See Ya Later, Bub!

After years of wandering the world, doing what he does best (which isn’t very nice), Wolverine, the most lethal and bad ass mutant in the Marvel Universe, is finally at the end of his road.

See ya later, Bub.

It is as the title says. In this 4-issue series called Death of Wolverine, which has been teased months before, Wolverine is going to “die”. I say “die” because superhero characters rarely ever stay dead. Batman, Captain America, Superman, they’ve all bit the dust at some point in time only to eventually come back a few years later. Comic book death happens so often these days that it’s come to the point that the spectacle has lost significance.

So the question now isn’t, “will Wolverine die?” The question is “how is Wolverine going to die?” How will the writers give him a lasting, impactful send-off despite the fact that we all know he’s probably coming back sooner or later?

This series had the overwhelming responsibility to do three things: 1) make it plausible that Logan could die like this, 2) write a send-off for Wolverine that will HONOR the character’s history, and 3) have him go out in the most EPIC way possible! Was the series able to accomplish its task?


The story opens to Wolverine, fresh from a battle. He’s tired and weary. He’s lost his healing factor (for some reason) and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. A hit has been put on his head and he doesn’t know why or from whom. Death of Wolverine takes Logan around the globe to find out why he’s being hunted and to put a stop to it once and for all.

One thing the book assumes you knew was that Wolverine has lost his healing factor. If you were expecting this book to explain how anyone could kill a self-healing mutant like Wolverine, then you will most likely be disappointed. Without his healing factor, then the way he dies suddenly lost some value. Now everything is plausible. Logan could get killed by Ebola, a dog bite, hell, a freakin’ splinter could kill him!

That looked like it hurt.

Why is this so important, you ask? Well Logan’s healing factor has been a HUGE part of the Wolverine lore. His character is essentially the unkillable killer. So with a title like "Death of Wolverine", one would naturally wonder how he’s killed despite his pseudo-immortality. Not even touching on the subject felt like the writer side-stepped something vital.


Speaking of the writing, the plot is fairly simple and sadly cliché. You’d think Logan's last hurrah would be a bit more intricate. But as I read through it, I realized that it’s not so much the reason for his globetrotting that’s significant, as it is the globetrotting itself.

In his search for the man behind the hit on him, Logan ends up revisiting memorable places from his past – Canada, his birth place, Madripoor, a fictional city where Logan’s spent time as a bar owner, Japan, where he became a samurai and got married, and the Weapon X facility, where Wolverine was essentially made. And during his travels, he meets some of his more iconic associates like Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth (of course) and Kitty Pride to name a few. After a few flashbacks, you’ll immediately feel that this isn’t a plot driven story, but more like a trip down memory lane where the story is tailor fit to the destination (and character appearances). At times it even felt like the writer was doing a checklist more than he was concerned about plot logic. Like why would Ogun need to bring Logan to Japan when he had the upper hand already in Madripoor? And why wouldn’t Kitty Pride assist Wolverine in his final destination, especially knowing that Logan was vulnerable? You know, the little things.

Also, where was this iconic costume?:))

But that’s not to say the nostalgia was a bad thing altogether. Hardcore Wolverine fans would surely appreciate all the references to past stories. But that’s all it initially felt like - one massive reference. If you’re not THAT invested in the character (like myself), you might feel a slight drag in the first few issues because it takes a while before you really find out who’s behind things.

But investment in the character notwithstanding, it was a good way to say goodbye to Wolverine and honor his considerable history. The call backs were meant to stir your emotions. And stir they did. By the last 2 pages of the fourth issue, when it all came to fruition, even I couldn’t help but feel my heart sink.

A deserved break from Logan's tough life.

Because for all the gripes I had – the unexplained loss of the healing factor, the manufactured story, the fact that his final fight was with a glorified thug – those last two pages just hit the right emotional beats. Logan was in so much pain. Throughout the series we see him in genuinely getting pounded, something we never thought we’d see happen to him. Losing his mutant ability has put him in a very vulnerable state. But he has always been struggling. His long life is filled with agony and tragedy. So to see him remember the good he’s done, right before finally letting go, was truly heart-breaking but profoundly liberating at the same time. He didn’t go out with a bang, as I had hoped, but with a whimper. He left peacefully, which, in retrospect, is a better way for a man as broken as Logan to go.

Kudos to the writer, Charles Soule, for giving Wolverine the ending he deserved. It may not have been the most complex of stories, but he was obviously lovingly respectful of Wolverine’s long history and he was able to finish at a powerful and moving note. And I appreciate the cosmic symmetry that Logan died where he became the Wolverine, and killed by the alloy that made him indestructible. Steve McNiven’s art is stellar. He excels in the detail and all his 2-page spreads (with Justin Ponsor’s colors) are a wonder to behold! Not only does he sensationally illustrate the action, blood and gore we come to expect from a Wolverine title (Weapon X surgery, what up!), more importantly, his facial work are able to uniquely capture Logan’s deep anguish. That and Soule’s unique use of the captioning made for a very introspective Wolverine.

Poignant and striking artwork from the very first page.

Lush colors and very fine detail.

Death of Wolverine is surely going to be a memorable addition to the Wolverine mythos. The event was still able to deliver the emotion and gravitas that Wolverine’s swansong deserved despite having some superficial plot snags. And in the end, isn’t sentimentality more essential than logic when saying goodbye?


(First seen at the Philippine Online Chronicles!)

UPDATE: There's not gonna be Wolverine for a while, but don't fret! This Wolverine video should be enough to keep you sated until he comes back.:) Enjoy!

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