A Defense of ‘Wolverine: Origins’ – Part I

Long-time readers are no doubt familiar with the many comments of Roleplay Adventures. Well, we’ve finally given him a chance to speak his mind… as Gabriel Zero.

Origins #1 coverWe all read comics for fun right?

We spend our hard earned money on them for the purpose of being entertained, to feel the rush of excitement that comes from the pages of the X-Men. All of us might have a different opinion on what is the best Wolverine comic, but we all share a strong feeling for the hero who calls himself Wolverine.

But what some of us forget to realize is that comics are meant to be enjoyed and not argued over. Words like “canon” and “retcon” can get in the way of enjoying the true purpose of our favorite comic books, which should be enjoyment and fun. Collecting comic books is a great hobby, but the reason I collect them is to read the story so I can relax after a hard week of work.

I’m here to talk about why I think Wolverine Origins is a great book, and hopefully my opinion will help you see the good points in it.

Having a poor artist on your favorite comic book can be a real let down; the same goes for a writer with very little imagination. Sometimes we get those writers who make it painfully obvious that they are just in this to cash their check. After reading ‘Wolverine Origins’, I truly believe that the comic book doesn’t fall into this category. Despite being dark and violent, the back story does have some strong points that serve Wolverine’s back story very well.

I think most of the hate mail comes from the old Wolverine fans who are afraid of change, which is very understandable since the comic book character has been around for a very long time. I’ve read some complaints from readers who think Logan’s past should have remained a mystery, and so they argue that having it revealed is destroying the character. I strongly disagree because Logan’s past has always been a train wreck. In some issues he’s a wandering cowboy, in others he a super secret agent, and sometimes he is a noble samurai; his background mostly depends on the writer who has him that month (just look at what Larry Hama did to Logan and his relationship with Silver Fox).

I knew whoever would be in charge of Logan’s past would end up with a lot of hate mail. The writer would have to choose which memories were real and which weren’t because of the House of M event. Regardless of how talented he or she was, they would end up stepping on the toes of a million dedicated comic book fans. However despite all of this I believe Way is sticking close to the character that first appeared in Chris Claremont’s X-Men comic books. Back in those classic stories it was unknown if Logan’s claws were even real!

Thankfully as the character evolved he became something much more, but one thing stood the same and that was Logan’s willingness to kill those who would harm the innocent. Even his teammates felt uncomfortable on more the one occasion. As an example, I remember Angel left the team because he refused to work with Logan. Perhaps this is what Daniel Way is referencing when he shows us what happened during Wolverine’s early days.

Most of us can probably agree that Logan found his true purpose after he joined the X-Men. Logan mentioned more than once that he never felt like he belonged anywhere else. It’s been retconned more than once that Logan stood with Xavier in order to get his memory back, but eventually the X-Men became his family and his friends.

We would all like to point the finger at Weapon X for destroying Logan’s life before he joined X-Men. But Weapon X is no longer just an enemy of Logan; they have kidnapped hundreds of mutants and made an enemy of the entire X-Men. For me Weapon X stopped being interesting when they evolved into Weapon Plus and introduced Director Malcolm Colcord. It was time for a new adversary to step up, one who was exclusive to Wolverine and his past traumas.

I would like to give a shout out to Dig for being an awesome person; I would really be lost without him. As long as he continues to update his incredible site he will always have my full support.

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DiG
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I know this post may come across as a bit incendiary for some of the long-time fans like myself, but let’s make sure to keep comments to a civil discourse. So let me kick this off and hopefully be brief… I think arguing about comics is an immemorial custom of comic book fans (as long as it doesn’t degenerate into name-calling, etc.) and I have always looked forward to it and encouraged it. To me, it is part of the enjoyment of comics. And I don’t think I’m afraid of change. I love new twists on old ideas. Alan Moore,… Read more »
toby stokes
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I agree with RP adventures his past was bloody inconsistent this wraps threads together, name a GOOD part of wolverines character back story that this has removed? I dont often hear any CONSTRUCTIVE criticism of origins just crying and bitching about how they could do better (which of course isnt true except maybe in DiG’s case) The fact that he was retconned to having been a bad person at some points in his life is perfectly understandable based on the horrors, let downs and failiures he has experienced and more interesting. I disagree with him on the weapon X/plus issue.… Read more »
BlackDew
Guest
Wolverine’s past has been pick-and-chose for years, though the real craziness probably did come in during the messed-up issues where Silverfox turned into a Hydra agent and Logan found out a bunch of his memories were false. But Wolverine: Origins has done something completely different (and worse) for me–it’s tried to define Logan in a very complete way, but somehow disregarding everything that has happened before this series took the reins of his past. The idea of more clearly defining Logan’s past is not bad; even though I would have preferred Logan to be figuring out his past as he… Read more »
toby stokes
Guest

what you dont seem to get is what you just said you like isnt contradicted by the new revelations, simply that during many of his mind control memory wipes and manipulations he sometimes was more a bad person then a good person which he later has to atone for

Cat
Guest
I agree with BlackDew. the man protrayed in Origins most of the time seems nearer Sabretooth/punisher than Wolverine. The stories have a lot of good in them and they are interesting ideas, but the way they’re told they just don’t work. Most of the stories, I can accept (with a little tweaking for the chronology), but the way they’re told breaks down. Wolverine is a good guy and he’s always been that. As it was summed in an interview at the end of the X men Movie. “he’s a fallen samurai” and that is not a heartless murderer. On an… Read more »
DiG
Guest
Let me cite two examples of contradictions. 1) Previous to Wolverine: Origins, Logan had been a hero during World War II. It has since been revealed that he aided Baron Von Strucker, sabotaged Allied war efforts, and engaged in mass executions and experimentation on Japanese-Americans that would have made Josef Mengele proud. 2) Originally, Seraph was the person who saved Logan. Taught him morality, that actions have consequences and most importantly that he didn’t have to be a predator. But now Seraph is merely one of his handlers who teaches him how to assassinate without getting caught and how to… Read more »
BlackDew
Guest

A resounding “Amen!” to DiG’s last comment and Cat’s.

toby stokes
Guest
Hmm I still dont think you stuff you say you like is impossible to work with current continuity. I dont think its meant the romulous has controlled every second of his life and every encounter he had. I think wolverine proabably escaped his clutches for a few years at a time but is always drawn back in after each of the failiures you just mentioned romulous just prods pushes and excacerbates the bad things in logans life and uses him as tool we he is able to/can. I however will admit to not reading much of old wolverine stories but… Read more »
DF
Guest
BlackDew: great comparison between Wolverine and Ultimate Wolverine, I was just wondering(I know it will never happen) if Marvel could make of Origins, a chronology other than Earth-616 (or Marvel Universe), anyway. Let’s talk about the book now. In every introduction of Origins, we can read “After repeated brainwashing, torture and reprogramming…” and I think I finally begun to understand that what we see in Origins, the flashsbacks, are the bits when Wolverine was under someonelse control. it’s the only possibility that comes in my mind to not create a conflict between all previous stories and Origins. So if it’s… Read more »
Gabriel Zero
Guest
I didn’t generalize anyone in my review DF. I have posted my opinion here for a long time. DIG was the one who liked some of the thoughts I was posting and asked me to write up a review on a personal level. I knew I would get some shit for it , and I don’t mind being a minority on here. I was kind expecting it. It feels like you are taking my words on a personal level. That kind of annoys me, but I won’t elaborate more here because it’s DIG’s site. So if you feel like chatting… Read more »
toby stokes
Guest
“who wants to read a story where the main character is brainwashed?” okay im sorry I couldnt let this go Yeh remember millars run on enemy of the state where wolverine was mind controlled that didnt sell lots of copies or be popular…. oh wait hang on it did! I was the one who ‘generalised’, not Gabe0 I simply meant old fans as ones who had been reading longer then say last decade. BTW its pretty obvious that wolverine was mind controlled/tortured/balckmailed/brainwashed/alloftheabove when he did any/most of the bad things. This is obvious because he was a godo person when… Read more »
EmperorVamp
Guest
You know, I can find points on both sides of the argument here. But please let me tell you why I stopped reading the series (at least for now). I just flat out could not stand Dillon’s artwork. Everyone had the same face. Look at his more recent work on Punisher; Dillon’s Frank Castle looks exactly like his Logan. Dillon is a “Professional” artist. He should be able to vary his faces at least a little so that the story doesn’t get confusing visually. I am an artist, and would certainly not claim to be great, but I can at… Read more »
DF
Guest
okay im sorry I couldnt let this go Yeh remember millars run on enemy of the state where wolverine was mind controlled that didnt sell lots of copies or be popular…. oh wait hang on it did! The difference between the Millar arc and Origins is that the Millar’s arc was on the purpose to make Wolverine battle others super heroes, and that’s good, I like much more when Wolverine battles people with special powers rather than an army of Hydra, and more important, it lasted few months (in Logan’s life) but Origins is about all his life, and every… Read more »
BlackDew
Guest

And even when he was brainwashed in Enemy of the State bits of the old Logan slipped through. Small as it was, I think it significant that they included the little detail that even after killing a bunch of people, Wolverine stopped to pet a dog, and was smiling a bit at it.

Yes, it’s small and slightly ridiculous to mention, but I think it’s more significant than not.

And I agree with DF on that last point. Having Logan brainwashed for a few months is a lot different than turning his whole life into a super-long brainwashing trip.

tim
Guest

I think the answer lies in who or what Romulus is. He seems to have a feral mutation like Logan and Creed but also seems to posses other power like the vanishing act and being able to implant images in Logan’s mind. (Wolverine 50-55)

I think Romulus has the ability to control others like he suggested that Daken had. I wonder if Romulus is John Howelet II, the brother that was seen in Wolverine the End?

toby stokes
Guest

well I think we can all agree that will be okay with the reveal as long as the lupine sapien bullshit isnt mentioned I throw up in my mouth a bit every time i say that phrase

BlackDew
Guest

lol.