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Paul Cornell & Alan Davis Team for New ‘Wolverine’ Series in March

Among the many Marvel Comics characters who are part of the publisher’s Marvel NOW relaunch initiative is of course Wolverine. Very arguably Marvel’s flagship character, the X-Man also known as Logan appears in seemingly all areas of the publisher’s line, from X-Men to Avengers to Ultimate Comics and even the mature readers MAX label, and has himself enjoyed a solo title in continuous (albeit occasionally renumbered) publication since the late 1980s. Through it all, Wolverine has maintained his famous idiom, “I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn’t very nice,” with what he does being killing people in typically entertaining ways like swinging his razor sharp adamantium claws whilst in a berserker rage. But in the new book by writer Paul Cornell (Demon Knights, Captain Britain and MI13) and the great superhero penciller Alan Davis (JLA: The Nail, Captain Britain), Wolverine is challenged to defeat a new threat in a most unusual way: killing fewer people?Cornell spoke about this seemingly bloodless Wolverine story in an interview for Marvel.com, in which he emphasized the book’s focus on Wolverine as a “regular guy,” hanging out with regular New Yorkers, and exploring his innermost peculiarities — including why he calls people “bub.”

The most amazing thing about James is that he’s been alive so long, gone through so many extraordinary things, is such a strange being, but holds on — very hard — to being a guy who likes to hang out in bars with good company, who can run a school, who’s a decent, civilized man. Most of the time. No vampire alienation and boredom for him. He’s a man of the people. I’m going to poke that and see what happens.

It’s very honestly news to me that Wolverine’s real name is “James,” so I’m hardly an expert, but Cornell’s take strikes me as very distinct from the hairy, tortured loner or violent adventurer that Wolverine’s been characterized as in previous series and films and so forth (not to mention Frank Cho’s forthcoming Marvel NOW book Savage Wolverine.) Which is not necessarily a criticism; indeed, the stated mission of Marvel NOW is to relaunch series with new takes and new status quos, and what Cornell describes — “…it occurs to me that James is the super hero I would be most comfortable in handing my child to” — would seem to qualify as such.

Of course Logan’s James’ restricted actions are dictated by a new threat, one that even the famous hunter Wolverine cannot identify. Cornell is keeping quiet for now, but says the villain is new and puts forth a circumstance where Wolverine is forced to do something “not very nice” in front of an “innocent party,” and that he cannot allow it to happen again.

In a press release Marvel’s editor-in-chief Axel Alonso added that the story is a “globe-spanning, high-octane adventure, chocked full of big budget action and cameos by Marvel’s finest super heroes, that will leave readers gasping, and begging for more,” which may yet prove to be true if Alan Davis continues to draw the book for some time. One of Cornell’s heroes from the old X-Men days of Chris Claremont, Davis remains one of superhero comics’ most highly skilled draftsmen of the Modern Age school, and it’s always a pleasure to see his and inker Mark Farmer’s routinely great pages.

Wolverine #1 goes on sale in March 2013.

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