Year of the X-Men: Uncanny X-Force with Rick Remender

Uncanny X-Force

The second of a week long series of press conferences held by Marvel Comics to help spread the word about MMXI: The Year of the X-Men was held earlier today with Uncanny X-Force writer Rick Remender joined by editors Nick Lowe and Jody Lehup. The focus of the press conference was the upcoming story arc, which begins in June with Uncanny X-Force #11 (cover to the right), and thrusts the X-Force team across dimensions into the Age of Apocalypse.

It's clear that taking the X-Force team and sending them to the Age of Apocalypse was not something to be taken lightly by Remender and team.  When explaining what was going to be occurring in this story, Rick explained, "W have something that hasn't been done before."  Editor Nick Lowe further elaborated that this story is different from the previous revisiting of the Age of Apocalypse back in 2005 with the mini-series written by Akira Yoshida with  art by Chris Bachalo in that, "This is the first time a regular Marvel Universe character visits the Age of Apocalypse dimension.  This has huge bearings on the 616 Universe.  This is really happening."  It was also revealed that Age of Apocalypse castaway, Dark Beast (last seen in Dark X-Men) will not only be present, but he will be playing a sizable role over the upcoming year.

When questioned about Remender's recent trend of re-hasing 1990s concepts such as X-Force, Venom and now the Age of Apocalypse, Remender was quick to explain that it's not a cash grab, rather a natural point in the grander story he's telling with Uncanny X-Force.  "We've been workingoutselves to deah to make sure this is worthy of going back to the Age of Apocalypse" Remender clarified.

The natural question that bears with this is what ramifications does this have on the recently wrapped story arc where the X-Force team murdered a young Apocalypse?  Nick Lowe made it very clear, somewhat sarcastically, "Apocalypse is dead.  He's neeeeever coming back."  After much laughter subsided, Lowe further, more seriously clarified, "Apocalypse is not the big bad in this story.  He's dead.  They killed him.  If he comes back, that takes away from the meaning of this book.  We're not going to say he's never going to come back, but they killed Apocalypse."  

The topic of killing Apocalypse did come up and brought some interesting insight into the characterization of Deadpool, who recently was shown to not be dealing with the murdering of a small child in Apocalypse very well.  This allowed Remender to give us some never before seen insight into how he's handling the character of Deadpool, "I see a character who desires to belong.  He's refuse from the Weapon X program, he's not wanted and was a failure…Why is he always joking? Beyond just saying that he's crazy…for most people who are constantly joking, it's a defense mechanism against insecurity.  When I really get into the character, I see a three dimensional character who behaves this way for a reason."

Remender has been dancing the line between quality story telling and continuity laden fan service with Uncanny X-Force, and it could be seen as re-visiting the Age of Apocalypse as the ultimate fan service which could alienate new readers.  Remender solidaly stood by his approach of making each issue of Uncanny X-Force new reader friendly.  "The responsibility is to treat these things as if readers have never read these before.  The Age of Apocalypse will be defined for you, it will deal with continuity, but the responsibility is to tell the story as if they've never read it before." 

When questioned about the curious absence of Archangel from the teaser images, Remender became tight lipped, "Archangel is not present in the teasers for a reason and it's one that you won't expect."  This lead to a natural discussion of the characters of X-Force and how they may react to the Age of Apocalypse versions of their friends.  The opportunity for drama is something that Remender got very excited about, "There's a lot of drama. That's something I've spent a lot of time thinking of.  How does our Wolverine deal with Age of Apocalypse Jean Grey and Nightcrawler?"

Fans of the Age of Apocalypse stories will like to know that this story is set to take place after some time has passed since the 2005 mini series.  Remender explains that "the world has changed, and not for the better, it's hell on earth and the person who's in control of it is a big reveal and it deals with alot of the Apocalypse mythology stuff that we're going to be building as well."  He further explains that when we arrive in the Age of Apocalypse, it will be recgonizable with characters we know, but there will only be small band of X-Men left  and things are not looking good for them.  "It really sets some takes and tt puts our X-Force team in a difficult spot."

In discussing the future of the book, Remender laid out the future artists that will be working on the book to join already established artists Jerome Opena and Esad Ribic will include Billy Tan, Mark Brooks (who is handling art on Uncanny X-Force #11) and Greg Tocchini, which rounds out the first 21 issues of art duties on Uncanny X-Force.

Needless to say, as an X-Men fan (I'm saying that alot this week, aren't I?) I'm extremely excited about the direction Uncanny X-Force is going.  Remender has proven himself to have a handle on these characters in a way that I haven't read in the X-Universe for years. And when it comes to alternate dimension stories, you don't get any better than Age of Apocalypse, so this upcoming story arc is definitely one to get excited by.

Uncanny X-Force #11 goes on sale in June and here's another glimpse at the teaser image Marvel revealed last week:



  1. i’m not gonna lie, i’m getting really excited for this! the original age of apocalypse arc was the biggest story i read when i was a kid and it was one of the first things i picked up in trades when i got back into comics, so i think this will be a huge nostalgia trip for me! plus, i’m a sucker for all that alternative universe crap! will be interesting to see how they use it?

  2. I’m…not really crazy about the new artists (sans Tocchini). Oh well.

  3. REALLY stoked.

  4. Sounds very interesting.  

  5. if i could get a monthly dose of AoA i would so this is right up my alley

  6. AoA has always been my favorite X-Men story so I’m all in.

  7. I wasn’t into comics during AoA but I’ve always wanted to go back and read it. Either way, I am super excited!

  8. MIxed feelings on this. But I’ll check it out. However, I do feel like the year of the X should have been MMX.

  9. This is the year for AOA stories isn’t it?

    First we had Uncanny bring back Apocolypse. Now we have this storyline bringing the story into continuity (I’m sure that won’t make things any more convoluted for X-fans). Also we have a AOA-like story going on with FlashPoint in regards to the premise. 

  10. @TheNextChampion  AoA was always in continuity. “It wasn’t an elseworlds”.

    I’m kind of sick of the idea that X-History is convoluted. At least there’s no speed force or Hawkworld to have to explain. It’s really not that complicated, especially for a team book that has been going on for so long. Is Uncanny X-Men the only Marvel book that hasn’t suffered from renumbering-itis?

  11. I think the gripe about continuity is valid but I’d argue that readers could pick up and follow X-Men within 1-3 issues.

    Will they “know kung-fu” (to reference the Matrix) by then? No. But did any of us when we first started reading about these damn muties? 

  12. Not reading X-Men currently, but I do keep on top of the news. This sounds interesting.

    I really like what Remender had to say about Deadpool. When I first read Wilson’s reaction to killing Kidpocalypse (awesome idea btw), I didn’t think it fit. But after reading this and thinking about it, I like that Remender’s making an effort to add some much needed depth to the Merc.

  13. I’m loving this book so far but Billy Tan? Really? Seems like a huge step down from Opena and Ribic to me.

  14. I don’t get why people give Billy Tan such a hard time.  I would take Billy any day over what Greg Land is doing in Uncanny X-Men.  To me, Billy’s work is very reminescent of Jim Lee, which, I’ll be honest, is still one of my all-time favorite X-Artists.

  15. I really like the premise and I think remender will be able to pull of a great story, but the title YEAR OF THE X-MEN sound to me like they’re all going to get make-overs, lose some weight and start going to bars a lot more.

  16. Verrrrrrrry interesting to see the 616 crossover with the AoA. Although I’m not much of an X-fan (and I’ve just had 10 demerits loped off here, haven’t I?), I enjoyed the original AoA and seeing more might just bring me back to the fold. For the eventual trade, at least. But hey, Remender did great by Frank Castle when I’d fallen out of sorts with his adventures, so anything’s possible!


  17. @ActualButt: Oh, come on. The X-history is pretty darn convoluted. The X-books have an enormous cast of characters, and a lot of those characters have complicated personal histories, which add up to a complicated overall history.

    Unrelatedly: I didn’t realize how much I missed Magneto’s hilarious AoA hair until I saw that X-Force cover.

  18. I’m actually a bit disapointed to see that the events of the 2005 mini are still considered canon for the AoA reality… that mini blew… I’d rather have seen them spin out of the What if the Age of Apocalyse hadn’t ended? issue of What if? from back in the day (AoA v Galacticus… damn good What if…? that featured the AoA X-Universe characters as well–Gwen, Tony, Sue, Doom, ect)