Marvel’s unstoppable killing machine is dead. Much like the Death of Spider-Man, the title was literal, the murdering mutant has fallen. What finally ended Wolverine’s near immortal life? Magneto, Hulk, Hiroshima, or even outer space couldn’t end him, so how did he fall? More importantly, was it any good?
The central plot of 2013’s The Wolverine involved Logan losing his healing factor, changing not only the character, but how he interacts with his environment. Continuing the odd bit of synergism the publisher tries to create with the films, Wolverine lost his healing factor in the comics as well due to an alien virus. Aside from a few brief mentions, when it suited the writer’s needs, the change didn’t seem to matter. In 2014, Marvel published a four issue series entitled Death of Wolverine. Guess what happened.
Someone put a contract out for Wolverine, wanting him alive. Despite lacking his healing factor, he faced the challenge head on. Across the series, Logan battled against nearly his entire rogue’s gallery, coming one step closer to who was pursuing him. Nuke, Viper, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Ogun, and Kitty Pryde had made cameos. Finally, Logan learned who was pursuing him, Dr. Abraham Cornelius, the scientist who put the adamantium on his skeleton at Weapon X.
Wolverine followed him to his lab, where Cornelius was performing the same experiments on unwitting victims once again. He revealed he wanted Wolverine alive, for his healing factor. Discovering he had lost his abilities, Cornelius sent a drone to attack him, while starting the adamantium bonding process to several victims, which would kill them. Wolverine defeated the drone and slashed open the container of smelted adamantium, saving the patients while covering him in the metal. He followed Cornelius to the roof, stopping him before he boarded his helicopter. Wolverine collapsed in a heap, the metal solidifying, killing him.
The series was written by Charles Soule with art by Steve McNiven. While the series was a descent read, McNiven’s art was the star. Each page demanded a slow read, allowing the details of each panel to be caught. The writing overall was descent, though Soule is not to blame. An event as high profile as this was certainly editorially manufactured, though he managed to include a good beat of detail. Without his healing factor, Wolverine was dying from years of radiation, metal poisoning his skeleton, septic poisoning from the blood on his claws, and more. Small bits like this made the book fun.
The Death of Wolverine was a small, descent event, that effectively sent the beloved hero to his death. Is it a must read? No, not unless you want to see how he went off. Even then, only the final issue need be read. However, the series is worth the price for the art alone. Wolverine’s death will continue to resonant throughout other books, with a myriad of series to follow dealing with his lose. Once that market has been milked, he will return. They always do.
Did Wolverine go out in style? How long do you think until he returns? Comment below!
Another one rides the bus.