Nobody can agree on anything within comics. Whether you prefer Alan Moore or Grant Morrison; reckon Archie loves Veronica and not Betty; or remain convinced that Wonder Man beats Wonder Woman (for some reason) - the one thing we can guarantee is that somebody disagrees with you.
But while it's fun to argue...some debates simply must be resolved.
And so to deal with the greatest controversies to ever hit the printed page, we've formally set up a Comic Book Court to finally reach a definitive verdict on the cases you've always wanted closure for. Each court session will see Christian Hoffer take on a case against Steve Morris, as they go back and forth over some of the biggest issues in the history of comics. Also...some silly ones.
With that in mind...
Will You Please All Rise for: Wolverine vs. Resurrection AKA "The Case for Wolverine Staying Dead Forever"
The Case for Keeping Wolverine Dead
Mssr Christian Hoffer Esq, presenting for The Prosecution:
Two years ago, James Howlett, the once and future Wolverine, took his final breath encased in adamantium after foiling the Weapon X program's latest experiment, culminating one of Marvel's most impressive character evolutions. Since his introduction in 1974, Wolverine had transformed from a violent loner to the undisputed leader of the mutant community, respected by just about anyone he met. Wolverine's evolution was organic and deliberate, built up over decades of stories. His death was the natural conclusion to his story, reverting back to his loner status for one final berserk blaze of glory.
In a genre known for its reversions to the status quo, Wolverine stands out as one of the few characters who has a beginning, a middle and an end. And that's why Marvel should think long and hard before bringing him back to life. Whatever Marvel does with Wolverine would be a step back, a regression that invalidates years of character progression. Wolverine can't go back to being a loner, a bad teammate, or a dangerous wild card because that's just not who he is anymore.
Then there's the issue of where Wolverine would fit in the All New, All Now Marvel Universe. The X-Men no longer enjoy a featured role in the Marvel Universe, having been shunted away into their own corner and replaced by the Inhumans. And even though Wolverine is one of the few mutants who don't need that X-Men connection to be relevant to the Marvel Universe, I fear he'd just feel tacked on as a gimmick to whatever team he joined. Sure, the Uncanny Avengers are still dedicated to mutant/human relations, but that team's exposure has dramatically decreased since they were first introduced in 2011.
Heck, there might not even be a place for Wolverine on the X-Men either! After all, Laura Kinney (the former X-23) took up Wolverine's name and mantle and is now starring in the delightful All-New Wolverine. And thanks to the universe scrambling Secret Wars event, the X-Men have their very own Wolverine, albeit the grizzly old one from the "Old Man Logan" alternate universe. Kinney's story in particular is just beginning, and bringing Wolverine back would just undermine any attempt to build the new Wolverine's appeal and fanbase.
Let's face it, with a new movie on the way, Marvel would leave a lot of money on the table if it didn't publish a "The Return of Wolverine" miniseries sometime in the next year. But what's good for Marvel's short term sales isn't necessarily what's best for either Wolverine or the Marvel Universe as a whole. Right now, the Marvel Universe's problems can't be solved by a berserker fury of adamantium claws, so why not save Wolverine's big return for a moment where it would actually have an impact. Respect Wolverine's story, give his replacement room to grow, and don't bring Wolverine back anytime soon, if ever.prevnext
The Case for Resurrecting Wolverine
Mssr Steve Morris Esq, presenting for The Defense:
If it may please the court, James "Logan" Howlett will come back to life one day - and that's a good thing.
The "Death of Wolverine" story is now almost two years old, and during that time we've seen his mantle assumed by Laura Kinney, the clone of Wolverine who previously went by the dehumanising codename of 'X-23'. We've also seen Marvel port in "Old Man Logan" to their main Universe, an alt-reality version of Wolverine from a distant dystopian future where almost all the other heroes were dead. The concept of Wolverine itself is still very much alive at Marvel, and is being handled with deftness by writers and artists like Tom Taylor and David Lopez.
But James "Logan" Howlett himself remains dead and gone.. After being alive for centuries, the character died watching a new dawn rise, whilst he himself suffocated.. It's an apt analogy for the character's recent experiences at Marvel as a whole, to be honest, with over-exposure leading him to become diluted and stale. Originally set up as an honourable and weary man who kept being drawn into violence, he wasn't allowed to develop or grow in ways that would help him remain fresh for readers. Really, it was a relief that they killed him off.
But he should come back.
At a time when the X-Men are at their lowest (again) Cyclops is dead, and before he died he wrecked the image of mutants in front of the whole world. The rise of the Inhumans are literally and thematically sterilising the characters, and the remaining team are facing bleak, bleak odd.. You know what they need? Levity. Black humor. Sarcasm.
Logan provides those. There are no other characters who can sum up the mood of a room with more sincere, tired wit than him. Cyclops lived in strategy, while Storm lives in the moment. Jean was the heart, Nightcrawler the soul, Kitty the pride and Beast the wit of the team.
But Logan was the reality.
Ever a realist, he works so well for the X-Men because he can calmly look up at a mass of approaching sentinels and go "well, we're screwed" before racing to be first into battle. Being part of a persecuted minority requires a constant fight, and Wolverine represents that better than anyone else, despite being a white, straight man.
He realises that they fight a hopeless cause - he's seen it centuries ago, and in futures to come. But he still keeps fighting it, because the rest of the team have shown him that there's a good reason to keep going. With him gone, the X-Men are missing that cynicism, the battled soul who feels the impact of violence and terror with every adamantium-laced bone in his body - and as a result, their battle feels easier, more forced, and with a weaker impact.
Sure he can be great fun to have in a comic, slashing up enemies and lacing the page with sardonic one-liners. But the most important thing he brings to the comic is a sense of the real peril which the characters face. He will live forever, as Old Man Logan represents, but he knows that the people around him will ultimately die and fade from memory. His battle is to keep them around, protect people, and live in the moment. Logan needs to come back, especially now, because he shows us that every battle matters.prevnext
For those unfamiliar with Comic Book Court, each side will get a brief chance to make a final closing statement to sway the jury (that's you!) to their side:
Christian's Closing Statement:
Steve brings up that the X-Men desperately miss Wolverine's cynicism and spirit. But the great thing about the X-Men (including Wolverine) is how much many of those characters have evolved over the years. Wolverine might have once been the heart of the X-Men, but I maintain that he's not so irreplaceable to that franchise that another character couldn't step up to take his place. Between the destruction of the X-Mansion, Professor Xavier dying (TWICE!), an unprovoked war with the Avengers, and now the Terrigen Mists sterilizing the entire mutant race and forcing them off-planet, surely there's another mutant who's a bit cynical about the X-Men's plight.
Wolverine's absence forces the X-Men to adapt and grow, something they're quite adept at doing. Respect Wolverine's story, respect his death, and leave him in the ground.
Steve's Closing Statement:
As my esteemed opposition says, Wolverine's story now has a beginning, a middle, and an end. But that end is premature. There are still places for Logan to go, things to do, and stories to tell. With his mantle firmly taken by Laura, he's actually freed up to move forward in completely new and fantastic ways. He doesn't have to be "Wolverine" anymore - he can be James Howlett. And for many of us, James Howlett is a fair more interesting and entertaining creation than his costumed counterpart ever was. The X-Men need him back, and we deserve to have him back, living a new life, making different choices.
His death gives him more possibility than he's ever had before.
So which side do you think made the better argument? Vote in the poll before to decide!prev