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San Diego Comic-Con 2009

SDCC 2009: X Men Noir: Mark of Cain

Writer Fred Van Lente and artist Dennis Calero return to the world of X Men Noir with an all-new limited series this December

For all the latest news, announcements and interviews, plus live panel blogging, video features and much more, visit Marvel.com's San Diego Comic-Con 2009 Hub Page!


By Marc Strom

Beginning in December, writer Fred Van Lente and artist Dennis Calero return to the world they helped create with X MEN NOIR: MARK OF A CAIN, an all-new four issue limited series picking up hot on the heels of this year's breakout hit.

"In the first series we established that the Angel, as he was growing up in Welfare Penitentiary, learned everything he knew about criminals themselves," Van Lente recaps. "And he learned all he knew about fighting from a bruiser by the name of Cain Marko. Since he, Cyclops and Logan have had to flee New York after the explosive events of the first X MEN NOIR, he's hooked up with Cain again, who has become a mercenary in the Far East land of Madripoor. He's on the trail of a priceless treasure in a jungle temple known as the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak, and gets our merry band of criminals to help out.

"But soon, this being a Noir book, murder and intrigue [become] involved, and our detective finds himself once again on the trail of Cain's mysterious half-brother, Charles Xavier, who has become the new warden at Genosha Bay prison, where he's training his all-new, all-different team of 'X' Men. Who are there, and how closely will they resemble a certain 'Uncanny' crew of mutants?"

Following the conclusion of the first X MEN NOIR, Van Lente promises fans will see most of their favorite characters return-providing they survived the previous series, of course.

"Pretty much everyone who made it out alive in the first one [will come back], which as those who read it can attest, is a pretty small list," the writer divulges. "[There's] Tom Halloway, the Angel; Captain Logan and his first mate, Eugene Judd; Scott 'Cyclops' Summers, expert marksman; Charles 'X' Xavier, aka 'The Professor of Crime; and

Wanda Magnus, daughter of the slain Chief of Detectives. And, of course, we will add many more noir analogues from the X-Universe, which, fortunately, has no shortage of compelling characters to choose from."



On the artistic side of things, Calero claims he will retain a similar tone in his work to the original series while he also tries to improve on the work he's done before.


"I always think ideally an artist of any kind improves from work to work, and I used the first series to test some thoughts I'd been having about storytelling and illustration," the artist elaborates. "Some things I think, looking back, worked well, and other things not so much. I intend to try and continue doing the things I think worked, and try some new things as well. I want the books to have a similar feel, but I don't feel beholden to pure repetition.

"I think what fans of the first book liked more than anything was just seeing something new. I want to try to explore what people liked but also, again, give them something new. That always involves an element of risk, but it's worth risking failure to achieve something unique."

For the characters themselves, Calero will alter some of their looks as necessitated by the passage of time.

"The few characters that survived our last foray into this world will have aged and experienced and it will show," reveals Calero. "Especially with Wolverine, who, as you may realize, has no healing factor in our world."

When bringing the various characters from the regular Marvel Universe into the world of X MEN NOIR, Calero explains that each offers up their own unique challenge:

"All the characters are challenging in that we're trying to present them as having some kernel, some internal spark, of the characters we know and love," he relates. "Except they are different, because experience and the world have warped them into something other than what we know. Walking that line between new and familiar is always difficult.

While Calero couldn't reveal his favorite character of the new series just yet, he would offer up a hint to whet fans' appetites:

"My favorite character I can't discuss, but thoughts about him have been crawling around in my head since the first series so it's a thrill to see him come out of the night, as it were, and into our reality."


For all the latest news, announcements and interviews, plus live panel blogging, video features and much more, visit Marvel.com's San Diego Comic-Con 2009 Hub Page!

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Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution", "Wolverine and the X-Men" and "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes" now on iTunes!


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      Hooray for "Noircrawler"! > Ry-Guy