The heroes of the Marvel Universe are driven to save the world on a regular basis, but what if that drive could be turned against them? What would happen to a team of heroes if they consistently made their lives worse every time they tried to avert a looming apocalypse? Writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Salvador Larroca began to explore those questions last December as part of Marvel NOW! when they kicked off their new series “Cable and X-Force.”
In the first two arcs of the series, Cable received prophetic visions of a dangerous plague that ignites a war between humans and mutants, and later saw an alien armada poised to destroy Earth. The time-displaced son of Cyclops and Jean Grey decided to gather his teammates — Colossus, Domino, Doctor Nemesis, Forge and Boom Boom — in an effort to avert these impending catastrophes. They were successful in both instances, but because of complications they ended up making their lives much, much worse in the process. Now the team is targeted by every law enforcement agency on the planet, including the Uncanny Avengers.
Just who is sending Cable these visions and what do they want from him and X-Force? Comic Book Resources spoke with Hopeless about these questions as well as his plans for the future of “Cable & X-Force.”
CBR News: Dennis, a lot has happened since the last time we chatted about “Cable & X-Force” and one of them is the arrival of new member Boom-Boom AKA Tabitha Smith. I imagine she was an easy fit given her past connection to the team and the fact that her powers make her the demolitions expert of Cable’s crew, but what else do you feel she adds to the book? Which aspects of Boom Boom’s personality are you interested in exploring in “Cable and X-Force?”
Dennis Hopeless: Boom was originally supposed to join up in the first arc. In fact, Salva’s original sketch of that “Usual Suspects”-inspired issue #1 cover had Tabby in it blowing a bubble gum bubble. Unfortunately we had so much going on in our opening arc Boom Boom wouldn’t fit, so we decided to hold off and introduce her during the prison break.
I think Tabby brings a lot of energy and levity to a team full of extremely serious people. If she and Dr. Nemesis have anything in common, it’s a desire to make X-Force more fun. I’m also a fan of how uncomplicated Boom’s motivations can be. She joined this X-Force because it sounded like fun. She’s just having a good time. That attitude makes her a little dangerous in certain situations. I like that. This team needed a wildcard.
I’m having a great time writing the Domino/Boom Boom relationship. #11 focuses on Nina and Tabby. We get a little insight into why they get along so well. These are old friends who trust each other almost completely despite very rarely seeing eye to eye. Dom is a planner. Boom Boom flies by the plasma-singed seat of her pants.
Boom Boom joined the team in “Cable & X-Force” #6 to help ensure another of Cable’s apocalyptic visions didn’t come true. Just like in the team’s first mission, there were unforeseen complications that ultimately made things worse for Cable and his teammates despite averting disaster. Are you able to comment at all on why these things keep happening? Is it just coincidence? Or are we right to be suspicious and think that someone or something is making things harder for Cable and his teammates?
I don’t want to reveal too much but part of the problem is that the future is a moving target. Cable’s plans are based on stopping specific future events from happening. But the moment X-Force starts to interfere, the future begins to shift and change. This forces the team to do a lot of reacting, which makes things messy.
That said, someone is responsible for all of this. We teased that in issue #2. By the end of the third arc, readers will know who that is, what’s been going on with Cable’s brain, and why.
Let’s talk about a little bit about that person behind Cable’s visions. Can you comment on their motivations for sending Cable these prophecies? One might guess they don’t want the world to end since they’re warning Cable of impending doom, but it also seems like they have an axe to grind with Cable since the result of each successful outcome keeps making his life worse. Are those reasonable conclusions?
Not much I can say here without spoiling a lot. All will be revealed very soon.
Fair enough. In #7 Cable was delayed by the sudden arrival of his father, Cyclops, while the team was trying to steal a S.W.O.R.D. spaceship. It felt like their conversation went pretty well. How would you describe the current relationship between Cable & Cyclops? Did they get to say everything they wanted to say in the amount of time they had? How important was it for Cable to hear that he had his father’s support? And has Cable even had time to process what his dad’s been up to?
I think Scott made himself pretty clear there. Cable didn’t really have time for any of what was going on in that scene. He was more concerned about getting back to the job. There were lives to save. We’re running Cable pretty ragged in this book. He almost never gets a moment to relax and decompress. Even when then the rest of the team gets some downtime, Cable is processing new visions and making new plans. That’s a lot of stress to take on and it pretty well consumes him.
I do think Cable appreciated his father’s faith and support. Theirs is an interesting relationship I’d love to explore deeper at some point. The hard part will be forcing Cable to make time for that.
In “Cable and X-Force” #8 Cable convinces Agent Brand, the head of S.W.O.R.D., to help him save his team, by using his powers to show her what would have happened if X-Force hadn’t broken one of her prisoners out of jail. Just how powerful, or perhaps how versatile, are Cable’s telepathic abilities?
Cable is an extremely powerful telepath and telekinetic. Unfortunately, these new precognitive visions are overtaxing his brain to the point that it is literally killing him. Any time he uses his TK or TP, it exacerbates that problem. Cable doesn’t prioritize his own health terribly high, but he can’t save the world from body bag. So he has been using his powers as sparingly as possible.
Colossus played a big role in helping rescue his teammates in “Cable & X-Force” #8, and doing so seemed to help him come to terms his recent feelings of guilt. How would you describe Colossus’ outlook on life going into this month’s “Cable and X-Force” #10? What does his new team mean to him now?
Pete has finally committed himself to X-Force’s mission. He really wanted to atone for past sins and that’s why he turned himself in. We saw him achieve a level of peace when he was in jail that he hasn’t had in a long time. But at the end of the day, that obsession with atonement put his teammates in peril.
Coming out of that, I think Pete has decided to move on. He’s learning how to prioritize the future over the past. He’s learning how to forgive himself enough to move on. He wants to make things work with Domino and is willing to accept X-Force’s mission statement. I’m excited to see where this new outlook takes Colossus.
You sent Cable’s daughter Hope on a quest to clear her father’s name in #9 and showed how that made her a target of the Uncanny Avengers. The solicits for “Cable & X-Force” #10-13 suggest those characters will play large roles in this next arc and that a number of plot threads will be coming to a head soon. What should readers know about these issues going in?
This is the big one. Questions will be answered and the conflicts we’ve been building since issue #1 will come to a head. These issues plot the course for the massive collision that is issue #14. It’s big and crazy and has been a lot of fun to write.
We’re building toward big things for the series and it all kicks off in the third arc. I think we’ve really hit our stride and there’s a lot of cool stuff coming right up.
Artist Salvador Larroca will bring the third arc to life, and he’s been right there with you from the start. That kind of consistency is something of a rarity these days. How does it feel to be working with one artist on this particular book? What do you feel that adds to the story?
I couldn’t be happier. Salva is the perfect artist for this book. He brings just the right amount of realism to the pages of “X-Force.” It’s almost like we’re making a big budget action movie every month, which is the exact tone we wanted for this story. And like you say, he’s great while also being so fast. That gives us a nearly unprecedented level of visual consistency. It’s great.
Since this is a book that features cryptic visions of the future, I thought it might be fun to leave readers with some cryptic visions of their own about what’s coming down the line. Can you offer up any mysterious clues, hints or visions about upcoming stories in “Cable & X-Force?”
Sure. Good luck with these:
Patch no more. All-you-can-drink-slushies. Wet dream boom chase. Demon Bank. Paradox. Daddy issues like whoa.
“Cable & X-Force” #10 is on sale June 19.