Saturday, September 6, 2014

We hardly knew ye, Bub...

Whoa, Marvel is going to kill off Wolverine? Huh. I mean, finally, right? For those unsure as to why anyone should care, congratulations, you must live a well-rounded life. You're probably into totally reasonable interests like watching the sports and going to clubs or whatever, so allow me to explain why this is both a big goddamn deal and also complete bullshit.
Rabid sports fans who paint themselves and shout at people playing a game: normal.
People who dress up like characters from Attack on Titan and go to Comic-Con: weirdos.
Oh shit, I think they're on to us...
Anyway, Wolverine is a short, hairy, Canadian mutant with stupid hair who smells like beer and has a crush on a woman who's like a hundred years younger than him. His super-powers include adamantium-coated claws which he uses to murder/stab his problems away and a healing ability that makes him functionally immortal. Ah, but then how...? Good question. You see his powers were recently shut down by an intelligent virus from the Microverse. It's the kind of explanation you'd expect from the people who hand out home-made flyers about how clouds are part of a vast international conspiracy, but there it is.

"I'm the best there is at what I do.
But what I do best is look dreamy."

-Not Wolverine
Now if you're mainly familiar with the live-action X-Men movies, you're probably wondering what five-foot nothing of hirsute borderline alcoholic murder frenzy has to do with singing Australian beef castle Hugh Jackman. You are not alone. It seems like a miscast akin to the time someone thought Jonathan Rhys Meyers would make a totally good Henry VIII, one of history's fattest and most ginger tyrants. Try and keep in mind however, that the people who made the X-Men movies like money and would like the average movie-goer to give them more. Take X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It was mostly pointless and ruined Deadpool, but enough people went to watch Hugh Jackman be ruggedly bestubbled for 107 minutes that they made a sequel. With ninjas.

The point is, people love Wolverine. He's one of the most popular comic book characters ever, and at any given time is a member of the X-Men, X-Force, a couple Avengers teams and stars in two or three books of his own.  He can't stay dead for long, he's load-bearing.
"I'm sorry folks, Wolverine is just making us too much money. 
If we don't kill him off, people won't respect us as artists."
"Ashes to ashes dust to-oh who're
we kidding? Give her six weeks."
Sure, Wolverine will actually die in an upcoming issue, but in comics, particularly Marvel comics, characters die and come back to life on a fairly regular basis, especially marketable characters. Captain America, Nightcrawler, Spider-Man, they've all died and then come back. Back in the 90's Colossus contracted a thinly-veiled HIV allegory, died, was cremated and still managed to come back to life. On Earth-616, death isn't so much the inevitable fate we must all accept as the natural conclusion of life, so much as it is like going on sabbatical. Whenever the writers are bored, or have run out of ideas or just need to get some free media coverage they kill off a major character. They wait a few weeks (or sometimes years), and then reveal that the character we saw die was secretly a clone, or a robot or possessed by Doctor Octopus (yup) or something.

It's a way of squeezing a little more interest out of a played out character and as much as everybody loves Wolverine, you have to admit, the writers have done just about everything they can do with him. He's been a bad guy, a zombie, a samurai, Hugh Jackman, a private eye in the 1930's, and has currently taken over for Professor X (also dead at the moment) as headmaster of the school. Like, where else can they go with him?
Settle down, if he can come back from this, he can come back from a transparent marketing decision.

No comments:

Post a Comment