The Death of Wolverine

Oh look, a beloved comic book character is being killed off, surprise surprise…

Oh look, a beloved comic book character is being killed off, surprise surprise…

On April 25th Entertainment Weekly confirmed that they will be killing off Wolverine this coming September. Prepare yourselves as  the book has been described as “grisly” by writer Charles Soule as well as “downright ugly.” If you read the Wolverine comics you may have seen this one coming. I say this because Wolverine has recently been stripped of his powers in vol 5 of the comic Wolverine. His death will be featured in a month-long four-issue series called Death of Wolverine that will be written by Charles Soule and the art will be by Steve McNiven.

The Death Of Wolverine, 4 covers release by Marvel
The Death Of Wolverine, 4 covers released by Marvel

I am sure there are a lot of new comic readers, or Wolverine fans who haven’t read comics in the past that are losing it right now. They are probably wondering how they could kill off such a beloved and popular character. Then there are the others, the ones like me who have lived through the countless deaths of at least one of our favourite and most loved comic characters. Do you know what us veteran comic readers have learned from all the heartbreak throughout the years…it’s to be cynical. Ok, ok, maybe not all of us, but we have learned that in comics no one stays dead for long.

I understand why characters are killed in comics. After a character defeats their arch-nemesis and lives through armies of villains there isn’t much invested in watching them fight. They will live through everything so why keep reading? Killing a character can help move stories along, especially if there are other main characters involved. And, of course there is always the sales that come with killing off a character. Whenever a major character dies in comics the sales tend to jump, sometimes even skyrocket, so why not kill a character after he has had a good run and his sales dip a little.

I think the most shocking thing about Marvel killing Wolverine is that he is in so many books right now. He seems to be on almost every team the Marvel Universe has. His death isn’t just affecting one series of books but many.

Death of wolverine

When I heard this news I was a little surprised, I think mostly because he is one of my favourite superhero characters, but that was only for a brief moment until my logic kicked in and told me that I know he won’t stay dead for long. So, let me ask you new comic readers something, are you shocked and thrilled by the announcement of comic book characters dying? Do you plan on purchasing the Death of Wolverine Comics, or would you purchase a series if it contained the death of your favourite character?

For you veteran comic readers, are you going to pick up this series, or like me have you become cynical and assume Wolverine will pop back up in comics in the next year or so?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

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Leigh Hart
Leigh Woodhall - Soapbox Nerd. Aerialist. Writer. Podcaster. All around tough guy (but a lady version). Follow me on twitter @Leigh_Louise
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14 Comments

  1. He’s not going to die… he’s just going to swap brains with Sabretooth (or has that been done).

    I wasn’t a big fan of hearing that Wolverine lost his powers. That’s the cooling thing about him (besides claws) is that he can take a beating and keep coming back.

    I know he will come back, but at least when he comes back he will be back in prime form again and ready to do what he does best.

  2. It’s not cynical when Marvel SAID they were committed to quarterly character deaths to drive sales. It’s honest acceptance of the reality mass produced culture.

  3. Won’t buy it, won’t read it. Stunts make sales by luring in casual readers. For every hardcore comic nerd that shuns this there will be two new readers that take their place. Hail Hydra.

  4. Wolvie overstayed his welcome by the mid-90s. He’s really become a joke I think amongst X-Men fans. His character was never meant to be a flagship character or a star of the company. He was the grizzled veteran, once a very unique character that has been ripped off and watered down so much there’s no interesting qualities left. Ed’s right: he’s not dead. But I could certainly get behind a Decade Without Wolverine story. That lasts a decade.

  5. Nug, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Comics need new readers and if “killing” (quotes because you know he won’t be dead for long) a character gets that sweet sweet comic money is it a bad thing?

    Jordan, there is no way they will go a decade without Wolverine. Even if, they will have more origins or back stories somehow

    Bertamtalespinner, who do you think they’ll kill off next?

  6. like the comparison. Wolverine since 1991 has been involved in every issue of every book ever. His origin has been dragged out past the point where anyone gives a shit. Fuck, they had him slice open Galactus and Surfer in a What If comic…

  7. the problem with killing and bringing back is it’s entirely about short time gains. that thinking led to gold foil covers, 400 alternate covers of each book, and giving Punisher 6 monthly titles…THAT led to the comic bust of the 90s. You alienate your core fanbase, the real source of most of your income. It takes all the stakes out of the game: Nightcrawler’s death would have devasted me before (and it did) but I knew damn well he was coming back. It also shits on the concept of continuity, which really should be at the heart of any decent editor’s job

  8. Just to be clear, it wasn’t just the multiple covers and holograms and foils that busted the ’90’s bubble so much as it was poor storytelling. I think the Merry Marvel Marketing Dept. thought they could get away with bad quality so long as they looked pretty – and if you think about it, nothing really defines the ’90’s like ‘all flash, no substance’, but I digress.

    I’m at the point where I just want a good story. I don’t care what they do, as long as it’s told well. That’s really my only concern with death and resurrection stories – it’s pretty much all been told to the point where a lot of these stories are abstract or convoluted. I still don’t know how Hal Jordan came back – and I don’t care.

    That’s what concerns me though, it’s the lack of concern from their end with their characters. But it’s not just killing off characters, it’s muddling them up with multiple origins, re-vamping them for a new audience at risk of alienating their old fans that irritates me. Is Wolverine really at the point where he needs to die to boost sales? If the answer is yes, then Marvel needs to take a look at their brand as a whole and find out what’s wrong.

    Here’s some suggestions:
    – Having 20 Avengers titles.
    – Having 20 X-men titles.
    – Value of the comic. ($4 is a lot when you consider that for $15 and $20 I can get an X-box 360 or PS3 game). A lot of kids have disposable money, but don’t mistake that with limitless funds.
    – Story arcs designed to sell Trade Paperbacks. Usually these are 5 to 6 issues in length. I’m tired of it. I was enjoying Jason Aaron’s run on Thor until the Malketh arc was introduced (just in time for the movie…WHAT LUCK!) I had zero interest in this character and didn’t buy the issues. Marvel lost 6 months worth of sales from me. It’s more now because I haven’t jumped back on the bandwagon. I honestly think comics should abandon this practice unless they’re telling a ‘big’ story. That is, a story with multi-character involvement and affects multiple issues. And they should be an event – once a year. I know this old 80’s thinking but everything seems so convoluted now.
    Another issue I have with multi issue story arcs is simply the time. Let’s say, that the 6-part Wolverine story you’re going to tell is the greatest thing since Shakespeare – It’s still going to take 6 months to tell, which would be ok if I had nothing to do…

    Wow, I totally went on a rant there. Back to the topic at hand…yeah I’ll buy it, read it, bag ’em, board ’em, put it away…then wait for the next ‘Death of…’ comic to come out. Come here, and bitch about it.

    I’ve got a bigger question…is it possible for Marvel and DC to NOT do a ‘Death of…’ comic?

    Good article. Thanks for writing it.

  9. Nelson, I always like a good rant!

    I agree with you, I don’t want the pizzazz of a character dying, but just good story telling. I think Image is doing a really good job at this lately. I find myself picking up lots of their books due to the fact that they are telling some good stories. And I find I am turning away from the big two.

    I am happy you liked the article, and thanks for the comment!

  10. I agree Leigh, Image is doing some great work.Lazarus, Black Science,Starlight and Velvet are books I look forward to every month.Great stories.I find the 20 Avengers and X-men books do nothing but drive me away from most of those titles.
    I do enjoy multiple issue stories if they are multi issue stories because the story demands it ,not for marketing purposes.
    I always enjoy your columns Leigh .

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