I know what some of you are probably thinking... ANOTHER Wolverine ongoing title? Really!?
But reading the article I actually found myself agreeing with a lot of what Huston was saying about Wolverine...
"Part of the reason I told the story I wanted to tell was because the character has become so superhuman. There's almost nothing you can do to hurt Wolverine. When I was a kid, I was really into the character. The thing that was originally cool about Wolverine was that he was a social misfit within the X-Men. He was the bad guy that was trying to redeem himself. He could be killed. You could actually kill Wolverine at one point. So the character was vulnerable. He was actually mortal. He didn't just off the cuff kill thousands of people," Huston explained. "The whole struggle for Wolverine was to live and work within the X-Men's structure and not be a killer. That was cool, and having him be kind of vulgar and low brow was interesting, especially when you found out he's got this honorable Japanese warrior side. But all of a sudden, it turned out that he knew everything about everyone at all times. He was like some weird combination of the Watcher, Batman, Daredevil and Superman. He was everything to everybody."
I totally agree with this, and to be honest it's probably the key reason I got turned off Wolverine in the last decade. I loved reading his solo book growing up. I loved reading him within the X-Men. But the more that was revealed of his past tying in with almost EVERY character in the Marvel universe, across the decades... I dunno. It got silly. And to be honest, the more we knew of his actual past , the more of the mystique the character held was whittled away too.
But it certainly was the ridiculousness of Wolverine's healing factor which has made things so dull for me. in Civil War he had every inch of skin, every piece of muscle, burnt off his body. And he still regenerated...
So how do you fix that? How do you pose him a threat?
Huston's new villain would come to be called Contagion, and Huston has created him to be as different from Wolverine as possible. " I wanted someone who was tall, physically beautiful and elegant, highly educated, incredibly self aware and erudite. Also, someone who had no physical prowess whatsoever and was incredibly fragile physically. He's someone that you can't have Wolverine fight, because there really would be no fight. If it ever came to blows, Wolverine would just kill this character," the writer revealed. "He would be someone who could dominate Logan intellectually but also pose a perverse kind of physical threat."
And the threat Contagion poses is a major one. The character himself may be fragile, but he could kill millions with just a few drops of his blood. This twist has allowed Huston to inject a sense of drama and danger into Logan's life that the writer feels has been lacking due to Wolverine's healing ability becoming more and more powerful over the years.
Excellent. The kind of blood in this guys body could kill millions, could perhaps even kill Wolverine! One thing's for sure, Logan is going to need to be clever here. No just stabbing the guy to death with his Claws! Thank GOD!
But I suppose you are wondering just what this might have to do with Marvel UK? Well...
In order to bring Wolverine's power level down, in a sense, Huston and Ryp will introduce Contagion's band of defenders, a team called The Unkillables. "I wanted to avoid giving the character minions, but then at a certain point I realized that I needed them. It wasn't so much as the character needed them, but there was another aspect of the plot that I needed to fulfill, and in fulfilling that area I brought all these weird, obscure characters into this story. They became minions because it was so surreal and over the top at that point that it stopped seeming like a cop-out and started seeming like fun," Huston explained. "Since the villain of this series is named Contagion, there are obviously disease and genetics aspects to [the title], so it won't take quite a bit of imagination to see why a character with those interests might be interested in Wolverine as well. And just to fill in the background and have some interesting references, I was looking for obscure Marvel characters that might have healing factors without being gods, or have some aspect of their powers that was related to diseases...
Again, a clever thought. And could build up some very interesting battles.
"In the process of culling the research that the nice people at Marvel did for me, some of these characters, rather than being footnotes, became really central to the story and a lot of fun to play with," Huston continued. "It's fun to take characters that don't have a whole lot of continuity, especially some characters who have literally never appeared in more than one issue of a comic before or completely predate even Golden Age continuity, and drag them into this universe. Then I was like, 'Yeah - lets do a lot of that,' actually."
Bringing obscure characters from Marvel continuity out for a showcasing? Now doesn't that just sound like my own personal cup of tea...?
The Unkillables' roster is comprised of several characters drawn from Marvel Comics' seventy years of history, with Huston only able to hint at and reveal the identities of a few of the team members. "This will give you an idea of how obscure and fringy we're getting here. Of the Unkillables, I think the best known character is going to be Madcap and the least known one is going to be a character named Harry Sykes, who is just not going to show up anywhere [Laughs]," Huston revealed. "Someone is going to have to be very dedicated to have any info on him. There's also a character from the mystical part of the Marvel Universe named Immortalis."And there you have it.
Immortalis, for those who are drawing a blank, is the name which Mephisto gave to a man who tricked him into giving him eternal life.
A man named Mortigan Goth.
Long standing readers will remember that I have a soft spot for Mortigan. I even tracked down his original artist, Mark Buckingham, to get him to do me a sketch of him a couple of years back at BICS.
Last we heard of Mortigan, was in a reference in Captain britain & MI13, mentioning how Mortigan had honoured the final wish of Winston Churchill, on his death bed, by bringing him the sword Excalibur - just so he could see it. just once, before he died.
Mortigan has largely appeared as a good guy in the past. But not a true, out and out, good guy. His soul, after all, was stolen by Mephisto. It will be interesting to see how he figures here, that's for sure.
Well done Mr Huston. You've just persuaded me to pick up a Wolverine book for the first time in some years. That alone is quite a feat!