There was a time when Wolverine could only be found in the pages of Uncanny X-Men. I know it’s shocking. Don’t be embarassed if you need to catch your breath. In the mid-80s, it was decided that the superstar X-Man could probably sustain adventures of his own, and thus Wolverine was launched (after a successful mini-series). Alright, that’s fine. A lot of team players have solo books (Iron Man and Captain America, for example).
But now, two decades later, Marvel has taken the pint-sized psychopath’s popularity and gone positively bat-shit crazy. Besides his role in the pages of Uncanny, he also is leading the black-ops strikeforce team in X-Force, has stayed with the unregistered team of New Avengers, has three books of his own (Wolverine, Wolverine: Origins, Wolverine: First Class), only one of which really telling an ongoing story, and has recently been the subject of an ungodly surge of one-shot stories and mini-series. Logan wrapped up last month, Wolverine: The Amazing Immortal Man and Other Bloody Tales came out a week later, Wolverine: Dangerous Games kicked off June, and last week’s X-Force: Ain’t No Dog‘s main story was – you guessed it – a Wolverine story.
August will feature Wolverine: Killing Made Simple that brings back (by no one’s demand) Nanny and the Orphan Maker and September has Wolverine: Roar and Wolverine: Saudade. To add with that, September’s issue of Wolverine: Origins kicks off a four issue crossover with X-Men: Legacy!
I don’t know what type of fan is so into Wolverine they’re willing to shill out their hard-earned dollars to get all of this drivel (in fairness, not all of it is) but they need to knock it off. Perhaps if sales tank enough on these things, Wolverine can get back down to a manageable level. But I can bitch about it all day long. How would I fix it?
First, stop the one-shots and the mini-series. Wolverine is appearing in at least six different ongoing titles a month, complete with two dedicated specifically to him in current continuity. There should not be anything that can be brought out in a one-shot or mini that can’t be handled in one or more of those titles. And if you actually read the issues in question, you’ll see that they’re actually isn’t anything brought out. They’re simply basic “milk-the-franchise” stories.
Second, cancel one of the current continuity books. While Wolverine: Origins (launched right after Wolverine discovered his entire past in House of M) features an ongoing plot dealing with the inner workings of the character, Wolverine is a book of rotating writers and artists whose stories really don’t match up together or with any other title for that matter, except for occasionally Origins. So get rid of Origins while moving the stories and creative team over to Wolverine. Focus, people. Focus.
Third, refine Wolverine’s presence in the Marvel Universe. It’s a running joke that he’s everywhere at once, and that shouldn’t be. Put him on the X-Men and keep him there. Yank him from the Avengers as they have their own massive list of characters that can fill the void. X-Force is a little trickier, as his presence is quite important, but since the characters involved don’t really fit and the concept goes against 40+ years of continuity, why not just scrap the whole book? I like that idea.
So what are we left with? Wolverine with solo adventures in Wolverine and team excursions in Uncanny X-Men and fun, nostalgic, out-of-continuity trips in Wolverine: First Class. With such a refined area, now you can reintroduce the one-shots but only few and far between! Even guest spots in New or Mighty Avengers won’t be too much of a problem. But with the saturation down, these books might actually receive the bump that Wolverine’s appearance should bring if they weren’t so plentiful.