You know what they say: it’s hard to keep a Canucklehead down. In an issue chock full of surprise returns, shocking retcons and secret agendas, the biggest news to come out of Jason Aaron and Esad Ribic’s Marvel Legacy #1 was the return of one of Marvel Comics’ most popular heroes. When Charles Soule and Steve McNiven killed off Logan in 2014’s The Death of Wolverine, it seemed like he was gone for good. Robbed of his healing factor by a deadly virus, Wolverine died from suffocation, encased in a full-body sheath of rapidly-hardening adamantium. The shockwaves of his death reverberated across the Marvel Universe, prompting his “daughter” Laura Kinney to eventually take up his mantle as the Wolverine.
There are few characters in the Marvel Universe who have had such an immediate and far-reaching impact as Wolverine. A stalwart member of both the X-Men and the Avengers, Logan’s quest to tame his animalistic instincts and become a better human being resonated with readers on a visceral level. Truth be told, and comics being what they are, it should really come as no surprise that Logan’s death was only temporary. But does the modern Marvel Universe really need him? And if it does, should it be alive or dead? You be the judge.
SPOILER ALERT! Spoilers ahead for numerous stories published by Marvel Comics.
15 ALIVE: (TIRED) OLD MAN LOGAN IS A CRAPPY STAND-IN
When it first dropped in 2009, Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s post-apocalyptic “Old Man Logan” storyline hit readers like a gutful of buckshot. Fast-paced, brooding and ultra-violent, Millar’s story starred a Wolverine who had given up violence after he was tricked into murdering the X-Men. In the aftermath of Secret Wars, Old Man Logan found himself stranded in the mainstream Marvel Universe seeking redemption for a past that hadn’t happened.
At the end of the day, it was just a way for Marvel to hedge its bets. Wolverine was dead but not really. In the original’s place was, well… a tired old man, who should never have made it out of Secret Wars alive. A pale shadow of his former self, the addition of this older, wiser Wolverine undercut both current continuity and a wonderful story that was only ever meant to stand alone.
14 DEAD: LAURA KINNEY IS ALREADY WOLVERINE
Do we really need the original Wolverine, when we already have Laura Kinney? Logan’s cloned daughter first appeared in 2004’s NYX as a pre-programmed rabid killer, who, like her father, struggled to contain her innate animalistic tendencies. Laura’s road to redemption has been fraught with obstacles and setbacks. In her relatively short time in the Marvel Universe, she’s killed scads of people, chalking up a body count that would do her old man proud.
After his death, Laura eventually took up her father’s legacy after much soul-searching. Bringing Logan back effectively sidelines Laura as Wolverine, undermining her journey to become a true hero and potentially robbing readers of one of the more well-rounded female characters in Marvel’s stable. Laura’s never really gotten a chance to strut her stuff and likely never will now that her iconic father is back on the scene.
13 ALIVE: FAMILY REUNIONS
For too many years, the X-Men’s corner of the Marvel Universe was a dark, dreary, some would say downright morbid place. After more than a decade of in-fighting, wars with the Avengers and the Inhumans, Marc Guggenheim’s X-Men Gold has dragged Marvel’s mutants out of the shadows and back into the light with a much-needed dose of optimism.
One of the coolest things about Logan’s return from the dead is his inevitable reunion with his X-Men family. We can’t wait for him to crack a cold one with Nightcrawler and check in with his former protégés Jubilee and Kitty Pryde. Nothing makes us feel better than a good, old fashioned reunion and we can’t think of a more appropriate way to ring in a new era of optimism for Marvel’s Merry Mutants.
12 DEAD: TOO MANY CLAWS A-POPPIN’
Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Most definitely. Is this the case with Wolverine? There’s a very strong argument to be made that Wolverine’s over-saturation of the market has been a thing since the ‘90s, when he guest-starred in numerous Marvel titles each month. Talk about a multi-tasker. Until Marvel Legacy’s debut issue, this was a luxury Marvel no longer had available, so they instead flooded their universe with Wolverine derivatives.
With Laura Kinney starring in All-New Wolverine, Old Man Logan traipsing about in his own ongoing series (and various X-books), Jimmy Hudson throwing in with Xavier’s founding students in X-Men Blue, how will the man who spawned them all crack Marvel’s line-up? And our list doesn’t even take into account Logan’s estranged son Daken or Sabretooth. With so many claws already a-poppin’ adding the original back into the mix seems like overkill.
11 ALIVE: OLD SCORES, OLDER SCARS
When you’ve been around for as long as Logan, you’re bound to make a lot of enemies. Although he died seemingly putting the final nail in the coffin of the Weapon X program that created him, Logan still has plenty of old scores to settle in the Marvel Universe — among them, a dangerous new incarnation of that same clandestine organization. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Logan has a long list of rogues including Omega Red, Viper, Romulus and Lady Deathstrike.
The showdown we’re really clamoring for though is the reborn Logan’s confrontation with Sabretooth, who although he was inverted some time ago, seems to have reverted back to rabid form. A deadly rivalry that stretches back years, Sabretooth and Wolverine represent opposite sides of the same coin. The return of Logan to the Marvel Universe can’t happen without another reckoning between these two forces of nature.
10 DEAD: ROUND PEG, SQUARE HOLE
There was a lot to love about Marvel Legacy #1. Jason Aaron packed the debut issue with loads of action and intriguing revelations about the history of the Marvel Universe. We’re just not sure Logan’s return to the land of the living was one of the events we’d call a positive. Although he’s participated in his fair share of cosmic adventures as a member of the X-Men and the Avengers, Logan has always remained one of Marvel’s more grounded characters.
Bringing him back during the publisher’s latest cosmic crossover, questing after one of the Infinity Stones no less, feels more than a little opportunistic. We’d have rather Marvel waited for a more appropriate story anchored to his personal history to bring Logan back, if such a thing even exists. But what do we know? Logan’s only been back for a handful of pages. We’ll all have to wait and see.
9 ALIVE: NEW HORIZONS
The Marvel Universe is a much different place than when Logan left it in 2014. There’ve been no fewer than four major conflicts in the 616 since his death: Secret Wars, a second superhero Civil War, the X-Men’s deadly confrontation with the Inhumans and Secret Empire. In that time, many heroes have fallen, while others have risen to take their place.
We believe one of the more intriguing aspects of Logan’s rebirth will be how he adapts to the new status quo in the Marvel Universe, a place that has seen the death of his rival Cyclops, the subversion of Captain America and the execution of Bruce Banner. Perhaps even more exciting is how he’ll interact with new heroes like the female Thor (who took over from the Odinson right around the time of Logan’s death) and Amadeus Cho, a totally awesome new incarnation of his old sparring partner, the Hulk.
8 DEAD: FULL CIRCLE
When Logan sacrificed his life to put an end to the Weapon X program in The Death of Wolverine, his story came full circle. For decades he was tormented by false memory implants and countless assassins traceable to the rogue paramilitary unit. Sure it could be argued that neither Weapon X or Wolverine was destined to stay dead forever but by bringing back Logan in Marvel Legacy, Jason Aaron effectively reopens a chapter of Logan’s life that had finally achieved closure.
It was an end he had been striving towards for most of his superhero career. To have it undone so unceremoniously simply because it could be done, robs Logan of the rest he so richly deserved. In his final moments, while remembering all of the good he had known and done over the course of his long life, it all boiled down to one thought: that enough was finally, “Enough.”
7 ALIVE: MULTIMEDIA CONVERGENCE
If anyone thinks that just because the Wolverine died in James Mangold’s Logan, there won’t be another live-action version of one of Marvel’s most popular characters, then we’re afraid you’re likely sadly mistaken. Calls for X-23 to ascend to the coveted mantle aside, Logan is just too big of a name to remain in limbo for long. Bringing him back first in the comics makes all kinds of sense and reinforces the possibility of a big screen return in the near future.
While Hugh Jackman’s career-defining portrayal of Wolverine will go down as one of the best in the history of superhero movies, we can’t help but wonder who will bring him to life in the future. Branding is everything these days, so encouraging the convergence between its movie and print platforms only strengthens the name recognition of Marvel’s properties for both established fans and those just discovering the wonder and majesty of comics.
6 DEAD: LOGAN WHO?
Let’s be honest. While he’s been sorely missed in the Marvel’s comics, it’s not like the company’s entire fictional universe collapsed upon his death. That’d be like saying a sports league is only as good as its franchise player. The truth is life in the 616 went on without Logan.
The Avengers continue to thrive thanks to the leadership of Sam Wilson and an infusion of new blood like Nadia Pym as the Wasp and Riri Williams as Ironheart. The X-Men are on the threshold of a new renaissance under the guidance of Kitty Pryde. The fact is, when Logan died, his death allowed characters like Kitty and Rogue (who leads the Avengers Unity Squad) to step into the spotlight, taking on responsibilities that might have conceivably been left in his experienced hands.
5 ALIVE: STABILITY THROUGH UNPREDICTABILITY
Even if the X-Men and the Avengers have gotten along fine without him, there’s no denying the Marvel Universe is a much better, more stable place with Logan in it. Lately (like always), the 616 hasn’t been the most stable of universes. With secret wars and civil wars and wars between mutants and Inhumans, it’s a wonder that there’s still a Marvel Universe to talk about.
We’re not saying Logan could have prevented any of these conflicts from occurring had he remained among the living, but we contend that his influence as one of its cornerstones might have mitigated some of the fallout. For all of his unpredictability, Logan is a stabilizing presence in the Marvel Universe. When the chips are down, he’s the one guy you can count on to carry his load and make the hard roads look like a walk in the park.
4 DEAD: IS THE WELL REALLY DRY?
There’s a patently flawed school of thought that believes there are no new ideas left in the world of art. Sometimes, this seems to be especially true in the realm of comics. And yet we can’t help but think about ages past and the birth of heroes such as Superman, Spider-Man and Wonder Woman. Heck, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby laid the foundations for the entire Marvel Universe, creating heroes such as the Fantastic Four, Thor and the Black Panther.
In the decades since, we’ve witnessed the emergence of Deadpool, Gambit and Cable among others. But cripes, let’s not let those three be the high water mark for comic book creativity. Surely we can do better, right? Instead of bringing back dead heroes like Logan or retooling established properties like Ms. Marvel (who we love, btw), why not focus our efforts on creating something entirely new? Or has the well truly run dry?
3 ALIVE: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY
As one of Marvel’s most popular characters, it makes extremely sound financial sense to bring Logan back from the dead. To be blunt — not to mention cynical — Wolverine always has, and likely always will, sell oodles of comics. Just consider how much his name has popped up in your news feed ever since news of his return hit the mainstream media. If you don’t think that kind of visibility won’t translate into increased sales, then you’re nuts.
Comic book sales have been on a downturn for some time now, and while he’s far from the industry’s savior, it won’t surprise anybody if Marvel’s numbers see a nice little bump in the coming months. It’s no coincidence that the publisher chose this particular time to bring Logan back. As old heroes rise from the ashes, there are few (if any) who approach Logan’s ability to draw readers.
2 DEAD: VICIOUS CYCLE
If there’s one thing that exhausts readers more than event fatigue, it may be the interminable cycle of life, death and rebirth infecting modern comics. Major character deaths have devolved into little more than convenient plot devices designed to fuel short term sales boosts. When was the last time a character of Logan’s importance actually stayed dead?
Captain America, Spider-Man and Batman all died in recent years yet seemed to make their ways back from oblivion just in time for their movies to hit theaters. Even Bucky didn’t stay dead and it was thought that besides Uncle Ben, he was the one character who would never come back to life. Shows what we know. With Wolverine’s death, Marvel had a chance to do something bold and original. Bringing him back now only adds to the unprecedented levels of cynicism and exhaustion crippling their fans.
1 ALIVE: WE NEED HIM
Over the past several decades, Wolverine has evolved into one of the most well-rounded, complex characters in all of comics. You may think we’re overselling this point a bit but if you consider the hordes of one-dimensional heroes infesting the medium, you can’t deny Logan’s originality. In a medium founded on a philosophy absolute good and absolute evil, Logan has always occupied the gray area between the opposite ends of the moral spectrum.
His struggle to tame the beast within and become a better human being resonates with readers with an intimacy that’s hard to replicate. Who among us doesn’t want to be a better person? Wolverine reminds us that even when we fail, we should never stop trying because at the end of the day, it’s that never-ending fight to be better that defines us.
How do you feel about Logan’s return? Let us know in the Comments!