X-POSITION: The Force is Strong with Chris Yost

Tue, June 17th, 2008 at 2:47pm PDT | Updated: June 17th, 2008 at 5:50pm

Comic Books
Shaun Manning, Staff Writer

"X-Force" #4 Second Printing Variant on sale in July

In the aftermath of “Messiah Complex,” Cyclops has assembled a secret black-ops team to take on missions the disbanded X-Men never could, to ensure the survival of the mutant species by any means necessary. As X-Force, the group's first mission is to eradicate the Purifiers, a human extremist group founded by the late Reverend William Stryker to complete the extinction of homo superior that began on M-Day.

X-Force's first mission, though, has not gone to plan. Wolfsbane was captured, shot, and drugged; X-23 has slid further down a violent path; and Wolverine has been forced to bear witness as teammates fall prey to demons he himself had hoped to leave behind.  Through it all, the Purifiers have grown stronger, with leader Matthew Risman and the mutant hunter Bastian reviving some of the X-Men's deadliest foes. Making matters worse, a brutal attack on Warren Worthington III has transformed him once again into Archangel.

So it's all rainbows and puppies, right? Series co-writer Chris Yost stopped by X-POSITION to answer your questions about developments in “X-Force” to date, as well as clean up lingering issues from the late “New X-Men” title and tease “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers” and the latest X-Men cartoon.

We’ll start off with a question from Lil Joshy, who’d like to see “X-Force” sport an even more savage lineup:
 
Did you at any point, with the members of this new X-Force, want any other Feral X-Characters you would've wanted to use ie Feral, Thornn, Sabretooth etc?

You mean besides Cap-Wolf?  Not really. And since Feral's dead, Thornn's depowered, and Sabretooth's decapitated, it would make the book a little awkward.  They'd have to carry around a dead body and Sabretooth's head on missions.  And they'd start to smell.

"X-Force" #5 on sale in July

We never really thought of it as a feral team, anyway.  Wolverine's gone all “moral” on them, X-23's more like a machine than an animal, Warpath's haunted by his decisions, and Wolfsbane hates the beast inside her.  Of course, some of that's going to change. 

La Fea was also interested in the X-Force team dynamic, particularly as it relates to the more pious X-Men. But first…

1. Why do/did you hate my beloved Wind Dancer? 

Hate her?  We loved Sofia!  We saved her life by having her leave the school.  Otherwise, BLAM.

2. Will the members of X-Force live a double life as regular X-Men when the team inevitably regroups?  If so, will Rahne reunite with current Brotherhood members Cannonball and Moonstar? 

X-Force will indeed be living a double life among the X-Men after this initial arc, which is going to prove problematic for Warpath in particular.  He's got a certain cat/skunk lady girlfriend that's going to be wondering what the hell's wrong with him, and where he's been.  Since X-23 doesn't particularly talk much, and has lived her entire life lying on missions, she won't have much of a problem.  No one's going to wonder where Wolverine is, because he's got his solo and Avengers activities.

And Wolfsbane... well, after the events of issues 6, she's not going to be reuniting with anyone anytime soon. 

3. Would any of the members of X-Force, particularly a guilt-ridden character like Wolfsbane, confide the secret of the team to anyone?

This is a hard secret to keep in some ways, and an easy one in others.  What they're doing is so horrible and against the X-Men's super-hero roots, they may not want to share it.  It taints them.  But Warpath is going to have to tell someone.  See issue 7. 

EXCLUSIVE: Artwork from "X-Force" #5

Another problem?  Elixir.  He was there when the whole Wolfsbane/Archangel thing went down.  He's a teenager with a girlfriend.  He's a security risk.

Mr. Yost isn’t shy with the foreshadowing! Moving on from these two or three bombshells, we have another question about Elixir and the rest of the former New X-Men from Daniel B: 

1) Why is Elixir's skin not always golden now?  It only seems to be when he's healing someone.  Did he change his appearance back?

I think it was a little bit of artistic license, but given Josh's powers... why not?  He changed it to gold, it can turn black based on his emotions... he can do pretty much anything he wants.  And now that he's got Beast's medical/genetics knowledge, he really can do anything he wants.  

So when he heals, it's gold.  When he hurts, it's black.

2) Can you tell us if we'll be seeing any New X-Men members become members of X-Force?

No.  Surge was so angry that she was leaning toward killing, but none of those kids are killers.  Hellion may have thought he was until he saw X-23 in action.  That being said, X-Force may utilize some of the kids in supporting roles, a la Elixir.  But they have to be very careful not to let it slip what exactly they're doing. 

EXCLUSIVE: Artwork from "X-Force" #5

Well, they can probably trust Blindfold, since she talks in riddles anyway. Next up,  MadeInHeaven expresses appreciation and a wish:

X-23 has always been a personal favorite of mine and I'm enjoying the fact that we can read what she's thinking--it really adds an entire new depth to her character. I was wondering if will the cast expand anytime soon, and are any of the current four members temporary? And is there any chance of getting Psylocke on the team? We all miss her dearly in the 616 universe! It would be awesome to see her put her deadly assassin skills to the test and I would love to see her interact with Laura again since they seemed to share a bit of a bond a few years back during "Uncanny X-Men." 

X-23's internal dialogue was fun, because it was so robotically horrifying.  She sees the world in her own special way, for sure.  The cast will expand soon, but I can't say if Psylocke makes the cut (no pun intended). 

Our dear Laura is a popular girl. RoguishGurl would like to see more scenes between X-23 and her father-figure: 

In the recent issue of “X-Force,” we saw X-23 and Wolverine share a very tense and emotional moment.  Will Wolverine and Laura have any more talks like this?

Yes, but probably more violent.  They have a very conflicted relationship.  See “X-23: Target X” #6 for their first bloody meeting.  X-23 represents everything Wolverine could have been.  And the last thing he ever wanted to see walking around.  Her mere existence is his failure.  It's hard to see that every day, and to see it getting worse. 

EXCLUSIVE: Artwork from "X-Force" #5

And X-23 grew up knowing Wolverine as Weapon X.  And when she finally meets him, he's grown so much that she doesn't understand him.  It's easier and natural for her to fall back on what she knows.  Killing.

Shifting over now to “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers,” Valeria K. addresses the writer’s reputation for decimating young heroes: 

A) Will you kill anyone in "Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers?" Please don't, I'm rather fond of both teams.

Where did I get this reputation as a-- oh, yeah.  Nevermind.  Issue 3 isn't final yet, let me see if I can go save Molly. 

B) When oh when are we going to see a Molly Hayes/Wolverine brawl?

 It's been discussed. 

“See first question.” No? Well, that’s how rumors start, I guess. Next we have Fantomex, with a “formative years” query:

So little of the Runaways' childhoods have been explored within the pages of the main series. I know you don't have much time with this series to fill in any gaps, but will Hulkling's or Xavin's early years be explored in relation to the dilemma they find themselves in now? Their experiences and knowledge could have a huge impact on the decisions they make regarding their teammates. 

"Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers" #1 on sale June 25

The “Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers” mini actually does touch on some of Xavin's early years training as a Super-Skrull, and it does have a huge impact on the team.  Hulkling's unique history is of great import as well.  If you read “YA/Runaways: Civil War,” you've seen the seeds of this.  I love the Hulkling/Xavin relationship.  Xavin's such a hardcore, intense guy... and Hulkling's just not.

But as to the rest of the Runaways' childhoods... I think it'd be amazing to see the early days of the Pride, particularly once they had kids.  It must have been a crazy time.  Sure they were evil super-villains, but they kept it from their children for a good decade.  Pretty impressive, especially since they (as villains) were really active. 

Brett P. takes us from “Runaways/YA” to the animated “Wolverine and the X-Men.”

1. Did your feelings towards any of the Runaways or Young Avengers change during/after writing them? Who were your favourite characters to write and which characters are involved in your favourite scene? 

I really liked both teams before I worked on the mini-series.  Now I love them.  I probably lean toward Young Avengers just because I love the history, and the more straight forward super-hero adventures, but Runaways is so much fun because it's almost the opposite.  You can't go wrong.

Speed and Molly were my favorite characters to write, with Xavin a close second on the Runaways side.  My favorite scene?  Old Lace and Chase in issue 2. 

2. The trailer for the new "Wolverine and The X-Men" cartoon was great! How involved have you and "X-Force" co-writer Craig Kyle been in the series and how much influence have you had on it's content? It was exciting to see newer characters like Dust making an appearance!

"Wolverine and the X-Men" begins in August in the UK and in 2009 in the US

"Wolverine and the X-Men" is going to be an amazing ride.  I was lucky enough to work on a handful of episodes before I started another project, but Craig Kyle (and series story editor Greg Johnson) is the mastermind of that series.  He lived it and breathed it for a solid year if not longer.  It's his baby. 

I can't say much about our influence and characters, but anyone familiar with our stuff will have more than a few smiles coming.  We did stuff in there that makes us laugh due to its unbelievable awesomeness.

3. The show still isn't due to air for a while despite seemingly having been in production forever! When can we expect to find out more details about the show? 

Soon.  I think it's going to premiere in England first, so I'm sure details will make their way soon enough.  But avoid them!  Experience it fresh.  The trailer is amazing and tells a lot, but trust me... it tells you nothing.

Getting back to “X-Force” for a second, I’ll close out this X-POSITION with a question of my own: 

"X-Force" #6 and #7

What's the story behind the "X-Force: Legacy of Vengeance" cover? The, er, Puppies and Rainbows variant?

Because “X-Force” is about love

I think it was after Clayton Crain showed Craig and I one of the incredibly bad-ass “Bloody Variants.”  We jokingly said it would sell well, but not as well as a 'puppies and rainbows' variant. And then like magic, Clayton made it happen.  The mock up made its way through Marvel and was much loved.  The next thing we knew, John Barber was calling to tell us that they were actually using it. 

But what makes the cover so incredibly awesome/creepy is how the team is all smiling.  That, and of course how the rainbows shoot out of the gaping flesh wounds.  It's the best thing ever. 

Thanks to Chris Yost for taking the time to speak with us. Next week, we have Peter David joining us to talk about “X-Factor.” Send us an email with X-POSITION in the subject line by Friday if there's anything you're dying to know!

Now discuss this story in CBR’s X-Men forum.

TAGS:  x-position, x-men, x-force, wolverine and the x-men, marvel comics

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