Humphries and Hopeless Pursue Their "Vendetta" with "X-Force"

The title characters of Marvel Comics' ongoing "Cable & X-Force" series have succeeded in averting several looming apocalypses, but the team of fugitive heroes has failed to keep Cable's teenage mutant daughter, Hope, from becoming part of their missions. That's because the bonds between father and daughter are incredibly strong, forged over the years Cable spent raising her in a variety of dystopian landscapes while they tried to avoid the former X-Man known as Bishop. The time-displaced Bishop wanted to murder Hope because he believed she would grow up to become the monstrous figure whose actions gave birth to the post-apocalyptic future world he hailed from.

What if Cable & Hope suddenly discovered Bishop was alive, in the present day, and a member of the Los Angeles-based outcast band of mutant heroes starring in the current volume of "Uncanny X-Force?" How would Bishop, who has no memory of his actions against Cable and Hope, and his teammates react if they were confronted by the Marvel Universe's other X-Force? And how might Cable's old arch enemy Stryfe take advantage of the situation? These questions form the basis of the upcoming "Vendetta," a four-part weekly crossover that starts in Dennis Hopeless' "Cable & X-Force" #18 on January 8 and continues in Sam Humphries' "Uncanny X-Force" #16 and brings both series to a conclusion. CBR News spoke with writers Sam Humphries and Dennis Hopeless about the story and how they plan to wrap up their respective "X-Force" titles.

Dennis and Sam, let's talk about the origins of"Vendetta." When did you guys first start talking about this crossover and how did it evolve over time?

Dennis Hopeless: Sam and I have been friends for a long time and as soon as we knew we were both going to be writing X-Force series, we started thinking about crossing them over. We just wanted to let the two teams find their footing before smashing them together. Once we both had a few arcs under our belt, we started talking seriously about what a crossover might look like.

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Sam Humphries: It started as "X-Cutioner's Song 2: A Dubpunk Odyssey." A bunch of roller-skating ravers saving the future from a dystopian future where Apocalypse and Doop rule the planet. But neither X-Force team was in the story, which is kind of important for an X-Force crossover, so it got shot down.

I would have read that. [Laughs I know one of the great appeals of doing crossovers is the chance to play with another creator's toys. Which characters that you don't normally write are you excited to play with in "Vendetta?" What do you find most interesting about these particular characters?

Humphries: I'm excited to write Forge. He's been a lot of things over the years, but Dennis has been able to make him a clean character again, boil him down to the essence of who he is -- a brilliant guy trying to work his way out of mixed karma with technology.

Hopeless: Spiral and Puck. Sam's DJ Spiral is one of my favorite character ideas ever. The woman has six arms. OF COURSE she's going to rock the turntables. As for Puck, I'm really enjoying his shamelessness. He's a ladies man and isn't afraid to flaunt it. Puck and Boom Boom have been my favorite unexpected duo to script so far.

The conflicts in "Vendetta" are very personal for some characters: we have what Cable & Hope went through at the hands of Bishop in the previous "Cable" series and Cable's long standing animosity toward his arch-enemy Stryfe. How personal is "Vendetta" for some of your other characters? How invested are they in the two big rivalries at the heart of this story? What do these conflicts mean to them?

Humphries: Plenty of these characters have had intense histories together. Storm and Forge, Betsy and Peter, Puck and Domino -- but the centerpiece is definitely Cable/Hope/Bishop. That trio has so much bad blood between them, it's like the elevator scene in "The Shining." They've got a lot of scores to settle, and it's not gonna be easy.

Hopeless: Yeah, character relationships and shared history are what tie the whole story together. Tonally our two books are very different. We wanted to tell a story that made sense for both of these teams. The best way to do that was pretty obviously to mine the relationships. When you have Bishop on one team and Hope and Cable on the other, it's not terribly difficult to find the drama. And then, you know, Stryfe is Cable's evil twin. The worst member of Cable's "family" shows up at the worst possible time and screws everybody.

We've talked about story so let's shift gears to the art side of things. Which artists are drawing "Vendetta?" What do they bring to this crossover?

Hopeless: Angel Unzueta is drawing my issues. The work he's done with Sam on "Uncanny X-Force" has been absolutely phenomenal so I was stoked to hear he'd be our artist. This story requires a lot of emotion from two teams worth of characters along with crossover worthy action. Angel brings the perfect mix of both.

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Humphries: I'm working with Harvey Tolibao who brings his experience with Psylocke to the table. Plus his action scenes are dynamic as hell. Perfect for pitting the two teams together on the battlefield.

Wrapping things up, we now know that "Vendetta" is the concluding story in both "Uncanny X-Force" and "Cable & X-Force." How does it feel to bring your runs to a close? Were you able to bring all your plot threads to a satisfying conclusion?

Humphries: I am bummed to leave, but Marvel is keeping me busy elsewhere. I can't talk about any of it yet, but it is all very exciting.

(And yes, I am continuing on "Avengers A.I." without interruption.)

Si Spurrier and Rock He-Kim's "X-Force" is launching in February. It is going to be awesome. I will be picking it up and so should you.

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Special thanks to all the amazing artists, colorists, and letterers who made the book so thrilling and gorgeous. Thanks to [editors] Nick Lowe and Daniel Ketchum for keeping the book from collapsing on itself.

BUT there's still plenty of fight left in "Uncanny X-Force" We've got three incredible issues to go. The end of the Revenant War, then the "Vendetta" crossover with "Cable & X-Force!"

Hopeless: I had an absolute blast writing these characters. It has been an outstanding experience. I'm proud to have been a part of the X-Force family. I can't wait to read what happens to these characters next. And like Sam said, Marvel is keeping me plenty busy going forward. Fans of my work should read "Avengers Undercover" launching in March and keep their eyes out for new project announcements to come.

The four-part "Vendetta" begins in "Cable and X-Force" #18 on January 8, and continues in "Uncanny X-Force" #16 on January 15.

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