Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
Bubs, Ben is back. That’s Benjamin Percy, of course, writer of X-Force, Wolverine, and soon, Ghost Rider/Wolverine: Weapons of Vengeance! With so much coming to fruition in Ben’s books (looking at you, Man with the Peacock Tattoo), and the fact it’s been a year since he had an X-Men Monday to himself, there was no better time to bring back Ben.
Read on to see what Ben has to say.
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Ben!
Ben: Thanks for having me, bubs.
AIPT: Let’s start with the just-announced Ghost Rider/Wolverine: Weapons of Vengeance crossover. For four years, you’ve been able to sink your creative claws into exploring how Logan interacts with Beast, with Jean Grey, with Solem, and so on. Clearly you’re passionate about both Wolverine and Ghost Rider, but what is it about writing the two of them together you find appealing?
Ben: It was an inevitability — with me writing Logan and Johnny — that the two characters would collide on some dark highway. I’ve been talking to Marvel about Ghost Rider since that very first X-Men summit, so this has been a long time coming.
I’ve always been a fan of the Midnight Sons, and both of these dark-hearted anti-heroes look great roaring across blacktop and making trouble.
AIPT: The Weapons of Vengeance announcement gives off strong “summer arena rock show” vibes. How does Ben Percy the writer get into heavy metal mode and produce “a head-banging good time”?
Ben: Adamantium and chrome: time for some heavy metal!
When I’m writing comics, I’m always in heavy metal mode. There’s something about the medium that demands a top volume shredder of an experience.
AIPT: OK, now we need to talk about Beast, of course. In X-Men Monday #90, way back in January 2021, you said, “I knew Beast’s ending before I ever started scripting my first issue.” Without spoiling too much, where would you say we are in your overall Hank story arc?
Ben: Look at Issue 1 of X-Force. The first scene — after the cold open — is Wolverine and Beast, tensely aligned, each offering a wildly different perspective on Krakoa. That’s the foundation we’ve been building off — and now they’re at the point of severance that’s been anticipated from the beginning.
I know this is hard to believe, but I promise it’s true: the craziest, most eye-popping, jaw-dropping moves from Beast are yet to come. The next few months are going to be insane. We’ve pumped all the oxygen in. Now the fire is lit.
AIPT: X-Fan Natty from the Krakoa server wanted to know what it’s like to finally have what you’ve been building toward between Wolverine and Beast come to fruition. How’s the journey getting there been and which parts are you most proud of?
Ben: I just handed in X-Force #41, which is completely bonkers, and I’ll admit, I’ve been laughing maniacally at my desk lately.
I’ll add that patience doesn’t come easy for comics fans. And I’m a patient writer. My comics runs tend to be novelistic. Some people have been begging and pitchforking for Beast to get his comeuppance, like, 20 issues ago. But you’ve got to earn out these big arcs. A hurried, truncated story isn’t going to satisfy anyone or wound minds and hearts or linger in the archives.
AIPT: X-Fan Grey asked, what do you think Threnody would say about Hank’s dive into [what many readers view as] villainy?
Ben: The whole Threnody situation gets some real estate in an upcoming issue of X-Force.
AIPT: X-Fan Bruno Mael said Quentin Quire has been part of your X-Force cast since the beginning. How would you say Kid Omega fits in the “Mutant CIA” narrative, especially when we’re talking about an ex “extremist” or “incel” teenager? And how do you think his arc of trying to be a better person contrasts with Hank’s arc of compromising himself more and more?
Ben: Without getting into spoilers… the story of Quentin Quire isn’t over.
I think it’s interesting how readers hate on certain characters, like Kid Omega, but others, like Apocalypse, get a hall pass.
I wanted to populate X-Force with troubled souls. Jean Grey left the team for a reason: these folks are f----d up! Quentin is f----d up. But I hoped to give him a fuller soul. I’m not saying you should sympathize with him, but hopefully you can empathize.
AIPT: A question about another troubled soul — X-Fan Fierna4red is a huge Omega Red fan and has been very glad to see him included in your X-Force series, especially now that he’s on the main roster. What are your personal thoughts on Arkady as a character and how does your view of Omega Red affect how you write him?
Ben: In a way, everything I said above about Kid Omega applies just as readily to Omega Red. He’s a serial killer who also happened to try to take down the timeline.
But… he’s been used. By Russia. By Dracula. By Krakoa. Beast had him killed, just so he could resurrect him with surveillance equipment built into his body, so that he might serve as an unwitting double agent.
The dude is morally impossible. Which makes him perfect for this black-ops team.
AIPT: X-Fan Dan Dan The X-Fan was curious… does Omega Red remember being a whale in X Lives of Wolverine?
Ben: That actually made me laugh.
AIPT: Kieron Gillen will be tackling a Colossus-focused issue of Immortal X-Men. With Piotr joining X-Force, X-Fans KingdomX and William Rose were curious whether you and Kieron were collaborating on the story in any way, or if we can expect an Immortal X-Men/X-Force crossover of some kind.
Ben: Kieron and I have been talking, yes. That’s how the X-room works. We’re always on Slack or in a meeting, so that the individual stories play out smartly and cooperatively within the larger narrative.
AIPT: Finally, I mentioned at the top of this interview you’ve been playing in the Krakoan sandbox for four years now. Of all the characters you’ve been writing during that time — Wolverine, Beast, Sage, Domino, etc. — is there one you’ve truly come to appreciate in new and unexpected ways?
Ben: Wolverine is my favorite character in comics. Full stop.
But I’ve taken particular delight in writing Krakoan-era Beast.
AIPT: Looking forward to what comes next. But on that note, Ben, thanks for taking the time to swing by X-Men Monday!
Before we wrap, here are a few eXclusive preview images from Ben and other X-creators’ upcoming comics, courtesy of X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White.
I know, Kurt, the wait between Mondays is hard, but I promise we’ll be back next week with an all-new edition of X-Men Monday.
Until next time, X-Fans, stay exceptional!
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