Marvel’s most iconic modern day character Wolverine debuted on the last panel of The Incredible Hulk, issue #180 in October of 1974. A month later the comic book’s next issue featured Canada’s ‘Weapon X’ in a full-blown battle with the near unstoppable Hulk. Wolverine a.k.a. Logan a.k.a. James Howlett is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, and a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound, disease, or toxin at an accelerated rate. The healing factor also slows down his aging process, enabling him to live beyond a normal human lifespan. His powerful healing factor enabled him to survive having the near-indestructible metal alloy adamantium bonded to his skeleton. He has been featured as a member of the X-Men and The Avengers teams. On film, Wolverine has been portrayed by actor Hugh Jackman. Now, it appears that Marvel Comics is going to kill, yes kill, The Wolverine!
Starting in June, Marvel will alter Wolverine’s history with the four issue story arc Wolverine: 3 Months to Die which will run in issues 8-12 in the main Wolverine comic book. The story will follow Wolverine while he is robbed of his mutant healing factor. Entertainment Weekly announced that a four-part weekly miniseries will debut entitled, Death of Wolverine #1, which hits comic book stands and shelves on September 3rd. It will culminate on September 24th in the Death of Wolverine, issue #4. Writer Charles Soule wrote the storyline, while artist Steve McNiven illustrates the series.
Marvel executive editor Michael Marts explained the idea for Wolverine’s demise came out of Marvel’s semi-annual creative retreat, when Marvel writers and editors come together to discuss major projects. Marts stated.
“For a long time, no matter who Wolverine was battling, he’s been the eternal victor. He almost always comes out on top. Now he finally comes up against an adversary that he cannot win against, he cannot fight. What does that mean for this character who’s been around for hundred years?”
Writer Charles Soule is a newcomer to Marvel, working on the ongoing series Thunderbolts and the new Inhuman. Soule explained what the series meant, in part, as a retrospective for both the character and the audience.
“He’s reflecting on his own life as he’s reflecting on his own death. We wanted to have the reader do that at the same time. In each issue, we’re focusing on a different aspect, or a different quintessential Wolverine.”
True fans will notice that the Wolverine silhouette on the cover of issue #1 is an homage to the character’s first appearance. Following covers will feature similar adulation to the character’s past. Soule prepared himself for the project by researching and reading classic Logan stories like the Chris Claremont/Frank Miller Japan-set Wolverine miniseries, the Barry Windsor-Smith Weapon X tale, Mark Millar’s Enemy of the State arc, and Old Man Logan (also drawn by McNiven.) Soule isn’t budging on any details, but he did have this to say about the character.
“(Logan/Wolverine) He’s basically been told, by his various genius buddies, to not get into any fights, because he can’t survive them. Wolverine being Wolverine, violence tends to find him.”
Death of a superhero in comic books is not a new concept. Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, The Flash, Green Lantern and many others have been laid to rest, but never permanently. Marts says that Marvel approached this event “from a standpoint of finality, of closure.” With the death of Wolverine, a ripple effect will be felt across the entire Marvel universe.
“You’re gonna be entering into a world without Wolverine. That affects not only his teammates, but also the Marvel Universe at large. We’ve got a lot of things in the works already.”
For now, Soule hopes that the Death of Wolverine will be in true fashion to the character and at the same time be satisfactory to fans.
“I hope that when people finish it, they’ll feel like he died in a way that was true to him.”
At today’s C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo,) Soule discussed the plot for the first time. He clarified that the story is not just a trip down memory lane.
“Word gets out that he (Wolverine) can now be targeted. Many of his old enemies decide they want to take a shot at him now. There will be guest stars, people you recognize from his past, but it’s not just a checklist.”
Finally, Soule told the audience at the convention’s panel this.
“Wanna know how it ends? Wolverine Dies!… you know the ending, but that’s not what the book is really about. It’s about Wolverine’s approach to his mortality. Each of the four issues has a different focus, with different time periods and different types of Logan. There have been so many different versions of him, so many different sides, and my goal is to have Logan thinking about those different sides to himself as his life is going away.”
Be prepared for this September when life will change to the afterlife for Wolverine!
Sources: Entertainment Weekly, newsrama, wikipedia