THE BEST HE IS AT WHAT HE DOES, IF WHAT HE DOES IS DYING: WOLVERINE LATEST TO GET THE “DEATH OF…” TREATMENT

Death-of-Wolverine-McNiven-coverBust out your best black duds and a box of Kleenex, because we’ve got a funeral to attend, my fellow geeks.

If you haven’t heard, Marvel Comics is dead-set on killing off another one of it’s staple characters (I know what you’re thinking, Didn’t we just do this a year ago?) in September’s upcoming Death of Wolverine four part limited series.

Spoiler alert.  If the title didn’t giving it away, they’re killing off Wolverine.

Yep, the ole canucklehead is going to be pushing up daises.  The superhero mutant, who gifted with the uncanny ability to regenerate from any fatal wound while appearing in every Marvel title each month, is finally going to get a chance to rest in peace…

Death of Wolverine -- exclusive EW.com image…you know, until Marvel resurrects him in some ill-contrived way that is guaranteed to “change the landscape Marvel Universe forever…” or until they kill off the next superhero whose death brings about “ever-lasting” change.

Who the hell do they even have left to kill off and bring back anymore?  Howard the Duck?

Howard_the_DuckOkay, in case you haven’t been able to tell from the tone of this article I’m a little jaded by this whole “Death of…” business.  It’s becoming so old hat, I feel.  Death in comic books used to mean something; hell the “Death of Gwen Stacy” storyline has been heralded as ending the Silver Age of the medium.

AmazingSpider-Man122Comic book character’s deaths started out sparingly (Jean Grey or Robin for instance) and provided real gravity to a title.  But beginning with the whole Death of Superman story in the 90’s the Big Two, Marvel and DC, found a quick and sure-fire formula to amass huge sales, and have been abusing said formula ever since.

Superman75Let’s play a game.  Give yourself 60 seconds and list all the characters you can who’ve died (and come back to life) from the mid-90’s to now.  And go…

I came up with 19.  That’s about one a year!  So…I guess what I’m getting at is if you’re killing off a character a year, how the hell is it anything other than redundant?  How the hell are readers supposed to see a solicitation for a big character’s death and not think it anything more than a cheap gimmick because the publisher is out of any real ideas?

Speaking of gimmicks, get this, straight from the mouth of Marvel:

“Each issue of Death of Wolverine also features a special Weapon-Etched Holo Foil cover treatment that must be seen to be believed!”

Really?  REALLY?!?  a “Holo Foil foil cover…that must be seen to be believed?!?”  Break out the flannel shirts, pagers, and pogs, folks, because the 90’s are back!

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I think I can believe it, Marvel, all I have to do is go to any back issue dollar bin at any comic book shop and find almost any “landmark” issue you put out in the 90’s that glowed in the dark, sported a hologram, or prism-sparkled.

Okay, I digress.  I’m not against a beloved character biting the big one, and “eventually” coming back.  But when it’s done with the frequency it has been over the past decade it certainly feels more focused on sales than story, both in principle and in execution.  Those are not the stories I want to read.  Kill off a character because it is vital to a story, don’t create a story just to kill off a character.  There’s no integrity in that kind of storytelling, only insult to us as readers.

And how do I know for certain they’ll bring Wolverine back from the dead?  Well, isn’t there a sequel to The Wolverine film in the works that Hugh Jackman has signed on to do?  You can bet your bone claws that Logan will be popping back up in the pages of Marvel Comics by then, if not before…just like Peter Parker was resurrected in the pages of Superior Spider-Man just in time for when Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit theaters this past May.

What do you think?  Do you feel that super hero deaths are overused in comic books, or that it’s become a rite of passage?  Do you have a favorite “Death of…” story?  Or a least favorite?  Are you looking forward to the Death of Wolverine series and getting to see him not appear or guest in every book each month for the foreseeable future?

(I know…I know…he’s not in every book, but the dude’s an Avenger, and X-Man, headmaster of a school, and has his own title…come on!)

Well, however you feel about it…I’ll be picking up the first issue of the series in September and will let you know my thoughts on it!  Be sure to check it out!

Until the Hulk challenges Galactus to a Hostess pie eating contest, make mine Geektastic Podcast!

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