Writer Benjamin Percy is sending the best there is at what he does into his first big 'Dawn of X' crossover 'X of Swords' starting with Wolverine #6, as Logan sets out to have the legendary swordsmith Muramasa forge him a new blade, named as one of the weapons of 'X of Swords.'
But to get there, Percy and artist Viktor Bogdanovic will send Wolverine to Hell itself - where he'll meet a new foe who Percy describes as "the Loki to Wolverine's Thor."
As Wolverine sets out to descend into the pit and claim his legendary sword, Newsarama spoke to Percy ahead of Wolverine #6's October 7 release to find out what awaits one of the most beloved X-Men as he enters 'X of Swords' - and how it will all set the stage for December's landmark Wolverine #350.
Newsarama: Benjamin, Wolverine #6 brings the best there is into 'X of Swords.' As one of the mutants shown wielding a magic sword in teaser art for the crossover, what can you tell us about Wolverine's role in 'X of Swords'?
Benjamin Percy: Wolverine might have six pointy blades already at his disposal, but Saturnyne has chosen him as a swordbearer. That means he will be one of the champions of Krakoa as it faces off against Arakko.
When you hear talk of Wolverine and swords, you no doubt think of Muramasa—and Logan is on a quest to Japan and Hell itself to locate the missing swordsmith and convince him to forge him a worthy blade. He's only got three days, and it ain't gonna be easy, for a number of reasons.
Chief among them: a new baddie we're introducing, named Solem. I won't tell you everything about his history, but I will say that coming out of this event, he's going to be a major new player in the mainline.
Think of him as a Loki to Wolverine's Thor. He's…delightfully evil, a charming bastard, and impossibly deadly.
Nrama: On that note, the solicitation for Wolverine #6 mentions "a legendary power reclaimed." You brought up the Muramasa blade, named as one of the weapons of 'X of Swords.' What's it like delving into the samurai aspect of Wolverine's history?
Percy: Telling a story about the legendary Muramasa blade is something I wanted to do from the very beginning. This crossover gave me the opportunity to tip my hat to legacy but also take things in my own direction.
What you'll understand, at the end of this story, is that the story of the blade is just beginning. 'X of Swords' is an additive platform for more mythic storytelling in the mainline.
Nrama: You mentioned Wolverine's journey for the Muramasa - What's waiting for him on that quest?
Percy: Big brawls and broken teeth and splattered blood. Encounters with enemies and allies, new and old. A mission to Japan—for a few snorts of sake and intelligence gathering—and then a descent into Hell itself.
Ho hum. No big deal.
Nrama: Wolverine has more experience with both swords and fights to the death than most X-Men. How is he handling this descent into a very violent, intimate showdown?
Percy: On the one hand, this is exactly the sort of violence that Wolverine excels at. But on the other: he's suspicious and intolerant.
He doesn't want to be a pawn in what he sees as a game Saturnyne is playing. And he can't understand why Krakoa insisted on the gate to Otherworld opening.
The island seems to want this showdown to occur, and this makes Wolverine not trust its green ass. Wolverine #6 opens up with him confronting the face of Krakoa itself and basically giving it the finger.
Nrama: Speaking more generally about 'X of Swords,' what's it been like being part of the team telling this story? We've been told it's a very collaborative environment. What has surprised you about the process?
Percy: The story is epic and ambitious and intensely collaborative - and the same goes for the planning and composition. 'X of Swords' is a year in the making. Among the writers, the lion's share of the work was done by Tini Howard and Jonathan Hickman, but we all worked our asses off - and continue to do so.
The conversations - in person and online - have been exhaustive and wildly generative. We've all gone through multiple, multiple drafts. And the artists have delivered earth-shaking art, because this is a high-stakes moment not only for the X-Men, but for the industry. We're all doing our damndest to put out - as Hickman said from the very beginning -one of the best events of the past twenty years.
Nrama: The cover for Wolverine #7 shows Logan skewered with many swords and promises "the true lesson of pain." That's remarkably ominous – what can you tell us about what's ahead as Wolverine's part of 'X of Swords' continues?
Percy: "For most people, been to Hell and back is just an expression."
That's the first line of Wolverine #6. So that should prep you for the suffering that's coming his way.
Nrama: You're also writing X-Force, one of a few writers handling more than one title in this story, with some overlap in Wolverine. What are the things you're keeping in mind as you're balancing Wolverine across both those titles, in a story that has a clear timeline?
Percy: Wolverine #6 and X-Force #13 are part of the larger 'X of Swords' event, but they're also a two-parter. A story in itself that could be read on its own and still make sense. Your experience will, of course, be richer if you engage with the whole event, but these two issues are very much an epic Wolverine story. A sword quest.
Nrama: Following 'X of Swords,' Wolverine #8 will mark Wolverine's 350th solo issue. What does celebrating that milestone mean to you? What can you tell us about what will come out of that?
Percy: I've said it before: he's my favorite character. Writing Wolverine at any point in my career would have been extraordinary, but right now? During 'Dawn of X?' I feel incredibly lucky. And now we've got this milestone issue coming up. 350. Damn.
That's such a treasure chest of storytelling, and I'm so damn happy to contribute to his legacy and serve as the custodian of the old Canucklehead for a time. So we're going to deliver an oversized issue of course. Featuring - like Issue 1 - the art of Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic.
And the story will appropriately, given this celebratory juncture, thread together the past and the present. It also brings back a fan-favorite, Maverick. Prepare to be knocked out by the art coming your way. It's a hell of a fun story.