|Wolverine #9 cover by Alan Davis|
By Josh Wigler
He's the best there is at what he does—and right now, "what he does" does not include the words "healing factor."
In WOLVERINE, writer Paul Cornell has stripped Logan of his defining mutant power: the ability to heal and regenerate at rapid speeds. Without his healing factor, Logan is, as the title of the current arc states plainly, “Killable.”
That headline has not been lost on Wolverine's many enemies, either; already, Batroc the Leaper and the shape-shifting Mystique have made moves against the claw-popping hero. An already deadly situation will get even worse for Logan, as he and Kitty Pryde find out when they head to the old Howlett estate in next month's WOLVERINE #10.
Ahead of that issue, we caught up with Cornell for further details on “Killable,” Logan's weakened condition, future appearances from the Watcher, and much more.
Marvel.com: Logan's gone through quite the bumpy ride in your WOLVERINE run. He fought against a virus-controlled child, he nearly drowned, and now his healing factor is gone. Do you have some personal vendetta against Wolverine that we don't know about, Paul? Or is Wolverine just at his best when he's in pain and turmoil?
|Wolverine #10 cover by Alan Davis|
Paul Cornell: Well, the latter. Pain and turmoil is what drama is. Every now and then I'm tempted to have him having a nice tea and cakes for 20 pages, but how would [editor] Jeanine [Schaefer] write the solicitation for that?
Marvel.com: Wolverine without his healing factor makes him, as the title of the arc states plainly, "Killable." What changes about how you approach writing Logan when his powers are removed? For example, do you have to take a new approach to his fighting style? Is he a bit more melancholic?
Paul Cornell: He's certainly a bit more melancholy, in that he's been suddenly faced with what most of us have years to get used to: the idea of mortality. He will indeed, over time, start to build a new fighting style, but right now he's having to rely on what he's got, and hope it doesn't get him killed.
Marvel.com: Wolverine's current nemesis is a hard one to punch: a mind-controlling Microverse virus. Where did the idea for this enemy come from? What makes this a tough villain during this extraordinarily tough time in Logan's life?
|Wolverine #10 preview art by Alan Davis|
Paul Cornell: I wanted something he couldn't just cut up, and innocent people controlled by a virus really worked for that. He has to think harder when dealing with them. And it's all leading towards a payoff at the end of the arc in #13.
Marvel.com: The virus isn't the only antagonist on Logan's path. Batroc came after him in WOLVERINE #9, and we know Mystique and potentially even Sabretooth have their eyes set on Logan as well. Can you talk about some of these flesh-and-blood threats that Wolverine will continue to go against as "Killable" progresses?
Paul Cornell: Sabretooth has not only put a bounty on Logan's head, but he has working with him, as X-title readers will know, some of the most powerful villains from Wolverine's past. All of them would like to see just what "killable" means in practice. Sabretooth is a long shadow looming over this title. It'll be a while before he arrives.
Marvel.com: One of my favorite parts about your WOLVERINE run so far is seeing who you're pitting Wolverine against, from allies like Nick Fury and Storm to adversaries like Batroc and—for a minute—Black Panther. What goes into your "casting choices," as far as selecting characters to put on Logan's path? How did the idea for having Batroc in this issue come about, for instance?
|Wolverine #11 cover by Alan Davis|
Paul Cornell: They're all for specific effects. Batroc, for instance, is sometimes regarded as a bit silly. That's useful when you make him the first villain that the newly-vulnerable Logan fights, in that the reader reaction is, "Is he really even going to have trouble beating Batroc?" But then we make Batroc an impressive foe, and it becomes more a question of exactly how Logan will survive, and so we can see him having to dig deep against someone everyone would normally expect him to breeze past, without having him compromised by fighting someone silly.
Marvel.com: Speaking of casting choices, Kitty Pryde is riding shotgun on Logan's current journey. What went into the choice to cast Kitty as the co-lead? Of all the characters in Logan's life, what makes Kitty the right person to share this story with?
Paul Cornell: I love Kitty, and I love her relationship with Logan. They've come such a long way together. She used to be his apprentice, but right now she's exactly the right person to be the calm voice of reason, when he's under what could be terminal pressure. I always wanted her around when things came to the terrible point they're going to come to. They're going to take a walk into the valley of death together.
Marvel.com: There's a lot of history between Wolverine and Japanese culture. We saw that in "The Wolverine" film this past summer, and now in your run, the theft of Logan's prized sword is a major plot point. What is it about Wolverine as a character that fits so well with that world and culture?
|Wolverine #12 cover by Alan Davis|
Paul Cornell: I think he's a little incongruous in that culture, but as Chris Claremont realized when he first developed that thread, that incongruity says a lot about what Logan is capable of, under the surface. I've decided that, as a man of the people, he wouldn't be that keen on nobility, but he certainly knows how he should behave around them.
Marvel.com: Early on in your run, Wolverine encountered the Watcher, a portent of grave things to come. We haven't seen the Watcher in a little while now. Is it fair to say we'll get a clearer sense of his role and interest in things by the time “Killable” reaches an end?
Paul Cornell: The Watcher will appear one more time.
Marvel.com: Alan Davis' work on these issues is fantastic, especially Logan's battles against T'Challa and Batroc. Can you tease some of your favorite Alan Davis art that's coming up as Killable pushes on?
Paul Cornell: His Hand ninjas are something to behold. And we're going to see a lot of the emotional detail work he's also so good at.
Marvel.com: Looking forward, Logan has his sights set on the old Howlett estate as the next stop on the tour. Without tipping your hand too much, what can you tell us about what happens there? What's next for the killable Wolverine?
Paul Cornell: That's where we'll be staying to the end of the arc. You could call it the killing bottle. It's not what you expect.
Pick up WOLVERINE #9, on sale now, and get ready for the next installment of “Killable” coming in issue #10 next month