X-Force: Back from the Dead

Writer Chris Yost reintroduces the mutant-hating baddies crawling out of their graves in X-FORCE. Plus: preview art from Clayton Crain!

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Preview art by
Clayton Crain

By Marc Strom Mutants and mutie-lovers alike, hide your children and batten up your windows, because the villains have returned. With the most recent issue of X-FORCE, the newly-resurrected Bastion set out to bring a few of his fellow anti-mutant leaders back from the dead, forming a coalition with a total mutant-kill count of 16,522,955, according to series writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost's tally. We spoke with Yost to get a who's who primer before X-FORCE #4, by Kyle, Yost and artist Clayton Crain, hacks and slashes its way into your comic store on May 28. Marvel.com: A lot of the anti-mutant leaders you brought back haven't been seen in a while—how would you describe each of them to any new readers unfamiliar with them? Chris Yost: We realized that we were throwing out a lot of old—and really old—characters at new readers, so we tried to come up with a way to really summarize who they were. And Craig actually did it simply with the number of mutants they've killed.

Preview art by
Clayton Crain

So even if you don¹t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the X-Men's villains, the message should be pretty clear: these guys are bad news for mutants. Here's the breakdown… [Reverend] William Stryker is the founder of the fanatical Purifiers, and has taken it upon himself to wipe out mutantkind, whom he considers to be the spawn of Satan. Bolivar Trask created the Sentinels. 'Nuff said. Donald Pierce leads the cyborg Reavers and has ties to the Hellfire Club. He's taken on Wolverine before, and has got a personal vendetta against the X-Men. The Leper Queen is a horrifically disfigured woman, scarred at the hands of her mutant daughter. She founded the Sapien League, a grass roots militia, to fight back against mutantkind. Cameron Hodge is a businessman and [former] friend of founding X-Man Angel. He turned on Warren, unleashing the Right—his personal army of armored mutant-killers.

Preview art by
Clayton Crain

Stephen Lang was a government employee in the field of robotics, and began the ambitiously titled program Project Armageddon. He used anti-mutant paranoia to fund his project and further the Sentinel program, and created robotic duplicates of the X-Men to battle the mutants. Graydon Creed was a Presidential candidate and founder of the Friends of Humanity, an anti-mutant hate group. Why did he hate mutants? His parents were Mystique and Sabretooth. Again, 'Nuff said. Bastion: half-futuristic Sentinel, half-modern day Master Mold. Merged together into the defender of humanity. He has a plan. Marvel.com: Speaking of which, what does Bastion plan to do with all the leaders now under his control? Chris Yost: Religion. Politics. Military. Grass-roots. Robotics and cybernetics. Private armies. Bastion has just gotten a strong foothold into each of these realms. He has a very specific plan, which you'll start to see unfold in the coming issues. Marvel.com: How will the Purifiers react

Preview art by
Clayton Crain

to seeing their former leader, William Stryker, up and walking around again? For that matter, how will those people who followed the other leaders react to their return?
Christ Yost: Again, Bastion has a plan. Graydon Creed, for instance, was publicly assassinated/disintegrated—but left just enough genetic material for the Technarch to regenerate. So Bastion will have to come up with cover stories for the dead that he's resurrected. In the case of the Purifiers, the return of Stryker is easy to explain. It was a miracle. Marvel.com: Are the resurrected leaders completely under Bastion's control, or will we see some dissention and conflicting agendas inside the group? Chris Yost: You'll see the resurrected begin to look more and more human. These people are no good to Bastion looking like techno-organic zombies. They'll look and talk just like their normal selves, they'll have free will—but Bastion controls the master switch, so to speak. But there will definitely be conflict. Hodge is a bastard, he won't willingly serve Bastion. Trask changed his tune at the end of his life, and was no longer a mutant hater. Things like this will not be forgotten.

Preview art by
Clayton Crain

Marvel.com: Some of these guys, like Stephen Lang, have been dead quite a while—do they all have the same following they once had when they were alive? Christ Yost: They will soon. Bastion has time to rebuild the organizations these men—and woman—once led. Marvel.com: You've also got Archangel on the cover to X-FORCE #5—any hints you can give us there? Chris Yost: Don't miss issue #4. Marvel.com: Any other teases you want to throw us? Chris Yost: X-Force vs. Archangel! Wolverine vs. Bastion! X-23 and Warpath vs. everybody! And Wolfsbane's been pretty quiet this series so far. That changes big time in issue #4. And next arc, the world's deadliest mutants get even deadlier. New members! New mission! Same old writers. X-FORCE #4 explodes into stores on May 28, but check out Kyle and Yost's past work on the team's youngest member, X-23, with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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