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Building Uncanny X-Force

Building Uncanny X-Force Pt. 2

Sam Humphries rounds out his team with Puck and Storm, plus plans for Bishop, Cluster and more!

Uncanny X-Force #1 preview art by Ron Garney

By Ryan Haupt

Beginning on January 16, writer Sam Humphries, artist Ron Garney and a team of misfit mutants will patrol the darkest corners of the Marvel Universe—the places even the X-Men hate and fear—in the all-new UNCANNY X-FORCE.

But how do two tenured allies, one pint-size Canadian and an extra-dimensional villain—not to mention that lady who bears an uncanny resemblance to one Fantomex—come together? We sought answers on this and more from Humphries himself.

Marvel.com: So why did you pick Puck, everyone’s second favorite short Canadian super hero, to be on the team?

Sam Humphries: [Laughs] I liked having Puck because I feel like that’s a character where there is a lot of untapped potential, there’s a lot that’s ending up there that’s never been seen before. He’s a kick-ass character who has a background as an adventurer and he used to be a bouncer at a bar, so he’s kind of this tough Canadian Indiana Jones.  He’s also short in stature, but you don’t see that really in the way he conducts his life. He’s the kind of guy who goes into a situation and never thinks twice and thinks he’s going to kick ass. And he’s also a smart-ass, and I have a team of very serious characters, so I was excited to have a guy in there to crack a joke once in a while.  

Marvel.com: So he’s a bit of comic relief?

Sam Humphries: I would not say he’s comic relief. He’s a character that laughs in the face of danger.

Marvel.com: You also have Storm on the team. Because this is kind of a wet works, black-ops down and dirty team, and she’s usually seen as a much more regal and noble character, how do you bring her into all this?

Uncanny X-Force #1 preview art by Ron Garney

Sam Humphries: The wet works team was the previous incarnation of the book, and that’s not what this team is, so to have her as a part of this team makes a lot of sense from a character perspective because these are all characters that feel like misfits in a misfit world. This is a post AvX world where Wolverine is running a school and Rogue is on an Avengers team, so there’s no space left for the characters that are truly uncanny; the truly weird, the truly bizarre, the characters that kind of straddle the line between hero and villain, and Storm is one of those characters. She has been through the whole queen and goddess thing, and then Black Panther annulled their marriage, and now she’s trying to figure out where her place is. Her old home, the Xavier school, is gone, and the Jean Grey School is not quite the same as she remembers, and people are always walking on egg shells around her because of the divorce and everything, so she will find a home as a part of their team.

Marvel.com: Is the Mohawk going to make a comeback?

Sam Humphries: It’s back, across all books. It’s a done deal. It’s Storm and not only is the Mohawk look awesome, but the first time it came around, it was really a symptom of her emotional state at the time, as she wasn’t sure where she fit in in the world. And this is another phase of her life where she’s feeling the same way. So I’m really excited for the changes that are coming to Storm and what the Mohawk symbolizes for her. I’m excited.

Marvel.com: Very cool. So you have this team of four very powerful mutants—so what’s their threat? Who are they taking on that they have to fight so hard and so cool?

Uncanny X-Force #1 preview art by Ron Garney

Sam Humphries: Well the big bad guy of the book is Bishop. He hasn’t been seen for two years and for about two years before that, he was kind of an anti-hero, as he was hunting Cable and Hope across time lines He really believed, perhaps wrongly, that he was doing the right thing by gunning after Hope, so to speak. With that mission over and failed, he has been trapped in the year 6700 AD. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in that year, but also fighting your way back to the present, that’s got to change a guy. This is going to be the same Bishop we’ve seen for years, but he’s been changed, and with that will change his power set a bit.

Marvel.com: So one thing I was really impressed about when I went through your team list is that it’s incredibly diverse. There’s not a single American on the team—

Sam Humphries: Wait there are no Americans on the team?

Marvel.com: I don’t think so.

Sam Humphries: God, you’re right. I didn’t even know that, that’s awesome. [Laughs]

Marvel.com: That is even more amazing that you didn’t even know that because it shows that it wasn’t diversity for the sake of diversity. This is an actual team of people that you thought through and none of them happen to be American, and they’re just incredibly diverse. That must be incredibly exciting as a writer. Or do you find it intimidating?

Sam Humphries: This is what the book is all about. Writing UNCANNY X-FORCE is an opportunity to write an X-Men book that is completely different than what you see in the other X-Men books. This is not UNCANNY AVENGERS, this is not ALL-NEW X-MEN, this is not WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN. It’s not a classic X-Men lineup. I don’t have to check in with what Cyclops is doing in every other issue or whatever, so that’s not just part of the mandate, but part of the fun. If I am not trying to work on different characters and get different character dynamics, then I’m not really doing my job, so knowing that that’s what the book is all about, I really went for it and really made the most of this book in this way.

Uncanny X-Force #1 preview art by Ron Garney

Marvel.com: Is there anything else you want people to know before they pick up issue #1 of the book?

Sam Humphries: Yeah, we haven’t talked about our mystery character yet.

Marvel.com: I didn’t even know there was a mystery character.

Sam Humphries: Well there’s not a whole lot I can say about Cluster except for what’s been seen on the first issue cover, which is that she’s a female character in a costume reminiscent of Fantomex.

Marvel.com: And Fantomex should be very familiar to people who have been reading Rick Remender’s UNCANNY X-FORCE. So maybe there’s some sort of relationship there that will be explored?

Sam Humphries: I would say there are clues in Rick’s last issues.

Marvel.com: Did you talk to Rick about that, or are you just rolling with what comes your way?

Sam Humphries: Me and Rick and have been talking a lot, and he’s sent me all his notes. At the time, he had scripts for a bunch of issues and that kind of stuff. Rick was very generous about it, he doesn’t expect nor does he want me to just follow his blueprint for what he had planned already. I’ll put it this way. What I’m doing with that mystery character blew Rick’s mind, and Rick is a twisted guy.

Pick up UNCANNY X-FORCE #1 on January 16!

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Rita Wayword (Spiral) was an american stuntwoman.


Storm is father is African-American and because of the 14th amendment that makes her an American.