X-POSITION: Rick Remender

Several adjectives have been used over the years to describe the X-Men, including words that range from "Uncanny" to "Astonishing." However, the X-family books have largely remained adjective-less...until now. Today marks the launch of the newest book to join Marvel's X-Universe: "Uncanny X-Force." It's such a notable day, as a matter of fact, that the publisher has pulled out all the stops and declared the event a holiday (of sorts).

To help celebrate this occasion here at X-POSITION, the writer of this new series, Rick Remender, joins us to answer your emails about this unique team. He's bursting at the seams to talk about everything that makes his book "Uncanny," so it appears we've caught him at the perfect time. We've lined up your queries in order of fun, so let's see how he does in this inaugural edition of Remender X-POSITION.

Renaldo welcomes our distinguished guest with a showering of compliments, and then uses his question to provide a nice, foamy lather:

Rick, I just wanted to congratulate you on the epic job you did on Doc Voodoo recently. He makes an intriguing holder of the Eye of Agamotto, especially with Jericho's brother looming. You did an amazing job, and I hope you get back to that book soon! Kudos on the Punisher books as well, as I loved the way you broke Frank down!

I'm giddy to see you now on "Uncanny X-Force," as Yost/Kyle made this my favorite X-book (along with PAD's "X-Factor"), and Opena is seriously majestic. I was wondering though, how did you decide to use Apocalypse as the first arc enemy. After his "Messiah War" business, I thought En-Sabah-Nur would be kept for the "Uncanny X-Men" main title or even a bigger X-Event, so I was a bit surprised...

Renaldo, thank you for the warm words. Doctor Voodoo was good fun; I'm always looking for a natural place to use him again. He's one of Marvel's best characters, as far as I'm concerned. I'm wrapping up my final Punisher story now, a five-issue series, "In the Blood," will launch in November, and Roland Boschi is on fire with the art-making. And I'm with you; Yost/Kyle did some big things in X-Force past - good stuff.

I chose Apocalypse after a natural idea presented itself. Also, he's been on ice for a good bit, and it's time to see what the old boy is made of again. And what's to say the things we're building with Apocalypse won't go beyond the first arc? Or go beyond X-Force? The next year of "X-Force" is going to be bigger than anything before, and I mean big, because there's no other word for it. Well, literally there are other words for it, but it fits, okay? Fine.

Any-hoo, Apocalypse's Machiavellian manipulations of our dear mutants runs deep, and we're not going to bring a character like him around without some big plans and big ramifications.

Whenever there is a team book, fans naturally want to know where their favorite characters are. I usually try to avoid asking such black-and-white queries, but as this is a new series, I'll allow the readers to indulge a bit. And speaking of black-and-white, Podmark wrote in about his fave:

I've been wondering where Domino is in the new X-Force. Will she be appearing at all?

I don't have plans for Domino. I know many of you are fans - I am as well - but she doesn't fit into the initial story stuff we're working on. I bet she'll be popping up in some X-book sooner or later though.

Bloodwitch is next and asks about the golden child:

Will Elixir make an appearance in your X-Force (either on the team, or working with or against them)?

No time soon. The new X-Force gets swept up in a giant tidal wave of insanity from word go, and while there are plans for new members, they won't be who anyone is expecting. I'd like to keep this all new, all unexpected.

And Nathan wanted to know about a character with special ties to the "big bad" of your first arc:

Seeing that the "Uncanny X-Force" team are going to be facing Apocalypse, is there any chance Gambit may show up as he's still struggling with his "Death" powers/persona?

Not in the initial arc. He does have a natural connection to the events and to tell anymore would spoil some fun stuff down coming down the road.

Now that we've covered some of the possible guests for this title, ChadLDN wanted to know more about chess pieces on the board:

1) What do you think each member of this eclectic X-Force team brings to the table?

As a whole, they all have one thing on common: they've all been tampered with by evil-type folks. They're all characters that have had experience doing the bloody but often necessary work that the new team will take on.

Fantomex is an expert at spy games, covert business and infiltration. His misdirection couldn't be better suited for this work.

Psylocke is a high-leveled telepath, intellect and stealthy ninja.

Wolverine, I don't need to tell you what he does best.

Deadpool is a highly skilled mercenary who also happens to be totally unpredictable, a useful trait.

Archangel is cold, calculated and relentless, and in Warren, we have a seasoned veteran who has encountered nearly every X-villain. He also has all the funds the team will ever need and leadership experience.

2) Angel/Archangel has had a complicated life and a few dramatic changes in character. How do you see Warren Worthington - is he settled into his "dual" personae or is he torn?

This is a big part of what we're doing in the series. This is something we work hard to clarify and explore in great detail. Betsy is helping Warren deal with these issues, and you'll see how in issue #1.

3) Will you be touching on the Psylocke-Angel romance?


Ooh, tight-lipped about that answer? Well, loose lips sink X-ships...

Grey is a detail-oriented person and has an inquiry about some of the nitty-gritty surrounding the villain in your first story:

I'm excited about the new book, but I have one major question: the last time we saw Apocalypse, he was being recruited by the Celestials. Will "Uncanny X-Force" address that?

It's important to us that we do a reader-friendly book that doesn't discount continuity. We've worked hard to balance these things. We might not play off of Apocalypse's ordeal with the Celestials right away; the Akkaba have done something that gives Apocalypse a second chance.

BH.H will be your "BFF" if you can answer his query regarding another recent appearance made by Apocalypse.

Will we be seeing any of the Stryfe and/or Hope "fallout" from "Messiah War" with the Apocalypse you'll be using?

Not right away. The first arc is setting up a good few things though, so that stuff might play into future stories. I mean, what would Apocalypse want with Hope, right? Oh, wait...

Lance gets the final say for today, and it turns out he had tons to say:

1) One of the reasons why I'm looking forward to "Uncanny X-Force" (other than the fact it had a cool cast of characters and you as the writer) is that it's going to be new-reader friendly. I hope it will stay that way. Perhaps I'm in the minority here, but I'm not a follower of X-team books, so this book could be my first. I'm sure an "Ultra-Mega-Gigantic" crossover event cannot be avoided, but I'm just hoping that the stories in this book are the ones you want to tell (and not mandated by some event). I hope you can ease my worry concerning this.

Sure, and we're working hard to make this an easy book to jump on to. I'm not resting on the idea readers know these people. The characters will be defined anew for all - their relationships, abilities and history. By the end of the first arc, new readers will know these amazing characters and old fans will have a new and fully 3D perspective on them.

As for the big events, I'm involved in the planning, so as they come up this series will have a natural fit and the events will play out of things that grow in "X-Force" as well as "X-Men." That's the fun of a unified universe; you never know where the next big threat is growing.

2) According to your previous interviews, the core cast was already formed when you got on board. Is there anyone you'd like to see added to the team? And if so, when might we see them?

I have a list of whom I'd like to work in. I don't know when it might happen.

3) I grew to love Jerome Opena's artwork in "Fear Agent" and "Punisher," and seeing his artwork here just made me more excited on how he would draw the action scenes for this title. I just wanted to know if he's staying a long time on this book or if he's only here for the initial arc. I hope he stays!

We obviously feel the same way. Jerome and I have been doing comics together since 2005 when he came in to do a fill-in issue of "Strange Girl." We were both living in San Francisco then and could hang out and talk comics as we brainstormed, leading to a friendship. We share the same sensibilities and dig on working together. It's stress-free and the results are always on top of my "proudest accomplishments" list. As of now, everything I'm hearing is that he'll continue to be involved, likely rotating with another amazing artist on arcs. News to come...

4) This may not be X-book-related, but I've wanted to ask you this for a long time: in your "Punisher" #14, there's a flashback scene where a giant robot was fighting a giant monster. The instant I saw the robot, I noticed it was Gaiking! I was really surprised by that! Was it your idea to include Gaiking, or was it artist's Dan Brereton? Is it because Gaiking had a skull symbol in its chest similar to the Punisher?

That was Dan. I asked for a Godzilla vs. Shogun Warrior-style battle with characters resembling the giant monsters Marvel had in the 70s.

And speaking of giant robots, do you have plans to continue your creator-owned book "Gigantic" with Eric Nguyen? Maybe you could even write a giant combining-mecha piloted by the "Uncanny X-Force" team into your book and have it battle Sentinel robots? Please?

I love me some giant monsters/robots. I might even be able to accommodate your desires at some point in the first year of stories.

5) Since you said that the "Uncanny X-Force" would be more involved in other parts of the Marvel Universe (outside of the X-verse), does that mean there's a possibility the likes of Ghost Rider, Punisher or even the Legion of Monsters could appear in the book? And while you're at it, how about the "Shaolin Scientist Squad" as cannon fodder for X-Force?

I would love to see all of those characters appear. If we touched on anything like that, it wouldn't be till the second year.

Mark your calendar to ask that question again in an X-POSITION a year from now, Lance.

Now before you go, Rick, we like to ask our X-guests a little "get-to-know-you" question every week in our "Behind the X" segment. Considering there is a somewhat supernatural holiday heading our way, I thought you might have fun with this: Are there any superstitions out there that make you leery? Ones that make you think twice before taking some kind of action?

I still toss salt over my shoulder if I spill it. It's stupid, I know, but I can't not do it. As I go to do it, I feel like a git, but there I am doing it all the same.

Oh, and I always kill a blue-eyed vagrant after Easter. For good luck...

Ah, our first peek into the voice behind X-Force's Deadpool. Thanks Rick!

Next week, we'll be discussing a team in the X-universe that's a tad more innocent than the aforementioned X-Force. Granted, their hormones are hopping, but they're the "New Mutants" - isn't that a part of the reason we return to them month after month?

Scribe Zeb Wells joins us to answer all your crazy, yet thoughtful, emails. So type those puppies up and shoot them my way as quickly as humanly possible. By putting an "X-POSITION" in the subject line, you'll be doing your part to keep our planet green (I think). Hurry!

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