Earlier this year, I wrote about how Wolverine should stay dead for some time. When I wrote the article, as big a fan of Wolverine as I am, I was starting to suffer what can only be called Wolverine Fatigue; there is, after all, only so many comics featuring the ol’ canuckle head that a person can buy each month without getting tired of him. I honestly felt, then and now, that his death couldn’t have come at a better time. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t missed him.
So what options does a Wolverine fan like myself have if we’re looking for some clawed superheroics with the All New relaunch?
A couple, actually.
More than a year on from the final issue of Death Of Wolverine the original Wolverine is still dead (and from here on out I’ll refer to that Wolverine as James Howlett because it’ll probably get confusing otherwise), but there are now two Wolverines in the Marvel Universe now; Laura Kinney, the All-New Wolverine, a female clone of the original; and Old Man Logan, the Wolverine from an alternate future stranded in our timeline.
Both these characters feature in at least one X-Men comic book with Laura Kinney in All New X-Men and Old Man Logan in Extraordinary X-Men as well as their own solo series. All-New Wolverine‘s second issue was released on November 25th, and although the first issue was fantastic the second issue wasn’t quite as big of a hit with me, and it’s unlikely I’ll pick up the third. Old Man Logan will launch sometime in early 2016, and I’m although I’m very interested in this series, I remain cautiously optimistic that the series will scratch the Wolverine itch I have. Extraordinary X-Men, currently on it’s third issue has resonated much more with me, but I’m not going to compare a solo book with a team book much more than that.
Needless to say that with James Howlett’s death there will still be at least one Wolverine for people to follow. And with Marvel featuring each Wolverine in a solo and a team book (for now), it isn’t actually too far from what I hoped would eventually happen. Indeed, I said during the earlier mentioned article that “with Wolverine’s death, Marvel is positioned to bring him back in a far more limited capacity. Let them keep him to one team book (hopefully X-Men) and a solo book. Have him guest star in some other books, and make those appearances mean something; don’t over saturate us with Wolverine again. When he comes back, bring him back as a character and not a cash cow.”
Now, obviously allowing other characters to take the spotlight is most evident in Laura Kinney’s graduation to the Wolverine mantle now that Howlett has passed on, giving fans the opportunity to see how Marvel will allow her to grow as the new Wolverine. But although this is an exciting time for fans of Laura Kinney, does it not feel like a bit of a slap in her face by having and older version of James Howlett return with Old Man Logan also turning up in the current Marvel Universe after the fall out from the perpetually delayed Secret Wars?
With Old Man Logan’s appearance in the current Marvel Universe after
his Secret Wars tie in miniseries (I would have said “after Secret Wars,” but… it isn’t over yet), Marvel have not only effectively moved past the death of James Howlett without resorting to a resurrection (even though it’s probably coming) by reintroducing an alternate version of him which, ultimately, should have been expected in some for or another. But by introducing him at the same time as Laura Kinney is making her debut Marvel’s Powers That Be have also essentially cut the impact and importance of a female Wolverine in half.
Imagine, if you will, if Marvel had Old King Thor (he from Jason Aaron’s run) around at the same time as Jane Foster Thor, and then gave them both their own series within a month or two of each other? Not the greatest analogy, because Thor Odinson isn’t dead, but it wouldn’t exactly showcase a whole lot of confidence in their new hero, would it? If a publisher has faith in the newest version of a hero, they shouldn’t hamper the success of that new hero by having another alternate version of the old hero they’ve replaced turn up.
Like Old Man Logan.
The thing is, and I’m exactly the person that I’m talking about here, is that there will be some people who would rather read about Old Man Logan than the All New Wolverine, and I worry about how that’ll impact the All-New comic’s sales when both solo books are ongoing. Hopefully it won’t.
But as excited as I am by the prospect of more Old Man Logan in the modern Marvel universe, I can’t help but feel a bit guilty that I’m already losing interest in the All-New Wolverine. Laura Kinney has never been a character I was all that interested in, and while I enjoyed the first issue of All-New Wolverine that wasn’t the case for the second issue. Couple that with the bi-weekly release date which is something that usually turns me away from all but the best of comics (but that’s another subject for another day), and I’m unlikely to keep reading the series.
The thing is, even though James Howlett is still dead, Old Man Logan is a version of Howlett that has even more tragedy and heartache in his past than the now dead Wolverine did. Not to mention the potential decades of unexplored history available for writers to delve into in flashback moments or stories if they want to reveal a bit more about what happened before the original Old Man Logan story took place. I’m excited to read more of this character, in part because I’ve missed Wolverine this past year, but also because my favourite stories featuring Wolverine have him as an outsider, and what better way to reintroduce that to his character than having him as the time displaced old man of an X-Men team?
There’s certainly a lot to be happy about as a Wolverine fan these days, whether you’re looking for something All-New, or something a little bit older, the choice is ultimately yours.