The Wolverine . . . Within

Ever since his first appearance in a cameo in the Incredible Hulk #180 (October 1974) and then a full appearance in the next issue (The Incredible Hulk #181, November 1974), the Wolverine has undoubtedly been one of the most popular Marvel characters and has come a long way since, from comic books to the silver screen. With Hugh Jackman lending his face and unique charisma to the masked superhero of the comics, Wolverine found a place in millions of hearts, young and old alike. With Logan, which released in March this year, the saga of this X-Men character played by Hugh Jackman, the journey of 17 years came to an end and gave viewers a chance to look back upon the evolution of the Wolverine across the years. This article attempts to claw through the layers of Wolverine



THE HEALABLE - Skin, tissue and cells



Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long” – Logan



What makes Wolverine a superhuman is mutant body. His mutation allows him to heal any wound faster than any human can. This ability also protects him from most toxins. Due to the capacity of the cells to regenerate, Wolverine has significantly extended longevity and looks much younger than his chronological age too. Faster recovery at a cellular level also endows him with strength and better physical stamina.



THE UNBREAKABLE - The Adamantium skeleton



“Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long” – Logan



Dr. Cornelius, one of the senior scientists for the Weapon X project uses Wolverine’s ability to heal to create a scientific marvel. He tricks Logan into undergoing the experiment by promising him the best revenge for his love interest - Jean Grey’s murder. The painful procedure includes injecting molten adamantium (a fictitious metal, stronger than any other material on the planet) into the bones of Logan and replacing his real retractable claws with foot long curved blades made of adamantium. This turns the mutant into “Weapon X”, practically an indestructible weapon.



THE VULNERABLE - The mind



“Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long” – Logan



Beneath the healing flesh and under the unbreakable adamantium skeleton however lies the true human being - the Logan who is as human as we all are, as vulnerable to pain and emotional turmoil as well are. This layer of the Wolverine is no superhero. It is in fact the weakest portion of the Wolverine. Troubled by memories of death of and separation from loved ones, he wanders to collect the pieces of his fragmented life. Trying to douse his pain in alcohol and hide his pain behind his brute force, he ravages what comes in his path, but breaking within as well. This Wolverine is all together different from the animal. This one cares for people, protects the weak and the innocent and values relationships.



THE WOLVERINE WITHIN


Logan, the last movie of the franchise starring Hugh Jackman, left me with a thought that lingered long after leaving the movie theater – can we apply the Wolverine metaphor to our own (not so super hero) lives? Are we too made up of different layers and materials, of different (and rather contrary) characteristics, of a peculiar fusion of breakable and the unbreakable?


Occasionally we stumble upon individuals who astonish us with their own rather humble set of superpowers; individuals who may appear frail outwardly but garner an indomitable will, individuals with resilience that helps them heal and fight back, individuals who sport a smile on their faces wrinkled by the passing years that were not so pleasant - faces weathered by the shards of broken dreams. Their minds appear to be coated in the adamantium of determination and perseverance, and their bodies appear to heal with the faith and hope they strongly hold in a possibly better future. None of them will feature in the next Marvel comic, none of them may even pause a moment to stare at the Logan poster and visualize themselves in place of Hugh Jackman, but each one of them is no less than a superhero for their kin. Each one of us could be them! We needn’t wait for genetic mutation or aberrations of nature, we just need to evolve, backwards, to being humans again! We probably have come a tad bit too far, too soon. We need to take a step backwards . . . . a step within!

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