This past weekend, the Baltimore Comic-Con occurred. It was well-attended by fans and professionals, and many sizable announcements were made from a variety of publishers. And yet, who knew that one of the biggest announcements would happen in the days following the event?
At the Diamond & Alliance Game Distributors' Retailer Summit - which takes place in Baltimore on September 10-11 - Marvel brought along some artwork from upcoming projects to entice retailers. Of particular note to X-fans were fantastic images by Clayton Crain and Ariel Olivetti.
While the drawings themselves were terrific, the characters they depicted were the true surprises: a group of familiar mutants - clad in black - labeled as "X-Force," and Cable, who,last we checked, was dead. Seeing these images raised thousands of questions. Thankfully, X-Men Group Editor Axel Alonso was around to give us some answers.
|X-Force concept art by Clayton Crain|
Axel, the characters shown in the "X-Force" image include Wolverine, X-23, Warpath, and Wolfsbane. Can you confirm that this is the new X-Force team? Are there other members that aren't being shown? I ask this because in X-POSITION: Week Nine, you released an image of the cover to "X-Factor" #26 that showed Caliban and Hephzibah with these other characters. What can you say about these drawings?
It sure looks like they are on the team, doesn't it? You're just going to have to read "Messiah CompleX" to find out.
The dark black costumes are terrific, but very different from their usual attire (especially compared to Wolverine's yellow togs). Is this X-Force group a stealth team? Or is the dark color indicative of the book's tone?
Maybe. Let's just say their uniforms reflect their mission statement.
Okay, following that line of thinking, I couldn't help but notice the members of this team all carry sharp weapons (claws and knives). Would it be safe to assume they do some kind of "dirty" work? Are they a mutant wetworks team?
Well, they're not squeamish, that's for sure.
All of these characters also have tracking abilities (including Hephzibah and Caliban). Are they searching for something?
Aren't we all?
A concept that was brought up not too long ago in the mutant universe was that of Ferals - mutants with lupine ancestry. I don't know if Warpath or Caliban would fall into this category, but the other characters most certainly would. Does this have anything to do with the formation of the team? Or is it just a happy coincidence?
That's got nothing to do with this team or why they formed. They were assembled for a very specific reason.
So, they're searching for something then…like the rest of us. Okay then, back to the images, are these just concept drawings or will Clayton be drawing an "X-Force" book? And if he will, when can fans expect to see it?
Yes, Clayton will be drawing the new "X-Force" monthly series that debuts in February, one month after "Messiah CompleX" wraps up.
Will the members of this X-Force team be on other teams as well? Or will their appearances be limited to this book?
Their appearances won't be limited to just "X-Force." But that's not to say that anyone will be an active member of any other teams.
Another answer that leads to more questions.
Let's move on to the Cable picture by Ariel Olivetti. Naturally, I have to ask: Does this mean Cable is alive? Will he be making his presence known sometime in the near future?
Oh, he's alive - only who's to say when: the past, the present or the future?
Will Olivetti be drawing more of Cable in his near future?
He sure will. Ariel will be drawing a new "Cable" ongoing series that debuts in March 2008, one month after the close of "Messiah CompleX." It will be essential reading for X-Men fans.
Two new confirmed X-books! Can you say anything about who might be writing these? Would the writers of either book be individuals who are on X-books at the moment?
Can't say. That's for a later date. For now, just enjoy the art and speculate away…
I'm sure readers will be doing just that here on CBR's X-Books forum. Before we go, any other hints as to what fans can expect in the upcoming months?
A new status quo.
On that note, we'll let Axel get back to work as this appears to be a very busy time in the X-Universe.
Between the "Endangered Species" and "Messiah CompleX" storylines, the mutant world is a-changing. To keep up on events and this new promised "status quo," be sure to check in with our weekly X-POSITION column, published every Thursday. This week, writer Christopher Yost ("New X-Men," "Emperor Vulcan") stops by to give us a few hints on where his corners of the X-Men universe are heading. Don't miss it!