On Friday, Marvel held the last of their week long “Next Big Thing: Mystery Liveblogs.” Associate Editor Ben Morse wasted no time introducing “Final Execution,” the next big arc for Uncanny X-Force, written by guest Rick Remender, and kicking off with May’s Issue #25. Mike McKone, who will be handling some of the art duties, was also on hand for questions. The big news concerning this arc is the formation of a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Writer Rick Remender promises that this is the “toughest Brotherhood of Evil Mutants” ever and that the stakes will be very high for X-Force.
Without giving away specifics on who will constitute this new Brotherhood, Remender did say this much:
“Some members of the Brotherhood you have seen in X-Force. The others are all big characters, and they belong here naturally. We spent a lot of time figuring out what each character is doing on the team. You’re going to see a lot of X-Men villains who have cooled off for awhile, and many re-imagined.”
Nor would Remender reveal who is leading this new Brotherhood, though he did say that the mystery wouldn’t be solved right away and that the revelation would “change everything.”
Remender will also introduce the Omega Clan in issue #25: “”I tried to envision something I thought Mike could really excel at here. Issue #25 introduces a new take on a classic X-Men villain and I can’t wait to see Mike draw them. They’re the Omega Clan, three new characters built from the remains of Omega Red.” The Omega Clan consists of Omega Red, Omega White, and Omega Black and they each have reasons for wanting to fight X-Force. Though their powers are similar to the original Omega Red, they are also uniquely suited for a battle with X-Force. Remender declined to go into specifics, because “The final page of issue #25 will carry a bigger punch if I don’t totally give away the Omega Clan’s powers.”
While Remender is shy on plot details for “Final Execution,” he discusses in great lengths the philosophical core of the book. In particular, he focuses on how this story is an extension of the “Dark Angel” story and how the consequences of X-Force’s actions in that story create the situation they find themselves in “Final Execution.” Remender says that with a team like X-Force, “you will always see the consequences for every bit of blood on them.” Editor Nick Lowe echoes this sentiment by adding, “So much of Uncanny X-Force is about responsibility for your actions.”
Uncanny X-Force is perhaps the most morally ambiguous of Marvel’s X-Titles. Rick Remender, however, does not see this as gratuitous violence. Instead he sees this book as a counterpoint to a 90’s frame of mind that embraces violence for the sake of violence, where, in his words, “‘Everything is so hardcore! Let’s all get into the jacuzzi of blood and murder people with razorblades! Extreme!'” He believes there should be consequences to violence and that a character like Wolverine popping his claws to harm another should be significant. According to Remender, “Uncanny X-Force is in some ways a reaction to comics where murder was no longer a big issue.”
One participant asked about rumors of the book’s cancellation, but these were declared untrue. Another participant asked if X-Force would be part of the massive Avengers vs. X-Men crossover event. This too was denied. Remender says that members of X-Force may appear in that event, but that the title itself will not be part of the story. While early discussions about bringing X-Force into the story did occur, it was decided that X-Force had its own momentum and that the story really wasn’t there. Remender says, “Everybody would have liked to see the fights, but there would have been no consequences, no heart.” He acknowledges that an X-Force vs. Secret Avengers issue would have bumped sales, the choice to not do so, “was a story decision, and that was nice.”
Remender sees this story as a spotlight arc for Wolverine and editor Nick Lowe adds that “Psylocke’s trajectory is the one to watch.” Remender promises big consequences for both characters, but also humorously acknowledges the ever evolving narrative of the comics character with this final quote:
“By the end of this arc, Wolverine and Betsy will never be the same…until some other writer comes in.”
Thus wraps up a week of big announcements from Marvel: from Angry Hulks to a changing of the guard for the Ultimates to a brand new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, there’s a lot to look forward to this May if you’re a Marvel fan.
Which, if any, of these announcements has piqued your interest the most?