It was really only a matter of time.
Since its debut, writer Rick Remender’s shepherding of Marvel’s black ops mutants in “Uncanny X-Force” has been one of the darker toned series in the X-Men’s stable — up to and including the current “Dark Angel Saga.” So if anyone was to pull their cast into the bleak future of the legendary “Age of Apocalypse” story, it was Remender.
From the return of somewhat familiar faces to the team’s lives like the AoA Jean Grey to some significantly different and aggressive takes on friends such as Iceman, the current arc continues this week with “Uncanny X-Force” #14 and CBR News is lucky to have Remender on tap this week!
Your many e-mails have been viewed, reviewed and stand ready to be answered — even when some of these queries have no easy answers. Let’s just jump right in and see where our Q&A takes us today!
CBR News: It seems as though we’re starting off this week with some crossover from other areas of comics as Charlesn2 wondered where the ladies are these days:
1) Without Domino, Rahne, or Laura, this X-Force team is largely a boys’ club. The fact that Psylocke seems to be the least willing to kill only emphasizes this. Do you think there are any X-women that would “fit right in” on X-Force?
Rick Remender: Elizabeth’s hesitation to kill isn’t based on her gender; it’s based on her character. I know that she has killed in the past, and now that she’s put in a situation where she must take life to protect her family she’s willing to make the hard decisions. But given where her character comes from, taking her entire arc into consideration, I feel responsible to ensure that the voice of Betsy from years ago is still echoing in the head of modern Psylocke.
There are other X-women who could fit on the team, some you mentioned, others, like Marrow, who might warrant dusting off at some point.
2) Do you intend to address the whereabouts of any the former X-Force team members, such as Domino, Elixir, Warpath, or Vanisher?
No, that would be solely continuity-minded storytelling. I’m not entirely concerned with tying up every loose end from all of the previous incarnations of the title. We’ve got a large story to tell, and focusing on the cast at hand, and this story is my priority. If along the way one of those characters makes natural sense to be involved in the story, I would definitely enjoy writing any one of them. Especially Warpath.
Lozano has an eye out for some familiar X-cast members:
1) When will we get to see humanoid EVA?
It’s a really good question. That would be a pretty big event, and we would have to be involved in some kind of giant Fantomex storyline at that point. I wonder if we have anything like that in the works…
2) Will Cable make an appearance in your book since he’s being “reborn” and Apocalypse is around?
I can’t talk about plans for Cable, or what he’ll be up to in the future. It’s a natural fit, and an exciting idea, that at some point there would be a convergence.
The Merc With a Mouth has caught the attention of Ben K:
When it comes to Deadpool, it feels that most authors use him as a punchline and have no regard for his personal development. But within the first few issues of “Uncanny X-Force,” you have painted him as a man with a weak-but-present moral compass when you showed his concerns over participating in the death of a young Apocalypse and his refusal to be paid for his work with the team. What are the challenges of writing stories that advance Deadpool as a character, when he is typically set up to be a joke?
I think the challenge is to not be heavy-handed or go to far away from what’s established with the character. When I take a book on, I try and write up what I think is going on in a character’s head behind the persona that they’re selling to everyone around them. There’s a great difference between what we show other people and what we think in our own heads. I like to try and understand both of those things before I write a character. For me, Deadpool (while clearly insane) also suffers from a sort of neediness. I find that in people who are constantly joking that there is some level of insecurity behind it all. It’s not true in all cases, but I think humor, and being funny, is a trait that is developed by people who discover it as a means to gain acceptance. So that led me down a road with Wade that I feel led me to who the character is. If there isn’t some humanity to the character, then he becomes a two-dimensional snore, and we never invest or care about his journey. But he’s also a terrific smartass, and an assassin, so the trick is really balancing all of those things at the right moments.
It’s lady love in a solo form from Rahsaan:
I love what you’re doing with “Uncanny X-Force,” especially your depiction of Psylocke. I’m glad you cleared up the whole telekinesis debate, but I still have a question about her abilities. Is Psylocke still able to psycho-blast and get random premonitions? I recall that in the ’80s, both powers proved vital to her and other X-Men’s survival at times (like showing her what the Reavers had in store for the Outback team).
Psycho-blast yes. Random premonitions… I suppose a telepath can gather things from the zeitgeist if she focuses on it and gather some predictive abilities. I know it’s been done in the past. I just feel like she’s plenty powerful and has plenty of abilities as is. More powers, and more abilities, do not enrich the character in my opinion.
From a stand-alone man on the team to a solo running lady, let’s put two-and-two together from Renaldo:
1) With the Logan/Jean “flashback romance” and the
Psylocke/Warren/Fantomex love triangle, it seems you are sticking some romantic overtones in this gory and violent (which we all love) book. What’s your motive in tying romance with a book like this?
First off, I don’t see this book as being gory. I see this being action-heavy, high adventure. Yes, there have been a few shocking assassinations throughout, but we haven’t shown any gore or very much blood.
As for romance, romance is part of all good X-stories and most stories in general. It adds drama, tension, and context to the action stuff, something more meaningful to live and fight for. A character’s romantic life can reveal a layer you can’t get to with anything else. Most of my favorite X-Men stories involve a love affair.
2) After “Schism,” Logan will be a leader of an X-Men team as well as an Avenger. How will he be able to continue to go on these dark missions in light of these facts?
You have to consider that while many months have passed for you waiting for new issues of “X-Force,” to the team maybe only four to six total days worth of their lives are covered in the book. Jason Aaron covered this in an issue of “Wolverine” to great effect. Wolverine wakes up, he goes to whatever team he’s working with that day, he spends a day or two saving the world, then he shuffles off to the next team or solo adventure. I think he’s a man chased by demons who stays active to avoid having to face them.
Let’s go next to the big picture from MarvelMaster616:
1) It was mentioned at Comic-Con that “Schism” will affect X-Force. What kind of repercussions can we expect?
Jason, Kieron and I have been in close contact to make sure that these books not only feel like a family of interconnecting stories, but to ensure our future plans respect the future plans of the other writers. The new status quo after “Schism” will add a new job on top of X-Force’s already hectic schedule. Conversely, the events of the “Dark Angel Saga” will also greatly affect both of the other titles. And what we’re talking about now, it could well grow into something that we can all reconnect on. There will be a lineup change in X-Force and a few other drastic changes as well.
2) I’m glad you got Jean Grey involved in the “Dark Angel Saga,” as she’s been absent from the X-books for so long. What is your approach to writing Jean Grey? And why do you state she was the love of Wolverine’s life when he arguably has a deeper history with Mariko Yashida? And where would Melita fit in?
I guess it comes down to interpretation. I see this coming from the idea that an unrequited love is somehow more powerful than one that was fulfilled. I see Logan’s first years in the X-Men, and his powerful attraction to Jean Grey, as the love that should have been. Logan and Jean did love each other, and they were obviously very attracted to each other, but there were so many things between them, so many reasons that could never happen, that they both went on with their lives and their other romances. Wolverine is an old, old man. He’ s had many loves in his life. Think about writing a vampire, who’s been alive for a couple hundred years. You have more than just one or two wives/long term girlfriends that he spent years in love with. Jean was the one fate conspired against and the one that haunts him.
3) I really enjoyed the scene in “Uncanny X-Force” #12 where Fantomex broke down Betsy’s relationship with Warren. Can we say at this point that the seeds of doubt have been sewn in Betsy? What will the “Dark Angel Saga” do for their relationship as a whole?
I could tell you, but then there wouldn’t be much reason to read the book. It’s one of those questions that’s impossible to give any answer to without spoiling the current storyline. Sorry.
We’ve got a grab bag of questions from Ben Ten:
1) Betsy has never showed any sign of affection for Fantomex as far as I can tell, then he just kisses her. Was he merely being impulsive, or is there something between them that we haven’t seen yet?
Obviously, the implication is that Betsy’s hostility towards Fantomex is overcompensation as she guards her true feelings for him. She’s clearly attracted to him, but also finds him repugnant on some level. I’ve always tried to play her attraction to Fantomex as guarded behind hostility, not spelled out and obvious.
2) We’ve heard from Comic-Con that AoA Iceman is going to play a big part in “Uncanny X-Force.” I’m sure you can’t spoil anything yet, but what was it about this character that made you bring him in?
I’ve had ideas for how to make Iceman incredibly formidable for a while, and I’ve been writing notes since I took this job. It was also something that editor Jody LeHeup wanted to see. So, as we were developing the current storyline, AoA Iceman’s role in it sort of naturally grew from both of our enthusiasm for this version of Bobby Drake and a natural build of the story.
Rick, I was a huge fan of your Dark Horse series, “The End League.” How much of your End League series was an influence on the “Age of Apocalypse” world? Did you find yourself using ideas from this series for the “Dark Angel Saga?”
“The End League” taught me how to write team comic books. “X-Force” definitely benefits from the lessons I learned writing that book. That series forced me to figure out how to handle an ensemble cast. So the book has played a large role in my writing of X-Force in general and how I approach a team. I drew from the same basic idea pool as I was putting together the Age of Apocalypse story. The amalgamated characters, the dark, hopeless, dystopian setting, a final band of heroes in world completely consumed and dominated by evil… there are many similar themes for sure.
That said, if you like what I’m doing on “X-Force,” why not go out and buy volumes 1 and volume 2 of my creator-owned, dystopian fantasy, “The End League?” Who are you to resist? Ugh… plugging feels dirty. Sorry.
And to wrap, time for our “Behind the X” get-to-know-you question: If you had to go back in time and live in the past, which year would you pick and why?
I’d go back to 1982, so that I still had a comfortable world to live in, with most of the amenities I am accustomed to, but I could go around and see every great hardcore punk and new wave band live.
In seven days, X-POSITION gets a shiny new coat of paint with “New Mutants” writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. What plans do they have for the finale of their “Fear Itself” arc? And what changes will we see to the team in the wake of “Schism?” I don’t have a clue, so you’d better write in and ask them those very questions!
Just get your emails to me ASAP and put an “X-Position” in the subject line. Failure to comply with these specifics will result in a banning to an apocalyptic future where there is no ice cream. I’m eagerly waiting to hear from you, so hurry!