For decades the Marvel mutant anti-hero Wolverine has been on the giving end of killing against villains, terrorists, and even gods – but this year Marvel has signaled that Wolverine’s time may be over. Announcedearlier this month, the upcoming Wolverine story-arc “3 Months To Die” sees series writer Paul Cornell counting down with each month’s issues, beginning in June, to what the publisher calls a “game-changing story.”
The obvious question is “are Marvel really going to kill Wolverine in these comics?” and we posed that to people in charge at Marvel if it were to happen. Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso told Newsarama that “the title is ripe with implication,” and newly hired Senior Editor Mike Marts answered by saying, ”Why make all this noise if there isn’t the appropriate follow-through?”
This newfound mortality for Wolverine came about in recent issues of his solo Wolverine series, which saw the hero’s well-known super-effective healing factor suppressed by a radical virus. In the months since, it’s provoked Wolverine to pull back from many commitments such as membership in the Avengers, X-Men, and being Headmaster of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. It also provoked the clawed mutant to change his fighting style, going for a more armored look designed by Kris Anka and beginning to employ firearms on a regular basis – a change for a mutant known for relying on his adamantium claws for the last 40 years.
Alonso said in the “3 Months To Die” arc that Logan will meet a “number of characters” from the heroes past, but given the past he’s had “very few of them will be friendly.”
The idea of killing Wolverine is a big deal -- but something that no doubt's been discussed before at Marvel since his creation in 1974, especially in the 1990s where the death of key superheroes were seen as popular hooks for mainstream attention. But Alonso tells Newsarama that killing Wolverine was never “seriously discussed” since he joined the company in 2000. When asked about the hot button idea of killing a character such as Wolverine, Alonso says it’s dangerous.
“Wolverine is one of the most popular super-heroes in the world so if we were – hypothetically speaking – to take him off the board, that’s leaves a very big piece missing in the Marvel Universe,” Alonso tells Newsarama. “I mean, you’d have to be crazy…or have a very good plan.”
Marts has a history shepherding comics and its characters into storylines where a major character would die; in 2008, he was editor of the story-arc “Batman R.I.P.” which heavily teased the death of DC’s Dark Knight but didn’t actually occur until months later. Marts, who was hired by Marvel earlier this year as the Senior Editor in charge of all of the X-Men related books including Wolverine, said the plans for “3 Months To Die” was already in place when he came onboard and he “didn’t want to waste any time creating challenging stories.”
And Marts added that “3 Months To Die” is just the beginning, calling it “Phase 1,” but wouldn’t say more.