuries in a mission to exterminate her. But this time around, she’s ready to retaliate…and they’ll hold nothing back as they race to destroy one another.

• Don’t miss this no-holds-barred, knockdown, drag-out X-FORCE event! Because when the dust settles, only ONE X-Force team will be left standing...

In Stores: January 15, 2014

New Avengers #14 Advanced Preview

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A+X #16 Art

A+X #16 Spoilers

Spoilers: On his way to a grocery store, Spider-Man hears a gunfire coming from a Japanese restaurant in NY. Once inside, he finds Psylocke fighting with some men. Peter helps Betsy to take them out. Psylocke interrogates one of them, asking "where she is", but  another man tosses a grenade, which explodes. Spider-Man finds Psylocke impaled by metal debris. As Psylocke bleeds, Spider-Man decides to get help. Betsy begs him to stay. She wants him to tell her brother something, but is unable to say what. Peter comforts her as Betsy passes out, hoping she doesn't die, very much in awe of her presence. Cyclops, Gambit, Beast and Wolverine arrive, taking Psylocke with them. Scott assures Peter that they'll take care of Betsy. Spider-Man is left confused. He wipes his tears and heads to the grocery store.