By Jim Beard
What does an anniversary mean? Depends on who you ask. If you're asking Wolverine, the most popular X-Man of the past 35 years, you may be surprised at the answer.
Two writers dare to pose that question in WOLVERINE: THE ANNIVERSARY, due on April 22. A unique one-shot for a unique character, the book features two all-new stories featuring Logan at his very best, and quite possibly his most vulnerable.
"Logan is traveling to Japan to pay his respects to [his one-time lover] Mariko on the anniversary of her death, and his flight is hijacked by terrorists," reports William Harms on his story. "The terrorists have devised a pretty ingenious way of ensuring that their plans aren't foiled, which means that Logan has his work cut out for him. He needs to tread very, very carefully.
"A lot of the fun in developing this story was breaking down how Logan would deal the hijackers in such a confined space. He can't simply pop his claws and go charging in, or hundreds of people die. So he really has to tap into all of his abilities and use them to his advantage."
Harms, known far and wide as a crafter of horror tales that get under the skin, found much in his own professional experience to weave around the ferocious mutant and his history.
"The thing I enjoy about writing horror is taking ordinary people and placing them in extraordinary and terrifying situations," he says. "Inherently, that creates a lot of
tension. And though Logan isn't 'normal' by any stretch of the imagination, given the state of the world we live in, everyone can imagine what it'd be like to be on a plane that's been hijacked. You don't need to explain those circumstances; we all understand them on a visceral level.
"Beyond that, one thing I really wanted to do with 'The Anniversary' is show that these large-scale, violent acts have repercussions beyond the people that are immediately killed. A terrorist act on this scale has long-lasting repercussions, including the ruination of families. And with Logan still feeling the pain from Mariko's murder, he's determined to make sure that no one has to endure the same pain that he has."
Often considered the immovable rock of the X-Men, there's much more going on underneath Wolverine's craggy exterior, the writer claims.
"Physically, Logan can survive pretty much anything," notes Harms. "Emotionally, though, I like to think that he has the same vulnerabilities the rest of us have, although he's a lot better at burying them. When Mariko was murdered, it broke his heart, and he carries that pain with him every day. And it's that pain and sorrow that drives Logan's rage during the course of the story, motivating him to see the story through to its bloody, vengeance-fueled conclusion."
Joining Harms on WOLVERINE: THE ANNIVERSARY, author Jonathan Maberry also puts his own career as a novelist and martial arts authority to work on a new adventure for Logan.
"'Ghosts' is a brief, surreal glimpse into the tortured mind of one of Marvel's most enduring heroes," Maberry describes. "Logan's lived a long time and he's developed a unique relationship with death. In 'Ghosts' we see how the veil between life and death can blur for someone like him, and we get a sense of the forces that drive him."
Maberry's experiences as a bodyguard and in law enforcement allow him a unique perspective on a character who he sees as "one of the world's deadliest fighters."
"The warrior mindset is epitomized in characters like Wolverine—someone who can balance the combative needs of the moment with an introspection that touches on the mystic. In the heat of a battle there is a serene center, a spiritual eye of the storm, where the mind approaches crystal clarity. I've seen that on a very modest level, but with Wolverine I could explore the elegant simplicity on a much more profound level."
"Ghosts" ties into Mariko's demise, too, accentuating the scars it left behind.
"Think about it: to know that your soul mate is dying and the only solace you can provide is to murder her so she can escape further pain," Mayberry posits. "Logan's mind must be an inferno of grief and doubt, and I wanted to take the readers into that inferno and let them share the heat."
Celebrate and mourn with Logan in WOLVERINE: THE ANNIVERSARY on April 22. For more Wolverine, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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