The Death of Wolverine
Just as all good things must come to an end, so to must our heroes die. Of course, in the world of comic books, death isn’t always such a permanent affair. However, on rare occasions when the moon is full and Mercury is retrograde, a hero dies for good, ascending to join the pantheon of fallen heroes in the halls of Valhalla…
The Wolverine is going to die. Like, totally and for sure this time.
My love affair with Logan has been on again/off again since I was a kid. One of
my prized childhood possessions was a set of the 1982 Wolverine series, issues
#1 through #4. He was my favorite character, and it’s not hard to see why. He
was short but tough as nails, a brooding loner (which, for some inexplicable
reason, turns people’s crank), spoke truth to power (or at least he never took
shit from Cyclops, because screw that guy), and he had a mysterious and tragic
back story, which despite his crappy attitude, made him a character a kid could
really sympathize with.
The “off again” part of my relationship with Wolverine stems from growing into
the realization that heroes who aren’t ever really at risk of injury–who can
regrow basically from scraps–are kind of boring. No, not kind of–invincible
heroes are just dull. To counter Wolverine’s physical invulnerability, he was
imbued with a variety of emotional and psychological problems–all too human
vulnerabilities which contributed to another realization: that a 150 year old
emo Clint Eastwood impersonator is also kind of boring. There are only so many
times you can ride that Harley into the sunset on a quest to discover the truth
about your dark past. Seriously.
So, let’s be honest: Wolvie has had a good run. But just as Hugh Jackman has
begun murmuring about a life after shaving off the lamb chops for good, it is
possible that the character called Wolverine has gotten a little over ripe.
That said, I have to wonder just how much this death is about making room in the
canon for something new, and how much of it is about neutering Marvel’s
Consider: earlier this year, rumors circulated that Marvel was going to put the
Fantastic Four on hiatus. Now it seems that Four will be published into 2015,
but there are indications that the title will be su-nsetting… in advance of
Fox’s advertising push for their forthcoming Fantastic Four reboot movie.
Certainly the veritable eradication/de-protagonization of 99.9% of the world’s
mutants in House of M could be construed as a signal to Fox that Marvel wants to
shift focus away from the properties they don’t have cinematic control over
towards they ones they do. Could the death of one of Marvel’s mostly widely
recognized characters be anything but a calculated move to weaken the
competition in the far more lucrative movie space?
Of course, we’re talking about a comic book death. One need only look back to
the Death of Superman to see what that’s worth. We were promised a new superman
and we got one: the same old Superman but with a new and exciting haircut. When
Wolverine inevitably comes back, how much will have really change?