X-Force is a weird title to me because my favorite characters are(in no order) Cable, Storm, Psylocke, Marrow and Spiral. Because they all were in the game Marvel Vs Capcom 2. The uncanny X-force was already pretty good to me but I didn't like the writing. I got pretty happy that you choose Marrow I liked Legacy and I'm liking your x-force. I was hoping to see Mojoverse but with the current direction I don't see it or Spiral being used. I searched but didn't find on why Marrow? And Good Luck
Thanks for the luck! I’ve waffled about my peculiar obsession with Marrow in a few places, but the first one that pops up on the Goog is THIS.
As for your not expecting to see certain elements being used:
So the end of Legacy made me cry. I think I cried that entire issue which hasn't happened since Nightcrawler was killed. But I kind of just wanted to say thanks for the good run with legacy! (Also you almost made me cry at thought bubble last year when you said something on a panel but I was a mike runner/red shirt and that would have sucked) BASICALLY, thanks for making me cry, really enjoying x-force.
Thanks so much - very kind words. And, um, sorry for making you cry.
Hi Mr Spurrier, Just an X-Force related question. Seeing as Dr. Nemesis is still helping the team out with tech, is there any chance that Forge will make the odd appearance? I really enjoyed he and Nemesis interacting like a grumpy married couple in Cable & X-Force.
No plans in the immediate future, alas. I too enjoyed the Tech Vs Science buddy-movie shtick, but our plans are somewhat different. Afraid I can’t say much without spoiling things, but trust me when I say there are some very creepy secrets waiting to be revealed which I think you’ll enjoy.
Is there a reason for Cable's new headgear in X-Force? He had gotten away from the eyepatch in the last series and had a really cool looking bionic eye. Does he still have that underneath the patch and just wears the headgear for some purpose that hasn't been revealed yet? Just curious. Loved the first issue of X-Force. Can't wait for more.
Everything’s there for a reason, Cable’s much-mocked Solid Snake vibe included. Answers are coming!
Is it weird when i read Fantomex's dialogue it sounds like Peter Seller's Inspector Clouseau?
Hahaha, no, not weird at all. (I read a great review of XF the other day: Spurrier writes a Frenchmam as only an Englishman can. Ha!) There’s a lot of exaggeration and swagger about Fantomex - he’s often annoying, no doubt about it - but it’s like that for a reason. Keep watching: answers are coming. And in the mean time, just remember: he’s not actually French.
Loved the use of Marrow as POV narrator in X-Force #1. Are we going to get to see anyone else's inner thoughts along the way?
As you will by now have noticed: yes! The first arc abstractly rotates between the characters, gradually layering little nuggets of revelation upon other details to flesh-out the mystery lurking behind the setup we’ve been dumped into. Ep 1 was Marrow, ep 2 was Cable, ep 3’s all about Psylocke, ep 4’s Fantomex’s turn to shine, and—
Well. I can’t say more than that, can I? Cos it all starts getting a bit weird.
X-MEN LEGACY: raking over the coals; questions unanswered.
I was approached by an interviewer not long ago with some questions about the end of my run on X-Men Legacy. It was the nature of the story I chose to tell that there were certain ambiguities and uncertainties programmed into the closing of the tale. It’s arguably the nature of many (most?) spandex books that unanswered questions are exceedingly rare - whether because the neverending nature of these stories can string-out the “answers are coming” mantra indefinitely, or because (as Alan Moore might have it) these Shared Universes are explicitly gratifying because they present safe, tidy, unambiguous realities to readers uncomfortable with our own complicated and tiring world - so inevitably I’ve received a few letters from startled readers seeking clarification. I’m pleased to say it’s never clarification about the story I was actually telling - that is, the important bit - but about “what this means for the wider shared-Universe”.
The interview wasn’t run in the end because Reasons, but I thought it made sense - given that many of the aforementioned questions came to me through tumblr - to put the answer I wrote here. I hope it’ll be an interesting peek-behind-the-scenes for those of you who read and enjoyed the series, and I hope it’ll give some modicum of closure to those of you uncomfortable about the questions I chose not to answer.
The ending of Legacy was something I planned carefully from the outset.
You’ll appreciate the minutiae of these things evolve and drift as a story progresses, so whereas I knew the main meat of the final episode from the getgo (and doubtless you will’ve seen me waffling elsewhere about my unhelpful insistence on stories having endings), the specifics of the lead-in and the fine detail of how it all shook out were somewhat more elastic. The central goal was to bring David to a place where he’d overcome everything he reasonably could: his enemies, his own inability to trust others, his pride, his confusion regarding his father, and most importantly his own mental illness. And then, after all that, my aim was to further confront the poor guy with something he couldn’t defeat: destiny.
Predestination is something we use in fiction a lot, even though in my opinion it’s one of the most grotesque notions there is, and certainly one of the most unhelpful obstacles to weaving satisfying stories. (And yet one which we writers return to again and again, like picking at a scab - very interesting, that.) I couldn’t resist squaring up to it and making it the ultimate metaphor for David’s overarching quest to achieve self-control, self-determination and self-responsibility. What do you do when your own story is your ultimate enemy? Simple: you cheat. You make sure that your story operates on your own terms at any cost.
Obviously that’s got about a billion layers of wanky meta wrapped-up inside it, starting with some mischievous commentary on the nature of writing comics, all the way down to resisting living one’s life according to the ineffable whimsy of a metaphysical power. Somewhere in the middle was a swirling bunch of brainfood about love, adolescence and nobility which, to me, was the Good Stuff. It all feels right, is the important thing.
To me a good story should feel as though it’s ending in the only way it possibly can - which nonetheless should manage to be surprising - and should combine a sense of emotional satisfaction with an urge to keep thinking about it. From what I’ve seen of the reaction online Legacy was successful with a really good proportion of its readers.
As I anticipated (in that little author’s note I put in the back), there are inevitably some who’re riled by the prosaic fallout from the whole business. What it means for the continuity of the wider Marvel Universe in particular; all those alternate histories and character stories which wouldn’t have occurred if David really had written himself out of reality.
There are so many ways I could respond to those uncertainties it’s difficult to know which tack to take.
One route would be to announce with something akin to a warcry that my intention throughout was to mark this self-contained segment of David Haller’s life, X-Men Legacy V.2 1-24, as exclusively mine for all time and hereafter, and if any other writer intends to reuse any of its elements then they must at least be imaginative enough to find a way to start the story afresh (or to simply ignore everything I did and fall back on the status quo). In other words I’ve ringfenced this narrative - from beginning to end - in a very selfish sort of way. MINE. FUCK OFF.
Another response, which is frankly even more mealy-mouthed and unsympathetic of me, would be to suggest that if your response to the events of XML was to wonder what this means for (say) the existence of The Age of Apocalypse, then you’re perhaps missing the point at the heart of the tale: a point about the nature of stories and their ability to linger on in unexpected ways even after they’ve finished. This story was concerned solely and uniquely with David and Ruth. Anything else is beyond its purview, and it’s neither helpful nor fair for me to have to explain things after the fact. Stories either stand alone or they don’t; on these terms you can judge XML a success or a failure.
Buuuut those are both unnecessarily adversarial positions to take. I think the most broadly satisfying afterthought is this. I was quite careful, in the final few pages of issue #24, to spell it out: stories are stronger than time and space. David even mentions he’s sure that all the new dimensions he’s created, all the cataracts of possibility (as he puts it), will survive his own disappearance. If that’s simply handing the torch of responsibility onwards to the next writer who wants to craft a story about David, or the AoA, or whatever it is, then so be it. I don’t imagine they’ll be out of the wider picture forever.
The fact is that until someone else comes along to spell things out, or kickstart things afresh, or to simply ignore everything this pretentious presumptuous limey prick with floppy hair and a stupid accent (hello) has done, until then, you the reader have the joyful privilege of establishing your own solution. Do you think David left the Age of Apocalypse intact when he broke destiny - perhaps triggered by some other event but otherwise unchanged? Then that’s what happened. Do you think all he did was a few crafty resurrections and a whole bunch of memory-fudging? Then that’s what happened. Until someone else says otherwise, you’re the God of your own understanding. Don’t run away from that, don’t mistake it for being Messy and Unsatisfying.
Like I said: all I’m interested in is telling you what happened to David and Ruth, and more importantly the message which lies behind it. Everything else is wondrously unwritten.
That’s life, and in spite of - or perhaps because of - all of its messy chaos, it’s just so fucking excellent.
Loved the end of X-Men Legacy. It was superb, moving, and wonderful storytelling. Loved it. One thing I just wanted to clarify: as part of David's last act, did Chamber and all the other characters who died in the run come back to life? Or rather, were never killed now in the first place? At any rate, I really loved it, and I'm eagerly looking forward to XML#300 :)
I’m going to write a blog pretty soon about some of the questions and fallout from X-Leg, but that’s more about the general ambiguities which I deliberately left open. With things like the other characters, yes, the idea was that those final few deaths - Chamber, Brand, Karasu - simply never happened. The way that David’s subsequent decisions affect the *wider* continuity is a different matter - but I’ll write more about that shortly.
Do people around the X-office at Marvel call David "Legion" or do they respect his preference in that regard? Even though he's a fictional character, I feel like it would be rude to still call him Legion in real life.
Ha - amazing question. I honestly don’t know. Whenever I discussed XLeg with my editor it was always “David”, but as for other editors - you’d have to ask.
One thing I was troubled by in the previous Uncanny X-Force run is that there was no mention of Warren Worthington for Betsy. I agree that characters need to move forward, especially Betsy who may have been too "romance heavy" lately, but one when loses their great love who they planned a future with it tends to weigh on them. Will he pop up in Betsy's thoughts or influence her actions at all in your run on X-Force?
Can’t speak for other stories, only the stuff I take as my starting point and the stuff as my endpoint. At the start of my story Pylocke’s over Fantomex, let alone anyone who came before, so, no, the Warren thing won’t play a role in the main thread of this opening stage of the story. That said I *am* a sucker for maudlin getting-mugged-down-memory-lane type stories, and I have ideas in that direction, so given enough time and space I wouldn’t rule out some sort of retrospective hand-wringing on that subject. And I like spiky-winged things - it’s a weakness.
But if you’re looking for a beautiful reunion which patches up everything that’s gone between, I expect you’ll be disappointed.
I'm super excited for the issue that comes out this wee. Will EVA still have her humanoid form? Any chance of seeing Brian and Meggan since X-Force deals with international problems now? I'm sure you'll bring up the Fanto triplet situation correct? Whats says you of Sage? Or Dani Moonstar? Thanks for taking time to answer fan questions. Always great to get some insight.
I've been loving your Legacy run, and am real saddened to see it go. However, I am really excited bout your upcoming X-force. Any chance Forge, Dr Nemesis, Boom Boom, or Domino will be joining the team? If not, please make it happen!
By now you’ll know that at least one of those requests has already come true. I built it into the story at the very earliest stage because you never quite know when Marvel will pull the plug. Literally. They have omnipresent datahacks attached to my spinal cord. The second I stop being entertaining, or start saying something I shouldn’t, they shut me down like a mopy Furby.
As for the other characters you mentioned, I can now exclusively reveal th
X-force needs a puppy. Jesse Bedlam too but I'll also settle for a puppy.
Actually, I think Marrow and Fantomex sort of alternate in filling that niche (on the grounds that dogs are wonderful insecure meat-robots fuelled by routine, certainty and love). Psylocke’s a cat, obviously. Cable’s a fucking great bald eagle. Doc Nemesis is an iguana. You know it’s true.
Amazing Preview, I am so super pumped to read this incarnation of X-Force. Quick question, what is one personality trait that you feel defines each member(that we know of so far) of the team?
Ha! Very good question, but one I’m afraid I’m not going to answer. I’m a bit of a fan of the Controlling Idea (I’m sure I’ve waffled about this elsewhere), and as well as acting as a distillation of everything that jumbles together to form a Story, it’s also very useful to generate a series of defining ideas to launch your characters. But you should never tell anyone what they are, because a) your characters will often be trying to mask, hide or defeat that kernal of Defining Truth deep inside them, and it would totally ruin the surprises to tell everyone what lurks in each of their breasts, and b) your characters deserve the right to be contrary and evolve on their own. If I gave you a neat little two-word description of, say, Marrow, then next time I write her it’s clear that she’s started resenting that tidy definition and frankly insists on behaving in a completely contrary manner - that’s the sort of thing she’d do, the pest - then I’d look like a right wally.
The proof is in the pudding. Read the book, try to gauge the characters - not just who they are but who they’re pretending to be - and let’s compare notes at the end. :)
Really enjoyed Legacy, looking forward to X-force. I've been a fan of Cable's for a long while (though certainly liking some phases of his development more than others). What kind of background regarding the central characters does Marvel give you? Or, do they expect you to do the research on your own? Which writer's takes on Cable have you liked best?
Marvel provides as much or as little background as you request. I think it’s just par for the course that you’re expected to’ve gone away and familiarised yourself with a character before even *thinking* about trying to pitch their involvement, let alone actually writing them. Sometimes you’ll get clear-cut clarifications of certain things for the sake of continuity (eg: there’s a little document which sets out which of the various Fantomex clones got which powers in the split, etc) but generally speaking you’re left to make your own mark - and your own mistakes - on these gals and guys.
As a reader of Legacy you’ll know I’m quite happy to gently - or, actually, fairly bluntly - stamp my own brand onto characters if I think it makes sense. With legacy (small “l”) characters like Cable it’s obviously trickier to just waltz in and start from scratch than with lesser-known ones (not that I’d want to) but you’d be amazed at how open Marvel is to ideas about lasting adjustments to a character’s status quo.
In the case of X-Force the “Not Quite Like It Was Before” elements with these characters aren’t quite as shameless or overt as with - say - David Haller, but they’re there. The difference is that I’m introducing them slowly, and have woven the reasoning for them into the meat of the plot quite carefully. As I’ve said elsewhere: there’s nothing on the page which isn’t supposed to be there.
In Cable’s case: you cut away everything else and what’s underneath is a archetypal soldier with an indomitable sense of duty. You build back up from that point and you won’t go far wrong, even if the (say) speech patterns, or the nuances of his motivation, are fractionally different.
Announcing ELITE: NEMORENSIS - my new sci-fi novel.
This year sees the launch of ELITE: DANGEROUS, a fabulously ambitious MMORPG based in, around and above the 1984 classic videogame ELITE.
In support of its launch publisher Gollancz has commissioned a trio of novellas to explore the teeming richness of the Elite Universe.
And I did one of them. As above.
It’s been a while since I’ve written longform prose - that’s entirely down to the saturation of my schedule - and even longer since I’ve had the privilege of indulging some shameless sci-fi delight. Nemorensis could be seen as an excuse to scratch the itch, a splurging of pent-up ideas and fun, or an unapologetically trippy look at the sorts of abstractly alien concepts which lend themselves so well to the prose form.
It could also be seen as True Romance in space, mashed-up with the omnicultural “sacrificial king” myth-trope, the concept of metaphysical organisms, tiny tiny lasers, and the problematic mechanics of fucking in zero gravity.
It’s a very Me book.
Full details of the new game, the publishing deal, and worldwide digital/hardcopy ordering options, all RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW.
I’ve been thinking that, given this Tumblr probably mostly attracts comics people, it might be worthwhile to do a bit of blogging about that particularly industry I’ve found myself in. Also, the day-to-day drudge of my job can run down my appreciation of the medium itself, so taking a few moments every now and then to write up something I appreciate about comics would probably do me good. And so, Comics Write-Up.
For this first installment, I want to talk about X-MEN: LEGACY #24.
Marvelicious editor Jake Thomas wrote some… well… some really special things about X-Men Legacy. It’s incredible how often we writers struggle to adequately describe or explain our own work, so there’s little more gratifying than when someone else does it so succinctly. Actually, that’s not true: the one thing more gratifying is when someone succinctly articulates the reasons for them disliking the book, then describes theprocess of their conversion. Personal accounts like this mean more than all the official reviews in the world.
I’m delighted to welcome one of my favourite artists working for Marvel right now, the amazing Jorge Molina, onto X-FORCE for episodes 4-6. Here’s a peek at his first two covers. Ep 4 hits shelves April 30th - don’t miss it!
Do me a favour — don’t spoil it for those who haven’t yet read it? I love that so many people have been so moved, but payoff < anticipation < agony. Splurging the details will only make it less resonant for those who haven’t yet got there.
There will be thoughts on XML in these parts soon enough. And, as you’ll know if you’ve (bought and) read the comic, the author’s letter at the end is something of a last word on the subject anyway.
But don’t forget there’s a special XML#300 out next month, cowritten by Mike Carey, Christos Gage and me, partly drawn by our very own Tan Eng Huat, which is a rather special and - we hope - very moving distillation of what XML has always been about, tackled in a very unique way. Do check it out.
I literally cannot tell you have much anticipation I have for next Wednesday. Marrow was the chief villain in the first comic book I ever bought (Uncanny X-Men #325 with the awesome foldout cover) and I have just been enamored with her character through thick and thin ever since then. (And lets be honest, she's had a lot more bad than good throughout years of being helped, fixed, and then rolled back to type.) Legacy was awesome, and I'm sure this is gonna be awesome. Thank you thank you.
Where did you become a Marrow fan? Was there a particular comic you read which led to her becoming a favourite of yours? Did you play her in Marvel vs Capcom 2? (if you ever played that game)
Oh crikey, I couldn’t say. I’ve just run into her in various comicky trawlings over the years - plus, yes, forgive me, That Game. (There’s a good reason Shuma-Gorath is such a persistent foe in the Marvel U). I think the key was that I always felt I had stories to tell about Sarah without ever fully feeling as though there’d been a single cohesive sense of who she was before that. Lots of different interpretations of the one character (not dissimilar to Legion, now I think of it). The chance to unify, coalesce or - uncharitably - pick-and-choose all that’s gone before, and put your own stamp of authenticity on a compelling character, is very seductive.
First off, I wanted to say I am so excited for your new X-force book, I have been wanting an espionage book for the X-men world for a while. Two characters I was wondering if you have considered for the team. Chamber and Havok. No one has really looked at the fact that Havok was a killer in space and I think this would be cool to see him and Cable together again. Chamber is just sweet and would be cool interactions with Marrow.
My curious affection for Chamber has, I think, been covered more than enough elsewhere. I tried quite seriously to find a spot for him on the team, but in the end conceded the person he is and the role the team will be playing aren’t good bedfellows. I never shut a door once it’s been slightly opened, so don’t be too surprised if I start contriving insane excuses in future arcs to get Jono in the book after all. It’ll come down to how close my editor’s paying attention, basically. (Are you reading this, Daniel?)
Havoc is, of course, VIP-ing elsewhere. I have nothing against characters moonlighting between more than one team, but only when it makes sense for story-reasons. With Havoc I just don’t feel it would.
He will be making an appearance, mind you, in a very early episode…
You are one of the finest wordsmiths I have ever read (I've read your novels, comics and interviews). Does it come naturally to you or did you have to work at it because I'm extremely jealous.
It comes at a dark and terrible price. Cruel narrative fate forced me to duel, defeat and cannibalize every sesquipedalian mentor I ever encountered, and on the dawn of my thirteenth birthday a matching set of small but perfectly formed dictionaries (A-M in one volume, N-Z in the other) dropped into the magical repository of my scrotum in the place of regular human bollocks. Some writers waffle on about masturbatory sex-magic and metafictional osmotic membranes between expression and ejaculation, but those fucking FAKERS don’t know what it’s like waking up the morning after your voice breaks to find the bedsheets covered in crusty lexiphanic splurgings like “glabrous”, “chlorotic” and “porcupineapple”. My mother still can’t meet my eye.
Dear Si, I love X-Men Legacy and can't wait for X-Force. Please tell me Brand, Jono and Sojobo aren't really dead. That issue was amazing with all the feels.
On a scale of 1 to Loki-Sobbing-At-The-Grave-Of-His-Favourite-Kitten-While-Writing-Pansexual-Love-Poems-In-Time-To-Blondie’s-Atomic-While-Naked-Cherubs-With-Kieron-Gillen’s-Face-Frolic-Overhead, exactly how Feelsy would you say it was?
As for the deaths: I can hereby exclusive reveal th
My father told me he was proud of me today, something, as usual, that I've never heard expressed, regardless of its previous likely equal but unexpressed truth value. Once I processed that it had happened (airport security gave me plenty of time for this), all I could think about was David Haller-- but not just any David Haller: YOUR David Haller. In so many ways, you made him feel like MY David too, and I'm going to miss the fuck out of that book and everyone in it.
Wow. That means a lot. What a lovely thing to read, and I’m so pleased your dad said those words. It’s strange, isn’t it? Even when two people who love each other both know something to be true, it’s often simultaneously the hardest thing to say out loud and the one thing that needs to be said the most. Humans are ridiculous and wondrous.
There may be more to say about this after XML#24 next week. But thank you for making my day.