Marvel’s X-Men Reboot Has Exposed A Problem with Wolverine’s Character

Since the X-Men relocated to Krakoa, Wolverine’s classic role as the team member who takes on the most violent tasks has become a bit more complicated. His ability to heal quickly has come in handy on more than one occasion in the many clashes he and the other X-Men have fought through in their history. Now that the X-Men have established their own nation, things are a bit different. The mutants have the capability to resurrect themselves, meaning the ability to take an inordinate amount of damage isn’t exclusive just to the Wolverine.

That said, it doesn’t mean they still don’t make good use of his claws, strength, and killer instinct. While X-Force‘s Colossus has put fighting behind him for good now that he doesn’t have to do it, Wolverine is still tearing through enemies as a quick and efficient means to cut away the threats they pose to Krakoa. On the surface this doesn’t seem so bad, as it is not too different from before. But the fact that he’s not the only one who also comes with a useful form of invulnerability does complicate his continued dedication to fighting.

The resurrection protocols on Krakoa have changed things immensely. Wolverine has done a lot to try to protect people—especially kids with powers—from having a life of violence forced upon them. This includes Scout, the clone of his own clone, X-23. Now that a paradise like Krakoa exists, his usefulness as a damage sponge with claws and teeth is null thanks to his no longer being the only one who can afford to take that kind of damage. His persistent slicing through enemies does come off as a lot less heroic, now that it’s no longer in part for the sake of protecting his more vulnerable comrades.

One of the fascinating things about Wolverine as a superhero character is how he’s portrayed as the “reluctant hero.” Unlike Spider-Man, whose youth, inexperience, and desire for a normal teenager’s life hold him back from taking on a hero’s responsibility, Wolverine already knows he’s strong enough to take on anyone who threatens him or his friends, and it’s more a matter of what he knows he might have to become in order to do that. The bestial implications of it is very similar to the struggle of many werewolf characters, as well as other characters who possess a power rooted in the attributes of a predatory animal. In order to tap into that power, they must shed their humanity. This is something which usually brings them great reticence to use their power, and shame when they do and then potentially lose control. Wolverine experiences this when he gets caught up in battle and goes into a “berserker rage.”

More than likely, this is a way of life that someone like Wolverine can’t let go of, even if it only serves to paint him as even less of a hero. That was never the point with him. While his initial intentions were noble, at their core what was most important was preventing many of his teammates from getting hurt by taking the brunt of the injuries in the midst of tearing through those who threaten those same teammates. But it seems that for him, unfortunately, the fact that the dynamic has changed doesn’t change things for him. He still needs to be the one tearing through threats because that’s all he knows. A violent way of life can be a difficult thing to let go of, and considering everything Wolverine’s gone through, it’s no surprise that he can’t respond to threats differently from how he’s done before.

While it’s possible too that Xavier is keeping him this way because that’s the only way he can be useful as a member of the X-Men, Wolverine was never one to let himself be leashed. It’s more likely that his unresolved trauma makes it difficult for him to confront problems in any other way than with violence. And if that’s the case, it’ll be interesting to see where the character develops from here on out.

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