It's nice to feel part of something larger, to be connected to others through a similar sensibility or predilection. And so, as I finished the last page of Logan #1 and groaned aloud, there was an element of pleasure in the groan, knowing that there would be others like me who had groaned aloud at the cheapness of the cliffhanger, and it was possible, almost, to imagine my groan joining others already in the air, mingling there in some luminiferous aether of fanboy disgruntlement.
After the jump, the spoiler, some snark, and a dramatic reduction in the hoity-toityness of the post's tone.
So, yes. Logan's in Japan at the end of World War II. He busts out of a prison, befriends an American soldier, tries to be the voice of reason, and then saves the life of a lovely Japanese woman who repays him by bedding him down. And on the last page, we learn this idyllic Japanese area he finds himself in is...Hiroshima.
Now, don't get me wrong. Do I want to see Logan stumbling around all Barefoot Gen, his flesh cooking off him and regrowing while he endures a visual tapestry of horrors? Hells, yes. But while fellow SCer Douglas rightly berates this cliffhanger as cheap, I found my groan came not as much from the cheapness of it, but that Vaughan, student of structure that he is, had found a quick and easy escape hatch to an nearly infinite number of Wolverine storylines which anyone can now exploit. In the interest of making the jobs of wanna-be-Ways and aspiring-Tieris even easier, allow me to extrapolate a few of the next nine hundred Wolverine miniseries:
- A routine Poutine delivery gone terribly wrong puts Logan in the center of the cauldron of Stalingrad. How will his mutant healing power affect the duel of two master snipers battling for supremacy of the city?
- Logan arrives in chaotic Uganda in early 1978 after his longtime wargame-by-correspondence opponent sends several frantic messages; upon further investigation, he discovers the man he thought was his friend (and fellow "Starship Troopers" afficionado) is none other than Idi Amin Dada! Hijinks!
- It's Logan and Deadpool competing to find the mythical Brewster's Millions in The Republic of Biafra at just the wrong time. Is Sabretooth involved?
- Logan has finally met Ms. Right and her name is Marlo Thomas! Unfortunately for Logan, she has also begun dating the very sexy, very influential politican Henry Kissinger. Who will win her love?
I think you can see where I'm going with this. Taking genuine historical tragedies and JephLoeberizing them so they become another big reveal and yet another way for the story to achieve some sort of impact it hasn't earned is distasteful and, yeah, cheap. It can also be kind of fun, frankly, and probably a legitimate venue of superhero stories from the first time, I dunno, Superboy spanked Benedict Arnold or something.
I mean, I'm just about to start in on the thirteenth volume of a Japanese sniper who, if the books are to be believed, has helped shape the history of the world through little more than his superb marksmanship and well-above-average penis. Why should I care if writers pitching a miniseries can now ransack through our atrocity exhibition in search of that perfect cock for Logan to punch? ("Hey, how about Leopold & Loeb? Two cocks!")
I wish I could tell you. I think maybe it, again, has to do with the cheapness (say what you will about Golgo 13, but it sure seems like they research the shit out of those stories) and maybe it has something to do with mutantkind's own Arthur Fonzarelli. Wolverine is, in my mind, a fascinating metaphor for Western Civilization and the Industrial Revolution as viewed through post-Industrial Revolution eyes: civilization has literally made him a piece of machinery, his sniktastic claws popping with the regularity of a piece of assembly line robotics. He is the little guy made powerful through that glory of industrialization, a regular job in which he's a specialist ("the best he is at what he does," etc., etc.). It's little wonder that Wolverine has ended up tied so closely with Japan, being as they took that industrial template to the next level.
And yet, although I appreciate the bathos and male self-pity that surrounds Logan whenever it's put in a Western civilization blue collar context (sitting in a honky-tonk, staring bitterly into his beer; weeping over his inability to understand his own past, befouled as it is by the arbiters of history), it bugs me that he'll be in Hiroshima, or Laos, or Biafra, suffering as they have suffered. Because although that is the nature of male self-pity--God, why must it always be all about me!--to subsume everything in its quest to bemoan itself, Logan should suffer as we have suffered (and, yeah, I mean, post-industrial, Western Civilization "we") and not as those onto which we have shoveled all our shit (and bombs, and toxins, and crappy snack crackers) have suffered. It rankles a bit.
On the other hand, the art is nice even if the price is a bit steep. I'm going with an above-EH, in a "I pray for my soul" kind of way.