It’s just not fair. Take one of my favorite characters and do maybe his greatest story and then use my favorite song by my favorite singer for the trailer…that’s literally like taking the money for the tickets right out of my pocket! It’s theft I tell you!
The trailer for Logan looks pretty sweet. The X-men films have had some dizzying highs and some sickening lows. I’m hoping this is a High. The Wolverine was pretty good. I would’ve loved to see Aronofsky’s version but the one we got was decent. It didn’t have much in common with the story it’s based on, the excellent Claremont/Miller pairing from the early eighties. Logan looks like it may have a bit more in common with the absolutely stellar Millar/McNiven mini series Old Man Logan, which did such a good job of reinventing the classic Wolverine character in an alternate universe that he was eventually transplanted into the regular marvel universe. In fact now it’s an ongoing series. One of the best monthly books currently on the racks in my opinion.
Basically OML is like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns meets Mad Max: Fury Road meets Stephen King’s Dark Tower series (including The Stand… I think all his stuff is in one big Kingverse now) staring The Wolverine (being played by a hobbit version of Clint Eastwood from Unforgiven). It’s ridiculously awesome. I don’t really see how Logan can live up to it, and it probably won’t, but if it’s half as good as the series it’s based on then it could be the best X film yet. Maybe one of the best comic book/superhero films ever. So my fingers are crossed!
Wolverine is a truly great character because he’s the rare example of an original cliche. I don’t mean that he started the whole disturbed, conflicted, loner thing. But that his embodiment of those anti hero cliches always feels so fresh in the hands of a competent writer.
Also Wolverine really is a combination of 3 very popular “classic” monsters: the vampire, the werewolf, and Frankenstein’s monster. He is a monstrous hero always on the edge of tipping, but his heart of gold won’t let him fall.
The vampire cannot die by normal means, one may live for ages watching the world change and feeling more isolated with each successive year. In Coppola’s Dracula the infamous count is reimagined as a tragic romantic figure, he is a tortured soul as much as he is a evil. This is very much Wolverine. Logan is for all intensive purposes immortal. He continually experiences heartache and isolation because of his healing factor. He often lives in total isolation and even in secrecy, concealing who he really is. There are many differences between Vampires and Wolverine but there are some amazing fundamental similarities between the characters.
Wolverine is basically a wolf man. One of his greatest Enemies is Sabretooth. Sabretooth looks and acts exactly like a werewolf without the metamorphosis. And whenever they fight it becomes clear that Wolverine is essentially fighting the dark version of himself, the feral monster he could become if he gave up on his humanity. Also his berserker rages (usually brought on by a desire to protect others) actually do mimic werewolf transformation, he basically becomes an animal in those moments. Also his claws (snikt!) are much more like a transformation than they are true “claws”. They are essentially invisible until he extends them and their size and visual profile really changes the way he actually looks. He has heightened animalistic senses as well and is able to track things like a wolf would. So yeah, he’s a wolf man. He’s always drawn with significant amounts of body hair as well. His crazy V haircut also makes him look far more like a wolf than a wolverine. He’s basically a werewolf character.
Wolverine discovered he had bone claws in his youth. The comic book community was not aware that his claws were part of his mutation until Magneto ripped all the adamantium out of his body and low & behold he still had claws! While he was in the weapon x program he basically became a Frankenstein type monster. His memory and mind were destroyed and he came back into the world in a similar way to the Shelley Monster: a full grown adult with no past. But the experimenting that went on which destroyed Logan’s humanity culminated in his body having adamantium infused to his bones throughout. This makes him virtually indestructible and an even more formidable death machine but it also places him firmly within that Shelley monster creation tradition. Logan became a monster created by “science”. And eventually he followed the path of Frankenstein’s creature by turning viciously on his creators.
These are some of the things that make him so relatable. He is a “good” monster. He is a monster we relate to, because we all feel monstrous. Logan continually uses his monstrous qualities to help others and so his grotesque weakness becomes his altruistic tool for heroism. We all feel isolated and ugly but we wish to be good. Wolverine reflects the tragedy of the human condition.
Here’s an essential reading List:
1. Wolverine by Claremont & Miller
2. Wolverine Weapon X by Barry Windsor Smith
3. Wolverine: Enemy of the State by Millar & Romita Jr (probably my favorite Wolvie story)
4. Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Millar & McNiven
5. Wolverine: Origin by Jenkins et al & Andy Kubert (this isn’t a great story but it’s shaped everything about Wolverine)
6. Wolverine Vol. 3 # 41 “The Package”
(All the stories in blood & sorrow are great but the Package is classic)
7. Old Man Logan Vol. 0-3 (& this is an ongoing series so hopefully the volumes just keep coming, the artwork alone is worth it)
8. Astonishing X-Men by Weedon & Cassaday (all the classic fun of the Claremont years with none of the dumb stuff, it’s not about Wolverine but Wolverine is perfect in it)
(The print editions are great but the blu Ray motion comics are awesome)
There’s lots of great Wolverine stories but these are the best I’ve come across so far. I still have a lot to read myself!
Here’s a more comprehensive list: