If you were invulnerable, would you bother learning how to fight? Think about it: if you could be punched, stabbed, or shot with little-to-no repercussions, the need to learn jujitsu would probably be low on your list of priorities. This is what has occurred to Wolverine of the X-Men, and in light of upcoming events in “Wolverine: Manifest Destiny,” he may want to rethink his priorities.
As most Marvel Comics fans know, Wolverine has been around since the 19th century, and in that time he’s made a few friends — and many more enemies. One of those --an ex-girlfriend, to be exact-- made Logan a marked man should he ever return to San Francisco’s Chinatown. Well, now that the X-Men live in the City by the Bay, Wolverine realizes a confrontation is inevitable, so he tries to head off the inevitable hostile encounter.
Did you see the word “inevitable” in there?
Writer Jason Aaron (“Ghost Rider,” “Wolverine: Get Mystique!”) tackles this four-issue, kung fu-laden brawl that will make Logan long for the simple days of New York and Sentinel attacks. The scribe joins us for today’s X-POSITION along with editor John Barber. Both gentlemen are prepared to show us exactly how good their kung-fu is….
CBR: Our first question is from RickyD410, who kicks things off with a loud “Hi-Yah!”
What do you feel makes “Wolverine: Manifest Destiny” stand out among the other X-titles? Will it have implications that carry over outside of this miniseries?
JASON AARON: “Wolverine: Manifest Destiny” is an all-out ode to Hong Kong cinema, with references to ‘70s Kung Fu films and the more recent John Woo-style "heroic bloodshed" genre, so I'd say it's very different in tone and subject matter than Wolvie's other titles right now, just as it's different from my own last Wolvie story, "Get Mystique!" And yes, the ending of this story will have lasting implications for Logan, I guarantee it.
JOHN BARBER: That's probably something that we say a lot, but this really is something that will have lasting, concrete implications. Stuff you can point at and say, "See that thing right there? Not that bloopy sort of abstract concept, but that actual thing right there? That started in ‘Wolverine: Manifest Destiny.’” I mean, Logan's not getting a gun-hand or anything, but there's some real consequences that'll be with Logan at least as long as the X-Men are in San Francisco, which is for the foreseeable future.
Caleb Warren is more of a lover instead of a kung-fu fighter, so sent in the following:
Any chance Logan can have a “real” relationship in this book? For example, a girlfriend that lasts more than three issues?
JA: You may very well be seeing some of the characters from “Manifest Destiny” again somewhere down the road. And on the girlfriend front, I say stay tuned.
Aspbros wants to know more about the nitty-gritty of this miniseries. Could you lend him a hand? If not, how about a powerful kick to the midsection?
In an interview elsewhere, you said, “At the end, Logan comes up against the main protagonist, which is the local triad, which happens to be headed by his ex-girlfriend from 50 years ago and her group of super-powered warriors who are actually strong enough to do the unthinkable, and that's kill Wolverine.”
A few of questions about that:
1) If this is really a girlfriend from fifty years ago, wouldn’t she be fairly old (or dead) by now?
JA: Yeah, it's a girlfriend from fifty years ago, and yes, she is pretty old.
2) How could warriors (or anyone, for that matter) kill Wolverine? What do you believe his vulnerabilities are? In light of the fact he killed Sabretooth with a “mystical” sword, do you feel Wolverine is susceptible to magic (like that guy with a big red “S” on his chest)?
JA: If you read Marc Guggenheim's "Death of Wolverine" story, then you know Logan's healing factor has been toned down quite a bit. I don't think you'll see him as a walking skeleton again. Or regrowing himself from a drop of blood. As far as I'm concerned, he most certainly can be killed. As for how the warriors in “Manifest Destiny” go about it, you'll have to check out issue #2.
3) As Logan will be tackling Triad and ninjas (I assume) and other Kung-Fu-ish villains in this story, I was curious how you view Logan’s martial arts abilities. Is he the “best there is” because of his healing factor? Or are his Kung Fu abilities on the level of someone like Elektra?
JA: I'll be addressing this very question in issue #3, when Logan gets a martial arts refresher course from an aging Kung Fu master. The way the master sees it, Logan's healing factor has made him a lazy fighter. He absorbs too much punishment instead of trying to avoid it. So no, I wouldn't say Logan is in the same class with any of Marvel's elite martial artists. He should be a bit improved though by the end of “Manifest Destiny,” assuming he survives it, of course. Okay, spoiler alert, I'll go ahead and tell you for sure that he survives. Sorry to ruin the suspense.
4) Without sounding like a continuity-freak, are we really supposed to believe that Wolverine had never been to SF’s Chinatown in the past fifty years? It seems kind of hard to believe…
JA: Of course not. I actually point out on page 9 of “Manifest Destiny” #1 that Logan has indeed popped up in Chinatown a few times over the years, though without being recognized. Remember, whatever happened that made him so reviled around town happened fifty years ago, so he's not likely to be recognized by just anybody on the street. The difference with this most recent visit to Chinatown is that Logan vowed not to leave until he could sort this mess out, and thus went looking to get recognized.
JB: Logan was in Chinatown as recently as “Wolverine: Origins” #21, which we're very aware of. Actually, he's back in “Original Sin” #1 as well, but that's something we, believe it or not, actually coordinated in a way that makes logical sense.
Our fourth and final fan with questions is Andre4000. Prepare yourself, as these queries fly like fists of fury….
1) You seem to be using a different structure for a typical Wolverine story. Before “House of M,” people would often come after Logan and he didn’t know what he did to piss them off. Here, Wolvie is actually seeking out someone he wronged. Would you say that’s an accurate description of the character — someone who has to atone for a lifetime of badness?
JA: Yes, I would. As Daniel Way is revealing over in “Wolverine: Origins,” Logan has done some pretty dastardly things over the years. How do you ever make up for all that, no matter how many times you beat Magneto or help fight the Skrulls? Logan will probably spend the rest of his life trying to atone for the mistakes of his past.
2) It’s somewhat strange that Wolverine has to atone for something that happened 50 years ago. That’s a long time to pass. What was so bad about this trespass that someone would want to hold onto a grudge for that amount of time?
JA: Can't give that away just yet, now can I? We'll have to wait and see…
3) I really enjoyed “Get Mystique!” and I look forward to this story as well. What do you enjoy about writing Wolverine? And is there any chance we will see you write him on a regular basis in the future?
JA: Logan is not only the coolest action lead in comics (sorry, Batman), but he's also such a rich and worldly character that he works in pretty much any setting or genre you can think of. That's what I love about him. Also, the big-ass claws are kind of cool. And yes, there is indeed a chance you'll see me doing more Wolverine work in the near future. Again, stay tuned.
4) I’ve heard this miniseries described as a bit of an homage to Hong Kong/Kung Fu films. Are there any films you feel that directly influence this story? And can you recommend some Kung Fu films for me to check out this weekend?
JA: Can I ever. The classics include flicks like “36th Chamber of Shaolin,” “Five Deadly Venoms,” and “Master of the Flying Guillotine.” More recent favorites include Woo-ping's “Iron Monkey,” Jet Li's “Fist of Legend,” and the “Once Upon a Time in China” trilogy. And don't forget “Enter the Dragon” with Bruce Lee and Jim Kelly, or “Return of the Dragon” where Bruce fights Chuck Norris in the Roman Coliseum.
5) Between “Wolverine,” “Scalped,” and “Ghost Rider” (all of which I enjoy), you seem to deal quite a bit with the concepts of vengeance and justice. What do you feel are the similarities/differences in the way each of those books approach those two ideas?
JA: Good question. As different as those books are, I guess a lot of my characters are often driven by a thirst for justice in either a practical or otherworldly sense. Ultimately though, I think they'll all find that there's no such thing as true justice, no matter how desperately or violently they may seek it.
That concludes this week’s X-POSITION sparring session. As for the person joining us for next week’s fun…it’s a surprise! We will post the identity of our mystery guest on CBR’s X-Forums, so keep your eyes out. Please, continue to email those head-scratchers our way. Put “X-Position” in the subject line and see you in seven!