With a mutant healing factor that keeps him young and allows him to survive almost any injury, Wolverine could have lived a long, quiet, simple life — but Canada’s most famous mutant didn’t see that as a life worth living. Instead, he chose to atone for some of the damage he did in his early life, using his powers and his razor sharp claws to make the world a better place for both his fellow mutants and mankind. In order to achieve his goal, Logan has served as both a member of the X-Men and Avengers, making some of the tough and often morally questionable calls his fellow heroes have been reluctant to make. He also recently reestablished the X-Men’s training school for young mutants, taking on the role of headmaster. Those actions earned him a number of friends, and an even greater number of enemies.
When word gets out in September that Wolverine’s healing factor is gone, those enemies will come gunning for him with the unifying goal of eliminating their now-mortal foe. Writer Charles Soule and artist Steve McNiven chronicle this struggle in the four-issue “Death of Wolverine,” while simultaneously examining the various aspects of the title character’s long and multi-faceted life. CBR News spoke with Soule about the project, which was announced by Marvel at their “Wolverine: 3 Months to Die” panel at the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo.
CBR News: You’re a very busy guy these days, but I imagine the chance to write a story titled the “Death of Wolverine” was too good to pass up. What made this story and its title character especially compelling?
Charles Soule: This would have been an incredible opportunity, even if I didn’t have anything else going on! I mean, I would have jumped at the chance to write a Wolverine story in any case, and this particular story — well, come on. I get to put an endpoint on Logan’s story, to sum up his life as it ends, which is an incredible opportunity.
Paul Cornell is currently writing the adventures of a healing factor-less Wolverine in the character’s solo title, with the “3 Months to Die” arc of the series coming to a close right around the time “Death of Wolverine” begins. I realize you have to be very careful about spoilers, but how connected is “Death of Wolverine” to the tale Paul is telling? Will “Death of Wolverine” be accessible for new readers?
Paul has been doing some killer work on the main series, particular in his development of the idea that Wolverine has lost his healing factor. That concept also plays a significant role in the “Death of Wolverine story.” That said, that is literally all you need to know in order to read this story. While I’m going to be weaving in a bunch of Wolverine’s history from the past 40 years of publishing (and 100+years or so that he’s been alive in fictional terms), I’m taking great pains to ensure that anything I bring up, whether it’s a character familiar from Logan’s history or a location that has some meaning to him, is explained within this story.
I think continuity can be a very valuable tool, but I never like to alienate a reader by implying that there’s something outside the four corners of the issue that they “need” to read in order to understand any of my stories. This will be a standalone, awesome adventure that will be enhanced if you know earlier Wolvie stories. I’d definitely suggest folks seek them out, because Logan has had some amazing books in his day, but they’re not strictly necessary.
Aside from the obvious, what is “Death of Wolverine” about? What sorts of things will we see in this story?
Each issue focuses on a different era or “aspect” of Wolverine’s history. So, one issue focuses on the Origin-type vibe, while other issues look at other periods. It’s all built around the idea that Wolverine, for once, is truly vulnerable. He’s doing what he can to survive until, hopefully, one of his genius buddies in the MU is able to figure out how to turn his healing factor back on. Logan has always been a magnet for violence, though, and this story is no exception. He can withdraw from society, try to hide away — and he does — but that’s not going to work forever. There’s an overarching story that’s bigger than just the premise, but it’s still early days, and I’d rather wait to start getting more specific until we get a bit closer to the issues hitting the stands.
What’s it been like, working with Steve McNiven on this story?
I feel like I can write absolutely anything, and it will be perfectly rendered on the page. I knew Steve’s work pretty well as a fan before this project, but I went back and reviewed a number of his Wolverine-centric stories (“Old Man Logan,” “New Avengers,” etc.) when I got this assignment. I looked at his pages with a more critical eye, just to see what was possible — I think it’s always important to write to your artist — and I realized pretty quickly that I’d won the artist lottery.
I also need to mention that the inks will be provided by Jay Leisten and colors by Justin Ponsor — the book’s just going to look incredible on every level.
I consider it a huge honor and privilege to be telling this particular story. I’m working on giving it the epic feel the “Death of Wolverine” needs to have — I’ve been re-reading the classic Wolvie stories, and I think I and the rest of the team all want to make something that can stand alongside incredible books like the Claremont/Miller story, “Weapon X” and so many more. Outside the comics, I’ve also been inspired for this one by Clint Eastwood westerns, and weird things like “Rocky,” Takeshi Miike (not all of it — he gets pretty weird, but some) and Bruce Lee movies. Honestly, I think it’s going to be pretty damn cool, when all is said and done.