Dec 8, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 652: Wolverine Saga, 2009

http://www.comics.org/issue/593032/

Continuing with our week of iconic heroes, it's time we look at one of my least favourite of the popular, enduring characters: Wolverine.

Like many, I loved Wolverine during the early years of my experience with the X-Men. He was brash, anti-authoritarian, and lived by his own rules. But somewhere along the line, the constant struggle between berserker and hero, the incessant revelations of characters, crossovers, and adventures from his past, and the fact that he appeared in more teams and series than virtually any other hero just became too much. And to this day, I don't really understand the draw of the character. Much as many writers and artists try to flesh him out, and give him depth and backstory, he is still that ball of rage that leapt from the woods and took on the Hulk so many years ago. It's weird, I think, to dislike a superhero because he doesn't change. They don't change - in many ways, that's kind of their point. What gets me about Wolverine is that he is given a huge, long, interesting backstory, and still doesn't change. I can't imagine someone who is virtually immortal retaining the same personality and habits over the course of a very long life. Were it me, I'd be living many different lives, rather than the same one over and over.

Though perhaps I'm fooling myself, and I would live the same life over and over. There's something to be said for the notion that there is a fundamentality to who we are.

This comic was produced to bring readers up to speed on Wolverine's long history, as of 2009, and distributed free at comic shops. I often pick up these recap issues (because, y'know, FREE COMICS!), but only occasionally do I sit and read them. Here's my thoughts on this one: though a monumental task, placing Wolverine's adventures in chronological order, I have to take some issue with the written portions of the piece. There are places where the text simply cuts off before the end of the sentence, and other places where the sentences and ideas simply don't make sense. Perhaps it's just the teacher in me, but these things irk me immensely. There's also a ridiculous amount of characters, some vitally important to the narrative, who are introduced in such a way that it seems the writer is assuming that we already know the story - however, if the point is to bring readers up to speed on the character, then making such an assumption is a huge error. I feel like there needs to be a character key, either at the beginning or at the end, so that we can keep track.

Of course, the package can't be too perfect, or we'd never feel we needed to pick up all of the trades and series that feature Wolverine, which is really the point of this comic. I still don't feel that need, but having read the recent(-ish) attempt to chronologize Wolverine's adventures, I do think I've gained an interesting little slice of Marvel Universe history.

And now I'm trying to figure out the next iconic hero. We've done the DC Trinity, and Marvel's two biggest, Wolverine and Spider-Man. I'm thinking maybe 2nd level JLA members (Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter), or perhaps Captain America or Thor. Thoughts?

Onward!

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