Cable and X-Force have been together since the very first interation of X-Force, when the Marvel mutant team made its splashy debut back in 1991.
But in recent years, they've been separate entities — Cable just returned from an extended hiatus/presumed death, and before that was on a solo mission to protect his daughter, Hope. In recent years, X-Force has been more the department of characters like Wolverine, Psylocke and Archangel, without the involvement of Nathan Summers.
That changes in a big, very visible way with Cable and X-Force, a Marvel NOW! series starting in December from writer Dennis Hopeless (also of Marvel's Avengers Arena, premiering that same month) and artist Salvador Larroca, coming off an extended run on Invincible Iron Man. As the title makes obvious, Cable and X-Force — including Domino, Colossus, Forge and Dr. Nemesis — are back together, and on the run from the Uncanny Avengers and other threats (Cable was last seen targeting Earth's Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: X-Sanction, after all).
Newsarama talked with Hopeless for his thoughts on the five initial main cast members of Cable and X-Force, how the series might be interacting with Sam Humphries and Ron Garney's January-debuting Uncanny X-Force, and why embracing the "over-the-top" '90s roots of X-Force is a good thing.Newsarama: Dennis, the first thing I wanted to ask about stemming from your first couple interviews on Cable and X-Force is the idea of not shying away from the inherent '90sness of the characters and concept. Why is it important for you to embrace that, and not run from it? And though obviously the point is to present those things in a modern context, but what kinds of '90s motifs and practices do you find still work today?
Dennis Hopeless: I think there’s something about badass for badass sake. I was a kid when those early X-Force issues were coming out. My friends and I loved them because they were badass. Everything was high-octane and over the top. It’s the same reason we all loved Schwarzenegger and Stallone and Robocop.
Some of that has fallen away over the years because readers expect so much more out of modern comic book stories. We want the characterization to be a bit more nuanced than it was back then. We want more involved plots.
What we’re trying to do is embrace the over-the-top roots of X-Force while still telling a story with modern sensibilities. If we succeed, I think Cable and X-Force can have it all. Huge guns, shoulder pads and subtext.
Nrama: Another thing I didn't see much of in the earlier interviews was discussion of the team members others than Cable. So let's do that! Starting with Colossus: Clearly, he's gone through a tumultuous time emotionally recently with the one-two punch of Cyttorak and Phoenix possession. How much is that weighing on his psyche as your book begins?
Hopeless: Colossus is coming out of a pretty dark period when our book kicks off. Peter has a lot of regrets. He’s an introspective guy and his recent past will definitely weigh on him. All of that will affect his decision making for sure.
Unfortunately, we won’t be giving the guy much of a break in which to reflect. He’ll be busy running for his life.
Nrama: Then there's Domino, who obviously has a lot of history with both Cable and X-Force. She's also a character that's been a visible part of the adjectiveless X-Men book, seemingly establishing here as more of an above-board X-Man than much of the rest of the cast — does that affect her dynamic with the rest of the team?
Hopeless: Yeah. Domino has developed into a different kind of character lately. She’s matured some I think and like you said, she now at least tries to be a hero first.
Both Domino and Cable have grown into different people than when they were together. Cable may not look it, but he’s a lifetime beyond the man Domino knew. He raised a daughter, got married and grew old with his wife. Fans shouldn’t expect these two to pick right back up where they left off and fall into bed together. That wouldn’t make any sense.But they are going to have to work together. They’ll have to figure out what all that history means in the here and now. It’s a complex relationship that’s very fun to write.
Nrama: Forge is an interesting character — I don't always sense a lot of love for him, though I'm sure he has his fans, even if he hasn't been around much in the books for the last few years. Last time he was around, he (not completely unlike Colossus) was much more on the villain side in the "Ghost Box" story. What motivated you to include him here, and do you plan on dealing with the messiness of his recent past?
Hopeless: Yeah, we’ll be addressing Ghost Boxes Forge pretty much immediately. The man snapped, did some crazy, morally questionable things and paid the price. I won’t tell you how but that’s where Forge is when we find him. We take him from there and move the character forward.
I put Forge in the book because like Cable he has such a rich, dark past. He’s a Cheyenne medicine man. He’s a wounded veteran who watched his entire squad cut down in front of him and then sold a bit of his soul to get their revenge. He has so much baggage and history before you even get to his powers.
And his powers are awesome. He’s a mutant mechanical engineer. He can build anything. He can fix anything. Forge can turn a junkyard into an arsenal and that’s exactly the sort of man Cable needs on this team.
Nrama: The last character announced is the X-Club's Doctor Nemesis. Was his inclusion prompted by a desire to see him get more actively involved than his usual role? And were you involved in the character's (admittedly drastic) redesign?
Hopeless: Doctor Nemesis is just cool. Like everyone on the team, he has a very useful skill-set. But his personality makes him the odd man out a lot of the time. I’m already having a lot of fun writing the back and forth between Nemesis and Cable.
The redesign is all Salva but there is a story reason for it. The man looks slick in a white suit and fedora and that outfit has its time and place. So does this new one.
Nrama: And hey, I've got a Cable-centric question as well. In X-Sanction #4, he was purged of the techno-organic virus that's plagued him since just about ever. How much does that development influence his portrayal here? Presumably that would mean a power upgrade, and one less thing for him to be bummed out about.
Hopeless: The TO Virus plays a big role in our story. Cable is cured but that doesn’t mean all the things you think it might. He has a whole mess of new problems to deal with now.
Nrama: I'm curious to hear a little more about the relationship this book will have with Uncanny Avengers. It's been said they're the antagonists of this series — is that just initially, or a long-term running story you've got planned?
Hopeless: Well the book is called Cable and X-Force. Don’t expect the Uncanny Avengers to steal the show. They won’t be in every issue. They’re a threat but they definitely aren’t the only threat. That said this is a book about wanted men and women on the run. The Uncanny Avengers are the pursuers and whether we see them or not, they’re always in pursuit. That chase will keep X-Force moving for the foreseeable.Nrama: Finally: Subsequently after Cable and X-Force was announced, the new Humphries/Garney Uncanny X-Force was revealed to the public. So, there's two X-Forces. Will your book be interacting with the other at all? And did Cable never file a trademark for that name?
Hopeless: Sam and Ron are great and have cool things planned over on Uncanny.There will definitely be some interaction between the two X-Force books. Just not right off the bat. These are very different books. We all need a bit of time to establish who our teams are and what they do before we smash them together. But, yes, there will be smashing in the future.
Your trademark question reminded me of a good bit from the Milligan/Allred X-Force run. I dug around and found it in X-Force #117. Seems pretty safe to say, no, Cable never trademarked the name.
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