Marvel is counting down the days until the mutant anti-hero Wolverine’s time runs out with the “3 Months To Die” arc, and this weekend at Chicago’s C2E2 we learn that it all culminates with a 4-part weekly series this September titled Death of Wolverine. Civil War and “Old Man Logan” artist Steve McNiven will join one of comics’ most in-demand writers, Charles Soule, as they take the reins of Wolverine’s final days in a story the writer calls “a non-stop battle to the finish line.”
Wolverine’s descent began when he contracted a unique virus that robbed him of his famous healing factor. Stripped of these powers, most people might change how they live and the danger they put themselves into, but as we’ve learned in Paul Cornell’s Wolverine run, Logan isn’t that type of guy. In fact, when Newsarama questioned Soule if Logan would relegate himself to being a victim given the dire straits his in, the writer told us that “it’s not not in the guy’s DNA.”
Newsarama: Charles, what can you tell us about Death of Wolverine?
Charles Soule: It’s a four-issue weekly series hitting this coming September, penciled by the incomparable Steve McNiven, with inks from Jay Leisten and colors from Justin Ponsor. So, you know it’s going to look incredible. The story itself is a globe-trotting adventure built around the idea that Wolverine is trying to survive the loss of his healing factor. The knives have come out now that Wolvie is vulnerable, and it’s almost a non-stop battle to the finish line. Each issue has a different focus, and shows us a different ‘version’ of Wolverine. His look even changes somewhat from issue to issue. Logan is an extremely versatile character who has been used in many different ways – spy to soldier to superhero – and we get bits and pieces of all of that in this story.
Nrama: We know Wolverine is in this, but who else -- who are the foes, and might Logan have some friends swoop in to help?
Soule: I really don’t want to spoil the surprises too much – part of the fun of this is that it’s a weekly series, so readers won’t have to wait very long to find out who’s next up in the book – but I will say that I’ve made sure to include a healthy assortment of some of Wolverine’s better known bad guys. A few allies appear, but one of my watchwords with this series was to try to make sure that people don’t necessary work in the roles in which we expect them. Some do, but not all. I also used this as an opportunity to shoehorn in one of my favorite weird 80s characters. The story works in a way as a reflection by Logan over his own life, and hey, he was alive in the 80s. That stuff happened, man.
Nrama: What does writing Wolverine, known so much for being so durable, but you writing him at a point where he's seemingly frail and fraught with impending death without it? What's it like writing a mutant known so much for his healing factor, in a time where he doesn't have it?
Soule: Honestly, it’s kind of liberating. Heroes are only as strong as their weaknesses, and writing a tale where Wolverine’s primary superpower is gone gives me dramatic opportunities I would never ordinarily get. For one thing, Logan’s entire fighting style is based at least in some degree on the idea that he can take a hit and keep on going. He can leap into situations where a normal person would be more cautious. So, his instincts are way off, and he’s going to have to adjust on the fly. Plus, we’ll be able to see a dramatically injured Wolverine. How much can he take and keep going? The answer is, obviously, a lot – as we’ll see. It’s not the healing factor that makes Wolverine a hero – he’ll take all the same risks, if it means saving people.
Nrama: Is this four issues of Wolverine as a victim, or will he be going down swinging?
Soule: We’ve had about four decades of Wolverine stories at this point, and we’ve seen his life depicted from the 1880s into the future. In all that time, has he ever been a victim? Maybe at the very beginning, in Origin, but even that didn’t last long. It’s just not in the guy’s DNA. This story’s no different. Just because Logan doesn’t make it out doesn’t mean he’s just going to lie down and let it happen.
Nrama: The title is Death of Wolverine - forgive me for belaboring a point, but will Wolverine/Logan/Jamie Howlett die in this series when it comes out in September?
Soule:Yes. It’s not figurative, or some sort of title-based sleight-of-hand. Wolverine will not survive the series. But I think knowing that actually adds something to the story. It gives it a tone that most Wolverine tales don’t have. We’ve seen him live through… well, just about everything. Now, it’s time to see him die – but it’s how he goes, and why, that I think readers will find interesting.