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X-Men Monday #253 - Preeti Chhibber, Ashley Allen, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Comic Books

X-Men Monday #253 – Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk ‘X-Men: Blood Hunt’ One-Shots

Plus, eXclusive preview art from ‘X-Men: Blood Hunt – Psylocke’ #1 and ‘X-Men: Blood Hunt – Laura Kinney The Wolverine’ #1!

Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!

If you’ve been reading Marvel’s Blood Hunt event (led by upcoming X-Men writer Jed Mackay), you knew it was only a matter of time before mutants found themselves in the middle of all sorts of vampire mayhem. We already spoke to writer Tom Waltz about his Wolverine: Blood Hunt mini-series, and now it’s time to chat with the writers behind the upcoming X-Men: Blood Hunt one-shots.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

And in case you’re unaware, those one-shots are…

So without further ado, let’s welcome returning guests Preeti, Steve, and Stephanie and X-Men Monday first-timer Ashley!

AIPT: Welcome to this special Blood Hunt edition of X-Men Monday, everybody! Let’s kick things off with a question from X-Fan Mal, who wanted to know what it is about your spotlight character that makes them so compelling to you as a writer.

Preeti Chhibber: I think particularly for the Blood Hunt event it’s the fact that Jubilee was a vampire! I was excited to explore a little bit of that in the writing, and what it might do to her to see the world getting impacted by these creatures she can understand on a personal level.

X-Men Monday #253 - Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Ashley Allen: What isn’t compelling about Magik as a character? She’s so fun to write! Her powerset alone had endless possibilities to play around with — teleportation, her Soulsword, let alone her ability to use spells! We were able to take full advantage of her powers (and her strategic abilities) in this fight against a vampire horde. 

However, while her powers are great, what resonates with me most about Magik is the heart behind the character. She’s an angel in the guise of a demon, who is trying to come to terms with her past so she can make a better future for herself and others. I hope that comes through in the story because, at the end of the day, that heart is what drives Magik as a character and makes her a hero. 

X-Men Monday #253 - Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Steve Foxe: Kwannon is so compelling because, despite being about as old (in real-world years) as I am, her actual time on the page is pretty brief, right? So much of the history of Psylocke, the psychic ninja, has been with Betsy Braddock inhabiting Kwannon’s body. And that visual and power set made a HUGE impact on fandom, but because of the winding road Kwannon took as a character, she spent a lot of her own history pretty sidelined. I’d consider her to be one of the characters who benefited most from the Krakoan era, probably alongside Synch and Firestar, as far as getting the chance to really take the spotlight and get their own platform. 

X-Men Monday #253 - Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

The tough thing about Kwannon, too, is that almost every time she has appeared has been marked by tragedy. Manipulation at the hands of Matsu’o, suffering from the Legacy Virus while Revanche, losing her daughter — Kwannon has had a hard life. But these last few years, from Fallen Angels to Hellions to Uncanny Avengers and beyond, have been such a triumphant surge forward for Kwannon as her own character and as her own defining Psylocke, so I was thrilled to get to contribute a small part of that with this one-shot, especially alongside Lynne Yoshii, who was such a brilliant collaborator on our Sunfire story and a portion of Dead X-Men. When I got invited to do this story, the first two things I asked were if Lynne was available and if I could include Greycrow. Thankfully, both were affirmatives!

Stephanie Phillips: Honestly, for me, it’s the action sequences. I love writing fight scenes with an artist, and writing for Laura is incredibly fun. I think that how a character fights is really reflective of personality — Laura does not fight the same way as Captain America or Jean Grey. She takes risks, she’s creative, and her entire body becomes the weapon. It was great to get to write a one-shot that really highlights her unique fighting style. 

X-Men Monday #253 - Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: For readers learning about these X-Men: Blood Hunt one-shots for the first time, what’s your elevator pitch for your story?

Preeti: In the midst of the world going dark and vampires attacking, Jubilee is doing what she does best: saving people. But when things get out of hand, she has to call on a few very apropos friends from her past.

X-Men Monday #253 - Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Ashley: Most Dangerous Game meets Demon Slayer. When a group of vampires descends on a small town in her homeland, Magik must lay siege to the stronghold and outsmart the horde and their infernal general. However, who is the hunter and who is being hunted is the question the vampires should probably be asking themselves…

X-Men Monday #253 - Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Steve: Up top — while you should be reading THEE event of the summer (yes, “thee” with two e’s, not a typo), this issue can be enjoyed as part of the event or as a stand-alone. As Kwannon and Greycrow retire to Osaka to recuperate from the hardships mutants have faced in recent days, darkness falls across Japan. As terrors both modern and ancient flood the neon-drenched streets, Psylocke and her lover are all that stand between the innocent citizens and a blood-drenched demise. 

X-Men Monday #253 - Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

You should also know that Lynne, and colorist Ruth Redmond, have just obliterated the art on this issue. This is one of the most dynamic, thrilling, action-forward books I’ve ever worked on. I left a lot of the pacing up to Lynne, and she delivered and beyond. Once the curtain of night falls on page three, the rest of the issue is slicing, dicing, biting, shooting, chewing, chomping, eating, exploding, and other forms of gruesome fights between Psylocke, Greycrow, and Japan’s undead, led by our spin on a famous Japanese urban legend, reimagined here as a leader of Osaka’s vampire hordes. 

Stephanie: It’s set in the larger scope of the Blood Hunt storyline where vampires have managed to blot out the sun and plunge the world into perpetual night. Some vampires are trying to experiment with mutant blood, hoping to give themselves added advantages in their quest for world domination. Our one-shot looks at Laura infiltrating a group of vampires that have gotten ahold of mutant blood from a very familiar source. And, if they are successful in using this blood, it could have some pretty dire consequences for literally everyone. 

X-Men Monday #253 - Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Thanks, all! Now for some individual questions. Preeti, your story’s solicitation says, “Jubilee’s past as a vampire is back to take a big bite out of her!” What can you tease about how Jubilee’s past as a vampire factors into your story?

Preeti: Jubilee had to experience some hard lessons to hold onto her mutant self when she was a vampire, and she wouldn’t have survived without intervention. So now she has to weigh paying that forward with the fact that there is a very real vampiric threat out there.

AIPT: X-Fan Emily wanted to know whether Jubilee’s fireworks actually hurt vampires (in terms of light-giving ways).

Preeti: Ha! This was a discussion we had while writing — and they don’t actually hurt-hurt the vampires, they are an impactful distraction technique! 

AIPT: And here are a few of artist Enid Balám’s interiors for X-Men: Blood Hunt – Jubilee #1.

Ashley, your story’s solicitation hints at Illyana returning home to Russia. What made you want to send Magik — a character who is no stranger to more fantastical settings — to a more grounded setting for your story?

Ashley: With everything happening in recent X-Men issues (let alone Illyana’s time in Limbo), I wanted Magik to be able to take a beat to reflect on her past. The best way to do this was to send her to a location directly linked to her childhood — Russia. Being so close to home, Magik must confront the conflicting emotions within her and acknowledge that the experiences she went through now can inform and help her present situation to lead to a better future. And what better setting to do so than her childhood home? 

Of course, the issue focuses on the multi-stage siege against the vampire horde, but at the heart of it is a woman trying to make sense of her past and how she moves forward in the world. And ultimately, a grounded setting worked well for that context.

AIPT: X-Fan Sunofdarkchild said, Magik is a character who doesn’t get to deal with supernatural threats or use her vast array of spells very often because she is usually on teams where she’s treated as just a sword-fighter who can teleport. Magik fans have been chomping at the bit for years for a character named Magik to actually use magic. Was getting to do a solo story with Magik like being given all the toys to play with since she can do so many things?

Ashley: 100% yes! Illyana’s powers are so vast that as a writer, it’s a dream to be able to choreograph fight scenes. Especially when thinking about all the interesting ways her powers can be used and combined. There’s a scene in the story towards the end of the issue that was especially fun to choreograph where Magik’s abilities really take center stage. And don’t worry, she does use magic a bit during this issue but hopefully, in the future, there are even more chances to let her spellcasting abilities be highlighted :)

But another overlooked aspect of Magik is her battle prowess and strategic mind! After all, she was Queen of Limbo and a Great Captain of Krakoa. So it was fun to let this aspect shine through in this issue, especially when facing off against a vampiric general and his army. 

AIPT: And here are a few of artist Jesús Hervás’ interiors for X-Men: Blood Hunt – Magik #1.

Steve, X-Fan Ash is super excited to see Kwannon and Greycrow together again. Ash was wondering what your favorite part of writing their dynamic was.

Steve: I loved Psylocke and Greycrow in Hellions, and I was really eager to put them back together for this issue. As much as I loved writing the dysfunction of a couple like Maddie and Havok in Dark X-Men, there is something so romantic to me about a dynamic like Kwannon and John’s, where each can really recognize and respect the other’s past without being burdened by it. In my eyes, neither judges the other for where they’ve been. And while I definitely think Kwannon leads in the relationship, John sees her softer side and can get on that wavelength when needed without making her feel vulnerable in ways that undermine her. As much as this issue is very vampire-forward, there’s a lot of romance, too — probably the most romantic issue I’ve done at Marvel!

AIPT: X-Fans Luan, Mohammed, Sato, and Satoru all wanted to know about Kwannon’s powers. What is your opinion on her psychic weapons? They were shown to be evolving in Marauders — can we expect more developments there? Any chance we’ll see more psychic ninja weapons beyond the katana and knife? The fans need to know, Steve!

Steve: I’ll be honest — we don’t see any of that development here! Much respect to Steve O., my X-Men Unlimited buddy, for all of his work with Psylocke in Marauders, but an ongoing series is a much different gig than a one-shot. I got to borrow Kwannon for 20 pages, and then she’s off to Jed and Ryan and all sorts of other new adventures in the pages of X-Men. So I wanted to have self-contained fun that any fan of hers could pick up and enjoy, without establishing new power expressions or dynamics that might not get picked up by future creators. As a reader, I always hate when that sort of stuff gets tossed into the air and not caught. 

I also just think there’s a lot of elegance to what already works so well for Psylocke — a katana and a psychic blade. In my humble opinion, that’s all she needs to hold back the forces of darkness. Especially with Greycrow watching her back with his arsenal. If ain’t broke, don’t fix it, am I right?

AIPT: And here’s an eXclusive look at a few of artist Lynne Yoshii’s interiors for X-Men: Blood Hunt – Psylocke #1.

Stephanie, your story’s solicitation says, “The vampires will stop at nothing in their bid for supremacy, including capturing mutants for hellacious experiments to boost their own power.” Those hellacious experiments — given Laura’s own past, is it fair to say this rescue mission is pretty personal for her?

Stephanie: Yes, absolutely it will make Laura want to stop the vampires even more, but there’s something else that will make Laura question what she’s doing. There’s someone else that the vampires have taken hostage — to be revealed in the story — and Laura will have to figure out if saving them IS the right thing to do. That’s a really tough spot for Laura to be in.

AIPT: And finally, I wanted to use this opportunity to talk about another powerful — and extremely popular — X-Woman you’re writing in the next great X-Men era: Phoenix! From a writing point of view, is there any crossover in how you approach writing a street-level character like Laura and a cosmic powerhouse like Jean?

Stephanie: They’re pretty different characters and the bloody vampire one-shot is also wildly different from the ongoing story with Jean. I’ll be spending a lot of time with Jean, and getting to know her in a new way. Reading a character and loving them is one thing, but being charged with their voice is always an entirely different kind of bond that builds between creators and the characters we work with. So, I don’t think I really approach any two characters or two stories in the same way ever. Writing a big cosmic story for Jean has been incredibly fun and rewarding, getting to really take Phoenix and the readers on a giant tour of the cosmic universe. We’ll have to talk about that some more as it gets closer 😉.

AIPT: Definitely, or I fear Jean’s fans may riot! And here’s an eXclusive look at a few of artist Robert Gill’s interiors for X-Men: Blood Hunt – Laura Kinney The Wolverine #1.

And on that note, thanks, everybody, for taking the time to chat about your X-Men: Blood Hunt one-shots!

X-Fans, here are the release dates for your pull lists…

  • X-Men: Blood Hunt – Jubilee #1 – June 12, 2024
  • X-Men: Blood Hunt – Magik #1 – June 26, 2024
  • X-Men: Blood Hunt – Psylocke #1 – July 3, 2024
  • X-Men: Blood Hunt – Laura Kinney The Wolverine #1 – July 17, 2024

Also, if you want to hear more from Steve Foxe, be sure to submit questions for his upcoming X-Men: Heir of Apocalypse mini-series by June 28, 2024 at 5 PM ET!

X-Men Monday #253 - Ashley Allen, Preeti Chhibber, Steve Foxe, and Stephanie Phillips Talk 'X-Men: Blood Hunt' One-Shots

Until next time, X-Fans, stay exceptional!

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