Death of Wolverine is a 2014 comics event centering around the death of Wolverine. It chronicles Wolverine's final battle after he lost his Healing Factor during the "Killable" arc of his solo series, and the impact its aftermath had on many of his friends and enemies. The lead-up to the event was recounted in the final five issues of Volume 6 of his solo series and its annual, and were marketed under the tagline 3/2/1 Months To Die, respectively. The event itself was contained within the four-part Death of Wolverine limited series.
With Logan slowly dying of adamantium poisoning without his healing factor to keep him alive, he's forced to confront numerous enemies and allies from his past, including Reed Richards, Nuke, Kitty Pryde, Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth, Viper, the demon ninja Ogun, and ultimately, Dr. Cornelius. In the end, Logan sacrifices himself to save Cornelius' test subjects from his attempts to restart the Weapon Plus experiments.
The event was followed by several tie-in series and one-shots:
- Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America follows Deadpool and Captain America in an effort to recover as many of Logan's relics as they can to prevent him from being cloned (again).
- Death of Wolverine: Life After Logan follows Cyclops, Colossus and Nightcrawler, and Armor and how they deal with Logan's death.
- Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program immediately follows Logan's death. It chronicles the escape of the test subjects Logan sacrificed himself to save, and their discovery that Dr. Cornelius engineered them with an expiration date.
- Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy explores several characters with close personal connections to Wolverine: X-23, Daken, Sabretooth, Mystique and Lady Deathstrike. The series primarily concerns itself with how each of them react to Logan's death. This series, along with The Weapon X Program, leads directly into the ongoing Wolverines.
In addition to these series and one-shots, the impact of Logan's death is also explored in Storm #4, and issues #10-11 of Wolverine and the X-Men. And as noted above, the ongoing Wolverines spun out of the event, and follows the continuing adventures of the cast of The Weapon X Program and The Logan Legacy. Please see that page for details about this series.
Death of Wolverine and its tie-ins provide examples of:
- A Day in the Limelight: The Logan Legacy and Life After Logan both cast spotlights on different characters in how we see them cope with Logan's passing. X-23, Daken, Sabretooth, Deathstrike, and Mystique all get focus issues in The Logan Legacy. The stories in Life After Logan particularly focus on Armor, Cyclops, and Colossus and Nightcrawler.
- Bar Brawl: The best way Cyclops knew to honor Logan was to beat the crap out of a bunch of drunks at a bar.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: It may have made for a Dying Moment of Awesome, but being boiled alive and suffocated by being covered in molten adamantium is not a pleasant way to go.
- Demonic Possession: Ogun's M.O. He possesses Kitty in issue 3 of Death of Wolverine. It's later revealed that he hitched a ride on Logan to Dr. Cornelius' Paradise base, where he possesses Sharp.
- Due to the Dead: A significant part of the tie-ins features the various characters affected by Logan reacting to his death. Many of them are shown celebrating or honoring his life:
- Life After Logan:
- Colossus and Nightcrawler honoring Logan's memory by visiting the grave of Mariko Yashida, an annual tradition for Logan. They get into a fight with a bunch of ninjas. Also an annual tradition for Logan.
- Armor launches a Danger Room session intending to fight all of Logan's enemies in a simulation. However it quickly gets out of control and if not for Hellion's intervention, she might have actually been killed. She also intended to drink one of his beers, but Julian convinced her not to.
- Cyclops decides the best way to honor Logan's memory is to grab a few beers and get into a Bar Brawl with a bunch of drunks. He mops the floor with them before toasting Logan.
- The Logan Legacy:
- X-23 dyes her forelocks blue and gold in his memory, after learning the importance of symbols from Chinook.
- Daken takes a two-pronged approach: First, he utterly annihilates an auction selling relics of his father to a bunch of other villains to reclaim them. He then insists on giving him a traditional Japanese funeral.
- Lady Deathstrike carries out a mission against the Yakuza, breaking up a sex trafficking ring in the process of recovering the stolen Honor Sword of Clan Yashida. She returns the sword to a private cemetery Logan established for fallen friends and adversaries.
- Life After Logan:
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Elixir, in The Logan Legacy. He gets unceremoniously drained by Siphon and is left for dead by the rest of the characters in their escape. Although he got better somehow in time to turn up again in All-New X-Men.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: Logan runs out of time to find an elegant way to stop Cornelius from bonding his latest victims with adamantium, so he takes the direct approach and just slashes open the storage tanks, and gets sprayed by a boiling geyser of molten adamantium. Yet that's still not enough to stop him. As Cornelius flees Logan pursues him through the Paradise facility, tracks him down, and mortally wounds him. Finally, as the adamantium begins to cool and harden, Logan finally accepts his fate, telling himself that he's done enough with his life.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a series about the death of Wolverine.
- Face Death with Dignity: Logan faces his death-by-adamantium tomb by watching the sunset, and accepting that he's done enough with his life.
- Fire-Forged Friends: How Cyclops defines his relationship with Logan in the end.
- Five Stages of Grief: Explored throughout the tie-ins. It's a particular focus for X-23's spotlight issue of The Logan Legacy, as she deals with her anger over Logan's death.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In issue 1 of The Logan Legacy, X-23 recommends to Daken that they take Sabretooth down for good. Without missing a beat, Creed snarks back to Laura that he'll go down any time she likes.
- Gender Bender: Endo used to be a man before Paradise got hold of him.
- Grand Theft Me: It's revealed in issue 3 of Death of Wolverine that Ogun has possessed and taken control of Kitty Pryde. Logan is able to drive him out again.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Without time for a more elegant solution, Logan decides to just slash open the storage tanks for the molten adamantium Dr. Cornelius is preparing to inject into his test subjects, even though he knows it will likely kill him in the process.
- Hypocrite: As the page quote shows, when Logan bears down on him, Cornelius defiantly asks what Logan has ever done besides kill people. This is coming from a man who freely admitted to having killed hundreds of people in his experiments, while showing no remorse at all for their deaths.
- It's All About Me: Cornelius has spent years trying to perfect what he did with Logan, pursuing the creation of an unstoppable, obedient super-soldier, and killing countless test subjects along the way, all because he believes he "deserves" to be remembered for something other than making a killer.
- Killed Off for Real: Pretty much the whole point of the series.
- Mistaken for Prostitute: An interesting subversion during The Logan Legacy: While trying to wind down at a goth club following Wolverine's death, X-23 is approached and propositioned by a man at the club. The subversion comes in in that Laura was a prostitute at one time, but has long since retired. She explains the situation and otherwise lets the hapless John down gently (as well as saving his life when the club is attacked by a pack of nihilistic idiots with too much time on their hands).
- Noodle Incident: At some point Dr. Cornelius captured X-23, Daken, Sabretooth, Deathstrike, and Mystique, and implanted trigger words in their minds that would allow him to control or kill them at will. When or how this happened was never explained.
- Now What?: Sabretooth doesn't exactly take Logan's death well, having defined himself as Logan's Always Someone Better for most of his life. His focus issue of The Logan Legacy begins with him even kidnapping poor schlubs off the street, sticking them in Wolverine masks, taping knives to their hands, and then slaughtering them, at a loss for what to do without his nemesis.
- Parting Words Regret: In the Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America issue, Steve Rogers admits that he has come to regret what he told Logan at the end of their first encounter in the present day: "You had better hope the X-Men never get tired of putting up with you - because I can guarantee The Avengers would never have you!" Naturally, Deadpool has a good laugh at the eventual Irony of that statement.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Despite Logan's sacrifice, most of Cornelius's test subjects are unable to escape. Sharp gathers a small group consisting of himself, Neuro, Endo, Skel, Junk, and an unnamed woman (who Neuro casually murders in The Weapon X Project before we learn anything about her), but the rest are evacuated by Paradise's staff, where they continue to face experimentation.
- Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Daken spared the life of a former lover in his rampage against the auction selling his father's artifacts, telling him to live a long, and happy life. When the man reports back to his Hydra superiors and they realize he's not telling them everything, they Mind Rape him to discover that all he was withholding was the nature of his relationship with Daken.
- Significant Haircut: The Logan Legacy #1 reveals that X-23 dyed her forelocks blue and gold in Logan's memory. #2 reveals more details as to why, specifically an experience that teachers her the value of symbols.
- Super Soldier: Sharp was intended to be this. He was an ex-Delta soldier who volunteered for Cornelius's experiments, and received several enhancements. He's also possessed by the demon ninja Ogun, granting him access to Ogun's considerable martial skills.
- Taken for Granite: Logan's ultimate fate: Encased within a shell of adamantium. It's unclear whether he succumbed to suffocation or the massive third degree burns he would have suffered when doused with molten adamantium first.
- Token Good Teammate:
- Junk and Endo in The Weapon X Project. Junk was a small-time crook, but generally a decent person, while Endo was a normal man who didn't even volunteer, but was kidnapped, his fiance murdered, and then turned into a woman and had his memory wiped. By contrast, Sharp was ex-Delta who did some pretty awful things (and is also carting around the demon ninja Ogun in his head), Neuro was a serial killer who preyed on women.
- X-23 and Elixir in The Logan Legacy are the only unambiguously heroic character imprisoned by Sharp.