By TheFool 2 Comments
Fair warning: this blog post does contain some spoilers, but they're mostly comic book related and mostly things that are at least a month old. Even so, read at your own peril.
For any who don't already know , The Wolverine is Fox's latest bid at keeping the X-franchise movies squarely in their camp. It's been out for a day or two and while I haven't seen it, I'm fairly certain I've got a good reason not to.
As the trailer for The Wolverine indicates, this film will see Wolverine lose his healing factor. That's right folks! That Macguffin keeping him from suffering a crippling infection from having a foreign metal forcibly bonded to his skeletal structure is now a thing of the past! Consider my disbelief suspended!
Now, I realize that an adapted work can and often does differ from the source material. For the most part, I functionally do not give any amount of rat's asses about these variations, whether major or slight. But why take away Logan's healing factor? To be edgy and new? To make him more hardcore? To grant him much needed vulnerability? I'll settle for the first two excuses (begrudgingly), but I take justifiably disproportionate issue with the last possible reason in that list.
Wolverine is far from "immortal," as the trailer states. Long lived? Sure. Hard to kill by conventional methods? Absolutely. But immortal? Far from it.
Pretending that Wolverine's healing factor is the only thing that keeps him alive is, if anything, a really inventive way to say, "I don't know the character I'm making a movie about." Wolverine may be tough and lean on his mutant healing ability a little too much, but the dude's not exactly the Juggernaut. Why, if I recall, there are plenty of ways to kill my favorite homicidal half-pint. Let's consult the comics...
Along with other forms of asphyxiation, Wolvy just can't stand up to a massive reduction in air-flow to the brain. Further evidence of this can be found when Logan drowns his son, Daken, in a puddle a few inches deep. Fully sub-merged, Logan doesn't stand much of a chance at getting out in one piece. If they wanted to make him vulnerable, why not cast Hydro-Man as the film's primary antagonist?
The ol' Canucklehead has shrugged off some major burns in his time. I buy that. Adamantium has got a wickedly high melting point and his healing factor probably offsets a lot of the burning of flesh that would render a baseline human deadified in minutes, if not seconds. Still, if a Sentinel is capable of serving up some Wolverine-kabobs on the fly, I don't think it's outside of the realm of possibility to imagine someone else could, too. And with Wolverine heading into a Days of Future Past movie, I'm pretty sure that a healing factor is going to be his best friend in that slice of dystopia.
In the often confused and rarely enjoyable Age of Ultron, Mr. Howlett accidentally-on-purpose causes disastrous rifts across reality by gong back in time to assassinate Hank Pym to prevent the creation of Ultron. Makes enough sense right? Well, as luck would have it, the time-continuum suffers yet more obfuscation (pull out that word-of-the-day calendar) and wouldn't you know it, but he has to go back in time again to kill himself to prevent him from killing Hank Pym so Ultron doesn't kill everybody. Aside from one too many headaches, it goes to show that killing a 100-year old mutant isn't a task you need a PhD to master. Granted, after a bit of dialogue, the Wolverine's agree this course of action is what's necessary to protect the time-stream, but it proves that Weapon X can go down with minimal fuss given the right conditions. Sure, he just accepted his fate in this version of events, but a stunned Wolverine poses about as much threat as one resigned to his untimely doom. And he doesn't even have to un-shoulder the burden of "immortality" to achieve that.
Oh yeah, and Kaine basically demonstrated Logan's extant vulnerability about two months ago in Scarlet Spider. Extenuating circumstances aside, biology doesn't lie. A bit of stabby-stabby to the ticker and our hero gets dead with considerable ease.
Exotic Brain Death
Remember that pic of Daken explaining to Genesis how Wolverine needs that noodle of his to maintain the healthy habit of being alive? Well, apparently, there's more than one way to skin a cat (or brain a Wolverine, as the case may be). Last month's Scarlet Spider offers readers a colorful, yet no less lethal, way to dispatch the dude with the biggest bar tab in Madripoor. Of course, there are other ways to esssplode Wolvy's gray matter. But, come on. Explosive round through the eye-socket? It doesn't get much more efficient than that. Not counting clean-up time, afterwards.
Other forms of Wolverine being released from his "curse" include these near misses or alternate future fates:
- Being jettisoned into the vacuum of space
- Cellular disintegration
- Carbonadium poisoning (thank you, Comicvine wiki)
- Lame plot devices from the summer block-buster, The Wolverine
Needless to say, James "Patch" "Canucklehead" Howlett Logan is plenty destructible on his ownsome, even with a healing factor. To remove one of the fundamental things that makes this character more than a mountain man with steak-knives taped to his hands seems, to me, superfluous beyond reason. Needlessly drastic attempts to make the Wolverine relatable or grounded or challenged speak less to the earnest evolution of the character and more to the inability of writers, directors, producers, or studio's to create content that's as engaging as it is entertaining. Maybe it's just the fanboy in me, but I'd much rather see Logan deal with the idea of outliving everyone and everything he loves with genuine pathos rather than gratuitous shark-jumping. I mean, where's the drama in removing the guy's healing factor when simply the wrong bite of a deep-dish meat lover's can take this guy out?
At the very least, I know this is idea is one steamer that will never make its way into the comics.