You’ve been warned!
First let me explain my title blurb. The Death of Wolverine, while on the surface seems attractive and desirable, when you put some time into it, you realize…. Holy $#!^ this is dumb…I mean really dumb. Like it hurts, dumb.
Now, I have nothing but the utmost respect for Charles Soule’s work. I loved his run on Superman/Wonder Woman, he made a seamless transition from Synder’s Swamp Thing to putting his own stamp on the title, and his stepping up and taking Inhuman over from Fraction was a smart move, he’s doing cool things over in that realm.
The art is fantastic, McNiven ( which is Gaelic for artistic delays ) is at the top of his game, and just like in Old Man Logan and Civil War, he captures everyone perfectly, rendered with dynamic layouts and intense detailing.
But the Death of Wolverine… well I don’t know what to say. Maybe Marvel told Soule he can have Wolverine to play with as his sandbox, and Soule misheard and thought they said cat box? To be fair though, Soule inherited this mess from Paul Cornell, so it’s only partially his fault.
Let’s backtrack a bit to the beginning of this whole fiasco:
Now, to be fair, I gave up on the Wolverine titles a while ago, so anything I mention leading up to the actual Death of Wolverine miniseries has been gleaned from research….both Internet and TPB reading and few phone calls to Florida. So from what I understand, Wolverine was trapped in a sunken SHIELD submarine, surrounded by possessed SHIELD agents trying to kill him, and the remaining unaffected crew. The only way for them to escape was to take a trip through the Microverse ( y’know the place you end up when you OD on Pym Particles and end up chillin’ with the Micronauts ) to avoid death by drowning or being killed by crazy SHIELD agents.
During this adventure, Wolverine was attacked by a Sentient Virus from the microverse, which he was able to overcome, but burned out his healing factor, utterly and completely. Totally. Without a doubt. No heal-y heal-y.
Too bad Wolverine isn’t an X-Men or an Avenger with access so some the most brilliant minds on the planet…
Or maybe someone familiar with the Microverse, who could go in search of a cure?
And of course there aren’t any mutants or superhuman who use their powers to heal??
Oh sorry, What was that? They checked him out and couldn’t do anything?? These guys… the ones who blow up planets in their spare time, cure cancer, reprogram techno-organic alien races, pull teenagers through time… the guys who make Mac Guyver look like a cro-mag, they…they couldn’t hack it?
Maybe they had nothing to work with, I mean really, how many people out there have healing factors they can use as basis to jump-start Logan’s??
Oh yeah, maybe their blood types are different and Wolvy’s body would reject their blood… if only there was somebody he shares blood with…
Too bad Wolverine couldn’t find some villain whose specialty is genetic manipulation, someone to either coerce into curing him or out right threaten…
Surely, if Wolverine knew any mystics or sorcerers, maybe they could have helped…
Dammit man! Can’t someone just manipulate reality to give him back his powers!
See where I’m going with this?? So it’s not all Soule’s fault.
Now Death of Wolverine #1 starts off with Logan getting a final diagnosis from Reed Richards, (the guy who gives and takes away his son’s mutant powers like we change channels ) only to be told there is nothing anyone could do. Besides not being able to cure him, Reed informs Logan that he is going to die a slow death, since his adamantium bones absorb so much radiation (Logan was at Nagasaki) he’ll die of various cancers now that his body can’t fight them off, plus all the nasty infections he’ll get popping his claws in and out. Reed suggests lying low until someone finds a cure.
So… In all of the wide wide world of the marvel Universe, where does Wolverine go to hideout…
Nope, Wolverine hides out in…CANADA!
(Yeah Marvel, who would look for him there eh! )
Now, I was reading these as they came out, and was truly enjoying them, ( I wasn’t the only one… check out Steve Biscotti’s review here) and I did up until the last half of issue four. Then I made the mistake of re-reading it again from the beginning. You know when you break up with someone after a big fight, and then you find your self thinking about the various points in the recent past…and your like: “damn! I should’ve broken up with them months ago!”… Upon the second reading, all the flaws stood out like Logan’s skeleton at an airport x-ray machine.
Every possible Wolverine trope you can think of appears within and the story covers a lot of familiar places and lots of familiar places:
First he takes on Nuke, who’s working for Madame Viper, who has Sabretooth on a leash, who is beaten by Lady Deathstrike, who in turn gets whipped by Kitty Pryde. Viper was working for Lord Ogun, who killed Cyber at the behest of his boss, the big bad: Dr. Cornelius ( of Weapon X Program infamy, you know the guy who tortured Logan, reprogrammed his mind, and laced him with adamantium, yeah… that guy’s assistant!)
And if you don’t remember… Dr. Cornelius was kinda killed in the head awhile ago:
Like I stated above, it’s starts in Canada, then Logan heads to good old Madripoor, then Japan because of the formula: Wolverine + Kitty Pryde (Ogun) = Japan, and then back the US, to a secret Weapon X complex in the desert.
Logan cleaning wounds with whisky.
Someone’s collecting people and things……with adamantium
Sabretooth shows up ( the good ol’ savage Sabretooth, not the guy who’s been raiding Sebastian Shaw’s closet and hanging around Mystique )
Ogun possesses Kitty
Wolverine don’s samurai armor in the middle of a fight with Ogun, nice imagery but… did Ogun just take a break while Logan was stripping mannequins in a museum and finding swords? (I mean, like they were displayed in glass cases!!!)
Cyber reduced to just adamantium skin (again)
And my personal favorite: Logan lets Nuke live ( to warn other assassins, you know, around the assassins union water cooler), let’s Sabretooth go ( cuz he was chained and poisoned and that’s not fairrrrr), let’s Viper and Lady Deathstrike escape, and wouldn’t kill Ogun.
Because that’s the old Wolverine.
Not the new, honorable, less prone to murder Wolvy
Well what about the beach full of DEAD Hand Ninjas, Hydra and AIM assassins; all of Nuke’s crew, Viper’s bodyguards and scores of soldiers working at the Weapon X compound Wolverine just leaves in his wake???
What’s so honorable about leaving superpowered, psychotic mass murderers alive, but slicing through normal guys just trying to make a buck???? Sheeesh.
But despite all of this, I still wanted to get this series, hoping the pay off at the end would be worth it. Wolverine is without a doubt one of the most beloved, popular characters in all of comicdom, and surely his death would be worthy, of not only the character, but for the legions of fans who practically worship the character. Seriously, have you ever heard someone say ” nahhh, I don’t care for Wolverine” ?
Well ( Big Spoiler Alert ), this is what happens:
Logan confronts Cornelius, who has apparently gone mad. He has chosen people (athletes, mostly ), to become the next generation of Wolverines. He has gather copious amounts of adamantium, and after conditioning his captives to obey orders, ( as the Doctor points out, Wolverine is just an animal….hmm haven’t heard that before ) will lace their bones with Adamantium, but needs to give them Wolverine’s healing factor first.
Wolverine dramatically slices his palm and shows Dr. Cornelius his ability is gone. Cornelius is stunned. He had no idea. He hired hundreds of people to hunt him down, some of them intimate with Logan, word got out in both the superhero and supervision communities Logan was killable, but Cornelius didn’t get the memo. Had no clue.
So the good doctor freaks out and starts the procedure anyway. Automated medical machines start cutting into the three captives, as a giant container of molten adamantium starts churning (uhm…what the hell is the container made of ?).
Wolverine, saves the lives of the captives by slicing in the container of molten adamantium and just takes like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance.
That’s the death of our beloved hero. He gets covered by liquid adamantium, from head to toe. Our favorite character of all time, the definition of noble savage, the lone warrior who spent a century fighting for good. Does he die in battle? Saving a friend or teammate? Does he succumb to multiple wounds defending someone he loves or an innocent child?
Nope, he goes out like he said ” I don’t know ” on Double Dare.
All I’m saying is, he couldn’t cut the container and… I don’t know… MOVE to the left?????
And it gets worse. While covered in molten adamantium, Wolverine is able to walk over to the captives and inject each one with a hypodermic needle containing the life saving Re-Gen formula (why he decided to save the lives of conditioned and programmed killers, I don’t know ). Then walk up a flight (at least one) of steps to the roof of the facility, watch Cornelius bleed out and walk across the roof fall to his knees and turn into a statue.
Why the hypodermic needles didn’t burst from the heat, or how Wolverine was able to find his way to the captives while completely covered in molten slag (I guess his enhanced senses work through the strongest metal on Earth), then inject them all perfectly in the center of their chests is beyond me. And science.
How Wolverine was able to move…. at all. Adamantium is liquid a 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Skin and muscle tissue melt and burn at around 200 degrees Fahrenheit (it’s none of your business why I know that!). He would’ve been dead instantly, let alone been able to move. Yes I know he has adamantium bones, but bones don’t move you… muscles do!
So that’s it. I’m sorry if this was too harsh. I apologize if I insulted any member of the creative teams involved, or fans who enjoyed this series. Wolverine is a perennial favorite, among all the ages, races, and genders of comic book collectors, and extended that fame into the secular world with mainstream folk who instantly took to the hero, with appearances in 5 different X-Men movies, and 2 of his own.
The tortured lone warrior, finding peace among friends and to control his base savage nature, becoming an almost fatherly figure to the next generation of mutant children, and a the man everyone wants watching their back, left a claw shaped mark in the hearts and minds of all familiar with him.
Wolverine deserved better.
And so did his fans.
R.I.P. …and see ya soon Pal!