Uncanny X-Force relaunches in 2013 with a new creative team and new roster. Psylocke takes command and recruits Storm, Spiral, Puck of Alpha Flight and a new character named Cluster. Sam Humphries and Ron Garney take over after an acclaimed run by Rick Remender. Humphries and Editor Nick Lowe talked about the future of the team, shared new art from Garney and variant covers from Kris Anka on Marvel.com. Humphries revealed his plans after Remender’s The Final Execution finale.
“I am on pins and needles for Rick Remender’s final issue of Uncanny X-Force. It’s so good. So many big things happen. I’ve been privy to it for awhile now and kept my mouth shut. I’ve been a fan of Rick’s run long before Marvel knew who I was, let alone was stupid enough to offer me a gig. The last couple issues are the equivalent of walking off the stage and dropping the microphone.”
Wolverine has been the leader of both recent incarnations of the team. Humphries will tell how the title will pass from Logan to Psylocke.
“Something develops between Wolverine and Betsy that kicks off the whole formation of the team. He’s moved on to a new era in his life. That’s a story other people are telling. Despite that, there’s something about X-Force and what it represents that Wolverine will always respond to; not just the killing, but being an outside and on the fringes.”
“It’s difficult to talk about Psylocke without spoiling Rick’s last issue. Even though this is a new era for X-Force, we’re not ignoring what has come before. Where Betsy is in her life is one of the strongest threads we pick up from Rick. She’s not satisfied with her life. Her and Storm have a lot to bond over. She’s a survivor on a lot of levels. I’m fascinated by all the changes she’s gone through in Rick’s run, to explore those and put her front and center. It’s her time to shine.”
Over the years the X-Force concept has evolved to fit the changing Marvel Universe.
“Taking the last idea and morping into something new is the X-Force tradition, from the 90’s to Pete Milligan and Mike Allred to Craig Kyle and Chris Yost to Rick. I’m excited to present stories from the mutant end of the Marvel Universe you can’t find anywhere else. This is a new line-up, a bunch of characters in a complex web with a complex history really together for the first time exploring the dark shadows of the Marvel Universe that don’t get touched on in Uncanny Avengers or All-New X-Men.”
“In a world where Rogue and Sunfire are Avengers, where Wolverine is running a prep school, there still has to be a dark side to this bright world.”
One of the biggest shocks from the teaser poster is Storm’s new “old” look. Ororo is sporting her Mohawk again. She hasn’t worked a mohawk since the Chris Claremont/Paul Smith/John Romita Jr era. Humphries explains why he went retro with Ororo.
“I will take full credit for the return of Storm’s mohawk. I have more knowledge of the X-Men than I do of the United States. I am an old school fan. It’s a dream to not only be on an X-Men book, but one where I can touch on stuff we haven’t seen in awhile. The first time Storm had a mohawk, it was about the transformation she had been going through, coming down from the goddess pedestal. The mohawk is a symptom of the transformations in Storm’s life. She’s now going through an even bigger transformation. She was a goddess and a queen who got unceremoniously dumped, in my opinion. The future that she banked on is no longer there. Her family in the X-Men has changed. None of her friends are the same. She has to redefine herself and get back to the core of who she is.”
The new roster is full of tough women…and Puck?
“Puck has been a lot of fun to write. My biggest surprise,”
“Puck will be a breakout character,” added Editor Nick Lowe, “What Fantomex was to Rick’s Uncanny X-Force, Puck will be here. This isn’t a little guy who bounces around like a bowling ball, he’s a force to be reckoned with. This is a heroic take on Puck.”
Spiral was created by Ann Nocenti in the Longshot limited series then joined the Brotherhood (and most recently Sisterhood) of Evil Mutants. Spiral and Betsy share a long twisted history as both victims of Mojo. So why is Spiral working with X-Men?
“The hero of anybody who has played Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, Spiral is front and center in Uncanny X-Force. She’s a deadly fighter from a crazy sci fi world. She’s trapped on Earth and needs to come up with a way to survive life on the fringe. She can’t be an Avenger, she can’t got to the Jean Grey School, she can’t join up with Cyclops; she doesn’t belong anywhere. She needs to decide where she’s going to be, which puts her on a collision with Storm and Betsy, and longtime fans know Spiral and Betsy have a long unpleasant history. The two of them spending more than 10 seconds together without drawing blood is a challenge. She’s been a villain, a great villain, but you’re going to see anew side of her. She’s a victim of Mojo, like so many others. We’ll see a little bit more of a grey area in Spiral.”
The first enemy this new X-Force will face is former X-Man Bishop.
“How and why Bishop comes back will have a huge impact on the team. It’s a situation they can’t walk away from. Bishop is such a great character who has had so many roles. I’m excited to take him on after he’s been gone for two years our time, stranded in the future. He went to great lengths to try to murder a little girl because he believed it was the right thing to do. Having failed to do that and coming to terms with the fact that maybe he was wrong is going to change a man. We’re going to see a Bishop who at his core is the same person, but who has been through a lot since we’ve last seen him.”
As for Cluster – she looks like a female Fantomex?
“We have a lot of surprises and tricks up our sleeves. We haven’t even talked about Lady Fantomex or our other villains,” said Lowe.
“I wish I could say more about Cluster other than that she’s dressed like Fantomex,” Humphries added.
Ever since Messiah Complex the new X-Force has done the dirty work, wetwork and covert missions the other X-Men shouldn’t know about.
“How these characters feel about killing and black ops and their place in the Marvel Universe will be affected by the end of Rick’s run and where we begin here.”
“This is the book where we go to the dark places in the Marvel Universe. Sam calls it Mission Impossible or James Bond if it were directed by David Lynch,” said Lowe.
“Of all the books that have Uncanny in the title, this one will be the Uncanny-est of them all. If the X-Men are feared by mankind, Uncanny X-Force deals with the stuff that’s feared by the X-Men.”
Earlier teasers made it seem like Psyocke would lead the team but Humphries says that role may change.
“In my mind, Psylocke is as strong in the Marvel Universe as Wolverine or Rogue or Storm. Who’s calling the shots? That’s an open character. We’ve got at least one other character on the team with leadership potential in Storm. They’re friends, they’re both working through things and changing. We’ll see.”
“Gender, race and nationality are all things we thought about when making this team. It’s a team of outsiders. But then again, it wasn’t any sort of affirmative action. It’s about the team dynamic and previous relationships.”
In 2013 the Marvel Now will have two X-Force teams. Will this team interact with Cable and X-Force by Dennis Hopeless?
“As far as my team is concerned, they are the ONLY X-Force team. If these two teams ever intersect, it’s gonna be heavy! Dennis Hopeless smells!” said Humphries, “Right off the bat, you’ve got Cable leading one team and Bishop fighting the other. Those two cannot be on the same planet in the same year without trying to beat the crap out of each other. Let’s just say those two have unfinished business.”
For the entire liveblog here’s the Marvel.com link.