Wolverine finally made his return last year in the Marvel Legacy one-shot after dying back in 2014, but it’s hard to get too excited about Logan’s return. It all boils down to two major problems. The first has to do with how his replacement, Laura Kinney aka X-23, was mishandled during her time as Wolverine. And the second is how they’re choosing to tell the story of Logan’s return in the least reader-friendly way possible.
The Death of Wolverine mini-series took Logan off the board, and then a year later in 2015, X-23 took up his mantle and became the All-New Wolverine. This was a momentous occasion for Laura because she was finally allowed to take the next step in her journey to move past being an assassin and grow into a fully-fledged superhero. But it’s mostly all downhill from there.
Even though Laura’s series written by Tom Taylor and drawn by the likes of David Lopez and Leonard Kirk was nothing short of phenomenal, Laura herself wasn’t allowed to truly take on Wolverine’s role in the larger Marvel Universe. Logan was always much more than the stabby-stabby guy with the bad attitude. He played a key role in the superhero community by helping out multiple superhero teams and using his voice as a member of the mutant race to influence big events. But when Laura took over, Marvel took her spotlight and gave it to Old Man Logan, who had been pulled from his alternate future and brought to the present.
Old Man Logan is a beloved story, so of course everyone got hyped for this, but he essentially shoved Laura aside just as she was taking the stage as Wolverine. Old Man Logan ended up filling the Wolverine role in numerous books while Laura, the actual Wolverine, barely got anything. And then Laura’s spot on her one team book was taken by James Hudson, who, get this, is the son of Ultimate Wolverine, and has the exact same powers.
Another Wolverine when it’s supposed to be Laura’s turn to shine? Come on!
And now with Logan returned from the dead, it’s been announced that Laura will shed the blue-and-yellow costume and once again become X-23 in a new series — even though she never really got her due as Wolverine. Well, if Laura is going to get shafted, then at least the story of Logan’s return makes it all worth it, right? Wrong.
Logan randomly popped up in 2017’s Marvel Legacy #1, alive and well, and holding… an Infinity Stone? That was six months ago and we still have no clue how it happened. In the meantime, Marvel has been milking Logan’s return for all its worth. He’s appeared in the comics-equivalent of “post-credits scenes” in several comics, he is (for some reason) a part of the big Infinity Stone story Marvel is doing to take advantage of all the hype for Avengers: Infinity War, and it was recently announced that his return will be explored in a one-shot that sets up four different mini-series. This means that to get the full story, you need to buy over 20 different comics! And it’s not even exactly clear how this all fits together, leading Marvel to release this infographic:
If you need an infographic to explain your story, there’s your sign you may have gone too far.
Marvel is coming off of a rough year full of numerous controversies and mishaps, so it’s understandable they want to play it safe by leaning into the return of one of their most popular characters to rake in some easy dollars (by making you buy as many of their comics as possible to follow his story). But the real problem is they’ve made it incredibly expensive and confusing for readers. It’s almost like they took a list of everything that turns off comic readers and used it as their guidebook.
And on top of all that, under-serving Laura’s character while she was Wolverine and then giving Logan an obscene amount of attention for his return feels like adding insult to injury to a character who deserved so, so much better.
I’ve Got Issues is an ongoing column by Joshua Yehl, IGN’s Comics Editor. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.