X-Men Monday #184 – Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al … – AIPT











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Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
The Goblin Queen and Chasm are spinning their Dark Web — and the X-Men, Spider-Man, and New York City are caught in it. I mean, the Big Apple during the holiday season is hectic enough as is, couldn’t they have waited until after Christmas?

Listen to the latest episode of the X-Reads Podcast!


Writers Christopher Cantwell (Gold Goblin), Gerry Duggan (Dark Web: X-Men), and Al Ewing (Venom) aren’t here to answer that question, but they were happy to field a few others about their roles in the X-Men-Spider-Man “Dark Web” crossover. Read on to see what they had to say!

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Images courtesy of Christopher Cantwell and Gerry Duggan’s Twitter pages, and Marvel Comics


Images courtesy of Christopher Cantwell and Gerry Duggan’s Twitter pages, and Marvel Comics
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, everybody! The original “Inferno” holds a very special place in so many creators and fans’ hearts. What are your personal feelings about the crossover?
Gerry: It had a great poster that went to shops with some wonderful Marc Silvestri art, and that’s what looms large for me — more than the soap opera was his art. Also, maybe my favorite part of it was the Ann Nocenti/John Romita Jr. Daredevil crossover issues. I think they even did three? Strong argument that they’re the best of “Inferno.” In inspiration for finding a way to tell your story during a tie-in that still hits today. The event was additive to their big story.  

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Al: I was a big fan of that run of Daredevil, in particular, and as Gerry says, Nocenti made incredible use of it, bouncing off a seemingly unrelated crossover in such a way as to further her own story, her own themes, Daredevil’s own voice at that time. We can hope we’ve done half as well with Venom. Aside from that – “Inferno” is, as I recall, the event that brought us Wiz Kid, so obviously it made a big enough impression that I’m still pulling from it today.
Chris: What is “Inferno”? I kid. I kid! I loved the X-Men as a kid and I loved all the goblin villains so much, so it was everything I wanted in a wonderful stew. Demonic Hobgoblin scared the bejesus out of me though. Which means I couldn’t stop looking at him. All of my most formative comics as a kid were also the most traumatic. I stared at some really upsetting things in those pages of the ’80s and ’90s. To me, “Inferno” is about corruption, really deep and primal corruption. That idea continues to frighten and fascinate me today. 

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics
AIPT: X-Fan Owen asked, what was the process like for integrating the X-Men, Venom, and Gold Goblin into “Dark Web” and how were you able to balance their ongoing stories with the effects of the crossover event?
Gerry: Lots of chatter, a couple of Zooms, and then its own Slack channel. It’s was fun for us to reunite with Zeb Wells and get a chance to work with Nick Lowe and Devin Lewis and everybody in the Spider-Office. Who doesn’t like writing “thwipp!” canonically?
Al: A good tie-in is an unskippable tie-in, and the way to make that happen is to have the crossover’s wants mesh well with your needs — which, in this case, they did. What Zeb and company wanted from Eddie Brock ended up serving the story we wanted to tell extremely well, and in return, I’ve made use of Limbo — traditionally an X-environment — in ways that mean I can move Eddie very smoothly to where he needs to be. As tie-ins go, it’s been a win-win.
Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Chris: Gold Goblin gets one issue before we fall headlong into “Dark Web,” but the themes of “Dark Web” have a lot of overlap with what we’re doing in Gold Goblin. The past haunting you. Ghosts and echoes, that kind of thing. So in a way, Norman is seeing the whole world kind of reflect his own interior journey in Issues 2 and 3, when “Dark Web” is going on. I however am handling him solo in my book, so it’s more fallout and emotional aftermath of what he experiences in the main event. Let me tell you, it’s kind of funny that we’re accidentally running into confronting the Goblin Queen AND Queen Goblin in these books at the same time… Try keeping that straight.
AIPT: Gerry, X-Fan @Jean_RED_Grey was curious to learn what your general thoughts on Jean Grey and Madelyne Pryor’s relationship and how it’s been handled throughout the years are.
Gerry: Hmm. That might bring me into spoiler territory, so rather than reveal that, I’ll say I think the trajectory out of “Dark Web” for the two will be very interesting. 

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics
AIPT: Al, X-Fan Jerry was wondering how Madelyne was able to control Eddie Brock in Dark Web #1. Jerry thought Eddie was basically a Symbiote god whose mind is essentially limitless. Any clarity you can provide?
Al: You see exactly how she did it in Venom #14, so I won’t spoil it here. Maddie and her new friends have a couple of tricks up their sleeves. Also, it’s Eddie. Yeah, he’s a god, but the entire point of his arc so far is that he’s still learning how to be that, and it’s not a job that gives you time to learn. If you want stories about omnipotent beings who never put a foot wrong, I’d recommend Starbust the Super Wizard by Fletcher Hanks.

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics
AIPT: While we’re talking Venom, X-Fan Trapper Schroeden said Venom #10 was an incredible issue. Trapper was blown away by the reveal of the Kings in Black and the interweaving timeline(s). How did you come up with the idea for this storyline?
Al: I was sitting in the writers’ room, back when we had physical writers rooms, and Donny Cates was pitching the end of his big Venom run, which was issue #200 — which obviously left the characters in an amazing and very cosmic place. And pretty much my exact thinking was “that’ll be a tough beat to follow without going backwards” and then I immediately started thinking about how you could follow it without going backwards. And very quickly I had the start of the Eddie story, with the seven Eddies, the Moorcock-style garden at the end of time, the evil future self, all of that. What I had nothing for was the Dylan half, which is where Ram V came in, with his own ideas for that side of things, and between the two of us we put it all together into a fully fleshed-out work.
Courtesy of Marvel Comics
AIPT: You mentioned Ram V — X-Fan Duck with a hat was curious to learn how different writing Venom with Ram is from writing X-Men Red in the ultra-collaborative X-Office. 
Al: The main difference, honestly, is that the X-Office is a lot of people and Ram is just one person. So the X-line is an interconnected web, while Venom is a single pair of mirrored stories that twist around each other and intersect in glancing ways until they smash together. And one of the places they smash together is “Dark Web,” so I hope Venom fans aren’t planning to stay home this Xmas. 
AIPT: Gerry, X-Fan Chris said Cyclops, Jean, Havok, and Magik all have unique relationships with Madelyne and perceive her differently — and they also happen to be on the current X-Men team! Can we expect this to impact the decisions the team makes throughout “Dark Web”?
Gerry: The aggressor sets the tone in every engagement, and Pryor has everyone back on their heels, so you get a very pure reaction to this, and as you can expect, they’re pretty different. 

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics
AIPT: X-Fan 1407 Greymalkin asked, theoretically, could Synch acquire magical abilities?
Gerry: This is a great question, and one I’ve wanted to touch on — not just magic, but non-mutant powers, and there’s an answer to that question, but we’re saving it for the page. He continues to be one of my favorites. I’m lettering the second of our Brood issues, and he has a moment with Cyclops that’s really simple but really fun. 
AIPT: Chris, the solicitation for Gold Goblin #2 teases that Norman’s new career as a superhero may not last very long. In what ways will “Dark Web” test the Gold Goblin — who’s trying so hard to do the right thing?
Chris: Super hero comics are so much soap opera and wrestling. Who turns heel? Who suffers emotionally? Who triumphs? What’s great about Norman sincerely trying to be a hero for me is that he can be his own worst heel, his own worst villain. He can triumph and suffer at the same time because of who he is. The whole book almost feels like it takes place in Norman’s head to me, because that’s a scary and story-rich place. Lan Medina’s art is very emotive and interior and perfect for that approach.

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics
And look, people get frustrated with comics reverting to status quo or nothing “sticking.” All I can say is, I am approaching this book 150% with the idea of really trying to make Norman turn hero. What would that actually look and feel like for him? Why would he do it? What would motivate him? That’s the only way I know how to do it. And however that plays out down the road on the larger board, the sincerity of Norman’s efforts in my book will only make whatever comes next richer in my opinion.
And by the way, Norman is a hero for the full five-issue run in my book. He is all in. Again, we’re not waffling. We’re really going for it. Will he struggle? Is he Norman Osborn? Yes. But not in the ways you’d expect, I think.
AIPT: X-Fan Alex of X said “Dark Web” is resurrecting some long dormant ‘80s and ‘90s Marvel lore, such as “The Clone Saga” and the earliest Venom stories. Looking back on that age of Marvel, do you find new appreciation for those often maligned stories?

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Chris: I loved “The Clone Saga.” How could I not? My mom did not like paying for all those books though, including Spider-Man Unlimited. I still remember that she cancelled my entire comic box at Big Bob’s Cards & Comics in Texas after it ended, because she was no longer buying that many books for me as a weekly guarantee. It was shelf-pickin’ for me from then on out. Blame “The Clone Saga.” I do think that those things have also aged in a way where the indelible pieces have remained in the lore, swirling, and it remains an exciting challenge to further edify and deepen them in new stories. 
Al: If I’ve got a major blind spot with Marvel, it’s the ’90s — while I wasn’t totally absent for the whole decade, I did fall into DC, especially Vertigo, and various indie comics. I mostly heard about those years at Marvel from a distance — particularly “The Clone Saga,” which I’ve never read but have read extensively about. For a while there was a long blog series detailing all the ins and outs called Life of Reilly, which was absolutely fascinating stuff if you can still dig it up. I do feel there are things there to appreciate — while there was an understandable need at the time to turn him into goo so his existence stopped cluttering things up, I am glad to see Ben Reilly back in action. If nothing else, he’s a real messed-up joy to write.
AIPT: As we wrap up, X-Fan Murphy Alexander was wondering, if you could sum up your contribution to “Dark Web” with a song, what song would it be?
Chris: It has to be “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” right? I feel like someone else is gonna say that. What if I said “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters? Just because it would be fun to set that against the sheer evil chaos of “Dark Web.” A demonic post office box beating a man to death. And like, things are really just only going to get worse from here, just like Karen says in the song. 

Gerry: I dunno. I begin with an adventure where some not so “amazing” friends ruin Christmas in New York, and then a deep, but slappy face-off between Jean & Maddie… so… “A Fairytale of New York,” which brought a smile to my face when James Gunn used it in the Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Al: This is a tough one — obviously the secret answer to this kind of question is always “here’s a song by an artist I really like which I’m shoehorning in” so, with all that in mind… “Down Here” by John Grant. A lot of people want what they were promised, and they’re a bit impatient, but all they get is guessing games and no guarantees.

AIPT: Finally, one more question from X-Fan Duck with a hat for you, Al. Any teases for the “Summer of Symbiotes”?
Al: You’re going to be meeting a Symbiote you never expected on Free Comic Book Day this year. And just in time for that, we’re finally going to get to what we flashed forward to last year…
AIPT: Thanks for taking the time to stop by X-Men Monday and discuss “Dark Web,” everybody! X-Fans, here’s the crossover’s checklist so you don’t miss an issue.

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics
And now for an eXclusive taste of what’s to come in “Dark Web” and beyond, courtesy of X-Men Senior Editor Jordan D. White!

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Courtesy of Marvel Comics
Be sure to return to AIPT Monday, December 26 for the final X-Men Monday of 2022 — our annual end-of-year chat with Jordan about the year that was, the results of the X-Men Monday 2022 Survey, and teases for X-Men stories to come!
And maybe, if you’re all good, we’ll post it earlier than usual as a Christmas treat. For now, here’s a preview…
X-Men Monday #184 - Christopher Cantwell, Gerry Duggan & Al Ewing Talk 'Dark Web'
Until next time, X-Fans, stay exceptional!
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