When it comes to the rebellious team of the Marvel Universe, X-Force reigns supreme — and since the return of Cable to the present following “Avengers Vs. X-Men,” X-Force is back underground with some old familiar faces and some new. Putting together Cable’s black-ops/renegade mutant hybrid team is writer Dennis Hopeless, who has already put “Cable and X-Force” through the ringer during his first arc, recently penning a character issue for Colossus that included a friendly competition between Forge and Dr. Nemesis involving a giant robot and a giant scorpion. Meanwhile, Hopeless manages to put the teens of the Marvel U through their paces in Arcade’s newly-renovated Murderworld in “Avengers Arena.”
In order to get a better idea of what’s in store for Cable’s renegades and the Marvel teens on Murderworld, X-Position caught up with Hopeless to pose your questions about the Marvel NOW! books, including Dr. Nemesis’ love of his fedora, the addition of Boom Boom to Cable’s team, the possibility of more Braddock Academy and more.
mr_infinite starts things off this week with a question about the Giant Robot/Giant Scorpon deathmatch in the most recent issue of “Cable and X-Force.
Dear Mr. Hopeless, I’m digging “Cable and X-Force” and had a couple questions:
1) Where did you come up with the idea for a giant robot versus giant scorpion deathmatch between Doctor Nemesis and Forge?
Dennis Hopeless: Ha. Well, I wanted to do a lying low in Mexico story between the first two arcs. I had the Hope/Cable conversation planned from the very start and I knew I wanted Colossus and Dom to get frisky. That left Dr. Nemesis and Forge alone with a lot of time on their hands. It seemed like their antagonistic relationship and competitive natures would escalate quickly if left unchecked. The scene I came up with is part junkyard wars and part mad science cockfight. I even got to have Dr. Nemesis quote my favorite science fiction novel.
2) Colossus got a really in-depth character study in a previous issue, which I thought was really well-done. What about Colossus interested you to the point of wanting to give him a full issue to get into his head?
I really enjoyed the tortured Colossus we saw in Kieron Gillen’s “Uncanny X-Men” run. At the end of that series, Pete was in a really dark place. I wanted to play with that self-loathing depression while also allowing Colossus at least a chance to redeem himself. He can’t be brooding and broken forever. The Colossus stuff in issues #5 and #6 is the beginning of a big character arc we’re doing. I think Pete’s going to be a lot of fun to watch going forward.
Boom Boom fan Jeremy has a question both about her “Nextwave” past and Dennis’ experience with the Original Five X-Men.
1) Go team Boom Boom! Considering how ridiculous (and awesome) Tabitha was as part of Nextwave, did you find it challenging to bring her back into a more grounded setting?
Nah. “Nextwave” is a masterpiece and Boom Boom is perfect in it. I strive to make her half that cool in X-Force. Some people are a little ridiculous. That’s how we’ll be playing her.
2) I really enjoyed your take on the original X-Men in “X-Men: Season One.” With the original five wandering around the Marvel U, any chance you’ll get your hands on them again?
Nothing planned but I’d jump at the chance. “XM:SO” was about as fun to write as anything ever is. It’s a straight character story told in and around those classic Stan and Jack issues. As you’d expect, I fell in love with those characters as kids while I was writing it. So yeah, if I see an opportunity to use them, I’ll take it.
Paul has a few questions about Dennis’ other Marvel NOW! title, “Avengers Arena.”
Hello Mr. Hopeless, I just wanted to say that I’m really enjoying “Avengers Arena,” I started reading because the title featured Red Raven (poor Dania) but I’m staying for Death Locket.
So, my first question is, what made you decide to include Red Raven in the book? What did she add to the title with her brief appearance? And will we see anymore of her in flashbacks or get a mention of her going missing in the outside world (hey, she was pals with the Defenders)?
Honestly, it was mostly aesthetic at first. I think winged characters are cool looking. Her death was planned really early on. I wanted to sell that fight or flight thing and she was going to get a whole POV issue. Unfortunately, her issue didn’t end up fitting into the first arc plot so that moment found its way into Death Locket’s issue #2. There are a bunch of Red Raven notes in my plot notebook. Maybe someday someone will resurrect the character and I’ll get to use her. It won’t happen in “AA” though.
Will we be meeting any other Braddock Academy students through flashbacks? Maybe a mutant character like Thomas Jones/Alchemy?
Nothing planned so far, but I do love the Braddock Academy. I’ll definitely tell more BA stories if I’m given half a chance.
cora reef has questions about Cable, the expansion of the team roster and Dr. Nemesis’ penchant for hats.
Hi Dennis, What is the process of reintegrating a character like Cable back into the Marvel U like?
For me, it was a breeze. [Editor] Nick Lowe asked me to pitch a Cable led X-Force book and explained what was happening with the character after “AvX.” I did a lot of reading and rereading old Cable stories before I started writing him, but that was more about figuring out his voice and motivations.
Now Forge was a little trickier. I had to figure out how to unkill and uncrazy Forge before we could get him on the team. Check out the Marvel NOW! Point One story I did with Gabriel Hernandez Walta to see what we came up with.
The roster so far has a lot of very different personalities. Are there plans to add more to your cast in the coming months, or are you pretty content with the amount of mutants you’ve got?
Boom Boom was the last teammate on my initial list. She was going to be in the first arc but it was starting to seem like too many moving parts so we held her back until issue #6. There will be a couple new supporting characters coming up in the second and third arcs and of course there’s our shadow-dwelling Big Bad. As you’ve already seen with Wolverine, Kitty and Cyclops, I like doing X-Men cameos. That will definitely continue.
Will we ever see Dr. Nemesis try on different hats?
Dr. Nemesis’s fedora obsession is based on my friend and fellow creator Ande Parks. Ande has an obscene vintage hat collection and loves tweeting things like, “There’s nothing quite like the smell of old felt.” I have a document on my desktop full of Ande hat quotes that I can steal for Nemesis. That’s a long way of saying yes, I’d say it’s extremely likely we’ll see Nemesis trying on, smelling, caressing and obsessing over hats.
MixedMarvelite has a question about Cable’s brand new battle-arm.
Cable’s death-arm is almost like another mutant power. How versatile is it actually and will Cable ever have any trouble controlling it?
That thing can do it all. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out it has a built in mini-fridge full of cold beer. As long as Cable has Forge at his side, I think his tech will continue to work for and not against him. Now his actual mutant powers are different story all together.
Are there any established Marvel villains that you’d like to get your hands on to go up against Cable and his squad?
Yes, but I’d hate to spoil anything by telling you who. You’ll see.
Finally, here’s this week’s Behind the X question: Did you ever invent a superhero growing up? If so, who were they and what was their power?
Yes. When I was in 5th grade I created a kid-superhero named Electro-kid. My mom made me a black spandex Halloween costume with a shiny lightning bolt on the chest; yellow super hero underwear and matching felt boot covers. I got laughed at a lot that Halloween but looking back it was pretty awesome. I’m sure Mom would love to scan and post the photos.
Thanks to this week’s special guest Dennis Hopeless for taking time out for X-Position!
Next week, it’s a trip back to the Ultimate Universe to check in “Ultimate Comics X-Men” and upcoming “X-Men” writer Brian Wood! If you’ve got a question for Brian and the status of the Ultimate U’s cadre of mutants or his all-female team of X-Men, go ahead and send it over in an e-mail with the subject line “X-Position” or in a 140 character question via Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!