Written by Charles Soule
Illustrated by Steve McNiven
Is this happening? For real, for real?
With 7 movies, 42 video games, and countless comics, Wolverine has been one of the few X-Men characters featured in every form of Marvel media over the past 40 years. Now in a 4-part series, we catalog the final chapters of the man who is the best at what he does. How will the Marvel universe cope with his loss? Who will represent the underrepresented Canadian super heroes? Is anyone thinking of them?
If you are like most comic fans you already rolled your eyes at the idea of “the death of” anyone. We have been jaded by heroes in hiding, replaced by clones, sleeping off comas in the Burmese mountains, or straight up pulling the Lazarus card, and we are rightfully skeptical. But I’m choosing to adopt a different suspension of disbelief – trusting Marvel at its word that this is not a metaphorical death or gimmick, but a real ending to a principal character that we will not see again for a long time. You have to delude yourself sometimes for the potential at hand.
The Death of Wolverine begins with the end, with Logan slouched on a cabin porch in the wilderness, visibly war torn. He’s spattered with blood – his, someone else’s, yours – and staring off into the sky. A strong visual opening, McNiven did wonders with Wolverine’s expression. As if he knows it’s coming, he seems to have accepted the impending death, so long suspended over the course of his life, and is contemplating oblivion. Or love. Or peace. Pulling himself up he walks past the scene he just created, revealing the recent fight that left him in his condition.
A flashback brings us to a scene with Reed Richards and Logan in a Baxter Building laboratory. Mr. Fantastic explains the foundation of everything to come with a single sentence, this arc’s equivalent to M-Day’s “No more mutants.” “You have lost your healing factor.”
Thus hunting season begins with Wolverine as prey for every revenge seeker, headhunter, or thrill chaser who can claim the ultimate trophy by taking him down. And he knows it.
The first comes in the form of Nuke, a contract killer out to earn the bounty on Wolverine’s life. But who is the buyer? And, knowing well enough that Nuke will not be the one to claim the throne, who is coming next?
The impact of Logan’s death will ripple across the myriad of characters with whom he developed relationships. No longer the guarded, lone wolf, Wolverine has evolved to a dynamic character with a twisted past but also, importantly, deep connections. The fallout from his death will be topic worth reading alone in Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy, a 7-part miniseries slated for the fall. But until then, let’s enjoy the ride.