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

You can’t wrap the Krakoan era without at least one bloody brawl between arch-rivals Wolverine and Sabretooth. Fortunately, Logan’s writer Benjamin Percy and Victor’s writer Victor LaValle have you covered, X-Fans. In January, Ben and Victor — along with artists Cory Smith and Geoff Shaw — will unleash the 10-part “Sabretooth War” in the pages of Wolverine. What can you expect from this long-awaited rematch? Read on to see some of Cory and Geoff’s artwork, as well as what Ben and Victor had to say.

AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Ben and Victor! Like Wolverine and Sabretooth, you have a (significantly less violent) history with one another that started long before your time in the X-Men side of the Marvel Universe. How has your friendship and history impacted the ways you collaborated on the 10-part “Sabretooth War”?

Victor LaValle: It’s been fun collaborating with Ben because we are on the same page in so many ways. A lot of our tastes, the things that thrill and move us. Trading our scripts from one issue to the next, getting thoughts and notes, has been really seamless and that comes from a longstanding sense of friendship and respect. I’ve been a fan since long before the comic days.

Ben Percy: I first read Victor in 2010, when his novel Big Machine came out, and I was blown away by his mad-hatter imagination, deeply felt characters, and luminous prose. I felt a kinship to him even then, just connecting with him on the page, because we’re both horror heads with literary sensibilities. Years later, when I got to know him not just in print, but in person, it never really took any effort to connect. He and I are hard-wired very similarly: we love all the same books, movies, comics; we’ve both taught at universities; we’ve both worked in Hollywood and novels and comics; we’re both parents of two kids. We speak the same language, in other words. Collaborating on a project is as easy as bullshitting at the bar. Pure pleasure. We have absolute trust in one another — and we’re also both jazzed by each other’s ideas. So when one of us says, “What about this?” the other one of us usually says, “Hell yeah! Let’s do it!”

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: X-Fan Gregg Katzman pointed out that Wolverine and Sabretooth have had quite a vicious rivalry over the years. In your opinion, what will make “Sabretooth War” stand apart from their previous conflicts?

Victor: On the most basic level, we’ve been given free rein to really dive into the horror and the mayhem of it all. These two are vicious, as hardcore as they come, so it’s been great to take the gloves off, so to speak, and really explore how bad they can be. I’m thinking more specifically of Sabretooth, who really is about the worst. Lacking in any moral compass, selfish and sociopathic. But also so fully focused on Wolverine as the object of his obsession for so, so long. Why might that be? That’s what I wanted to explore as well. The why of it. We’ll find that answer in some places that others haven’t really gone before. 

Ben: Everything Victor said. Plus this: Sabretooth got tossed in the pit during House of X/Powers of X. We deliberately took him off the Krakoan stage. Victor (LaValle and Creed) was doing his thing with the Sabretooth series, but it was all far, far away from Wolverine. In this way, we built up his off-stage mythology and cranked up the tension, so that when these two rivals finally go head-to-head, it will be explosive.

AIPT: The cover to February’s Wolverine #43 features Wolverine and Sabretooth in their Team X days. Is it safe to assume “Sabretooth War” will revisit moments in these rivals’ shared history? 

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Victor: We’re going to have some good fun with their past, but we’ll tackle it in ways that I think will be surprising to readers. Not so much a rehash of their past, but a kind of reimagining of that past in a way that serves Sabretooth’s greater plan.

Ben: These two have a complicated history. They’re arch-enemies to one another… but there have been times when they worked as allies. We’re going to dig our thumbs into the rotten spots.

AIPT: X-Fan Phil wanted to know if the Exiles will appear during “Sabretooth War”. Phil said their interactions with Creed were a great part of the previous Sabretooth mini-series, so he’d love to see them involved.

Victor: The Exiles will indeed be a part of the War. We set up something in the first Sabretooth mini-series: Doug gave Nekra a very special Krakoan seed, one that she was meant to plant at Sabretooth’s feet. We’ll pay that off, among other story beats for the Exiles. Sabretooth will not like what that seed does to him, I promise you.

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Ben, you’ve had the privilege of collaborating with artists Cory Smith and Geoff Shaw before. What can you share about their visual contributions to the “Sabretooth War”?

Ben: Cory and Geoff are blowing up our inboxes every day with their mind-melting, blood-drenched, wildly mayhemic pages. They’re clearly enjoying themselves — the level of detail is staggering and the energy just leaps off the page. Victor and I couldn’t be more lucky to have them as collaborators.

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Shifting away from “Sabretooth War”, X-Fan Jacob wanted to know what, in your opinion, makes a Wolverine story.

Ben: Pain. Hair. Whiskey. Blood. Adamantium. Mayhem. 

AIPT: And a follow-up question from Jacob: What type of music does Logan listen to?

Ben: Logan likes old country.

AIPT: X-Fan Robert Smith said that over the many years of his long life, Logan has been shown to have amassed some significant wealth, which makes sense considering the Howlett family was shown to be quite well off at the turn of the last century. So… what has Wolverine done with his money? Is it all sitting in an account with Landau, Luckman & Lake? Does he have a bunch of safe houses like Cable? Inquiring minds want to know and thanks in advance.

Ben: What he didn’t spend on rotgut whiskey, he probably gave away, because he’s a big mean softie.

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: A question from a concerned Scout fan — X-Fan Kasi said Gabby is nowhere to be seen on Earth! Are she and Jonathan going to show up in “Sabretooth War”, or are they stuck in the White Hot Room alongside the rest of Krakoa?

Ben: Good things come to those who wait.

AIPT: “Target: Beast” kicks off in January’s X-Force #48 and we’ve seen a very curious cover and solicitation for February’s X-Force #49 featuring Wonder Man and… Beast?!? What can you tease about this highly anticipated story arc?

Ben: This is how I knew X-Force would end when I wrote the first issue. These two — the head and the fist of X-Force — will finally collide and conclude their story.

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: X-Fan Jon Waugh said, “Please never leave X-Force and Wolverine. That’s not really a question, more a statement. I just love what you’ve been doing on both books.” Ben, anything you’d care to share in response to Jon as the Krakoan era comes to a close?

Ben: Thanks, bub. But all good things must end. Wolverine is my favorite character in comics, and it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to be his custodian these past few years. Also… without giving any spoilers… there might be a touch more Wolverine coming from me… Stay tuned.

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

AIPT: Intriguing. Finally, a question from your fellow X-Writer Steve Orlando, who said, “Hey Ben! Long-time fan, first-time questioner. And I’ve only got one question regarding Wolverine — flannelcore photo variant cover… when?”

Ben: Steve, you’ll see me and Logan both in matching buffalo-plaid tuxedos at the next Hellfire Gala.

AIPT: Hey, confirmation we’re getting another Hellfire Gala! Or maybe that’s just what the X-Office calls its private parties. Guess we’ll know the truth… someday. But on that note, Ben and Victor, thanks for stopping by X-Men Monday and taking the time to chat!

X-Fans, “Sabretooth War” officially kicks off in Wolverine #41, on sale January 10, 2024.

To celebrate, Marvel’s putting out a series of “Sabretooth Through the Ages” variant covers. A few have been revealed so far, including this cover by Meghan Hetrick…

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

And this cover from Salvador Larroca…

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

And now we’re excited to eXclusively reveal some more! Here’s the front and back covers to Mark Bagley’s contribution…

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Here’s Scott Williams’ cover…

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

And finally, here’s Mike McKone’s cover…

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Before we wrap, if you haven’t taken the 2023 X-Men Monday Survey, please do so to share your love for your favorite characters, series, and more from the past 12 months. The results will appear in the final X-Men Monday of 2023 and inform my annual, end-of-year conversation with X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White. Here’s last year’s edition in case you’re curious!

Also, Steve Orlando not only asked this week’s final question but is also next week’s guest! If you want to ask Steve about his upcoming Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver mini-series, get those questions in today.

Until next time, X-Fans, stay exceptional!

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 In this edition of X-Men Monday, writers Benjamin Percy and Victor LaValle discuss the upcoming “Sabretooth War” event in ‘Wolverine’.  Read More