Posted by : Wendy B Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Of course he's qualified.

Some of my peers are somewhat disappointed in Wolverine and the X-Men, finding its (successful, according to this review) attempt at MTV audience targeting to be an unfortunate choice that does not appeal to them.

I don't disagree that it was a bit over the top here and there with the sillies (really, Beast?), and it was definitely aimed at a much younger audience, but I believe that's the point, for a few important reasons -- the most important one being:

1. Marketing
Thanks to the Starfire controversy and this subsequent blog post, we've had discussions about the need for comics to cater to both adults and a younger audience. Considering, like myself, many of the adults reading comics want the maturity, but, now that we have our own children, we want to share our love with them. I can't exactly offer up Wolverine's guts or Catwoman's angry sex to my daughters. How do we give the younger audience the characters we love, while still allowing the older audience to appreciate the more mature stories?

The way I see it, while Wolverine and the X-Men may not appeal to the grown-ups, it was a conscious marketing effort on Marvel's part to freshen things up and provide a book for a younger audience without alienating its established audience by dumping the other, more maturely themed X-titles. Basically the exact opposite of what DC has done.

2. Let kids be kids
X-Babies are not relevant. Just cute.
Schism set about to separate Logan and Scott and allow for the launch of two new titles, featuring those two as leaders. Four other X-titles still exist, if my math is right, giving us a total of six books, three for each "team." Scott's group has Generation Hope, which is a group of young kids led by Hope Summers. Logan's group has all the rest of the kids at the school. The theme prevalent within Schism was "childhood." Children. Their enemies were children. Logan and Scott fought over the children. And at the heart was the image of Charles and his original X-Men - all of whom became X-Men as children.

Since M-Day and the 198 business, the X-titles have put an emphasis on the fact that we finally have some new mutants popping up so it makes sense that some of the books would be about them, specifically - and it's not the first time we've had an institute-centric X-title. As per Logan's point of view, do we want to constantly see these kids as soldiers? Is that what it means to be a mutant?

I haven't read Generation Hope yet and don't know what route and tone that will take, but I like the idea of Wolverine and the X-Men being a book where all these mutant children get to be just that. And the adults teaching there get a break, too.... except when they get attacked by something. Sure The FU Scott Jean Grey Academy will get blown up a few times along the way, but sometimes, life is like that. I like the idea of the book being more light-hearted. Since my return to comics, I've noticed a heavy trend towards violence and gloom. Certainly comics were violent before, but every opportunity now is taken to show us the bloody. Which brings me to my next point:

3. Give Wolverine a break
"I'm kinda tired of this
shit. I think I'll
run a school instead."
Scott ordered Wolverine to form X-Force so that that team could run off and kill things. When something bad happens, Wolverine is sent in first to take the fire. Writers have built him up as a berserker and want us to believe that he loves doing it, but the writers have also, recently, started hinting that maaaaybe Logan's a bit tired of being that guy. And maybe readers are a bit tired of seeing him that way, too. I know I am.

With this kind of stuff on his resume, Logan certainly does not seem the appropriate person to be teaching kids anything positive, but for me, I see no other X-Man who has ever truly shown any genuine interest in and care for the younger generation (even though he says otherwise). Emma may love teaching, but the Logan that I have always loved is the one that takes care of the girls kids. It started with Kitty Pryde. Then came Jubilee. The first X-Men movie recognized this and gave him MarieAstonishing X-Men has much snappy banter with Armor, and finally, we have Idie, who, according to the relationship build up in Schism, was the final catalyst in Logan's decision.
Face it. Wolverine is never going to die. Not just because of his healing factor, but because he's one of, if not the most popular character in Marvel's line up. No, he's not going to make a good headmaster, but at least it's something new, and, I hope, something interesting for his character. Let's see where his new role takes him...

3 Responses so far.

  1. That's part of the reason, despite whatever he may have done, that this could be a good way for them to have Wolverine move on as a character and show more facets of who he is. If he's going to change for the better and become Zen!Wolverine, who's better to make him evaluate himself and his motives than children.

    Looking at Idie as an example, she thinks they're monsters. For years now, Wolverine has also pretty much said that he was a monster. Now, it's time to examine why this is, make his peace with it, and try to relate this to Idie. Children are a great catalyst for changing a character. Parents (and Wolvie would be their parent figure) often change to be better for their children. They don't forget who they were before them, and that's a good thing. They have experience on their side. It's all nice and well to have someone drilling into her head that she's not a monster. However, right there, they've given Logan the opening to acknowledge he's a beast from his experiences and think about what would it take to make a person value who they are.

    I can also see where this could have the opposite affect on Logan and still be a good read. However, that would fallback on old cliches about him being too much like a solitary beast rather than allowing his character to move beyond his stasis. Logan isn't a good choice for headmaster for sure, but this might be the opportunity to make him just more than the gruff loner with a soft spot for kids. He can learn about himself while helping the kids discover themselves. That's if they don't chicken out and give Logan the easy out by saying he's suited

  2. There's just no way I'm going to be able to keep up with the X-books, due to cost mainly. I was hoping the Schism storyline would thin the ranks and leave a definitive book to read. Think I'll just stick with X-force.

  3. Nope, Schism only allowed for more books. If you've already started one, then stick with it. I'm still partial to Astonishing, though 4 of my favourite characters from the team are now with Wolverine.

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This is my mindspill. Mostly about comics, books, video games, movies of the science fiction and fantasy leanings. Sometimes recipes and parenting stuff will sneak in, along with a real world rant or two.

I also write about geek culture at Women Write About Comics, and I review genre fiction at The BiblioSanctum.

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