Cable #16The ‘Messiah War’ is raging on in the pages of both Marvel's Cable and X-Force this month and things seem to be reaching a fever pitch. And like any raging fever, once if crests you usually need a fair amount of time to recover to get back to full strength. But recovery time is a rarity in the Marvel Universe and no exceptions will be made for the principles of either title.
In July, the mutant prodigal son exits "Messiah War" in pretty rough shape and he’s back on his own in a two-part story, "Wanderlost", featuring artwork by Paul Gulacy. And X-Force won't be doing to much better. They’re scrambling to regain their footing after a series of unfortunate turns before "Messiah War" even started! The new 4-part arc, "Not Forgotten", depicts a worse-for-wear X-Force struggling with the events of the past year—and preparing for a serious collision with Bastion later in the year.
Newsarama spoke with writers Duane Swierczynski (Cable) and Chris Yost (X-Force) about their upcoming plans for their respective titles. Dark times are ahead, folks.
Newsarama: Okay Duane, let's start with you. As the dust settles on the events of "Messiah War", Cable and Hope are separated now — what kind of physical and mental condition is Nathan Summers in after the rigors of all the time travel over the past year of the series?
X-Force #17Duane Swierczynski: Yeah, Cable's not exactly in the best shape of his life. "Messiah War" was a meat grinder experience mentally and physically. It's not so much the time travel (though that has taken its toll) as the dual role of father and soldier.
NRAMA: What's the focus of the "Wanderlost" arc? It's a 2-part story, right? What's it leading to later this summer?
DS: Yes, it's a two-parter, followed by a new story. This has become a kind of Cable tradition, serving up a two-parter between longer arcs. King-Size Cable was essentially a two issues served up in one giant comic package; Cable #11 and 12< was a two-part cliffhanger that led right into "Messiah War."
NRAMA: You're working with industry veteran Paul Gulacy on this arc; were you a fan of his before this project?
DS: Yes, but not by name. I know that sounds weird, but when I was growing up and reading comics I never paid much attention to writers or artists. (Later, I paid attention to the writers, because I badly wanted to be one of these mythical creatures, but not so much the artists, because I can't draw for crap.) Anyway, when I heard that Paul would be joining Cable I looked up his stuff and realized I'd been enjoying it for years. One piece that comes to mind is a Batman cover he did (#393), where Bats is holding up a torch, and all of these daggers are flying at him. It's a fantastic frozen moment, and I've never forgotten it.
Cable #17NRAMA: Chris, a lot of stories were left up in the air when X-Force was summoned to get Cable and Hope at the beginning of "Messiah War"; what is X-Force coming back to in 'Not Forgotten'? Is this an arc that's bringing a number of sub-plots to a culminating point?
Chris Yost: Let's see... when Cyclops threw X-Force into the future, the Leper Queen had Boom Boom at gunpoint, and sadly we saw how that ended. Surge and Hellion were both injected with the Legacy Virus, and were being sent to blow up the United Nations. HAMMER was closing in on X-23. Bastion was plotting. Beast was suspecting. There was just a lot going on.
Issue #16 jumps right back in, full speed. "Not Forgotten" wraps up the loose ends, and starts a few more.
NRAMA: Will Bastion's plans start to take shape or is he going to be operating from the fringe some more? He's got a lot of irons in the fire, so to speak...
CY: They're going to take shape faster than you might think. Post-"War", everything is about to collide. Every storyline we've been carrying for about four years now is on the verge of culminating.
NRAMA: Chris, Foley knows the secret of Hope Summers. Is he going to share his knowledge with the rest of the team?
X-Force #18CY: “Why wouldn't he?” the writer asks forebodingly, dodging the question…
NRAMA: Duane, are readers getting a better idea of Hope's true nature now or are there more developments on the way?
DS: I hope (no pun intended) that by now readers have gotten to know the so-called "messiah kid" as a person a bit more. Cable's always been fun to write, but I really loved it when I hit issue #11 and Hope kind of came into her own. But there's much more to come. Her story's far from over.
NRAMA: Will Vanisher continue to be a member of the cast or is he going to figure out a way to escape without losing a limb in the process?
CY: Maybe one day Vanisher will learn his lesson. That day has not come yet.
NRAMA: Duane, is Nathan Summers a tragic character in your mind? Does every dark cloud have a silver lining—or is Cable just one of those characters who can't catch a break?
DS: Well, that makes Cable seems like Charlie Brown. And now, thanks to you, I'm having visions of poor ol' Chuck with a glowing white eye and a tiny metal arm with three fingers, and shooting Lucy in the head for taking away the football at the last minute...
Anyway, Cable's still a bad ass soldier, make no mistake. But this mission is breaking him down like he's never been broken down before. You're going to see Cable struggling with a new bodily problem, one directly borne out of his experiences in "Messiah War." And I'm not talking about pimples.
NRAMA: Do you think Cable should have a more active role in other X-books? Or are you happy that he kind of exists on the periphery?
DS: I think Cable should be in every single X-book. But that's just me.
NRAMA: Are Wolverine and Cyclops destined for another collision regarding methodology and the X-Men? Is this leading to a bigger falling out—or can these two get on the same page?
CY: Issue 18. They collide violently. Given what Cyclops did in #13, Wolverine has a few things he'd like to say to Cyclops. With his claws.
NRAMA: Where is "Not Forgotten" leading readers of X-Force? The #$%@ is hitting the fan from all directions...what next?!
CY: The arc after 'Not Forgotten' is the biggest we've done since the opening arc, "Angels and Demons". It's something pretty special, and it kicks off in October. Even the title of the arc is a spoiler. It's not Bastion, though. That's the next one.
NRAMA: Will Cable and X-Force see more of each other in the near future?
DS: The techno-organic 8-ball says: "Signs point to maybe."