Marvel’s new Wolverine series launches shortly and features a Logan who’s been stripped of his mutant healing factor. Despite what a lot of Wolvie fanboys are screaming, I think this is an excellent plot development and one that gives writers a chance to move the character in new and interesting directions.
Over the last few years, Wolverine has become both one of the most over-used and badly-used of Marvel’s many characters. Even writers have started to reference the fact he seems to be on almost every team in the Marvel Universe. And not always subtly.
Alongside this overexposure, his healing powers have seen him recover from every single assault, explosion, poison, stabbing, gunshot and descent into lethal fire-pits that anyone could dream up. Yes, I’m fully aware that the entire Marvel Universe is fictional, but consistency and a level of real-world physics can go a long way to ensuring stories are somewhat believable.
They’ve done everything except drop a nuclear bomb on Logan (and I may have missed this!), only for him to recover almost immediately and jump back into action.
Now, while he still has his claws and accentuated strength (and senses), he’s no longer basically immortal and can be killed as easily as any other X-Man. Who don’t, it’s fair to say, stay dead for long in any case.
Why is this interesting?
Aside from the fact he can’t jump into every melee with wild abandon anymore, Wolverine has probably one of the longest list of seriously dangerous enemies of any of his contemporaries. Once word is out on the street that it’s actually possible to remove him from this mortal plain, the baddies will come looking for him.
Cue a trip down memory lane, accompanied by every villain Wolverine has taken down. As long this doesn’t all focus on Sabretooth (boring!)
This development also means he has to think long and hard about his future. He’s been around since (at least) the late 1800’s and has seen a lot. Most of his life has been spent fighting – either in wards or as some form of killer/hero – and now it might be ending any day. What has he done? What will he leave behind?
Aside from a string of dead girlfriends…?
Analogous to someone receiving a terminal health prognosis, it’s time for Wolverine to reflect and maybe even have a bit of an existential crisis. I’d like to see him withdraw from some of the many teams who count him among their members and just focus on being one of the X-Men.
I’m hoping for a more contemplative Logan, slower to rush into battle and more serious about the time he las left. Until of course the inevitable re-boot and the return of his healing factor.
But for the next, say, six months? It will make for an interesting journey.