Wolverine has a short lease on life, and nobody knows that better than “Wolverine” writer Paul Cornell. The current story arc, “3 Months to Die” is the writer’s big lead-in to the “Death of Wolverine” later this year — and currently, Logan is still trying to confront his fear of mortality after going into deep cover as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent attempting to infiltrate the criminal organization of The Offer.
In order to gain some insight on the inner workings of Wolverine during the course of “3 Months to Die,” Cornell joined X-POSITION to answer reader questions about Logan’s training with Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu; the relationship between Storm and Wolverine; the philosophy behind the death of super heroes and more.
CBR News: Paul, a number of our readers this week had questions about why the series has had more of a focus on martial arts training for Wolverine. What was the motivation behind taking him back to school, so to speak, with Shang-Chi and Iron Fist as his guides?
Paul Cornell: It’s not about the martial arts at all, really, it’s about fear of death. Logan knows Shang-Chi is perhaps the world’s leading expert on the philosophy behind combat, and seeks some of that wisdom, in an attempt to conquer his fear of mortality, which has been the theme of this whole run.
Before we get to reader questions, you’ve spent a lot of time building up The Offer as a legitimate villain in the Marvel Universe. What might The Offer joining up with Sabretooth mean for Logan as the story continues to move forward?
Well, it brings all the threads of the story together. We’re using short arcs to build up a 25-issue run that tells one big story.
cora reef starts off this week’s questions with a quick question about Wolverine’s mortality.
Dear Mr. Cornell,
What kind of unfinished business do you think Logan has before he dies? What do you think he would most regret leaving undone?
He’s trying to get to the point where he doesn’t feel that way, where he’ll be content to live out a long normal life before dying of old age.
WolfClow wants to know more about Wolverine’s relationship with Storm, and the philosophy behind the life and death of comic book characters.
Hello, Mr. Cornell. In the beginning of your Wolverine run, you have said in an interview that you found Wolverine and Storm as a couple very interesting and that you liked the idea that give each other space. Why have you decided to end that relationship and create a new love interest for Logan?
Those two didn’t have a one true love forever relationship, they had, and still may get back to a deep romantic friendship. Undercover, Logan felt he’d burned all his bridges, including sacrificing his relationship with Storm, and found himself with Pinch. It’s not like he was thinking too clearly, as the series has shown. He’s been reacting and reacting to his newfound fear of death, like a midlife crisis at high speed. Storm can find it in herself to understand and forgive as long as he’s on the road to sorting himself out, which is more than Logan deserves.
Both Marvel and DC have used death of popular super heroes in the past in their comics. Superman and Batman most notably for DC and Spider-Man, Captain America and the recently returned to life Nightcrawler for Marvel are such examples. And while very few of them remained dead, the vast majority have return to life after sometime, making their death and sacrifice seems insignificant. Why will this time be any different with the up-coming death of Wolverine and what is your point of view over this matter? Should super-heroes, and Wolverine in particular, remain dead or should they return after they take a small walk into the valley of death?
I think worrying about the life and death of super heroes is pretty meaningless. The search for “importance” by the super hero comic audience is a problem, a disease. The only thing that’s important is story. If it’s a good story, it’s important and meaningful. Saying ‘I’ll bet he’ll be back within a week’ is to proudly affirm that you know Kermit is just a puppet.
mr_infinite hopes to glean some insight into developing new characters and revisiting some old ones.
Part of Wolverine’s identity has been formed over the years by the interactions he has with his fellow X-Men. With many of them off the table, due to Logan being in deep SHIELD cover, what was the experience like for you in developing new interactions with all-new characters to help drive Wolverine’s character forward?
That was very pleasing for me. I’ve discovered that what I most like doing is writing everyday, non-powered characters that interact with super heroes. They’re an under-developed resource of interesting plots, I think.
Additionally, it was so great to see you write some of MI13 again. I know you’ve said previously that you prefer to keep moving forward rather than dwell on past work, but what was the experience like for you in coming back to those characters?
Oh, I had a ball with that. I just thought, finally, why am I denying myself the pleasure? I feel I’ve demonstrated something with this Wolverine run, so it was okay to go back to the greatest hits just a little.
Greg has a “What If…?” question for Paul, involving the possible extension of the “Wolverine” series.
I’ve been on board for your Wolverine since issue one and thought I’ve had my moments of giving up on it for my issues I have never done so. I was curious, if Marvel had not conceived the “Death of Wolverine” series, how would you have continued the series?
I think I’d still have finished at about the same point. I might have spent a couple more issues getting there, might have let the individual stories play out longer, but now I say that, I suspect that’d just be giving in to the temptation towards flabbiness. The run is basically what I’d always intended it to be, getting to the sort of ending I always had in mind. I’m really proud to get there.
Finally, Matt rounds out this week’s X-Position with a question about Sabretooth.
You’re unquestionably one of the nicest guys in not just comics but the entire world of sci fi, yet you spend a lot of time now writing Sabertooth, who has to be one of the biggest jerks in comics. Is it a great release?
That’s very kind of you. (You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.) Writing villains is always enjoyable, and Sabretooth has a sort of nit-picking chip on the shoulder grudgingness about him, which is very pleasing to explore. He thinks he’s all epic rage or business-suited control, but actually he’s only human (in that very specific way) and Logan is going to finally take that apart as he got taken apart. This run could be called A Tale of Three Malls.
Special thanks to Paul Cornell for taking on this week’s questions!
Next week, it’s time to get back into the corporate side of the X-Universe as Peter David returns to X-POSITION to take on pressing reader questions about “All-New X-Factor.” Got a question for Peter? Send ’em over via e-mail with the subject line “X-Position or in a 140 character question via Twitter. Either way, make sure those questions are in by Friday! Do it to it!