WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Return of Wolverine #2 by Charles Soule, Declan Shalvey, Laura Martin and Joe Sabino, in stores now.
Back in June, it was revealed that Wolverine would return to life after nearly four years of being dead with a brand new ability: His claws would now glow with a burning heat. While Marvel declined to reveal more than that, writer Charles Soule expanded a little on #HotClaws while talking with CBR, explaining, "the ‘new’ claws aren’t a big part of the story" he and artists Steve McNiven and Declan Shalvey are telling in Return of Wolverine.
So far, Return of Wolverine has only thrown more questions at us, but issue #2 finally offers us an answer, or at least a partial one, regarding Wolverine's new power. It's simple, really; Logan's hot new claws are directly tied to his rage. Even more intriguing is the possibility that they might have a mind of their own.
In Return of Wolverine #2, we find Logan on the hunt for the new X-Men villain, Persephone. While chasing after her Soteira goons on a boat, it isn't long before Logan has to pop his claws to fight off his old foe Omega Red, as well as his son Daken -- two characters who, as far as we know, are supposed to be dead. As the fighting intensifies, Logan notices that his claws begin to glow, and they only grow hotter from there. He finally uses them to light Daken on fire and throw him overboard.
This is when an exhausted Wolverine explains that the claws were draining all of his energy in order to light up, and that it almost felt like they were in control. This begs the question of whether Wolverine always had this power, or if it's new. Right now, Logan has no memory of the person he used to be, of his ties to the X-Men, or the simple fact that he has a son. With a blank canvas and anger bubbling inside of him, the claws might be manifesting something that was always there, something he somehow managed to keep underneath the surface.
If this is the case, perhaps it explains Wolverine's signature berserker rage, a bloodlust that has taken hold of him many times before. This theory is supported in a scene that takes place inside Logan's mind, where he encounters rabid, scar-covered Wolverine who wants to be let out of his cage. It can't be a coincidence that Wolverine's berserker rage has been bottled up inside his amnesia-riddled mind at the same time that his claws begin generating white-hot heat.
Of course, there's always the possibility this ability is something new, and is directly tied to Soteira and Persephone. There's still a lot we don't know about the mysterious villain, after all, and the heavy Greek mythology overtones of Return of Wolverine could position Wolverine as a Prometheus-like figure, who stole fire from the gods to give it to mankind.
Both Return of Wolverine #1 and #2 have focused on Wolverine being a force for good, a hero who doesn't hesitate to throw himself in the line of fire... a god among men, who sacrifices everything to make sure they are safe. And perhaps his hot claws are the perfect metaphor for that.