The Shelf Is Half Full

An optimistic geek's blog on comic books, movies and professional wrestling.

Archive for the category “Wolverine”

Superhero Spotlight – Wolverine

Since the X-Men debuted in September of 1963, literally dozens of mutants have joined the team for at least some length of time. Naturally, some are going to be more popular than others; everyone knows who Storm and Cyclops, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any casual fan who knows who Maggot is. Don’t look him up, his mutation really isn’t pretty. However, there is one member of the X-Men who has definitely broken out from the pack, it’s the man with adamantium claws. He’s the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice.



Wolverine was created by writer Len Wein and artist John Romita, Sr. at the suggestion of then editor-in-chief for Marvel Roy Thomas. It may be a surprise that one of the most popular superheroes of all time actually debuted as an antagonist for another hero: Hulk. Debuting in the final panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 and making his full debut an issue later, the man we would come to call Logan was a mutant with enhanced senses and metal claws. Working for the Canadian government, he fights the Hulk to a stalemate and somehow survives his ridiculous original mask to become part of the “all new, all different” X-Men team that debuts in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Wolverine was now a part of the X-Men, and rest is history.


Logan stood out from his fellow X-Men in several ways. First and foremost was his age; physically in his forties, Wolverine is in actuality much older that that, born in the nineteenth century. While most of the X-Men were young adults with little formal training, Logan was a grown man with a ton of combat training and a willingness to kill those who deserved to be stabbed with his claws. Wolverine was also a victim of experimentation; his ability to heal at an extremely accelerated rate allowed him to survive the process where the virtually indestructible metal known as adamantium was bonded to his skeleton. This process made Wolverine an even more deadly killing machine, and also cost him most of his long-term memory.

The Wolverine

The Beast and The Samurai

The character of Wolverine is a man at odds with dual natures. On one hand, he is essentially a good man, a noble warrior who wishes to protect the innocent. Logan has trained as both a ninja and a samurai, and his body is a lethal weapon even without the metal bones (or the claws). He wants to be a good man, a protector, but this puts him at odds with another aspect of his mutation. In addition to his animal like senses, Wolverine occasionally falls victim to a berserker rage in the heat of battle, This anger has caused Logan to take several lives that he wishes that he hadn’t, and is something he always struggles to control.

Logan is a loner both by the nature of his personality and the fact that his anger makes him a danger to those closest to him at times. Not to mention people like Sabretooth and Silver Samurai who are always trying to kill him. Logan tends to discourage people from making friends with him, but once he considers someone a friend he is an incredibly loyal one. When he first joined the X-Men his gruff, cynical and sometimes violent nature put him at odds with many of the team, but he gradually comes to accept them as his family and has formed several close relationships. He has served as a father figure to Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, and his clone (and eventual successor) X-23. This trait even made it into the movie adaptations where he serves as a protective father figure to Rogue.

Best There Is

The Best There Is

Chances are that is somebody only knows one member of the X-Men, it’s Wolverine. He was the ensemble dark horse of the Claremont era and starred in both a mini-series and a separate ongoing series before the 1990’s. By the time I was first getting into superheroes as a kid Wolverine was literally everywhere; along with Spider-Man and Batman he was definitely the superhero that everyone thought was cool. Logan’s status as something of anti-hero who wasn’t afraid to kill made him stand out and it inspired a new kind of comic book hero. Though one can argue the merits of having so many anti-heroes, it’s impossible to argue the impact Logan has had on the comic book business.

Despite being a relative newcomer to comics with just forty years of publication, Wolverine has already cemented himself as one of the most popular and enduring icons of the industry. In fact, one could make the argument that Wolverine is responsible for bringing superheroes to the point of mainstream acceptance they enjoy today. Hugh Jackman’s take on the character was the centerpiece of the X-Men movies and were it not for their success I would argue that we would not be enjoying Avengers movies today. He’s the favorite of many and certainly a favorite of mine.


Some Thoughts On The “New” Wolverine

One of the many ways Marvel Comics grabbed readers attention in 2014 was killing off one of their two most popular superheroes: the X-Man known as Wolverine. The man most readers know as Logan (no matter what name they tried to give him retroactively) was a breakout character from the Uncanny X-Men book series and soon became the face of Marvel’s most popular franchise. Only Spider-Man has been able to maintain a similar level of popularity for longer, so this was definitely a risky move for Marvel.

Well, maybe not in Marvel’s book, since they seem to view anything outside of their cinematic universe as disposable, but that is a rant for another time. Regarding Logan’s death, the event sold a ton of comics for Marvel in 2014, but most comic book fans were expecting Logan to make a return to our comic stands in a matter of months. For those who don’t read comics, death and rebirth are so common that is generally regarded as both a joke and a cheap cash grab when it is as promoted as heavily as Marvel promoted the death of Wolverine.


While I do consider The Death of Wolverine to be a cheap cash grab from Marvel, I will at least give them credit; so far, Logan’s death is not a joke. They seem committed to keeping him dead for a good long while, which I don’t think is supremely intelligent, but I at least Marvel’s dedication to trying to make death mean something. For those of us who were expecting Logan to be back on our shelves, Marvel finally did something to silence us today by announcing a new Wolverine: X-23.

X-23, or Laura Kinney, is a female clone of Wolverine created to be a living weapon; her last name comes from her mother Sarah Kinney, a scientist who raised her. She is initially planned as a way for the Weapon X scientists to either kill Logan or capture him for further study, but X-23 ends up liking Logan and the X-Men a lot more than the people who created her. Laura actually debuted outside of comics in the X-Men: Evolution cartoon series, but the idea proved popular enough to bring her to comics. Now she has taken a huge step into cementing her own legacy by embracing the legacy of her father and becoming the new Wolverine.


And perhaps surprisingly, I find this to be a pretty easy pill to swallow. Laura’s been around long enough that she’s an established part of the X-Men’s history. She’s an interesting character in her own right, battling low self esteem and difficulty understanding social behavior because she was basically raised in a lab. She’s a clone, so she’s not exactly human (or mutant as the case may be), which makes her even more of an outsider in a group of outsiders. So, I already like Laura. And if somebody is going to take up Logan’s mantle, I find her to be the most appropriate choice.

She’s got his powers and she’s got his DNA. Now she has his codename and his costume. It’s relatively new territory for Marvel, but it’s not unprecedented in comic books. Barry Allen and Hal Jordan were not the first Flash and Green Lantern in comics, but they are far better known than Jay Garrick and Alan Scott. Now, I’m not saying that Laura is going to become more popular than Logan; considering Wolverine’s popularity that seems virtually impossible. But perhaps she can live up to it. Looking at more recent examples from DC, Wally West and Tim Drake were both more than capable of filling the shoes of Barry Allen and Dick Grayson. They took up iconic mantles, but became popular in their own right and put their own stamps of the legacies of Flash and Robin. Laura now has a chance to do the same for Wolverine.

Weapons X

Another thing I have to comment on is that I feel this is probably the best example of Marvel’s recent experimentation with their most famous characters. Marvel has recently done some pretty heavy tinkering. Jane Foster took possession of Mjolnir and became the new “Thor”, while Steve Rogers’ longtime friend and crimefighting partner Sam Wilson went from being The Falcon to being the new Captain America. I wasn’t a huge fan of Jane Foster as Thor but felt Sam’s transition into the role was fairly logical and provided an opportunity for Marvel to spotlight one of their more underrated characters. Laura’s transition from X-23 to Wolverine works better than either of those two though; I daresay that this is best major shift of a character since Bucky Barnes became Captain America after Steve Rogers’ apparent death after Civil War.

Obviously we will have to see how things play out, but at this point, I’m excited. And considering the major changes to the world of X-Men that are coming when Marvel reboots their comic book universe in two months, it’s nice to have something to be excited about. For those who have enjoyed Laura up to this point, I think it’s nice for us to see her get a larger role and we will look forward to seeing how she handles embracing her father’s mantle. For those who may not know X-23, don’t worry; I have a feeling you’ll enjoy the new Wolverine soon enough. Short of bringing Logan back, this is the best creative direction Marvel could do for Wolverine’s legacy.


Post Navigation