So here's some cool news - news that is probably not entirely unexpected, considering recent releases and projects from me. I'm writing Return of Wolverine, with art from Steve McNiven! It's a five-part story that will begin this September. Here's the main cover for #1, art by Steve, inks by Jay Leisten and colors by Laura Martin, who are also the all-star team on the book. (I'm not sure who will be lettering it yet, but I'm sure they'll be awesome. No slouches in Marvel's lettering department.)
The book is the culmination to the Hunt for Wolverine event that’s been running across the summer, which has been telling the story of the Marvel Universe’s realization that Logan might be back from the dead, and sending a number of different superhero groups out to look for him. The X-Men in particular are concerned because he was stolen from under their noses, right out of his grave. Wolverine’s body alone is a potent weapon – and if he is back for real… well, he has to be found.
The whole Hunt/Return story is designed to be very modular, so you can follow whatever threads you want on the road to Wolverine’s return to the land of the living. It began with a single one-shot, Hunt for Wolverine #1, written by me with art from Dave Marquez. It then breaks out into four four-issue minis, each following a different super team as they look for clues to Wolverine’s resurrection, and each with a different genre feel. Those run over the summer. I’m writing Weapon Lost, with art from Matteo Buffagni, which features Daredevil and a squad of Marvel U detective types. It has a crime/noir feel. Adamantium Agenda features Iron Man, Spider-Man and the classic New Avengers team, written by Tom Taylor with art by RB Silva. That’s superhero action. Claws of the Killer is the horror book, featuring Sabretooth and other anti-Logan types, written by Mariko Tamaki with art from Butch Guice. Finally, Mystery in Madripoor has an all-female team of X-Men heading to Madripoor to look for clues – that’s a sexy spy story with a massive twist, written by Jim Zub with art from Thony Silas.
After that, it all comes back together in August with a big issue called Hunt for Wolverine: Dead Ends, written by me with art by Ramon Rosanas, which will tie together the various clues the teams found on the hunt and really set things up for Return of Wolverine. Think of it as the scene at the end of the mystery movie when the detective locks everyone in a room and reveals how the crime was done – but Dead Ends doesn’t answer everything, because we still want to leave questions for Return.
I know it’s a lot of material, and that’s a criticism I get, but as I said, it’s built so that you can follow whatever parts of it you want. You won’t get a full set of clues if you only read some of the minis (or none), but maybe you don’t need or want that, and that’s fine. What you will get, no matter what part(s) you decide to read, is a great story. You could just read one mini on its own and have a blast, even if you skipped everything else, including Return of Wolverine.
But you wouldn’t do that, would you? That’s the main event! That’s where it all happens!
So… let’s talk about that book a bit, eh?
First, I’m extremely happy that Steve McNiven and I get to tell this story - it wasn't a foregone conclusion, and bringing Logan back after Steve and I killed him feels right. (He and I did Death of Wolverine back in 2014, which sent Wolverine to an early, but apparently temporary, grave.) We'll do our best to do his resurrection justice. Check out a panel of Steve’s pencils from Return of Wolverine #1, something I almost certainly shouldn’t be posting but hey… we need this, in these troubled times.
When building Return of Wolverine, my initial goal was to create a story with a reason to be told. My second was to find a reason for me to be the person to tell it. The book should say something about the character of Logan as well as my thoughts on him as a writer. I wanted to write a Wolverine story that deals with resurrection in a real way, that looks at a man wrestling with the idea that he was gone for a while, that he was literally dead, that he was off-screen, so to speak. I think it’s a mistake for characters not to be freaked out at the idea of coming back to life. It might be old hat to we jaded comic readers, but in their universe, it’s still a pretty intense experience. Emerging from the grave has to change a person. It has to, or what is the point of telling these stories at all?
My other story goal: I wanted Logan to do a lot of cool shit, including things we haven't seen before. To that end, much has been made of a quote from me that was released in Marvel's original press release announcement about the series:
“I thought this was a real opportunity to do things that would make him feel new and fresh in a way; if you come back from the dead, it should mean something. One of the outwardly physical manifestations of that is that now, from time to time, his claws—once they’re popped—they can heat up. They can get really hot.”
Oof. Not my finest moment – I could have presented such a huge new idea a bit more smoothly, no doubt about it. A bit of context for this - the quote comes from an in-person, on camera interview I did with my friend Ryan Penagos, aka AgentM, at the Marvel offices. I said it, I didn't type or edit it (or even really plan it that well, clearly), and didn't actually know it would be used that way, in print, as the way the world would be introduced to the #hotclaws concept - but hey, mea culpa. I was being sort of glib at the time, but if there's one thing my Twitter feed has taught me in the past few days, it is this: DO NOT BE GLIB ABOUT A MAN WITH KNIVES IN HIS HANDS.
Let me put it this way. There is definitely a terrible version of "Wolverine's claws heat up" - like if he can just turn them on whenever he wants, a "flame on" move, a new superpower for him that makes him SUPER MEGA BADASS WITH #HOTCLAWS. That's dumb. I mean, what's the point? His claws can already cut through anything anyway, and adding heat to it... I dunno. How would it even work, anyway? Does he have a miniature sun in his head now, a la Xorn?
I mean, god almighty - I wish these stupid writers would stop changing characters for the sake of change, with these idiotic ideas that don't improve anything. If there was one perfect character in superhero comics already, it was Wolverine. Don't fix it it if ain't broke, stupid comic book writer!
Yup. I see you, Twitter friends.
But consider this - I know all of that, I've known all of that from the beginning, and I did it anyway. Why? Well, maybe the idea isn't that terrible version. Maybe #hotclaws are just a small part of the overall story, and they were dropped into the original press release because it's an interesting visual that would get people talking - clearly it worked on that score. Maybe there's much more to Return of Wolverine than just that one thing. Man, I sure hope so.
Story ideas, especially superhero comic ideas, presented outside the context of the issue in which they appear, can often sound dumb as dirt. I totally get why this one feels that way to some of you.
That said, what I've written, and what Steve McNiven is drawing with his incredible, impeccable style, is a huge, action-packed story about one of our favorite characters finding himself after being lost for a while. I look forward to hearing what you think this September, and talking a lot about these dang #hotclaws before and after the Return of Wolverine begins.