This week, Idiot's Guide takes a look at the only man to be hairier then Burt Reynolds: Wolverine!
This is An Idiot's Guide to Superheroes. It's part fact, part opinion, and part bullshitting my way through 75 years worth of literature that is both entertaining and slightly ridiculous. An Idiot's Guide to Superheroes is not meant to be taken 100% seriously nor is it 100% factual.
If you come away learning something new, I applaud you. Knowledge is power and knowing is half the battle...or something like that. Otherwise, I apologize for wasting the next five to ten minutes of your life.
Idiot’s Guide to Superheroes: Wolverine
Canada is one of the longest running jokes in the history of the world. Founded by both the French and the English in the 16th century, the two warred over the barren frozen wasteland until they realized that there was nothing to fight over besides seals, grizzly bears and the right to invent hockey. Over time, Canada became the United States’ top hat, a country whose sole existence was to show the rest of the world how cool it is to be an American. The United States has New York City, Canada has a trading post in the middle of the tundra. The US has football, the Canadians slide stones down a sheet of ice. American television has Lost, Canadian TV has Corner Gas, a show about a gas station in rural Saskatchewan. In fact, Canada has only one thing really going for it, the hairy old mutant known as Wolverine.
Young James Howlett, the son of a wealthy Canadian maple syrup magnate around the turn of the 20th century, discovered that he had claws and an unnatural ability to heal from any injury. After his parents were killed by the help, James fled to a mining colony and grew a set of adamantium laced balls. However, after a particularly nasty encounter with a rabid maple leaf, James went feral and ended up in the Canadian countryside with wolves. Two World Wars later, the sinister Canadian government found out about his powers and forcibly injected adamantium, the strongest metal ever made, into his body, where it bonded to his bones and erased his memory. Now calling himself Logan, he ended up living with wolves again then got involved with the Canadian government, this time working as a Hulk fighting Mountie named Wolverine. Professor Xavier, the head of the X-Men approached him with the offer he couldn’t refuse: hot redheaded women, a free supply of beer and all the nameless bad guys he could sink his claws into.
Since then, Wolverine has been a mainstay of the X-Men. He’s their dark edgy guy, the guy’s whose not afraid to do what he’s best at, which is drinking lots of cheap beer and lusting over other people’s girls. Wolverine is like the squatter who lives outside your apartment building. You want to tell him to leave because of his bad smell and the way he looks at your girlfriend, but then he goes and kills that big rat that has been terrorizing your dog and cooks it for his dinner. You want to call the police and get rid of him, but since he’s really intimidating and occasionally useful you keep him around.
Wolverine has two main superpowers, given to him by the X-gene that separates him from the rest of the human race. First and foremost, the man has a healing factor, which means he can recover from almost anything. From bar crawls in Hong Kong that ends in hookers performing erotic asphyxiation to running the Wipeout obstacle course, Wolverine will emerge unscathed and ready for more. Secondly, he has claws. They’re the sharp stabby sort of claws, the type that’s perfect for stabbing. Among other things, Wolverine has stabbed mutants, politicians, lawyers, cars, trains, planes, the moon, Dracula, Frankenstein, Spider-Man, albinos, his own junk, George W Bush’s junk, a steak, aliens, illegal aliens and Superman.
The other thing that separates Wolverine from the rest of the smelly Canadians is his unique personality. Logan is surly, rude and kind of an asshole. He drinks too much, runs around the X-Mansion in his underwear and doesn’t really care what other people think, especially if that person’s name is Scott Summers. But at the same time, Wolverine has this whole noble smelly samurai thing going on too. Everyone wants to be that guy who doesn’t take showers and gets to stab people whenever they want, even if it means being Canadian.
Wolverine has unique relationships with many of Marvel’s superheroes. He’s war buddies with Captain America, trades Polynesian whores with Tony Stark, and regularly attempts to kill Spider-Man in his sleep so he can bang Mary Jane. For a while, he was part of a unique love triangle with Jean Grey and Cyclops, which culminated in Jean Grey taking a magnet to the brain, Cyclops shacking up with the resident dominatrix, and Wolverine stabbing a Holocaust survivor. Logan also has a female clone named X-23, who is basically teenage Wolverine with boobs only more violent due to her volatile female hormones, and a bastard son named Daken, who may or may not be evil and also sleeps with anything that moves, whether it be animal, vegetable or mineral.
Wolverine’s rogue gallery is a unique one, filled with a random assortment of samurai, ninja and Canadian ne’er do wells. There’s the Silver Samurai, who’s a samurai who shoots lasers and stuff, a ninja organization known as the Hand, who once brainwashed him and made him stab homosexuals, and the Canadian shadow government, which apparently does in fact exist. Then there’s Sabretooth, who’s like a New York version of Wolverine; smellier, hairier, and more evil than the original. Sabretooth was thought to be Wolverine’s dad for a while, but he ended up just being some dude that Wolverine used to know back in the day. Then Wolverine decapitated him with a mystical sword. So he’s not really around anymore.
Wolverine is basically the little Canadian that could. For someone who was born in America’s Wool Cap, he’s done remarkably well for himself. He’s Marvel’s second most popular character, appears in approximately fifty Marvel titles a month and is not only an X-Man, but an Avenger as well. The man even led the Canadian superteam Alpha Flight before they were eradicated from existence by the gods of decency. Wolverine even had is own movie, the modern masterpiece X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which not only won the Oscar for Best Picture, but also won the Presidential Medal of Honor for being so damn good.
So what is Wolverine up to now? Well, he’s currently an Avenger, an X-Man, and the leader of a secret band of killer mutants called X-Force. He’s recently stabbed some things in Uncanny X-Men, stabbed more things in Avengers, stabbed even more things in New Avengers, and then got drunk and upchucked in all three of the Wolverine titles. If you want to read more about Wolverine, pick up any Marvel book. Chances are, he’s in there.