Fans who thought Marvel Comics' "X-Force" was shaken up last year as part of the Counter X line got a real shock Monday, when the company announced the new, new direction for the title.

[X-Force]"I was asked to take on 'X-Force,' with wide latitude to spin it in a different direction," series editor Axel Alonso told the Comic Wire on Tuesday. "I got to thinking about the concept of 'Mutant' and how it's been utilized in the X-books. 'Mutant' has always been an analogy for 'race' or 'difference' in the X-titles, so I got to thinking about how the dynamic between humans and mutants would play out in the world I recognize.

"The analogy of the sports celebrity immediately came to mind. Sports and celebrity are the great levelers in society. So, I wondered, how would a team of Mutants who played for the 'home team' -- i.e. the 'Free World' -- and who were canny about the power of PR. Mutants who would know how to play their special talents to their advantage.

"After some thought, I tapped Peter Milligan to consider taking over the reins. He and I had worked together on [DC/Vertigo's] 'Human Target,' and I was well aware that Pete was fascinated by celebrity culture and the concept of artifice, which were potential themes of this series. I also knew that he could write a nifty action-adventure book, with memorable characters. Several hours and 40 beers later, we had come up with a nifty premise. A few weeks later, I got to speaking with Mike Allred and I mentioned Pete's spin on 'X-Force.' He read the notes, and was, like, 'Sign me up!'

"The new 'X-Force' is meant to be accessible to new readers, and entertaining for old readers. We're looking to do a book that is, at its core, a wild ride, but that has that other layer that makes it memorable. We're is not playing it safe, painting by numbers or arranging some stunt. For me, this book is a great indicator that Marvel is really willing to roll the dice with something that it deems to be creatively strong, that actually brings a new vibe and aesthetic to the X-line. Which this book does."

Given Allred's idiosyncratic designs for the new cast of characters, and the nature of the characters themselves -- there's an amorphous sex symbol and a leader who has a mutant vomiting ability -- some X-book fans have been wondering how these new characters fit into the Marvel Universe.

"'X-Force' will exist squarely in the X-Universe," Alonso said. "The X-Force are living out Professor X's dream -- that mutants and human can con-exist in relative harmony -- only at some cost to themselves, as you'll see. They are aware of this.

New X-Men writers "Grant Morrison and Joe Casey are hyped about the direction 'X-Force' has gone, and are considering ways to acknowledge the presence of these new mutants on the scene -- if only as background noise in their books. It goes without saying that someone like, say, Wolverine might have less than warm feelings about mutants who have arguably 'crossed over.' Might even view them as the 'Uncle Toms' of the Mutant World. Might even take it up with them at some point."

Part of the problem the X-Men may well have with X-Force is the nature of their mission:

"They are heroes who are 'rewarded' for their services. They don't do pro bono work like the X-Men. They wear costumes, some are even spandex, but they do so mainly for the commercial value inherent in them. I mean, if can N'Sync wear costumes, why not them?"


[Asterix]With apologies to Eric Shanower of "Age of Bronze," the world's most popular historical comic, hands down, is the French series "Asterix."

Selling approximately 5 million copies a year, the "Asterix" series tells the humorous adventures of a band of Gauls resisting Roman occupation of what will one day be France during the time of Julius Caesar. The books have been translated into more than 50 languages and are available around the world.

This year, 40 years after the publication of "Asterix the Gaul," the 31st volume will be published and may well be the final one in the series.

Comicon.com's Splash is reporting that "La Naissance d'Astérix" ("The Birth of Asterix"), to be published on March 14, is expected to be co-creator Albert Uderzo's last.

The elderly Uderzo, who also runs the Albert-René publishing house, has previously stated he would not be returning to "Asterix" in the future.

Asterix's co-creator, Rene Goscinny, died in 1977.



Perhaps this isn't a surprise to many observers, but when it was announced that series creator J. Scott Campbell wouldn't be working on the next "Danger Girl" miniseries, some fans of the perennially late series dared to dream that Tommy Yune's "Danger Girl: Kamikaze" might ship on time.

It doesn't look like that will be happening.

DC Comics announced on Wednesday that the first issue of "Danger Girl: Kamikaze" -- previously solicited for December 13 -- to February 7. The second half of the two issue series is currently scheduled to be in shops three weeks later, on February 28. The Danger Girl PVC figurine set is still scheduled to be in stores next week.

"Danger Girl" fan site DangerGirl.com spoke with Campbell earlier this week about forthcoming projects; specifically, collections of previously released work:

"Well, I can tell you that the sketchbook is scheduled for April and that it will be a prestige format book and that the overall look and feel of the book will be something similar to the 'Dangerous Collections' [that reprinted two issues of the series each] though not exactly. The book will be about 56 pages and will retail at about $5.95. Besides having NO ADS the book will also feature an extensive full-color gallery of rarely seen finished pieces including much of the video game drawings and images such as the French 'Comic Box' illustration, etc, etc ... Yes, pretty much all of the artwork for the book IS already done, however, don't underestimate the extra work that has to go into compiling and designing such a book.

"The Danger Girl hard cover is planned for the following month, reprinting the preview and #1-7 with hopefully a few extras thrown in as well. It should cost somewhere around $30. There are no plans for a fourth 'Danger Girl' collection reprinting #6 & 7."


In case you missed Wednesday's Comic Wire Extra, Marvel Comics officially introduced their X-Man creative teams to the public in the first of their semi-regular telephone press conferences of 2001.

Joining writer Grant Morrison on "X-Men" will be artist Frank Quitely -- late of DC/WildStorm's "The Authority" -- while artist Ian Churchill will be joining writer Joe Casey on "Uncanny X-Men."

For the full story, click here.


Here's what's news (and press releases) in CBR's Comic Brief in the wake of Linda Chavez withdrawing as a cabinet nominee:

  • PREVIEW: Green Arrow #1
  • PREVIEW: 10th Muse #2
  • Marat Mychaels' Demonslayer Seeks Vengeance with Avatar Launch
  • Chris Staros responds to question regarding Top Shelf returnability
  • TwoMorrows Publishing launches newmagazine, Draw!Preview: "Green Arrow" #1
  • 'Constantine' fast tracked at Warner Bros.
  • Terry Dodson and Daimon Scott exclusive with DC

Dark Phoenix's Brotherhood of Mutants Is Fox's Best Yet

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