When we here at The Outhouse launched IsWolverineStillDead.com, a resource for comic book fans who need to know, at a moment's notice, if Marvel's most popular Mary Sue character is still pushing up daisies, we joked that he would probably be back within a few weeks. In all honesty, though, we expected him to be gone until the big super-mega-crossover event season next Spring or Summer. However, according to some reports coming in to us about this week's issues of Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy and Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program, the ol' Canucklehead may actually be back already, less than a month after his "death."
Of course, things may not be exactly as they seem. We're certainly not giving Marvel our money for any of this nonsense, no matter how much we love Charles Soule, so we rely on the reports of fools and hopeless gimmick comic addicts to fill us in on what's going on. Here's what Outhouse forum poster Fieldy Snuts had to say (SPOILERS):
Did they really just undo his death so fast?
Long story short, the unnamed, masked protagonist who rescued all the Weapon X test subjects from Slayback (obscure 90's Deadpool Nicieza/Liefeld villain) and left the Wolverine statue in the rubble takes off his mask and we see he's an amnesiac who happens to look exactly like Logan....I also think this was the same guy in the mask from the Charles Soule special meaning Wolverine assembled the team?
At least they didn't milk it for what its worth.
Here's the scene he's talking about:
So it looks pretty damning, but we're not ready to call Wolverine "back" from the "dead" just yet. For one thing, astute readers may notice that "Logan's" face is only shown in the mirror, and his hair seems to change from brown to black. It's entirely possible that this guy is brainwashed, hallucinating, or in some other way believes he is a Wolverine who has lost his memory (we dare you to make sense of that!), but is actually some obscure nineties character like Maverick or something like that. He could be a clone, and maybe even a clone with Wolverine's amnesiac consciousness implanted in his mind a la Superior Spider-Man. Maybe he's a time-displaced Wolverine who conveniently has his memory problems reset to his iconic glory days. Who the fuck knows? Better, who the fuck cares?
Outhouse fascist forum moderator Mr. Black points out:
It's a clone or something equally stupid. They'll drag this along for a while, making you think it's really him, and then POOF, it's a Skrull or a robot or some dumb shit.
Then it will turn out the masked man who killed the fake Wolverine is the real Wolverine, because comic books.
The problem with taking any of this, from Wolverine's "death" to his return, with any degree of seriousness is that comics are a lot like professional wrestling when it comes to this sort of stuff. Swerving the readers is not a means to an end, but an end in and of itself. Back in the nineties, there was a famous wrestling storyline where the bad guy owner of the WWF, Vince McMahon, was the leader of an evil wrestling faction called The Corporation, which was feuding with another evil wrestling faction, The Ministry of Darkness, which was led by the satanic Undertaker.
At one point during this feud, The Undertaker kidnapped Vince McMahon's teen daughter Stephanie (by presumably killing and replacing her limo driver - see above), brought her to a boiler room where he dressed her up like a goth girl, tied her to a crucifix-like Undertaker symbol, and attempted to have his ghoulish manager, Paul Bearer, marry them in the ring. The wedding is broken up by Vince and the Undertaker's common enemy, Stone Cold Steve Austin, putting Vince in his debt. Is your head hurting, yet? It gets better.
Now, the whole time this was going on (or shortly after - I'm going from memory here), The Undertaker had been alluding to answering to "a higher power." The identity of the higher power was teased as a big deal, with viewers wondering who it could possibly be. Eventually, the higher power was revealed to be, in one of the most nonsensical wrestling swerves of all time: Vince McMahon.
It didn't matter that this made absolutely no sense. It didn't matter that it meant that Vince had to collude with a demonic Satan worshipper to kidnap his own daughter and rely on his greatest enemy to prevent her from marrying him, or that members of both factions had inflicted physical harm on each other on multiple occasions. All that mattered was that the viewers were swerved. Vince McMahon was the last person that could logically be the Higher Power, so by wrestling logic, he was the only person who could be.
Now, if you're thinking, "that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," then you're getting the picture on how Wolverine's "death" and "return" is going to work out. The end result was always going to be Wolverine back alive and everything back to normal, and all of us know this deep in our hearts, but Marvel is banking on enough readers putting aside all rationality and buying into this crap so that they can sell a shit load of comics with fancy variant covers and names like "The Logan Legacy: The Wolverinemen of Wolverineville Mourn" for five dollars a pop for a couple of months first.
So the answer: there is no way in hell that the guy in that panel up above is actually Wolverine. It's almost certainly some kind of mental thing, with the brown haired, masked man seeing himself with Logan's face in the mirror. But that doesn't mean that, six months from now, he won't turn out to actually be Wolverine, just as Vince McMahon was the Higher Power. In fact, comics/wrestling logic almost dictates that he certainly will be. It won't make sense, and it doesn't have to. All that matters is that you were fooled, and you gave Marvel your money.
So the question asked by our website, IsWolverineStillDead.com, is a trick one. Wolverine was never really "dead." But playing by the rules of comics and pro-wrestling, we can't really call him "back" just yet, even if this masked man does eventually turn out to be Wolverine. Not until it's officially in the title of a $4.99 comic like "Wolverine Reborn: Wolverine Saves the Marvel Universe" will it be official. And while it won't make any sense, we'll all accept it and move on because
Or, as Outhouse poster Rob Thompson puts it:
The story itself will not be the most discouraging thing in all this; that people buy, read and/or discuss the story will be.
God, I'm getting too old for this shit.