I don't read many Wolverine comics. My leeriness of Marvel's most famous X-Man is equal to my apprehension for video game's Tony Hawk: Great in the past, but so over-exposed that maybe there's no new greatness to come?
Wolverine's done it all, hasn't he?
He's fought everyone. He's healed from every kind of wound inflicted on his mutated person. I haven't even read that many Marvel comics, but I've seen him melted to nerve clusters by the sun and seen his skeleton ripped from his body. I've seen him join various teams, be the fun-loving rogue and the brooding bad-ass. I notice that Marvel keeps publishing new untold stories of his origins, new spin-offs of his character, and it seems, from my arms-length distance, that it's all been done.
Of course, it's never all been done. There's always a chance that there will be a fresh Wolverine tale, just diminishing odds that there will be one in a given week.
I still give Wolverine a chance sometimes. That's because I don't buy comics for characters. I learned as a kid that a Superman comic by one guy isn't necessarily as good as a Superman comic by another - and that the guy who did the Superman comic I liked probably is worth following to whatever he's up to in the future, even if it's something silly-sounding like Next Men. I remember many years ago seeing someone incensed on a message board because an article about a new Flash comic didn't specify whether the comic would depict the Wally West Flash or the Barry Allen Flash, a key fact because this person only collected comics featuring one of them. I thought that was silly. Neither Wally nor Barry is what makes a Flash comic great. Isn't that obvious?
The draw for me with any comic - and ideally with any video game - is the creators. They are the heroes I care about. I didn't buy this week's Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #1 because of Wolverine. I bought it because of Jason Aaron, a writer whose previous work has mostly been just my kind of thing. He writes a wonderful and gritty comic called Scalped about the criminal underbelly of a Native American Reservation; his Ghost Rider was the first and last run of that hero's series I'll ever need to read. I've fallen out of blind affection for Aaron's work recently, feeling that his Punisher lacked anything newer than the grime I'd read before and that his Wolverine: Weapon X was only strong when its lead character's role was minimised. Still, Aaron has enough of my confidence that I'll buy anything he starts.
Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine was, thankfully, good. Our heroes seem to be time-warped into the past, to the hours before the dinosaurs were undone by a rock from space. Spider-Man and Wolverine loathe each other in this series but in an amusing way that foreshadows the eventual bonding team-up. My interest in this comic, however, may merely affirm my instinct that Wolverine is, for me, tapped out. He's of interest to me in this series because of who he's with and the combination the pairing of Marvel's top two heroes creates - and how the writer depicts all of that.
I seldom lose all hope in creators because I believe those of them who are really good always have the potential for another great work. That's my bias, I guess, having more confidence that Alan Moore still has another masterwork in him moreso than I believe there's another Dark Knight Returns-caliber book to be written about Batman.
Any music fan knows my creator bias is foolish or at least so optimistic that it guarantees me the disappointment of hoping that old men can rap as well as they did in their youth. Most bands see their genius fade. But I stick to that bias anyway, hopeful in human beings, while sceptical of fictional constructs. I can believe Wolverine is exhausted of his potential, just as I can believe the Tony Hawk video game series may be... or the, well you name a series you think is done.
Am I wrong? Let me know when Wolverine does something new without the help of his friends. Wolverine sells no comics to me. But the people who write him may force me into his path again. Credit the creators, not the character.
*** If it's video game comics you're looking for this week, your new-release options are:
Halo: Blood Line #5 (of 5). Marvel Comics summary:
Spartans, Covenant and Forerunners engage in a furious three-way battle for control of the mysterious Line installation, the power of which rivals the fabled Halos themselves! Will Spartan: Black be able to heal the rifts within their unit long enough to secure The Line for the forces of Earth...or is this their last stand against overwhelming alien forces?
Darkstalkers Night Warriors #2 (of 3). Udon Entertainment's Summary:
Learn the true origins of demon hunter Donovan, as he battles the ghostly samurai Bishamon. Meanwhile, Morrigan finally confronts Demitri, the vampire lord. Also in this issue, a Felicia backup story where she encounters an all-new Darkstalker!
What do you think is worth getting at comic shops this week?