Major characters in comics die all the time. It is how the publishers, especially the Big 2, keep things rolling and try and do some interesting things in the wake of these deaths. But deaths also rarely stick, because some major characters are just too important to the entire line-up to just let go like that. I mean, even Peter Parker is back in the Ultimate Universe right now after being dead for a number of years and with his successor having stepped in to fill his shoes big time. But the big focus is on Wolverine right now, Marvel’s greatest success in terms of any media you pinpoint.
For some six weeks now we have been watching the story of how Wolverine is going to meet his death. Whether Avengers of X-Men, Wolverine has been one of the biggest characters in the Marvel universe, and there’s a line in the second issue of this mini-event series which sums it all up (paraphrase): “nobody out there who doesn’t owe me their life…” Few heroes in the Marvel universe can say that with the same conviction. And that’s why this series has been almost heartbreaking to read, though Charles Soule and Steve McNiven bring it all to a very sentimental, true-to-form close in this week’s finale.
I love that cover. Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten and Justin Ponsor did this one, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with the contents of the issue itself, but it is a great piece symbolically, with Death coming to claim Logan, who has cheated death for several decades now. Just loading up the issue and watching that cover pop-up first thing was enough to give me chills and even cause me to break down a little.
Fact of the matter is that I love Logan. He’s been my guiding point to the X-Men ever since I started watching the Fox animated series, and he’s been there every step of the way, especially in the movies, where Hugh Jackman has portrayed the character so well in the last 14 years or so. Charles Soule is the man Marvel entrusted with telling this grand tale, and he has done a wonderful job of it to this point, telling a very personal story with the character and also rotating the supporting cast to include some of the character’s staunchest allies and enemies, though I wish that more X-Men had been featured in here than just Kitty Pryde.
But I’ll take what I can get.
Last time, we saw that the man behind the hit on Wolverine was Abraham Cornelius, the man who literally created Wolveirne. He wanted something from the character, and for that he sent out assassins and bounty hunters aplenty. In this issue, we see Logan confront Cornelius at his own base and bring him down. As I never read the various X-Men comics until pretty much last year, and that too only a bit of the new Marvel NOW! continuity, I’m not that familiar with Cornelius, but it seems that he is quite the villain for Logan. And their confrontation is as epic as it could have been, given what little I’ve managed to read up on the dude.
Something about the ending put me off since I was expecting a finale much more epic in scope than what we got here, but rereading the issue for a second and then a third time, I realized that this was textbook Wolverine all the way. Not every superhero deserves or should get a grand death. Most fear that their end will be something simple. Thankfully, before his end, Wolverine gets to see a beautiful sunset.
Steve, Jay and Justin absolutely killed the art in this issue. Their Cornelius was a bit inconsistent, but the rest of the issue was pretty damn spectacular, and watching Wolverine play out his final moments really got me to tear up. The circumstances of Wolverine’s death play out nicely, and in a very violently simplistic manner, and the artists shepherd that along without pause. And the final page, it really is incredible. We get to see Wolverine as an X-Man, Wolverine living the high life, Wolverine with Jean, Wolverine as a soldier, Wolverine teaching some younger X-Men, and then finally, Wolverine with Yukio. It is a great emotional page, especially as Wolverine breathes his last. That’s when you really let all that emotion out in a flood of tears.
There are few major comics characters whose death I have seen played out in comics, and I think that aside from Superman’s first death last year when I read the original Doomsday arc, no death has affected me like this. There’s something very visceral, violent and heroic about Logan’s death.
Goodbye old friend.