X-POSITION: Humphries Reinvents "Uncanny X-Force"

While Marvel Comics and writer Rick Remender's epic "Uncanny X-Force" run came to a close last year, there's a new team waiting in the wings to take on the mantle. Best known as the man behind Marvel's "Ultimate Comics Ultimates," writer Sam Humphries takes a trip to the mainstream Marvel U as the new writer of "Uncanny X-Force," taking the book in a new direction for Marvel NOW! following the conclusion of Remender's "Final Execution" arc.

Humphries joined X-POSITION for his first run at answering your questions in anticipation of the series' January 16 release, including how "Uncanny X-Force" connects to Remender's run, the concept of mutant ninja noir, the possible expansion of the cast and more.

Uncanny X-Force

Sam Humphries visits X-POSITION for the first time to discuss his upcoming "Uncanny X-Force" run

Thomas kicks us off with a quick look into the past before moving on to "Uncanny X-Force's" future.

Uncanny X-Force has gone through so many incarnations. Remender's run was one of the best ever X-Men runs in history and it was about an assassination squad. Is your X-Force going to be the same?

Sam Humphries: Hey Thomas! This version of Uncanny X-Force is going to be all about MUTANT NINJA NOIR. I love Rick's run -- I've been a fan long before Marvel even knew my name, much less offered me a gig. But I love it enough to leave it alone. No one wants to see me do a watered down, re-hashed Remender -- not you, not me, not Marvel, and definitely not Rick. Each iteration of X-Force has been different from the last. The only constant besides "change" is outsiders, living on the fringes. So we're picking up on a lot of plot threads from Rick's run while steering into MUTANT NINJA NOIR territory.

Liv has a few questions about Ron Garney's artwork on the book.

I saw the preview pages on CBR and got REALLY EXCITED! They look soooo good and soooo different from Ron Garney's Wolverine pages, I was surprised! How did you and Ron come up with the look for the book?

Right on Liv! Yes, "Uncanny X-Force" was teased with the word "KILLERS" and now it can be revealed: the true KILLER of "Uncanny X-Force" is Ron Garney! This is a new side to Ron that people have never seen before -- dude's got secret styles just waiting to bust out on the right project. For "Wolverine," he went for a grittier, pencils-only look. For "Uncanny X-Force," he went for a sleeker, sexier look.

But what is always the core strength of Ron's work, no matter the look, is his razor-sharp storytelling and his fist-blistering action. I had a vision for how the book would "feel" -- a sort of comic book je ne sais quoi that we ended up calling MUTANT NINJA NOIR. Ron picked up the ball and ran with it and turned it into more than I could have achieved on my own. Let's not forget inker Danny Miki, colorist Marte Gracia, and our superstar editor Nick Lowe who had the vision to put this team of scoundrels together! Truly a team effort, truly bigger than the sum of its parts.

Cara has some concern about the relationship between Psylocke and Fantomex at the end of the first volume of "Uncanny X-Force."

First off, I'm really looking forward to your run. Here's my question: At the end of Remender's "X-Force" I was NOT rooting for the Psylocke/Fantomex relationship. I felt like Fantomex (admittedly) emotionally took advantage of her at a time when she was distressed over the fate of someone she loved and as things continued to pile up and her life became more upsetting she developed a weird Stockholm Syndrome for him. Can you tell me why I'm wrong and why I shouldn't be rooting for them to go their separate ways?

HEY CARA! No, I cannot tell you why you're wrong -- because everything you just said is one of the central questions of my first few arcs! All I can say is my first issue takes place six months after Rick's last issue, and a lot can happen in six months. If those concerns are important to you, you're going to have a lot to say after you read that first issue.
Taimur Dar's got a laundry list of queries about the announced cast. Let's get to it.

1) Any plans to have Cluster and/or the new Uncanny X-Force team confront the evil Jean-Phillipe clone Remender introduced at the end of his run?

Taimur! Thanks for the questions.

Yes. A Fantomex with a mutant-hating Sentinel for a brain? Hell yes we are gonna see that!

2) EVA has been a huge part of Fantomex, so curious if she'll be a part of the team in her humanoid form or go back to being an external nervous system and ship?

EVA does have a presence in the book. We won't be focusing on her in the first couple arcs, but if you were EVA, what would you want to be?

3) With Spiral on the team, how long until we see Mojo rear his ugly head?

No plans for Mojo... in the immediate future.

Agent X hopes to glean some tidbits about expanding the cast and the threats they'll face in the series.

I just want to start by saying that I'm very excited for the new "Uncanny X-Force." I feel like the tone and cast you've shown so far look to be a natural continuation to Remender's epic and haunting run.

1) Can you give us a hint as to who may be joining the team down the road? Any characters you wanted to use that you couldn't?

Agent X! Thanks for the kind words.

Well, you know that Cluster, Fantomex, and the evil Fantomex Jean-Phillipe will have a presence in the book. There's one more character for the book who has not been announced. I'll give you two hints: a) This character made their first appearance in the past 30 years or so. b) You'll never guess, mua ha ha ha ha!

In the early days I wanted to use Jubilee but writer [REDACTED] came up with better ideas for her to be played out over in [REDACTED] so she'll be appearing in that book.

2) Who are the characters your most excited to see the X-Force interact with? Any faces from the X-Men's past? 

I am an X-book geek from way back, so yes, I am excited to smash X-Force up against other characters. The Marvel Universe is small, and densely populated. There's a pretty major bad guy coming up from the X-Men's past. I'd love to see Spiral try to seduce Captain America but I dunno if they'll let me get away with that.

3) Will the brotherhood from Remender's "Final Execution" arc make an appearance? I would think Psylocke and Fantomex would want to find the members who escaped, especially Mystique. 

No plans for the Brotherhood right now, Rick nailed it with that crew.

4) Will Mystique be making an appearance in future issues?  I think her inclusion would be very natural given her interest in the previous X-Force incarnation. She'd make a great antagonist to the new cast too!

You'll see Mystique, just not in "Uncanny X-Force."

Jared wants to know about interconnectivity between "Uncanny X-Force" and the rest of the X-books.

Bendis mentioned that he'll have the teenage version of Angel meeting Psylocke at some point. Any plans to address how his arrival from the past will affect Betsy? I mean, it's gotta affect her in some way to know the teenage version of the real love of her life who she just happened to kill came back from the past.

Hey Jared! Yes. And that's all I can say right now because Bendis has incriminating photos of me.
Psylocke superfan Ben has a list of inquiries about one of his favorite characters following "Final Execution."

1) While I loved Remender's X-Force, the last two years heavily focused on Psylocke's relationships with Warren and Fantomex. For this same reason, I was kinda disappointed to see the male (real?) Fantomex in the previews for UXF 2.0. Can we finally have a break from all that love drama, and see Psylocke standing as her own woman with no men/relationship to define her character arc?

Yo Ben! What's up dude.

I like the way you think. Similar to Cara's question, I can't talk about it right now because it's something that I'm planning to address head-on. If these issues get you worked up and passionate, you're gonna have a lot to chew on -- even after the first issue.

2) Are you addressing Psylocke's X-Men status? In Regenesis, she told Wolverine the school wasn't a good idea and didn't want to be part of it. She sided with Cyclops because she agreed with his views. So far, we haven't seen her by Scott nor Logan's side. Why?

I dunno, once an X-Man, always an X-Man, I always thought -- even if you're not running around the mansion or hanging with the A-list team. To me, Betsy isn't a character that gets wrapped up in all that zero-sum game drama. All that, "Oh you're against him so you must be with me" and vice versa. Betsy thinks both Logan and Scott are full of shit to some degree right now, and she has no interest in getting into their partisan battles. She's carving her own path.

EXCLUSIVE: Kris Anka's cover to "Uncanny X-Force" #5

3) There was this time that even Spiral thought of apologizing to Psylocke for what she did to her throughout the years, but decided that regret was for lesser beings (gotta love her!). Most recently, Spiral messed up with Psylocke again in Matt Fraction's Sisterhood arc. So how does Spiral see Psylocke? One of her favorite toys to mess up with?

There's something that Spiral sees in Betsy that hasn't really been explored yet -- a mirror. A reflection.

To bring us home, the aptly-named Windrider has a couple questions about Storm's role in the book.

I'm a huge Storm fan that's eagerly counting down the days to get my hands on this book.
1) Considering Storm's feelings about what a team such as X-Force has historically stood for, will her being a member of this team get revealed to some of the other X-Men who are closest to her (i.e. - Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, etc.)? And if so, what kind of a reaction do you think they will have to that discovery?

Yes! Hey Windrider! Storm fans unite!!

This X-Force isn't a secret, but they also don't go out of their way to integrate themselves with the school's rumor mill either. But one day, Storm's life in X-Force and her obligations to the school are going to collide head on...

2) Storm has a great mix of formidable power, skills, and abilities (great at hand to hand combat, lockpicking, battle strategy, versatile powerset, etc.) and gets 'down and dirty' when the situation calls for it. Can we expect to see some of this come into play from her in Uncanny X-Force?

YES. Storm may have been a goddess and a queen, but she's still the same woman who was a pickpocket orphan on the streets of Cairo, a switchblade wielding killer, and the leader of a ragtag group of sewer-dwelling outcasts. The pendulum is always swinging with Storm -- and in this book you'll see it swing more towards the down and dirty.

Finally, we wrap up with our "Behind the X" question, designed to get into the inner workings of the mind behind the X-titles. Taking into account your love for Mohawk Storm and your own awesome hair, what is your favorite historical hairstyle?

You might be expecting me to say the afro. But it's dreadlocks. YES I.

Thanks to Sam Humphries for participating in his first X-Position!

Next week, put on your heist gear, because "Gambit" writer James Asmus is on hand to answer all your questions about the infamous mutant thief in his ongoing solo series. Got a question for James? Send it on over with the subject line "X-Position", or if you prefer 140 characters to 140 words, you can always submit via Twitter. Do it to it!

Tags: marvel comics, x-position, rick remender, marvel now, sam humphries, ron garney, danny miki, uncanny x-force, marte gracia

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