Tuesday, August 25, 2015

X-Position: Bunn Teases Romance and Violence in "Uncanny X-Men"

CBR: This week, "Magneto," "House of M" and "Uncanny X-Men" writer Cullen Bunn returns to X-POSITION and answers your questions about everything from Magneto's feelings towards his changing family tree to the mental states of Sabretooth, Mystique, Psylocke and more. And don't miss the exclusive first look at Greg Land's official cover for "Uncanny X-Men" #1, which reveals two new members of the Uncanny team.

When choosing these members for the ["Uncanny X-Men"] team, was there a theme or a quality to link them? Will there be other questionable members (like Bishop) or even villains?

When I started building this team, I wanted to make sure they were very different from Jeff [Lemire]'s "Extraordinary X-Men" and Dennis [Hopeless]'s "All-New X-Men." When readers look at these books, I want no question that this is a different team with a different mission statement. So, I started building a team of "morally questionable" villains and anti-heroes who maybe shouldn't carry the banner of the X-Men. I know that rubs some people the wrong way. Frankly, it's supposed to -- that's one of the themes of this book. That was the first quality that linked them. I also looked at which characters would give me the most dynamic and unexpected interactions. I don't think many people can guess how this team is actually going to function without tearing itself apart. Maybe it won't.

As for other characters… there are two team members who have not been revealed. Both of them will be head-scratching for different reasons. Both of them will add a new layer of "what the Hell is Cullen thinking?" And that's just among the X-Men! There are some other groups -- or clubs even -- showing up within a few issues that will feature some familiar and surprising faces.

With Mags and Mystique in ["Uncanny X-Men"], is there any chance Rogue will come up or appear in any form in this book?

There's a chance, I suppose, but I have no concrete plans for her right now. With Magneto and Mystique in the book, it seems like a natural fit for Rogue to show up. Not in the first couple of arcs for sure. She has her own thing going on right now.

Are you going to deal with Psylocke being on a team with Sabretooth and Fantomex, characters that she hates, right out of the gate or is that a simmering plotline?

I just decided they all buried the hatchet and become besties off-panel, so we won't even worry about that. Just kidding!

I will be dealing with these relationships in slightly different ways. With Psylocke and Sabretooth, it will be more of a simmering story, with bits and pieces showing up over time, leading to something down the road. With Fantomex… well… that will be a little more immediately explosive. And by explosive I mean very, very violent.

One character that I am looking forward to in your run is Fantomex. He has gone through so much development since his inception. I was hoping to hear what you had in store for him and how he will handle working beside Psylocke again after Simon Spurrier's "X-Force"?

Fantomex in this book is going to be stripped back down to the basics a bit, closer to how he was portrayed when he first appeared and in early issues of "Uncanny X-Force." That's not to say he won't have complexities, but he's definitely much more the mysterious super-spy that we originally met. The mysteries will be new, of course.

What do you think? Will he be happy about working with Psylocke? Probably not. My guess is he'll have to have some pretty serious reasons for doing so. Those reasons will form the backbone of the Fantomex story.

Also… Psylocke and Fantomex are not hooking up again, just in case you're wondering.

Your "Uncanny X-Men" cast is unusual -- and thankfully so as it consists of two bisexual women (Psylocke and Mystique) and (maybe?) a bisexual man (Fantomex). Have you given any thought to this LGBT representation, and considering the nature of your cast, will there be time for some romance?

Interesting that you say "considering the nature of the cast" there might not be room for romance. Don't ass-kickers need love, too?

For real, though. Even though this is a shockingly different version of the X-Men, I want their story to have a classic X-Men feel. That means a lot of inter-character interactions, subplots and drama, both within the team and within the supporting cast I'll be introducing as time goes on. That also means there will be room for romance.

Yes, they are ruthless and merciless in their mission, but they are trying to keep Xavier's dream alive in the best way they know how. These are villains and hard cases trying to make it in the shadow of a dream many say they have no business trying to uphold.

As for Psylocke, Mystique, and Fantomex -- I've definitely taken everything that makes them who they are into consideration.

In the past few series Mystique has been in she's been a completely, unfocused mess. Hellfire School Teacher? Madripoor leader? Mad at Dazzler and Cyclops? Married to Professor X? Please tell me you have a solid plan for her motivations for being with these people who she hates (Sabretooth) and who just tried to kill her (Magneto). I love the character, but she needs some focus and not just random panel time.

I couldn't agree with you more. Coming into this, Mystique made my head spin, but I had a notion that I wanted to explore with her. Pages and pages of notes later, I have a big storyline in mind for Mystique, something that I think will alleviate a lot of the concerns you have with her, give her some focus and make readers care about her.

Speaking of big stories, I sat down and wrote out a plan for each and every member of the cast. I have a long-term story in mind for each team member. For some of the characters, the seeds of these stories will be planted in the first issue. For others, it might be a couple of issues before you see it taking shape. But there will be ongoing drama for all the Uncanny X-Men, with the stories playing out across several issues or longer.

When [Rick] Remender used Sabretooth [in "Uncanny Avengers"], he seemed to have a plan for his redemption. But now that he left Marvel, the character is all open to change. What can we expect Sabretooth to face in your book? Will he get a new costume?

It might seem strange, but Sabretooth is pretty close to this team's "moral compass." He's still very much on the path to redemption. He's not there yet, though. There's a long, long way to go and it will not be easy on him at all. My long-term plan for Sabretooth is one of my favorite elements of this series. It strikes a very personal chord for me, and I think it will resonate with readers. There's a lot of trouble, tragedy, and even romance -- not with Psylocke -- ahead for Creed.


FSaker said...

Monet and Archangel on the team... I wonder how Warren became Archangel again. Did he recover his memories/soul? Is he now aware of the man he was before Psylocke stabbed him with the Life Seed?

I like both characters, but to be honest, I'd gladly trade them for Gambit and Vampire Jubilee (Jubilee is better known to the average reader than Monet, I'm kinda tired of the drama between Warren and Betsy constantly returning, and Gambit NEEDS to finally come face-to-face with Fantomex - if I'm not mistaken, Morrison even mentioned that Fantomex was inspired in Gambit somehow). But I'm not complaining about them being in the team.

Anyway, Betsy's new uniform looks cool! And Magneto's looks much better than the white one and the black one that he was wearing before (even though he has a defined body, he looks kinda lame with his arms uncovered). And... to be honest... it took me a while to realize that Land did this art, because it looks quite good.

Eduardo said...

The art is really better. I also hope the questions left from Remender's X-force get some consideration. I am eager to know how Warren's mind is dealing with everything and, as he became Archangel, if he can ever turn evil again.
Fantomcrazy has been through a lot, he deserves some peace heheh I like him, he brings fun to the game!
To all others, let's see their motivations to be on this X-team. Touching that Betsy addiction stuff would be interesting too, as she will be around members who have lots of blood in their hands. I don't know how far they explored it on last X-force issues (I am from Brazil, like Fernando Saker, but I haven´t read the spoilers of the last X-force issues).

Zak N said...

To be honest, I kind of expected either Psylocke or Monet to be the "moral compass" of the group. Even with her addiction to killing Psylocke strikes me as more of a good guy than a bad guy. But maybe that's just how I like to think of her: a noble, determined hero who still fights for Xavier's dream, and also has a bit of a dark side because of her past. I mean, that's kind of how I would describe how she's been written as (overall) in recent years...she's been very compelling for me as a reader.
But still, I am very curious and excited to see where Bunn plans to take Betsy next in terms of her personality/characterization. Excited to see her interactions with Sabretooth too. Not overly excited to see with her dealing with both Fantomex and Archangel again, but I'm hoping for the best. It could definitely be very interesting.

And I have to agree with the art part... it does look a lot better. I've always thought Land's cover artwork was much better than his artwork within the comic books. And I do have to say I particularly like how he renders Psylocke's psychic knife. But that's just my opinion; I know he's got a lot of haters.

Tazirai said...

If you guys check out CBR thread on this. I think Land "Borrowed" My personally created Psylocke psychic signature overlay. I posted some 2 year old evidence. I find it hilarious.

Rahsaan said...

I would have loves for Cypher and perhaps Rictor or Longshot to have been one of the unannounced team members. I think all of them would have been perfect foils for the darkness of this roster.

Rahsaan said...

Plus, the Dougbeth friendship/attraction is
one that never saw closure. Both have been brought back from the dead and have changed tremendously since the last time they interacted in the late 80s. I really wish at least one writer would recall their relationship.

FSaker said...

Indeed. Plus, if Betsy still has romantic feelings for Doug, he's legal now.

And Eduardo, I like Fantomex too! I wonder if this is the New-Fantomex (the one who was in Cable's X-Force and almost destroyed the world), Weapon XIII (a.k.a. Dark Fantomex) posing as Fantomex, Cluster (a.k.a. "Fantomlady") after a female-to-male body swap or the three brains (New-Fantomex, Weapon XIII and Cluster) merged back into a single body. I guess the first option is the most likely, but I'd really like if the last one were the real one. Cluster and Weapon XIII were cool for a while, but now it's time to have the real, complete Fantomex back.

(and I'm not saying this so that Betsy can get back with him; I think she should spend some time enjoying life as a single woman)

Zebedee said...

Betsy is bi? When did that happen? I can't keep up with comics anymore, way too confusing, but I always check in on Betts.