The Rick Remender era of Uncanny X-Force is over.
We'll let you take a moment of silence (maybe while reading the Uncanny X-Force Mega-Review and recap from Best Shots).The good news is, Uncanny X-Force is sticking around, now under the watch of writer Sam Humphries and artist Ron Garney. And Humphries, well, he's turning the whole thing on its head all over again, with new characters, a new attitude to some of the existing ones, and of course, having to take up the extremely bizarre end to some of the cast's stories that Remender left sitting there.
But as this new team of X-Force comes together (one of two X-Force teams in the Marvel Universe now), there are some readers, be they new ones coming in thanks to Marvel NOW!, old ones who have just returned after awhile, or even those who simply only read UXF, who are probably saying things like "Who the heck is Puck?" and "Why does Psylocke hate Spiral so much?"
Well, that last one is pretty messed up. Ahead of the release of the first issue of the Marvel NOW! era of the book on January 23, 2013, here's Who's Who in the all-new, all-different Uncanny X-Force, plus some extra notes and teases from Sam Humphries.SPIRAL
She went, in a short time, from Rita Wayword, stuntwoman and love interest of Longshot, to Spiral, assassin/spy/jack of all trades for Mojo, the extra-dimensional TV guru. While most of her interactions with the X-Men and mutants in general have been as a somewhat generic villain, she does have one unique connection to this squad, and that's in Psylocke.
You see, back when Spiral was a cybernetics trader, she took Betsy's eyes out of her head and replaced them with cameras for Mojo. She's also responsible for Elizabeth Braddock and Kwannon's body-stealing merger. So yeah, you could say there's some bad blood between the six-armed teleporting swordsmith and the incoming leader of this band of misfits.
Sam Says: "Spiral is a tragic cosmic ninja. She's done some very amoral things in the past, but let's not forget she's undergone some horrific transformations, worse than what Betsy has endured. If we can have sympathy for the things Betsy has gone through, can we have sympathy for the devil, too?"PUCK
Eugene Milton Judd might not sound like the name of your average roguish butt-kicker, but Puck is no average rogue. The most diminutive member of Canadian Superteam Alpha Flight, Puck has always been an explorer and adventurer as much as a superhero. He's not a natural dwarf, but a mystically-created one, and while he didn't have powers in his earliest appearance, is now possessing of super strength and agility. Oh, and he's literally been to Hell and back after one of those pesky deaths all good comic characters go through.
Sam Says: "He's the Canadian Indiana Jones, a true badass in his own right, but even twice a badass for the way he never lets his stature stop him from finding a way to kick ass. Plus, he's a smart ass. I'm having a blast writing his Saskatchewan swagger."STORM (with Mohawk)
One of the "All-New, All-Different" X-Men from the classic Giant Size X-Men #1, Storm has been a great many things in her life, let alone in her career as an X-Man. She has been a thief, a goddess, a queen married to the king of the most technologically advanced nation in the world, a team leader, a teacher, a superhuman cop. She has fought crime with and without powers, has taken over entire factions of mutants, and has lived through childhood more than once.
Storm also wouldn't have had the opportunity for most of those things without the help of Charles Xavier, making her incredibly loyal to him and his ideals. With her mastery over all things weather, Ororo Munroe is definitely a powerhouse among this group of scrappers and ninja.
Sam Says: "The mohawk is bad ass, but it's more than a fashion statement. When it first showed up in the 80s, it was an external manifestation of internal turmoil for the character. Flash forward to today, and she's in another transition. She's been unceremoniously dumped by the Black Panther. No longer wife, no longer queen, the future she thought she had has been ripped away from her. The home she grew up in, the Charles Xavier school, is gone, and her mentor is dead. What has replaced it is new and exciting, but it's also terrifying too. She's in another transition, one of the biggest in her life, and the mohawk is a signifier of that."FANTOMEX
One of the most lasting results of Grant Morrison's run on the X-Men comic books was this character, an enigmatic escapee of Weapon Plus, the same government experiment program that created both Captain America and Wolverine.
Fantomex was possessed of three brains, a sentient nervous system that serves as his ship, and in addition to being one heck of a fighter and a thief, also has a handy illusion power he calls misdirection and uses to push people into fake-out scenarios, usually while quietly slinking away from a dangerous situation. Most recently, Fantomex shot and killed a young child version of Apocalypse, then cloned him and raised the new version as his "nephew." Unfortunately, the man known as Jean-Phillipe to some and Uncle Cluster to one was mercilessly killed. We know it, because he had his heart cut out right there on-panel.
When cloned in an attempt at resurrection, though, Fantomex came back a little different, with each of those three brains becoming an individual person: a good (Fantomex), a bad (Jean-Phillipe), and a… lady (Cluster). So yeah, he's going through some stuff.
Sam Says: "Fantomex...well...let's talk after you read the last page of issue 1."CLUSTER
This female and "nicest" aspect of Fantomex's three brains has so far appeared as her own unique character for a total of five comic book pages, so there's not a lot to say about her just yet. We know that Deadpool thinks she's sexy, that she is the nicest persona of the three (according to her, of course. hmm…) and that she ended the previous volume of UXF alongside Betsy Braddock and Fantomex (who, again, is now the name of the non-evil male persona). But who the heck knows what they've all been up to for six months?
Sam Says: "One of three brains from Fantomex, now given free reign as an individual entity with her own free will. What she does with that free will is going to shock some readers."PSYLOCKE
We've talked about deaths and resurrections, people losing and gaining powers, being reverted to children and being split in three. But Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock may very well be the most "comicbooky" of all these characters.
The short version is that the high society telepath from a British line of world-savers (her father was involved with the Captain Britain Corps, a multi-versal mystical police of sorts, and her twin brother is the current Captain Britain) had some crazy body-swapping action with a ninja; they both wound up with her powers and Kwannon, her double in many ways, wound up dead.
Psylocke is a telepath, but also an incredibly accomplished fighter trained by ninja and X-Men alike. She, like Storm, has a long-standing feud with Shadow King, an evil telepath who loves manipulating young pretty mutant girls. She has been romantically linked to a handful of X-Men characters, most recently ending a nearly 20 year on-again off-again relationship with Warren Worthington III when he was reset to a childlike state with no memories of his previous existence. She has also been dead (and got better), and like her brother has traversed the multiverse.
Sam Says: "Uncanny X-Force issue 1 takes place six months after the end of Rick's run. It's been a very eventful six months for Betsy, with a lot of ups, and a lot of downs. We'll slowly find out what happened over the course of the first arc."BISHOP
Hmm, or maybe we spoke to soon and this is the most "comicbooky" character, though he is a bit more easily explained. Bishop comes from a dystopian future where, as far as he knows, only one or two specific events led directly to his world of mutants under the bootheel of some dastardly humans. When he came back in time to prevent that future, well, it pit him directly against many of the X-Men from the very start.
Bishop has fought against Gambit, Cable, and Cyclops (amongst many others)… and that was when he was a "good guy." He also suffers with the memories of not only the future, but the alternate reality "Age of Apocalypse" where one of the X-Men's greatest foes did the unthinkable, and won. When Hope reignited the possibility of mutant kind's growth (and thus Bishop's future), he got a little… passionate. Bishop chased Cable (once again) and Hope throughout time, killing anyone who got in his way, becoming a worse villain than those he tried so passionately to fight.
Since then, he's been using his power-absorption powers (and his self-absorption) to survive about 4500 years in the future. When he comes back with a new look, we don't yet know if he'll also have a new attitude.
Sam Says: "He is the main antagonist of the book. One thing that is always true about Bishop -- he is a zealot. Whatever he does, he does with the force of a thousand enraged grizzly bears. The first arc of Uncanny X-Force is no exception."Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!