Wolverine 2?

From MTV Splash:

Late last year, “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” star Hugh Jackman began teasing that he’d like to bring Logan to Japan for a live-action adaptation of Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s fan-favorite story arc that had the Marvel Comics hero learning Eastern philosophy and fighting skills. While the actor offered up a confirmation of sorts prior to “Wolverine” hitting theaters that he was “talking to writers” about going the Japanese route for the sequel, the studio made it official after the film found success at the box office.

During this weekend’s Teen Choice Awards, Jackman devoted part of his acceptance speech (“Wolverine” won the action/adventure film category) to teasing the aforementioned sequel — and Logan’s impending journey to Japan.

“Who knows, maybe Wolverine will use one of these when he heads to Japan,” Jackman told the crowd, holding up the surfboard that served as the award. “See you next time around!”

While I have still not seen the Wolverine film (my fanboy membership card is in danger of being revoked), I have to admit that I am rather stunned that a sequel is being planned after the reception this movie has received. Neither panned nor praised, the funniest thing I have heard said about it is that it is deeply enjoyable if you are 12 years old. That’s not a dig at anyone who saw and enjoyed the movie, just a funny quote.

If the filmmakers are indeed looking toward a sequel it could very well be based loosely on the Frank Miller/Chris Claremont mini-series from 1982. One of the formative comics of my youth, this series is also vital to developing the character that we recognize as Wolverine today.

Prior to the Miller/Claremont comic, Wolverine was simply a rabble-rowser with claws. The story goes that on a return flight from a comic book convention Miller and Claremont plotted out the basis of the series utilizing each creators’ interests and strengths; Claremont’s interest in telling a compelling emotional story and Miller’s interest in Japanese culture. The result was a comic that defined the mutant killing machine, transforming him from a two-dimensional thug into a tragic and emotionally tortured character.

To Japan with love

In the 1983 mini-series, Wolverine breaks away from his teammates in the X-Men to travel to Japan where he attempted to win the heart of a refined lady, Mariko Yashida. Attracted to her refined beauty and porcelain fragility, Logan sees something that he can never be… civilized. Unfortunately Yuriko’s father is a crimelord named Shingen. In any normal conditions, Shingen would simply end up as a shredded mess at the end of Wolverine’s claws, but this Logan is striving to be a better man. Fighting on Shingen’s terms means that he risks losing his honor but gaining the respect of a society woman. After being defeated by Shingen (in a fixed battle), Logan encounters the criminal Yukio who is a proud rascal and thief. Wolverine denies the path of Yukio (but not her company, if you know what I mean) and strives to unravel the criminal empire of Shingen Yashida even if it costs him the love and attention of Mariko. One man against the mob, can he accomplish the job and stay a man or will he embrace his inner demons and devolve into an animal?

Sounds like a good movie, doesn’t it?

A romance story wrapped within a kung-fu epic, this 4 part story spilled over into the monthly issues of Uncanny X-Men that followed where readers were shocked to learn that their single Canadian was due to be married. The wedding never happened, of course, and Logan learned to accept that he was not worthy of her love or the acceptance of the normal world. Before this series was released, Wolverine was little more than a supporting character, afterwards he started on the path to superstar superhero.

From the short guy to the leading man

This series is so important in taking a giant leap from the depiction of Wolverine that John Byrne had worked on with Claremont where the hero was a crazed animal an inch away from cutting down anyone in his path given the excuse. Byrne has openly disagreed with the development of the noble yet tragic warrior and I can definitely understand where hew is coming from. However, the series exists and Wolverine is what he is. Moreover the movie version of Wolverine, informed by this sensitive and tragic warrior character-type, has become so popular and will no doubt stay with moviegoers for the duration.

Fifth time’s the charm?

If the 5th outing of Wolverine on film makes it to the screen I will be shocked but if they use the Frank Miller/Chris Claremont story as a basis, it could end up being a real treat for fans of the movies and comics both.

On Amazon:
Wolverine: By Frank Miller and Chris Claremont

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