Betsy Braddock has had one weird road to being a super hero!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Psylocke might be throwing down with Magneto in this week’s UNCANNY X-MEN #19, but she might not have been so bold back in her first appearance. In fact, as longtime X-fans will know, the woman known as Betsy Braddock has actually changed more than her appearance since she first showed up in the Marvel UK comic CAPTAIN BRITAIN #8 in 1976 by Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe.

The sister of the title hero, Betsy displayed some telepathic abilities, worked with S.T.R.I.K.E., and even took over as Captain Britain for a brief adventure. She would go on to appear in other Marvel UK books like THE DAREDEVILS and SUPER SPIDER-MAN AND CAPTAIN BRITAIN before making the jump across the pond in NEW MUTANTS ANNUAL #2.

In that issue, Mojo and Spiral jumped her and used her to help dazzle the children of Earth with a new animated series. Though executing the usual evil plan, Mojo did help restore Betsy’s previously lost sight and granted her the name Psylocke. After the New Mutants rescued her, she decided to attend Xavier’s school in order to get a better handle on her powers.

After serving with the X-Men for a while, an amnesiac Psylocke wound up in the Hand’s possession where they continued to brainwash her into thinking herself the assassin Lady Mandarin. The group also altered her appearance so she would more seamlessly blend in with Hong Kong. Luckily, Wolverine restored Psylocke, as seen in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #256258, but Betsy retained the incredible fighting skills she learned as well as her now-iconic psychic knife.

Around this same time a ninja named Kwannon also appeared with Betsy’s old face. The case of mistaken identity bounced back and forth for a while until ultimately coming to a conclusion that left Psylocke in control once again. Braddock continued fighting the good fight, even getting a power upgrade thanks to the Crimson Dawn, but she fell in the first few issues of X-TREME X-MEN; she got better in UNCANNY X-MEN #455.

Later she helped the reality-hopping Exiles save several existences in the pages of both EXILES and NEW EXILES. She also played a big part in X-MEN: SWORD OF THE BRADDOCKS and starred in her own 2010 limited series. Upon fully returning to the Marvel Universe, Psylocke has become a big part of the X-Men again, appearing in books like UNCANNY X-FORCE, X-MEN, and UNCANNY X-MEN.

Flash Forward

The most recent volume of UNCANNY X-MEN marks just one more step in the long relationship between Psylocke and Sabretooth. They first met one another in the pages of UNCANNY X-MEN #213, not long after Betsy enrolled at the school. After quickly taking out Rogue, the then-villainous ‘Tooth entered the mansion to do the same with Betsy, but she used her powers—enhanced by Cerebro—to stun him before running away. Braddock held her own pretty well, but ultimately Sabretooth got the drop on her, but not before Storm and Wolverine showed up to pick up the slack. Later in UNCANNY X-MEN #328, Psylocke stepped in to stop an enraged Boom Boom from getting herself killed in Sabretooth’s cell, an act that led to her own evisceration. While running around with the Exiles, Psylocke actually started a relationship with the Age of Apocalypse version of her enemy. Most recently, the two came together on the same team.

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The X-Men’s resident ninja warrior hits hard in Battlerealm!

Betsy Braddock makes her inaugural appearance in “Marvel Contest of Champions” this week, katanas and psi-blades ready to slice her opponents to shreds. A new combatant on the fields of Battlerealm, she enters the fray alongside Archangel and a host of other Champions with less than pure intentions.

We talked to Kabam Art Director Gabriel Frizzera and Character Designer Simon Cameron about Psylocke’s kit and the all the ninja awesome she brings to the game.

Marvel.com: Psylocke is definitely a unique mind-melding, soul-swapping, one-of-a-kind mutant. As collectibles go I have no doubt Betsy’s a must-have. The question becomes, why’d it take so long for The Collector to snatch her up?

Gabriel Frizzera: As it’s been the case with many recent arrivals, Psylocke was brought to The Contest not by The Collector, but by a third party. In her case it was The Grandmaster, as part of his X-Enforcers. He knows Betsy spells trouble for his brother: She’s a skilled ninja warrior, capable of physically subjugating her enemies, but also possesses incredible psychic powers. The Collector’s many secrets are not safe around her!

Marvel.com: Where’s this Psylocke from in the Marvel-verse? I can’t quite place her costume. Is it from a particular comic or is this another “Contest of Champions” exclusive?

Gabriel Frizzera: This one is a blend between her classic purple costume from the 90’s and two of the more recent black-and-white incarnations from UNCANNY X-FORCE. We wanted the X-Enforcers to look like an homage to that fantastic team, but at the same time feel like they’ve been “evolved” by the Grandmaster. So we did some subtle tweaks to both Psylocke and Archangel, but without changing too much.

Marvel.com: Recently she’s been using her katanas to slice and dice, but from the image I saw it doesn’t look like she packed her swords for the trip to Battlerealm. Any reason why she’s just rocking her psi-blade?

Gabriel Frizzera: Actually she uses both the katana and the psy-blade in her basic moveset! We really wanted her to feel like a ninja warrior, so the sword is out all the time, along with the psychic bag of tricks. And that’s not all: in her special 3 attack she uses her “psy-bow and arrow,” a personal favorite from the comics!

Marvel.com: I’ve always been curious, when the team takes a crack at someone like Psylocke, how do you figure out how she fights? She’s shown up in fighting games before, so did you take any inspiration from those appearances, or is this Betsy all “Contest of Champions”?

Gabriel Frizzera: If a character has appeared before in movies or TV shows, I usually guide the team to it. But as a general guideline we only go to other Marvel games as a last resort, to avoid getting overly influenced by it. Sometimes we end up in the same creative space, but this approach helps create something fresh for [“Contest of Champions”]. In the case of Psylocke, we mainly wanted the comics “bad-girl” attitude, and then used Japanese sword fighting videos as animation reference to get the stances and moves straight from the source.

Marvel.com: Ok let’s dig into her abilities. Her Signature Ability in game is Psi-Feedback. Can you tell us a little about that?

Simon Cameron: Certainly! Psylocke’s Signature Ability increases her Critical Damage the lower her opponent’s Power is. It also gives her the ability to suppress her opponent’s Abilities when she’s reduced them to zero Power. If she can set up her opponent and keep them from gaining Power, she can do big critical damage while preventing them from countering her with an ability of their own.

Marvel.com: The rest of her abilities, Power Burn/Drain/Lock, make it seem like she’s the mutant you want to use when you really don’t want your opponent using their special powers.

Simon Cameron: Shutting down her opponent’s Power is certainly one thing Psylocke does very well. This goes hand in hand with her Psi-Charges, which allow Psylocke to continue attacking her opponent without granting them Power in return, but at a risk. Psylocke builds Psi-Charges by siphoning away some of her opponent’s Power. She can use it to power her own abilities, but these charges can also be reclaimed by her opponent to use against her. She’s a talented assassin and reflecting this she can be extremely powerful if she gets her opponent into the situation she wants.

Marvel.com: And when can we pick her up for ourselves?

Simon Cameron: This skilled mutant hero and assassin will be available on March 16!

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Contest of Champions” news and interviews.

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Chad Bowers and Chris Sims give their take on the servants of Apocalypse!

The end has come. Apocalypse has arrived and Death rides with him. And Pestilence, War, and Famine, too.

Despite X-MEN ’92 writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers preparing to close the book with December 28’s issue #10—and possibly take all of mutantkind down in the process—they took the time to talk to us about Apocalypse’s favorite tools, the Horsemen, and point out some of their favorites of all-time. Besides their own, of course.

“Every time they show, it’s a big deal,” Bowers argues. “It should be a big deal.

“I think, in a lot of ways, what’s most terrifying about the Horsemen is they’re people, but they are really concepts,” he continues, asserting their draw. “It’s hard to fight against a concept. Even if you beat the Horsemen, the power is just going to go to somebody else.”

“There’s always going to be a next one,” Sims agrees. “And the next one might be someone you know; it might be a horror movie monster. You don’t know.”

Archangel
“I gotta say, Walt Simonson, good at drawing,” Sims states.

“I love it,” Bowers enthuses. “I like Angel a lot as Death especially. He’s like the first X-Man to have a real lasting change.”

“I absolutely prefer him to Angel, as Archangel,” Sims concurs. “It’s really hard to empathize with Angel’s problems because he’s a rich beautiful man who has beautiful bird wings.”

“So it makes perfect sense, when he loses them, that he gets super depressed,” Bowers continues.

“It’s metal, in a literal and metaphorical sense,” Sims jokes. “It’s the one ‘aww, it’s extreme now’ reboot of a character that everyone agrees is good.”

Colossus
“That’s their friend, this giant gentle artist who can turn his body into a battering ram,” Bowers points out. “And then suddenly he’s trying to kill [them]. That’s terrifying.”

Wolverine
“He seems like a no-brainer,” Chad admits.

“With Wolverine it works in a way; with him there’s always this aspect that’s been building for 20 years at that point,” Sims elaborates. “That Wolverine is just constantly holding back so he doesn’t flip out and stab everybody. Apocalypse takes Wolverine and—all the hard work he’s done to control himself [Apocalypse] just pops the seal off, hands Wolverine a sword, and says, ‘Alright, you are going to kill everyone.’”

Gambit
“He’s a real weird choice,” Sims confesses. “Of all the things that Gambit is, seeing him as the embodiment of Death—it makes sense with his powers because everything he touches becomes a bomb. So from there, that makes sense. But in term of character, it’s something I never would’ve expected.”

“He’s Death, but he’s not Death, you know?” agrees Bowers. “Like that’s not who Gambit is.”

“Which maybe makes it a really solid idea,” Sims reflects.

Psylocke
“That makes total sense,” states Sims.

Bowers concurs. “Yeah, that’s a good one.”

“What’s scarier than a Death that can read your mind and then kill you with a sword?” points out Sims.

Jeb Lee
“Good visual,” asserts Bowers. “There’s something overall creepy about that battlefield look.”

“[He taps] the magic element that makes a great Horseman,” Sims says. “Interpreting one of the aspects in a way we really haven’t seen before.”

“[He and the other UNCANNY X-FORCE Horsemen] really did feel different,” concludes Bowers. “I liked that.”

The ’92 Horsemen
“[It’s] every corner of the X-Men Universe, tied together,” Bowers explains. “You’ve got a representative of the human interests in [Senator] Kelly, you’ve got a representative from the anti-mutant militaristic Sentinel interest with Bastion, the idealist in Exodus, and then you’ve got Mystique as the mutant that kind of gave up and became a weapon or a tool.”

“If you were going to do a big Apocalypse story in 1996—you know, like they did—who would be the guys that you’d want them to pick for that,” continues Sims. “It’s like Bastion and Exodus. In the 90’s all of them looked like they were going to be the next big villains.”

“These are guy who anchored their own events,” Bowers contends. “If the X-Men had a tough time beating these guys by themselves, what happens when they team up?”

Saddle up with Chad Bowers, Chris Sims, and Alti Firmasyah one last time for X-MEN ’92 #10 on December 28!

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We chat with the winner of the first Vibranium Ticket from 'Marvel Heroes 2015'!

Ever wanted to get paid to play video games? Well the awesome crew at Gazillion have released 5 Vibranium Tickets into the wild for “Marvel Heroes 2015” players, each worth $5,000 and randomly distributed to players between now and August 31! And with four already claimed, will you grab the final ticket?

We got to talk to the very first ticket winner, Jenni Ludwig, about the game, her favorite heroes, and why you should be playing!

Marvel.com: Hey Jenni, first off congratulations! How does it feel being the first Vibranium Ticket winner?

Jenni Ludwig: Wow! First of all, I feel shocked and amazed. Everyone in my house plays the game, but my husband has been stuck at home due to doctor’s orders, which has left him plenty of time to grind in-game. I would tell him every other day, “I got the Vibranium Ticket!” I honestly never expected to be the one to find it. When the real thing dropped, he was in the other room and I yelled, “I got it! I got a ticket!” He thought I was messing with him again, until our kids started screaming. It was hilarious.

After the shock, I would say that gratitude towards the teams at Gazillion and Marvel is what I am feeling at the moment. This opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.


Scarlet Witch and Vision in Marvel Heroes 2015

Scarlet Witch and Vision in Marvel Heroes 2015

Marvel.com: Can you give us a little background into your gaming experience? I imagine Marvel Heroes isn’t your first rodeo.

Jenni Ludwig: Haha, not even close. Growing up my dad was a techie, so there were always games to be played. I’ve been playing since the Atari 2600 and I had an Atari PC with a tape drive. Adventure and Moon Patrol got me hooked as a kid. When I got older, I loved “Final Fantasy,” “Diablo” (thank you, Mr. Brevik), and “Warcraft” (the strategy ones). The only things I don’t play are first person shooters, but that is just because I am terrible at them. As far as MMOs go, you name it, and I have probably tried it.

Marvel.com: How’d you get started playing Marvel Heroes? What drew you to the game? Are you a comics fan?

Jenni Ludwig: I’m a student, so I don’t get much time to unwind during the school year. When summer break came along last year, I started checking out what was on Steam to sit back and enjoy with my family. That is when I first played “Marvel Heroes 2015.” I had played other super hero games before and most of them seemed repetitive after playing for any length of time. But I have always looked for a comics game that I could love and would keep me engaged.

I knew that Marvel was making an MMO, but I was also wary of falling into another run of the mill hero game. Knowing that David Brevik was on board didn’t hurt. I am glad I took the chance on Marvel Heroes, because it shattered that misconception.

Marvel Heroes 2015 goes cosmic with the Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel Heroes 2015 goes cosmic with the Guardians of the Galaxy

It doesn’t hurt that I really am a comics fan. Being a teen in the 90s comics boom, it was hard not to be a fan. Initially, I was hooked by the Dark Phoenix saga. I’m also a fan of the Earth X series or anything with Alex Ross or Neil Gaiman.

Marvel.com: How long have you been playing? And what has kept you playing?

Jenni Ludwig: I think what keeps me coming back to Marvel Heroes over the last year is its versatility in respect to play-style. It works for the whole family. I can get on characters that I have enjoyed in the comics for years, and there are always multiple options to fit my gaming mood.

My husband is the type that loves to cosmic prestige, gear his characters and raid. I am more of a dedicated casual player, and our kids just love to pick their favorite characters and explore with mom and dad. “Marvel Heroes” keeps each of us engaged when on separate tasks, but also allows us to easily find things to do together. Even more so if an option to drop to your partner’s level is going to be implemented.

Marvel.com: Is there a particular hero or class of heroes you gravitate to when playing? Do you get your kick smashing the bad guys up close and personal or do you prefer decimating them from the back lines?

Jenni Ludwig: My favorite hero is Scarlet Witch, I know some see her as a flavor of the month right now, but I have always loved her. I prestiged her twice before her review, and after the review, cosmic was a must. She is just, “let’s go melt some faces fun.” I love seeing all the enemies just vaporize and cosmic powers fill the screen.

Psylocke in Marvel Heroes 2015

Psylocke in Marvel Heroes 2015

Good times. I do tend towards ranged/aoe characters. I love playing Rocket Raccoon. I also have a soft spot for Nightcrawler and Psylocke. They may not be the most over-powered heroes out there, but they sure are fun for slice-and-dice.

Marvel.com: Who are some of the heroes that you’d love to play as in “Marvel Heroes 2015”? Why?

Jenni Ludwig: I can’t wait to play Kitty Pryde. I know Vision does phasing, but I grew up with Kitty.

I would love to see Nocturne. Why not…she is an amalgam of my two favorite characters, Scarlet and Nightcrawler. I love the mental characters. Throw in some stealth and its perfect.

Marvel.com: You obviously love the game. What would you say to people who have always thought about picking Marvel Heroes up but haven’t given it a chance yet?

Jenni Ludwig: Do it. Now! “Marvel Heroes 2015” has something for everyone. It has a great community, attentive devs, and the team knows how to take care of the fan-base. Plus it’s free…win-win. Get on it. 

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more “Marvel Heroes 2015” news and interviews!

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Take a look at your favorite ninja telepath in a way she's never been seen before and pre-order yours today!

Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock has been many things — part of the X-Men, part of X-Force and even a model; but she has never been fine art. Well until now that is!  Behold, in all her psionic glory, the Psylocke Premium Art Print from Sideshow Collectibles.

Sideshow is proud to present Marvel’s drop-dead gorgeous ninja telepath showing off her powers in a rare and vibrant fashion. The stunning and exuberant piece of art is a collaboration from the minds of the talented artists Ian MacDonald, Kris Anka and Fabian Schlaga. It is an absolutely beautiful piece for any X-fan’s collection.

The 18×24″ hand-numbered, limited edition gallery art print features authorized penciled artist signatures and an embossed seal of authenticity. This one of a kind piece comes unframed only and is available for pre-order today at this link. Check out the gallery below for more psionic blade wielding pictures!

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The acclaimed television and comic book writer heads back to the mutant corner of the Marvel Universe!

Writer Marc Guggenheim returns to Marvel this August with a chilling mystery set amongst the stars. It all starts with X-MEN #18 and the arrival of an unexpected visitor.

When Deathbird appears at the Peak, orbiting headquarters of S.W.O.R.D., the warrior clings to life. Last seen in the custody of the Shi’ar, her return stokes more than curiosity from special agent Abigail Brand. An all-female squad of X-Men journey out into the black to seek out the answers to Brand’s questions as well as some of their own.

“The idea really came from the fact that I’d been jonesing for an ‘X-Men in space’ story as a reader,” says Guggenheim. “I’d been re-reading the ‘Brood Saga’ and it reminded me how much I love that concept of the X-Men in outer space. It’s a milieu that suits them really well.”

Though the X-Men still trod earthly soil when Guggenheim first started reading—he cites Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s UNCANNY X-MEN #139 and the trial by fire introduction of Kitty Pryde as his first foray with the Children of the Atom—his devotion truly hit its stride with the team’s extraterrestrial exploits.

“Those early years with Byrne and [Dave] Cockrum and [Paul] Smith were my seminal reading experiences,” Guggenheim recalls. “What was cool about the ‘Brood Saga’ was it was more like ‘Star Wars’ than anything we’d seen from Marvel cosmic. It was more like ‘Aliens.’ It had a darkness to it. It opened a new corner of the Marvel Universe that was more mysterious and scary. My goal here is to do something in that vein, to do something spooky.”

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #155

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #155

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In selecting his roster, Guggenheim chose to start roughly where outgoing writer Brian Wood leaves off, with the team of Monet, Jubilee, Storm, Rachel Grey and Psylocke.

“I grew up with Storm,” he says. “Her voice is so peaceful. She’s the natural leader of the X-Men. My reading experience with that group coincided with her becoming the leader of the team, so I have a soft spot for Storm.

“Rachel basically has to be in this story,” he continues, “Because while I’m attempting to tell this cool horror story in space, there has to be an emotional core. When I started thinking about characters with an emotional connection to outer space, I thought about Claremont’s third run on UNCANNY X-MEN when the Shi’ar Death Commandos exterminated Rachel’s entire family. Her presence in the story really supplies the emotional context, so it’s not just about the horrors of space, but the nature of vendetta, of vengeance.”

If Storm and Rachel represent the emotional heart, characters like Jubilee and Monet supply some levity.

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #466

Uncanny X-Men (1963) #466

What is Marvel Unlimited?

“Jubilee is so much fun,” Guggenheim says. “I’m always attracted to characters that have a bit of wit about them. I also thought, ‘Vampire in outer space? There’s a lot of fun to be had there.’ I’ve always been enamored of Psylocke. I love the idea of a kick-ass ninja telekinetic telepath. That’s just a fun combination. With Monet, it’s the idea of writing someone disliked by the rest of the team. That really appeals to me. I don’t know what that says about me. She’s so powerful, but her greatest weakness is that people just find her obnoxious.”

Thematically, Guggenheim expresses great eagerness to explore the X-Men’s ever complicated relationship with the Shi’ar, especially through Rachel’s experience.

“I wanted to mine that emotional territory with her,” he says. “I felt that was untrodden territory with a lot of potential. Especially since I’ve seen stories where Rachel is shoulder-to-shoulder with the Shi’ar, and it never quite came up. I didn’t expect the depth of anger that Rachel would demonstrate in the story. I very intentionally centered the story around her and her family to tap into her feelings of vengeance, but I never expected how raw those emotions would be. The story is stronger for it.” 

Guggenheim also hopes to play with the dynamic between Rachel and Psylocke, exploring their unique voices and demeanors through the use of their telepathic powers, and how those manifest so differently.

X-Men (2013) #18 cover by Terry Dodson

X-Men (2013) #18 cover by Terry Dodson

“It forced me to really differentiate them thought their personality,” he explains. “I thought that was a fun opportunity as a writer, digging in. The thing that I’ve always loved so much about the X-Men is how rich and vibrant these characters are.”

Jump aboard X-MEN in August with Marc Guggenheim!

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Locate the secret labs and stop Osborn from building his army of mutants int he latest chapter of the mobile game!

D3Publisher (D3PA) and Marvel Entertainment  have released Episode 4  of “Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign” as a free update on the App Store for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®, Google Play for Android™ devices, and Steam for PC.

Psylocke readies her attack in Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign for iOS devices

Psylocke readies her attack in Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign for iOS devices

In Episode 4, titled “Iso-8 Brotherhood,” S.H.I.E.L.D. loyalists set out to determine how and why Norman Osborn is using Iso-8 to experiment on mutants. Magneto has the information on the whereabouts of secret labs across the globe and the sinister work being done and has turned to Nick Fury’s team to help put a stop to it all. However, H.A.M.M.E.R. has a trick up their sleeve that may turn the balance in their favor unless Nick Fury and his team can lead the assault against Osborn’s remaining Iso-8 labs before the growth of the mutant army gets out of control.

Features in “Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign” include:

-NEW – An all-new chapter in the “Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign” saga featuring Magneto, Psylocke, Wolverine, and more against the super villains.

-NEW – Extract Magneto from trouble and use the incoming intel to unlock new lab locations to attack H.A.M.M.E.R. installations across the globe.

-NEW – Surpass Global Score targets collectively by the Marvel Puzzle Quest community to unlock certain chapters to rescue Nick Fury.

Magneto joins the battle in Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign on PC

Magneto joins the battle in Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign on PC

-The super heroes and super villains of the Marvel Universe join forces with the best in puzzle adventure games.

-First time in a Puzzle Quest game: 3 versus 3 combat.

-Assemble a team of Marvel’s legendary super heroes and super villains for unique collaborations.

-An authentic Marvel experience written by Marvel veterans Frank Tieri and Alex Irvine.

-Collect new boosts, unlock new powers, and recruit new characters from the Marvel Universe.

“Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign” is an IGN Editors’ Choice Award recipient on mobile and is available for free on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod and at www.itunes.com/appstore, on the Google Play Store on your Android devices and at https://play.google.com/store, and on Steam on your PC and at http://store.steampowered.com/.

“Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign” is developed by Demiurge Studios and is rated “T” (Teen – Violence, Blood, Suggested Themes, Drug Reference, and Mild Language) by the ESRB for PC. For more information on “Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign,” please visit www.marvelpuzzlequest.com and follow us on Twitter @MarvelPuzzle or like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/MarvelPuzzleQuest.

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Si Spurrier hops onboard to spill on his transition from X-Men Legacy, building a new team, their mission statement and more!

Each week on This Week in Marvel NOW!, we’ll speak with the creative minds behind the top characters and hottest books in comics as part of the All-New Marvel NOW! initiative!

This Week in Marvel NOW! - X-Force

This Week in Marvel NOW! – X-Force

This episode, writer Si Spurrier calls in from across the pond to talk X-FORCE–issues #1 on sale now–including his transition from X-MEN LEGACY, the mission statement driving the series and putting together a roster that includes Marrow, as well as much more!

Download This Week in Marvel NOW! – X-Force from Marvel.com and check out Marvel Podcast Central!

This Week in Marvel NOW! focuses on delivering all the Marvel info on the latest comics being produced as part of All-New Marvel NOW! New episodes will be released every Wednesday co-hosted by Marvel Digital Media Group Executive Editorial Director Ryan “Agent M” Penagos and Marvel.com Editor Ben Morse. 

We also want your feedback, as well as questions for us to answer on future episodes! Tweet your questions, comments and thoughts about TWiM to @AgentM@BenJMorse or @Marvel with the hashtag #TWiMMarvelNOW! And if your message is longer than 140 characters, send it through fans.marvel.com!

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Check out the newest digital comics available from Marvel Unlimited!

Already plowed through the thousands of comics available in Marvel Unlimited? Fret not, Marvelites! We add new books into the collection every week to keep you up to your neck in digitized comics! Now, you can expect an array of new issues every Monday, along with a sneak peek of what’s to come the following week. Stay abreast of all Unlimited releases by checking out the Marvel Unlimited Calendar!

CAPTAIN MARVEL (2012) #14
DAREDEVIL (2011) #29
FEARLESS DEFENDERS (2013) #7
FF (2012) #10
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2013) #5
INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK (2012) #11
KICK-ASS 3 (2013) #1 CONTAINS MATURE CONTENT
ULTIMATE COMICS ULTIMATES (2011) #28
UNCANNY X-FORCE (2013) #9
UNCANNY X-MEN (2013) #9
VENOM (2011) #38
WHAT IF? AVX (2013) #3
WHAT IF? AVX (2013) #4
WOLVERINE (2013) #7
WOLVERINE: IN THE FLESH (2013) #1
WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN (2011) #33
X-MEN (2013) #3
X-MEN LEGACY (2012) #14
YOUNG AVENGERS (2013) #8

Check out the full Marvel Unlimited library today!

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The writer of X-Men talks about integrating his team into the major mutant event of the fall!

X-Men #5 cover by Arthur Adams

By Tim O’Shea

The fast-paced, organic evolution of writer Brian Wood’s X-MEN has made it a fan favorite over the past four months. The only thing that comes close to matching the intensity of Wood’s X-MEN?  His enthusiasm for September’s 10-part X-Men: Battle of the Atom event.

Wood’s passion for Battle of the Atom and his part in it—writing X-MEN #5 and #6—permeates through this discussion of working alongside and learning from fellow event writers Jason Aaron and Brian Bendis. Along the way he reveals his ability to work in some great character moments amidst all of the Battle of the Atom action for Rachel Grey, Psylocke and Bling! plus much more.

Marvel.com: When Marvel.com spoke to Jason Aaron about X-Men: Battle of the Atom earlier this week, he discussed the creative opportunity it presents the three writers working on Battle of the Atom, noting, “…you get to play with those [characters] that you don’t play with on a monthly basis. This stuff is all outlined, we do a lot of phone calls, we had a retreat. Everything kind of goes through editor Nick Lowe, so we have a road map for this entire story. Fun little things still happen. It’s still fun when you’re going along and someone throws something down that someone picks up.” In a collaborative dynamic such as Battle of the Atom, how much do you relish working with Bendis’ and Aaron’s characters that you don’t normally “play with on a monthly basis”?

X-Men #5 preview art by David Lopez

Brian Wood: To me, the best part about all of this is working with Jason and Brian, something I’ve not really done before.  The characters, sure, but that’s not the big draw for me. This is my first real collaborative event, and I respect both of those guys’ work, so I enjoyed seeing and learning how one of these things gets put together. As I answer these questions, I’m finished writing the event, I’m all done, so I can look back and recognize it was a wild ride, a bit hairy at times with all the moving parts and I can really understand the work involved. I don’t think any editor works as hard as a Marvel editor organizing an event like this. And this was a small one!

Marvel.com: How critical is it to you, in a creative situation like this where you are writing installments of a larger event, to strike a balance between advancing the action of the event plot while also servicing the evolving dynamics of the X-Men series that you are still in the early stages of developing?

Brian Wood: My editor and I were both careful to make sure that “our” characters had moments to shine in the issues of the adjectiveless title. This event has a cast of dozens—and dozens—so it was tricky, but crucial. We had to make sure that we slipped in the character moments and the small advances specific to that time. So: critical yes, not easy, yes, but I think we did it. It’s also worth noting that this is only two issues we’re talking about here, a pretty brief detour all things considered.

Marvel.com:  X-MEN #4 featured some great scenes of Jubilee reflecting upon her past. Was one of the reasons you pursued this angle was to serve as a juxtaposition for X-MEN #5 and #6 where the team, including Jubilee, sees a glimpse of what could be their potential future?

X-Men #5 preview art by David Lopez

Brian Wood: We saw the need for a one-shot story for #4 well before the actual event story was formed. So we approached it with different goals; less about the event and more of a “what can we do with this space that’s both standalone but feels vital?” I wanted a Jubilee story, and I think it made sense to have a Jubilee/Logan story since they are close but haven’t been together in a comic for a while. Logan enables me to talk about Jubilee’s past a little, and he’s someone she can open up to. Pure character moments, not related to the event in a direct way.

Marvel.com:  Do you have an opportunity for some interaction between Rachel Grey and young Jean Grey in your Battle of the Atom issues?

Brian Wood: Absolutely; both from me and the other writers.

Marvel.com:  Can you elaborate on how the events connected to BOTA prompt the “cracks in the new all-female X-Men cast” to start to show? The team is made up of people of firm convictions and passions, so it should surprise no one that the potential for ever-increasing tension was there all along.

Brian Wood: Well, we’ve started that already in the first arc, when Rachel and Storm find themselves at odds over the decision involving Karima, Storm taking the practical route and Rachel the emotional one. I should remind people that this grouping isn’t an official team in the pre-meditated sense; they came together to help Jubilee, so there’s no clear hierarchy of leadership or defined roles. So they have to work it out if they want to stay together. I think that they think they have team potential, but maybe aren’t there just yet.

X-Men #5 preview art by David Lopez

There’s also some significant “cracks” within the event story itself, which I am a little hesitant to detail in advance.

Marvel.com: Artist David Lopez joined the X-Men for a three-issue stint starting with X-MEN #4. A few months back you spoke with Marvel.com about David, noting: “I love David’s work and it clicks just right with my words.” How reassuring is it to have that kind of rapport with an artist, knowing you can trust Lopez to craft the visual storytelling that best serves your writing?

Brian Wood: It’s the reason why I always try and work with past collaborators when I can, especially on creator-owned work. The creative team learns each other, their quirks and ticks and likes and dislikes, and if you already know these things, you can really hit the ground running; makes everything smoother, faster.

Marvel.com: Judging by the solicitation text for X-MEN #6—”Rachel Grey is the only X-Man qualified to defeat the mystery opponents”—it is clear that Rachel steps into the spotlight at this stage of the BOTA event. Your whole X-MEN cast is a collection of heavy hitters, no doubt. But when juggling the power dynamics of such a gathering of characters, what appeals to you in utilizing someone like Rachel in your cast?

Brian Wood: The story dictated it, really; there are crucial points in the story where it’s really a telepath’s time to shine, and there are enemies with special resonance to Rachel, so she steps up. Trying not to give too much away!

Marvel.com: Speaking of your X-MEN cast, we have already discussed Jubilee and Rachel, but are there certain other characters that really get some nice moments in the spotlight of your issues amidst all of the ongoing intense action?

X-Men #6 variant cover by Terry Dodson

Brian Wood: Psylocke, of course, with her expanding arsenal of telekinetic medieval weaponry, that’s always fun. Bling!, sort of to my surprise, is sticking around as a close friend to Jubilee; that wasn’t in the original plans but sometimes as you write, things just seem to make sense. So good for Bling!, getting some extra screen time. I just wrote a fun battle moment with Rogue.  And Shogo—he may surprise you.

Marvel.com: As a writer and as a reader and a fan, what’s got you most excited about this event?

Brian Wood: I think events get a bad rap for all sorts of reasons, but people always buy them anyway. I think events can create situations that can’t happen in a book’s regular story, and that right there makes it appealing. Events can show you new things, and in this case, there [are] a lot of new things going on. There’s this whole extra layer of story in BOTA that hasn’t even been hinted at yet.

X-Men: Battle of the Atom kicks off September 4 and is available for pre-order right now!

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