Will Inconsistencies In Wolverine’s Portrayal In Comics Lead To More Changes?

by Benjamin Hall

[***Warning Of Spoilers For Major Wolverine & X-Men Related Storylines like Days Of Future Past & Age Of Ultron!]
Most comics fans know Wolverine as a character of average height (for a modern North American) with metal claws and the ability to heal from any injury. However, in his earlier appearances, these and other aspects of his character were vastly different in many ways. For one thing, his height was around 5’3″ until around the 1992-1993 X-Men event “X-Cutioner’s Song.” After which he grew several inches to around 5’7″ or 6 feet depending on the artist (though exceptions such as the story Wolverine: The Brotherhood (2004) have reverted).

Another difference is that his claws sprouted out of the top of hands from metal sockets previously. This started to change before the start of “X-Cutioner’s Song”, and it is gone in the aftermath of the 1993 X-Men event “Fatal Attractions.” In the latter event’s aftermath, Wolverine’s bone claws are retconned as the truth, versus the past belief they were mechanical.
After the bone claws got added to the mythos, Marvel comics staff would start playing around with the limits of Wolverine’s healing factor. In earlier appearances, he could be killed with enough damage, such as when he dies in the possible future of “Days Of Future Past” (The Uncanny X-Men #141 and 142 [1981]). Yet, now he is essentially unkillable by any means, as pointed out by his return to life in Marvel Legacy (2017) and Infinity Countdown (2018). Though even before recent events there was the Civil War (2006-2007) tie-in Civil War: Wolverine (2007) where Logan came back from almost complete disintegration. In other words, Wolverine has become less of a tough guy anti-hero and more of a cosmic-level character.
Yet the largest area of inconsistency is, arguably, his intelligence. One can look at Logan’s long life, and the number of both real and false memories, and rationalize that he is close to being a genius. However, throughout Marvel’s publishing of Wolverine’s adventures, he is often shown by writers like Jason Aaron and Brian Michael Bendis as more brutish than wise or smart. For example during the event Age Of Ultron (2013) Bendis writes Wolverine as being nothing more than a killer versus someone with knowledge and experience about the intricacies of time-travel.
It is these past problems that make me believe Marvel may mishandle the mystery of Wolverine’s return much like they did with Captain America in Secret Empire (2017). However, time will tell whether fans will get burned yet again.

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