Friday, February 27, 2015

X-Men #25 Preview

X-Men #25
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Art by: Roland Boschi
Cover by: Jorge Molina

The Story:
• As natural phenomena tear the Black Rock Desert apart—with Storm stuck deep in the Earth at the epicenter—the X-Men race to find answers and save their teammate!
• And while some of the team follow a lead that takes them to the Inhuman Queen MEDUSA, Psylocke makes an EXPLOSIVE discovery of her own…

In Stores: March 4, 2015

X-Men #25 Variant Cover by Jim Cheung

Thursday, February 26, 2015

#tbt: New Mutants Annual #2

#tbt: New Mutants Annual #2 – Working together, Doug and Warlock save and restore Betsy’s psyche and save the others. The reawakened Psylocke does the rest. Back in reality, Betsy realizes that she now has Mojo’s artificial eyes and finds she cannot bring herself to destroy them. Written by Chris Claremont and art by Alan Davis. Read full summary here.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

#tbt: Uncanny X-Men #251

#tbt: Uncanny X-Men #251 – As the Reavers approach the X-Men's position to attack, Psylocke opens the Siege Perilous and telepathically cajoles the X-Men to enter. Arriving too late, Pierce is furious at the loss of his prey. Written by Chris Claremont and art by Marc Silvestri. Read full summary here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

X-Solicits for May 2015

Uncanny X-Men #600
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Chris Bachalo, Stuart Immonen, Mahmud Asrar, Kris Anka And Frazer Irving
Cover by: Chris Bachalo
Action Figure Variant Cover A by: John Tyler Christopher
Action Figure Variant Cover B by: John Tyler Christopher
Action Figure Variant Cover C by: John Tyler Christopher
Variant Cover by: Kris Anka
Variant Cover by: Paul Smith
Variant Cover by: Olivier Coipel
Variant Cover by: Ed Mcguinness
Variant Cover by: Arthur Adams
Variant Cover by:  Leinil Yu
Variant Cover by: Rick Leonardi
• The final explosive issue in Brian Michael Bendis’ epic X-Men saga!
• Scott Summers – savior or destroyer? Questions will be answered!
• The Jean Grey School, the New Xavier School – it’s all going to change.
• The X-Men are at a crossroads. And not everyone will make it through in one piece.
• Featuring 40 pages of a host of popular X-Men creators!

Uncanny X-Men #35
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Art by: Chris Bachalo
Cover by: Kris Anka
NYC Variant Cover by: TBA
• Mystique returns to the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN—and she’s out for vengeance!
• Will Magik’s soulsword be enough to halt the shapeshifter’s wrath?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

X-Force #15 Spoilers

Spoilers: We pick up from #14, with UberHope fretting in the lab over how to fix Fantomex, while Dr. Nemesis continues to churn out Cable copies to send after UberFanto. UberFanto breaks into the lab, with Hope attempting to talk him down only to be rebuffed by E.V.A, who notes that they "purged" her once and can do it again. With his stasis tank shattered, Cable - the original model - enters the fray, using his psimitar to channel off some of the Volga effect and stretch out what few minutes he's got left, though even with him the rest of the squad can't hold UberFanto for long. However, E.V.A's choice of words gives Hope an idea, as she recalls that Volga said a 'full psychic burnout' would be needed to cure the process. So Hope uses her borrowed telepathy to absorb all the mental garbage and inadequacies from Psylocke, Marrow, Domino, Nemesis and even Forgetmenot, and focuses it into a physical object - a black heart - that she then forces into UberFanto. Fantomex, being the 'perfect man', can't handle it and demands E.V.A execute a full systems purge on himself, which takes out the psychic trash...and robs him of his new powers. The Volga effect is thus cured. Hope copies it while Fantomex gets his ass handed to him by the rest of the team, before Psylocke psycho-stabs him, which seems to destroy E.V.A and leaves him free to understand his own failings for once. Two weeks later, Cable awakes in a hospital bed, free of the Volga effect and in possession of two eyes and two arms, thanks to Mojoworld science apparently. Hope talks to him through a nearby computer, telling him that Fantomex is presently docile, Mojo has been sent home, and that though she gets he wasn't fully responsible for the bad things his copies did, she can't be around him without thinking about it. Cable understands and tells her X-Force will be waiting when she's ready. Hope corrects him, though - HE'S the one who's off the team.

X-Men #24 Spoilers

Spoilers: Psylocke, Rachel and Monet climb down 40 feet underground and are ambushed by strange creatures. Rachel points out they’re linked like a hive mind. The X-Men fight the monster, but one of them hits Betsy’s arm pretty hard. Psylocke then raises a telekinetic shield around them. Betsy decides to psychically dampen her own pain receptors and tells the others they’ll fight their way to the opening on the other side of the cave. The girls manage to take down the creatures and reach the opening. Rachel senses everything in the cavern is connected, even the fungi. Suddenly, they are attacked by a much larger creature. Back at the Jean Grey School, Beast tells Jubilee that he found a certain amount of interstellar hydrogen in Krakoa’s sample. Jubilee thinks this is not a coincidence and leaves the school. Meanwhile, Storm is still struggling to find a way out, fighting with her claustrophobia. Back to the X-Men, Rachel senses the whole place is an experiment gone wrong while Psylocke comes across Kree armor. They deduce the aliens are to blame. Betsy’s condition worsens and Monet decides to take matters into her own hands.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

X-Position: Si Spurrier

CBR: Si Spurrier joins us for one final "X-Force" X-Position and answers your questions about everything from the nature of continuity to Psylocke's addiction to killing and his future -- possibly "Secret Wars"-shaped -- post-"X-Force" plans .

In your run on "X-Force" you got to use a lot of characters with really long and sometimes confusing pasts, like Psylocke, Cable and Fantomex. How do you as a writer distill all the discrepancies and decades of continuity down into something you can use? Did "X-Force" provide any unique difficulties?

Spurrier: Continuity's something you have to be a bit grown-up about, y'know? I think all of us -- as Marvel readers and fans, I mean -- have a very sophisticated inbuilt capacity for dealing with this stuff. Oh sure, there's the noisy 1% who're so dedicated to the minutiae that any perceived adjustment or realignment, no matter how positive, will always be met with outrage. Remember: factions speak louder than herds.

But most of us -- reasonable human fiction-consumers, I mean -- are capable of regarding the tangled histories of our favorite characters with impressive flexibility. I'd argue it's a similar psychology to that of mythology or legend. We stow-away details of these characters' lives, but if something new comes along which doesn't quite align -- no biggie. As long as the spirit of the character is retained -- or improved! Or evolved! -- then the new stuff overwrites the old. It's never a question of Fact vs Fact; it's just one folklore syncretizing with, and eventually overlying, another. You only really run into trouble when the retcons are tacitly less positive than the former canon. Then, no matter how much the writer or publisher insists this is for the good of the character, and it'll pay dividends in the long run -- and it usually will -- readers will struggle not to feel robbed of something they formerly cherished. That's the price of a longform narrative, I'm afraid. You don't get to have a continuum of happy endings.

Anyway, this relationship between fans and continuity constitutes a lot of pretty astonishing mental acrobatics, and we're all doing it 100% of the time whilst reading comics. We're endlessly making these subconscious abstractions -- glossing-over stuff which doesn't make sense; deliberately ignoring details which don't fit or which seem crass; forgiving outright mistakes -- because we love the characters, we love the stories, and the payoff is so much greater than the investment. It's remarkable and very special.

In terms of my work with "X-Force," it all played rather neatly into my mischievous schemes. As I've said elsewhere, "X-Force" feels like one of the only books where it makes sense to deliberately face up to some of the inherent problems with the superhero genre, which would be subconsciously waved-away (as described above) in any other title. In fact, it felt like the sort of book where it would've been irresponsible not to confront these things. Namely: if you've spent your entire life as a warrior, an ideologue, a crusader, a dirtier-of-one's-own-hands, then you better believe you're going to be screwed-up in a lot of creative ways.

In that sense "X-Force" was far less concerned with the fiddly detail of the characters' continuity than it was with the emotional and behavioral baggage which derived from it all. The challenge in each character's case was not only to ponder how he or she would really feel about the world, but also to invent the ways that each of them can continue to function, rather than going stark staring bugfuck mental.

I mean... if you want to get really real about this stuff -- like, assume that all the continuity is 100% real and accurate and unchangeable, assume that your favorite heroes spend all day every day fighting, bleeding, getting smashed-up, seeing people die, saving lives, failing to save lives, having a unique and privileged view of the world, and yet still somehow manage to crack wise, have pool parties and seem like well-adjusted people -- then I'm afraid you're obligated to come to the conclusion that they're all absolutely and rabidly insane.

Obviously that's a ghastly and very unsatisfying conclusion -- and a betrayal of the stories we all love -- so instead (for 99% of super-hero books) we make allowances, we don't get too horribly cynical about things, we cheerfully buy-in to the morality and ideological purity of the fiction... because it's such an awesome world to visit.

Alternatively -- for 1% of superhero books, like "X-Force" -- we find interesting and nasty ways to explain how and why our fucked up heroes continue to do what they do. And we don't flinch from looking at the results.

You've mentioned you had planned an arc in which Psylocke would attend a support group for her addiction to killing. Since this is not gonna happen now, how do you see Psylocke's arc in your "X-Force" run? Is her addiction now more core of who she is or do you feel she will overcome it at some point?

Spurrier: I think, in part, this goes to the stuff I was discussing before about continuity and reader sophistication. It's part and parcel of the same phenomenon that readers are able (for example) to parse the notion of a character being in two full-time titles at the same time. Even when the characterization is subtly different between the two, most of us fans are still able to reconcile the versions and enjoy the character for who they are, rather than being bumped out of the fiction by the distinctions.

I mention this to illustrate a point: even if this whole "addicted to violence" thing never gets referenced again, it becomes a part of Psylocke's mythological makeup, and readers are cheerfully entitled to put more or less importance upon it as their tastes dictate when reading newer Psylocke stories. Up until the point that another writer tacitly uses or contradicts it, these points of emotional color continue to have an influence. The beauty of all this is that -- apart from these brief windows of Present Tense Alteration -- it's not really up to the writer to determine how fans choose to clothe, animate and understand their favorite characters.

Anyway. For what it's worth, without wishing to spoil episode #15, Betsy gets a big breakthrough... of sorts. Which, I hope, will satisfy your question, as well as providing fertile ground for the sorts of lasting conjectures I mentioned above.

Friday, February 6, 2015

X-Force #15 Preview

X-Force #15
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist & Cover by: Rock He-Kim

The Story:
  • In the final showdown with Fantomex, X-Force gives everything they have to defeat their power-mad teammate-turned-adversary!
  • And in the end, not everyone will emerged unscathed... 

In Stores: February 11th, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

X-Men #24 Preview

X-Men #24
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Art by: Roland Boschi
Cover by: Terry Dodson

The Story:
• Trapped deep underground in the sinkhole that mysteriously appeared in the middle of the Black Rock Desert, STORM battles her claustrophobia while trying to find answers.
• Meanwhile, her teammates above ground discover that the phenomenon has ties to old enemies…

In Stores: February 11, 2015