Marvel's "Dawn of X" relaunch is currently going strong, offering readers an array of X-Men-related titles week-after-week. The relaunch has enlisted a murderer's row of writers and artist thus far, including fan-favorite writer Benjamin Percy. Since the first wave of books began, Percy has served as a writer on X-Force, a book that chronicles the "special ops" force that's part of mutantkind's defenses on Krakoa. Percy also is the writer of the current Wolverine series, which follows two drastically-different storylines centering around Logan and those in his orbit.
While Percy has experience bringing Wolverine's world to life - he served as the writer of the scripted podcasts Wolverine: The Long Night and Wolverine: The Lost Trail - seeing him take on the X-Men in this current capacity has been a delight to see. ComicBook.com got to chat with Percy during last month's Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, where he teased what the future holds for both X-Force and Wolverine, how both series will deal with the upcoming "X of Swords" crossover, and a mutant tiki bar you should definitely keep an eye out for in the near future.
Comicbook.com: I'm so happy that you're involved with "Dawn of X." Honestly, everything you've written so far has been amazing. I was wondering if you could speak about the task of writing both Wolverine and X-Force since both feel so different, but clearly have some common ground.
Benjamin Percy: There's the synergy between the two series, being able to write Wolverine, the solo title, and X-Force, the team book. The team book, necessarily, is a turn-style of character spotlights. And Wolverine is the head of the Delta Force Unit of X-Force. He is the fist to Beast's brain. But even though I'm able to dig into him there, Wolverine the solo series really offers me the opportunity to mine the depths of this character, in a way that I can't in X-Force, because X-Force is all about movement. It's all about, tracking Colossus, and then tracking Domino, and then tracking Quentin Quire, and cycling through all of those characters as they attempt to defend Krakoa, their nation.
Wolverine as a solo title is still involved in the business of X-Force, and some of his teammates will pop up in the solo title. But there is a psychological query going on there, and an exploration of who this character really is, in this "Dawn of X," in this new paradigm that has come with Krakoa.
Speaking to Wolverine specifically, I love the decision of having both the Flower Cartel and the vampire storyline running at the same time. What was your thought process behind that?
The opportunity to write this massive, overstuffed first issue was really appealing to me, because I think a lot of times people pick up a number one, and they wonder, "Is this good? I think it's good." But they just get a taste, and we wanted to throw a quarter-pounder with cheese at people. We wanted to give them a lot of mayhem for their dollar.
And there are tonal variants. You have a crime saga story. It sort of has a Michael Mann vibe to it, and then you have a more horror-tinged, shadow- soaked storyline. Respectively, drawn by Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic which lean into their talents.
We wanted people to understand that this is the kind of variance you're going to experience throughout the series. I'm going to swing in this direction, I'm going to swing in that direction. The next two issues are drawn by Kubert and follow up on the Flower Cartel. Issues four and five come back to the vampires, and you can expect this sort of baton-pass going on as the series progresses.
Obviously you have experience with Wolverine, with the Long Night and Lost Trail audio series and then adapting Long Night into a comic as well. How did it feel writing him in this context, versus writing him on the audio series?
When the possibility of writing the audio series came up, I put together a 50-page single-spaced pitch, the subtext of which was, "You better give this to me or else." Because Wolverine is my favorite character, and the opportunity to write him is, as corny as this sounds, truly a dream come true.
So I put everything I had into season one, The Long Night, and everything I had into season two, The Lost Trail. And then I had the opportunity to write an adaptation of that, a comics adaptation of that for Marvel. And then, I had the opportunity to write X-Force, as part of the "Dawn of X." And when I look back on these experiences, I can see that what was really happening was, I was in the danger room. And I was getting ready for this moment where I got to take the helm of the solo title. To have a Wolverine #1 out there, and to have all this excitement and fanfare about it, as we teamed up with these legendary artists, it's beyond surreal.
What is it about Wolverine that you love so much?
Well, as a squat, smelly, grumpy, hairy, cigar-chomping, whiskey-swigging loner who lives in the frozen North, it doesn't take too much effort to occupy that imaginative space.
Jean Grey plays a big role in both X-Force and in Wolverine #1. What about Jean, in particular, do you find interesting to write about? What sides of her? Because obviously, she's been around for so many decades and has so many different interpretations, but I love how you write her in particular.
She's a badass. She is the Omega of Omegas. She has a compelling three-dimensionality to her, a big-heartedness to her, and a haunted quality to her, that alongside Wolverine, I think is really compelling. They bring out the best in each other, and she is one of the few people who can put him in his place.
When you were on Green Arrow, you wrote a lot of the "Arrow Family", and the people that are often in Oliver's orbit. Are we going to see any of that with Wolverine, and kind of the family he has with Laura, Gabby, and other characters?
Yeah, tune in to X-Force #9 for the first glimpse of that, and there's more to come. He is surrounded by his family, and I'm not just talking about Laura and Daken and Scout. I'm talking about the Summers, and I'm talking about his father figure, Xavier, and I'm talking about his fellow mutants in this nation of Krakoa. If Wolverine ever had a shot at happiness, it's now.
At the "Dawn of X" panel at C2E2, you and the other writers spoke a lot about a tiki bar that will be introduced in X-Force. What can you tease about that whole sequence?
I'm always trying to ask my artists, "What do you want to try? What excites you?" And Joshua Cassara, who has become a really good buddy - he's just a brilliant collaborator on X-Force - he said, "You know, I'd really like to create this tiki bar. I want to create the world's greatest tiki bar." And we need a watering hole for the mutants, right?
So we ended up sampling all the different X-writers and saying, "What ideas you have for this? What Easter eggs can we put into this massive spread that appears in pages two and three of X-Force #9?" You truly will spend an hour with a microscope going over this spread. He spent so much time it. He put his whole heart into it. And Josh has a background [cameo] as a bartender. That's one of the reasons that he wanted to conjure this space, and put his own unique stamp on, Krakoa and it really belongs to him. I came up with a cool story to accommodate that.
X of Swords
The "X of Swords" event was also announced at C2E2, and on the Max Brooks promo art, Wolverine is holding a sword. What can you tease about how "X of Swords" affects your two books, in particular?
X-Men and swords, it's a can't lose situation. This is going to be a really fun story. All of the different titles are interlocking to create this larger narrative. I don't know how much I can say about X-Force right now, but with regard to Wolverine, I'm guessing that fans already suspect the Muramasa Blade might be involved.
X-Force #9 will be released on March 18th. Wolverine #2 will be released on March 25th.