Monday, May 27, 2024

X-Force Preview by Marcus To

X-Men Unlimited Infinity #141 Art

X-Men Unlimited Infinity #141 Spoilers

Spoilers: Selene and Dani engage in a fierce one-on-one battle, with Selene boasting about her impending ascension to becoming a true External High Lord and dismissing Dani as insignificant. Despite Dani's best efforts, Selene easily catches and breaks her arrows. Meanwhile, the rest of the team, including James, Betsy, Rictor, and Shatterstar, are retreating, acknowledging that Dani is buying them time. They encounter and eliminate two zombie Orchis goons, with Betsy noting the persistent threat of Selene's zombie soldiers. Madrox appears, revealing that he and his duplicates have taken care of the remaining enemies.

Magma is eager to fight Selene but is reminded by Betsy that she and Khora are vital to the mission's success. Betsy coordinates with Roberto, who is ready with X-Corps Island and a team including Layla, Trinary, and Wiz-Kid. Layla expresses concern about testing new tech on Selene, but Roberto trusts his team.

The fight between Selene and Dani continues, with Selene attempting to drown Dani, who retaliates by striking Selene with her bow and stabbing her with an arrow. Betsy emphasizes the importance of isolating the battlefield to protect Nova Roma and the rescued mutants. A mutant circuit involving Magma, Rictor, and Khora is initiated to isolate Selene's palace.

As Dani prepares to leave through a portal with Shatterstar's help, she reveals that the fight was a setup for Selene's downfall. The mutant in the Cerebro-like helmet is revealed to be Cipher, whose abilities were used to hide X-Corps Island, thanks to Trinary's programming. Dani taunts Selene, implying that traditional methods can't kill a witch like her, as she disappears through the portal, leaving Selene in disbelief.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

X-Solicits for August 2024

X-Force #2
Geoffrey Thorne (W) • Marcus To (A)
Cover by: Stephen Segovia
Rachel Summers Variant Cover by: Clayton Crain
Rachel Summers Virgin Variant Cover by: Clayton Crain
Variant Cover by: Todd Harris
Variant Cover by: Alan Quah
Disco Dazzler Variant Cover by: Phil Noto
Deadpool & Wolverine Weapon X-Traction Variant Cover by: David Nakayama
Marvel Multiverse RPG Variant Cover by: Ruairí Coleman 

Warfare in Wakanda!

Forge leads X-Force in their new, custom Blackbird to the next world fracture in Wakanda. But as the ground literally changes under their feet, the team will have to stop…the Black Panther?! That can’t be right, can it?! And what secret is bubbling under the surface that just might tear the X-Force team asunder? The new X-Force ongoing hits its stride in this issue – don’t miss jumping on early!

Variant Cover by Alan Quah

Variant Cover by Todd Harris

X-Men: Wedding Special #1 Preview

X-Men: Wedding Special #1
Writer: Various
Art by: Various
In Stores: May 29, 2024

The Story:
A Betsy Braddock and Rachel Summers adventure by the writer who brought them together—Excalibur scribe Tini Howard! Joined by rising star Phillip Sevy, Howard pits the hot new couple against the Omniversal Majestrix, Opal Luna Saturnyne! Just about everyone in the Marvel Universe is invited to the vow renewal… except for Saturnyne. And she’s not happy. But why is she taking it out on Betsy and Rachel?

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The X-Force Head to Wakanda in ‘X-Force’ #2

X-Force #2
Written by Geoffrey Thorne
Art by Marcus To
Cover by Stephen Segovia
On Sale 8/28
FORGE leads X-FORCE in their new, custom BLACKBIRD to the next world fracture in WAKANDA. But as the ground literally changes under their feet, the team will have to stop…the BLACK PANTHER?! That can’t be right, can it?! And what secret is bubbling under the surface that just might tear the X-Force team asunder? The new X-FORCE ongoing hits its stride in this issue – don’t miss jumping on early!

Monday, May 20, 2024

X-Men Unlimited Infinity #140 Art

X-Men Unlimited Infinity #140 Spoilers

Spoilers: Selene's ascension is nearly complete as she grows in size and rises covered in blood. Every drop of blood that drips from Selene transforms into a creature. Betsy warns X-Corps that they need to buy time for Mirage's team to work. Betsy, Rictor, Shatterstar, Thunderbird, and Warpath group together to face the blood drones.

Meanwhile, Mirage's team (Magma, Cerebra, Khora, Velocidade, and Escapade) rushes to stop Selene. Mirage notes that Selene is holding Tempo prisoner in her grasp and that her ascension won't be completed if they rescue Tempo. Escapade and Velocidade manage to rescue Tempo. Magma seizes the opportunity to hit Selene with her lava. Mirage observes that Selene is using the full strength of her mutant powers to complete the ascension; Cerebra then intervenes and makes her X-gene disobey her. Selene loses her giant, bloody form and becomes enraged at having her ritual interrupted. Mirage points her arrow at her and says it's time to settle the score.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Geoffrey Thorne's Q&A on X-Force -- Round 6

Geoffrey Thorne recently visited the CBR Forums for another engaging round of Q&A about his upcoming work on X-Force. Thorne also took his time to leave a message to Betsy Braddock fans:

"My friends, I love Lady Elizabeth Braddock more and more as I write her. She is going to have lots to do in this book—things I think you will VERY MUCH enjoy. But I don't have the luxury of being solely focused on any single member of the team. All of them will get subplots, secrets, and spotlight. As I write, personalities are coming into conflict I hadn't expected, and that's always fun. I'm never out to dampen enthusiasm, only to temper expectations for what the book can accomplish. There's just no way this TEAM book can fulfill the goals a SOLO book can. That said, if I do my job right, maybe Marvel green-lights a new Betsy-centric book down the line. She's going to do big things, I promise. Just not ALL the big things at once."

Will we get to learn Forge's and Sage's real names, not just their codenames?
Thorne: Both Forge and Sage have multiple aliases. Sage has more aliases than anyone even knows about. What's either of their real names? Stay tuned.

Can you share how far you've outlined the story?
Thorne: I have plans for at least two multi-issue arcs. My arcs are not short. For example, Green Lantern went a little over a year. That was one arc of a proposed three. X-Force isn’t anywhere near as lore-heavy, and I’m not writing the equivalent of two books at once, so the pacing and tone will be massively different.

Did you have a hand in designing the new team costumes, or did Marcus develop the look based on your concepts?
Thorne: I was one of the people who got to chime in on the designs after the fact. There was some Forge, Tank, and Captain Britain discussion. Everybody else was just GO! Marcus doesn't need help in this regard, frankly. He’s a killer. We can talk more about that when I do the annotations.

Will the current state of Betsy's and Sage's powers be explained?
Thorne: Yes, we will see that. I've wanted to get my creative hands on Sage for some time, and now's my chance. Lady Braddock's status as Captain Britain can't be ignored and will necessarily play SOME part in our story but is by no means the dominating thread (For now. In the future, who can say?).

What is the mental state of each X-Force member after everything that's happened?
Thorne: Everybody has a different thing going on. Sage and Surge probably took the fall of Krakoa the hardest, albeit for very different reasons, and their responses to it are VERY different. Betsy and Rachel also have different responses. Not quite opposite to one another, but different. Forge probably just metabolized it, but who can say what goes on in that mind? Tank ain't talking, so we'll just have to wait on that.

Will Forge act as a mentor to Noriko? Does he see himself in her, similar to how he learned under Naze?
Thorne: No, Forge is nobody's mentor, and Surge is a grown-up. They do have a relationship different from the others, though.

As a Sage fan who never liked the alcoholic plotline, will that be addressed?
Thorne: No. Sage's problem isn't with alcohol.

Will X-Force operate independently, with little knowledge of what the other mutant teams are doing?
Thorne: Correct. They are doing their own thing. However, the first few issues happen over a relatively short period, whereas some of the other books may span days, weeks, or even months in a single issue. But this X-Force is unconnected to any other team or agenda.

Can we expect self-contained stories, multi-issue arcs, or a different structure?
Thorne: Both. I'm trying to keep a good balance on that.

Is there a chance Rachel will interact with Jean soon, possibly through astral visitations like Scott and Jean?
Thorne: Unlikely at this juncture. X-Force was plotted prior to knowing anything about the other books, so if we want to team up with Phoenix, we can, but any such appearance in the first arc would likely be in the form of a flashback. As you read more issues, you'll see why that is.

Did you choose the entire team yourself, or was it a collaboration with the editor to create a new X-Force lineup?
Thorne: I did pull the whole team, but there were three characters I wanted who were unavailable by the time Tom accepted the pitch, so I had to adjust the stories to work without them. It would have been a bigger team, in other words, with three more members. Turns out we don't need them, and a smaller team might actually be better. I can't say who those characters are because it might spoil what someone else is doing in their book.

Is the team complete, or could we see new members join after the first arc?
Thorne: I'm leaving the door open for one more member, but it depends on what happens with the other X books. I have not asked for any special treatment for that character from any of the other teams. I always have back-ups if the first choice is killed, banished, or otherwise unavailable. It will not be Deadpool, I can promise that.

As a request, could you limit or avoid possession stories for Rachel, Sage, and Betsy, given their past experiences with this trope?
Thorne: Lol. I promise, there will be ZERO possession stories.

With your storyline planned out, do you allow for flexibility in case new elements arise, or do you stick strictly to the script?
Thorne: You have to leave wiggle room. While it's not as cohesive as Krakoa, this era requires all of us to be in contact about each other's books. If there's an event or crossover, we have to be able to coordinate without wrecking whatever we had going prior to the crossover. So, yeah, I always try to be as flexible as possible when working at one of the Big 2.

How many issues will the first arc have?
Thorne: What I can say is you should consider every five issues to be a CHAPTER, not an ARC. My arcs are longer than that. I like when arcs flow into each other seamlessly, so the seeds of every upcoming arc will be dropped in the arc you're reading, though you might not realize it at the moment.

Will there be an updated origin for Forge, given that his original Vietnam era background no longer fits his intended age?
Thorne: Flashbacks are always on the table. Obviously, it can't be Vietnam, so yeah, the Siangcong war is Forge's war. I would imagine SOME of that backstory will show up.

Will Surge reflect on how her generation endured the decimation and the loss of Krakoa, despite regaining many friends?
Thorne: Nori is feeling the hit Krakoa took.

Will Betsy's precognitive abilities return?
Thorne: Nope. I don’t like precogs. Sorry.

With X-Force being more globetrotting, will we see more of the broader Marvel Universe, including various locales, heroes, and villains, rather than just X-Men adjacent ones?
Thorne: We will be seeing a lot of 616, forgotten, current, and new.

Will you tap into the 80's Marvel UK lore, featuring characters created by Alan Moore, James Delano, and Alan Davis in Captain Britain?
Thorne: I liked a lot of that stuff when it came out, but it will be quite some time before any of that shows up, if ever. This is X-Force, after all, not Captain Britain. That said, everything is fair game. No era is off the table.

Without a writers' room, do you keep in close contact with other writers, or do the editors update you on other books?
Thorne: We are all in semi-constant contact. We are already talking about places and ways to do little cameos and minor crossovers (between two books rather than the whole X line). I've read most of the first issues and seen some of the art from several of the titles, and it's all top shelf. We're nowhere near as interconnected as the Krakoa era, but the X line is still, at its heart, a family story. A great many predictions about what we're doing are WILDLY off the mark, which pleases me.

Can Brian Braddock regain his Captain Britain title? Having Betsy as Captain Britain while she's not even in costume doesn't uphold the legend and responsibilities of the role.
Thorne: This is not the place for that. This is not a FIX CAPTAIN BRITAIN book. It's X-Force. Once again, if you're thinking of X-Force as "the new Captain Britain book," you will be monstrously disappointed. Lady Braddock is a player, but it's not a stealth Captain Britain book. It's X-Force.

Will what Forge goes through in X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse impact his portrayal in X-Force?
Thorne: Everything to do with the fall of Krakoa impacts the cast of X-Force.

Does Forge still have his aerie?
Thorne: He does. People always seem to forget Forge is crazy rich, shoving him into the "gadget maker to solve problems" box. That's over. Forge owns a lot of properties.

How old would you say Forge is? He seems older than he looks.
Thorne: I prefer not to nail that down, but yes, Forge is considerably older than he looks.

In terms of Forge's love life, do you think his most interesting relationship was with Storm or Mystique?
Thorne: This will be addressed.

Betsy has shown psionic constructs like blades, bows, medieval gear, and even a turret. Will you draw on your experience with Green Lantern for her power manifestations?
Thorne: Nope. Betsy does do some constructs but nothing like what Green Lanterns do. Her powers don't work that way.

What sort of villains can we expect to see? Will they have specific interactions and connections with team members?
Thorne: Hm. Over the course of the arc, you will see a wide array of threats. Some will be straight-up villains. Some will be more in the nature of natural disasters in that there is no villainous intent, but the effects of behavior lead to cataclysmic outcomes. This arc is TEAM-specific, but there are rumblings in each of their pasts that could erupt at any time.

Will X-Force operate openly, remain secretive, or a combination of both?
Thorne: X-Force is doing its own thing, unknown to and without the sanction of any other group. The other X teams have no knowledge of their activities.

Which team member will have the most difficulty adjusting to the new status quo?
Thorne: Hmmm. I think, honestly, that depends on the moment in the story. I think Forge has the least problem with it for obvious reasons, and Sage basically thinks her way through pretty much any situation, good or bad. The others have a lot of baggage from the end of Krakoa they're sorting through. It will pop up at weird times.

Will Forge outfit the team with bio-suits or tech-based suits?
Thorne: Forge will be applying his mutant powers to all sorts of things over the course of this run. Suits will be the least of it.

Which character do you think fans will talk about the most or like the best?
Thorne: Probably Tank, judging by current interest.

What changes have been made from your original pitch that you can discuss?
Thorne: Less Vertigo, more Image.