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He May Be The Best There Is, But What He Does Isn't Always Great Filmmaking: Five Wolverine Comics That Should Be Adaptated After The "Frank Miller One"

By Rob Payne | Lists | February 9, 2012 |

By Rob Payne | Lists | February 9, 2012 |

Yesterday, the new developments from Fox concerning Hugh Jackman’s next turn as The Wolverine got me thinking about what could come after. The newest one is still most likely a riff on Frank Miller’s and Chris Claremont’s star-anti-hero-making, singularly titled mini-series, Wolverine. With the unfortunate X-Men Origins also being a mash-up of comics about the character’s background, specifically Wolverine: Origin and Weapon X, Logan may wind up being the super hero with the closest reflection, out of the entire genre, to its comic counterpart. That’s even with Deadpool’s laser-eyes and inability to make meta-textual comments. So why not continue to raid Marvel’s House of Ideas?

It’s also been mentioned that Fox and Jackman might want to take the character and the franchise down the James Bondian road of having isolated adventures with new writers and directors each time. As opposed to the Mission: Impossible formula of just doing the same movie, ad infinitum. Like with Batman, I think this is absolutely the right way to go. And, as luck would have it, comic books do this all the time, changing creative teams so frequently that every title is fundamentally different every 2-3 years, while still basically telling the same stories about the same characters until they no longer make money.

Sounds perfect for Hollywood to me. With that in mind, listed below are the Five Wolverine Comics That Should Be Adapted Into Big Budget, Copyright-Saving, Hollywood Action Movies:

Wolverine: Enemy of the State - by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
Enemy of the State has everything you would want in a Wolverine story: ninja, ninja assassins, versus the Marvel Universe heroes, all wrapped up in a mystery worthy of Raymond Chandler. Not every cameo could appear in the film, for legal reasons, but Fox owns the Fantastic Four, Elektra, Daredevil, and the X-Men, and that ought to be more than enough.

From the Amazon description:

Brainwashed by the ninjas of the Hand, Wolverine slices and dices his way through foes and friends alike, ultimately resulting in the death of an X-Man! Captured and reprogrammed, Wolverine is sent against his former masters - but amid an orgy of death and destruction, is even the fiercest mutant alive a match for the deadly stare of the Gorgon?! Collecting Wolverine #20-32.

Wolverine: Origins vol 4. “Our War” - by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon
Granted, like the above, due to the copyright issues it would be nigh impossible to put Wolverine and Captain America in the same movie, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. Even without Cap, Bucky, and a two-eyed Nick Fury, Wolverine vs. Nazis would be worth the price of admission. Episodic like Saving Private Ryan, but within a “Band of Brothers” time span and starring Wolverine as Major Winters.

From the Amazon description:

Wolverine’s history with Captain America revealed! In the early days of WWII, before America’s “official” involvement in the war, Captain America, still wet behind the ears, embarked on a clandestine mission to the island nation of Madripoor. Guess who he met there? And guess what? It wasn’t a coincidence. Collects Wolverine: Origins #16-20 and Annual #1.

Wolverine: Old Man Logan - by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven
Put simply, Old Man Logan represents our first, last, and best chance to ever see Clint Eastwood strap on the computer generated adamantium claws. ‘Nuff said.

From the Amazon description:

Nobody knows what happened on the night the heroes fell. All we know is that they disappeared and evil triumphed and the bad guys have been calling the shots ever since. What happened to Wolverine is the biggest mystery of all. For 50 years, no one has heard hide nor hair from him… and in his place stands an old man called Logan. A man concerned only about his family. A man pushed to the brink by the Hulk Gang. A man forced to help an old friend - the blind archer, Hawkeye - to drive three thousand miles to secure his family’s safety. Get ready for the ride of your life, Logan! Collects Wolverine #66-72, and Wolverine Giant-Size Old Man Logan.

Wolverine: Get Mystique - by Jason Aaron and Ron Garney
Technically there’s a fairly complex story that takes place before the very distilled events portrayed here, but one can read Get Mystique without needing to have ever seen an X-Men comic. Especially if one has seen any of the live-action X-Men films. Wolverine is literally out to “get” Mystique, following her worldwide trail as he flashes back to all the times they crossed paths throughout modern history. If the best part of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was the opening title sequence, imagine that broadened in scope to a feature film.

From the Amazon description:

In the aftermath of Messiah Complex, Wolverine has just one thing on his mind: revenge. But who is the focus of his rage, and what dark secret does he share with them? And how far over the edge is Wolverine willing to go to get what he wants? Collects Wolverine #62-65.

Wolverine vol. 3 “Return of the Native” - by Greg Rucka and Darick Robertson
This entry is really for the entire Greg Rucka penned story arc, one of my favorite comic writers on one of my favorite comic characters. It’s a testament to his skills as a storyteller that the four basic chapters function as standalone tales while fitting into a singular narrative, but “Return of the Native” gets highlighted for its central fight between Wolverine and his archenemy Sabretooth. It’s almost mythological.

From the Amazon description:

Wolverine must delve deep into his enigmatic past when a mysterious mutant known only as the NAtive returns to his life. But who is she, and is she friend or foe? And why might she hold the key to unlock the secrets of Wolverine’s past? Guest-starring Sabretooth! Collects WOLVERINE #12-19.

Then again, if some enterprising filmmaker wants to make the whole thing, I would be fine with that, too.

Rob Payne also writes the indie comic book The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). Unlike with Batman, he couldn’t think of any non-comic Wolverine stories that were any good.

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