Despite the atrociousness of the first X-Men spin-off, I am actually kind of excited for Wolverine 2, even with probable Darren Aronofsky involvement aside. The script is reportedly based on the 1982 limited series written by legendary X-Men writer Chris Claremont and illustrated by Frank Miller.
What makes the series so great? In short, Wolverine goes to Japan. Not only is this the famously overwrought Claremont’s best work, but it is a landmark in the transition between the lighthearted and fanciful superhero comics of the 1960s and 70s. It also was also the miniseries that put the character of Wolverine in the protagonist role for the first time. Prior to this, Wolverine was a supporting character, mainly used to ramp up the action and violence in exposition-heavy X-Men plots. This story injected the character with a sense of conscience and honor that the character lacked before.
In the story, Wolverine chases after Mariko, Japanese woman he met into New York, who’s father has recalled her to an arranged marriage in Japan. He sets up Wolverine to lose a fight dishonorably and and dumps him on the streets of Tokyo. Soon he meets Yukio, a female mercenary who falls for him as he is, rough, impulsive, and deadly. However, he cannot seem to move past Mariko. He decides to give up on his selfish and violent nature to pursue honor and justice. He decides to expose his father as a Yakuza boss, even if it means alienating Mariko completely.
While obviously more a homage to medieval Japan and the films of Akira Kurosawa than anything in the 1980s, what makes the book really shine is the art style. Miller adapts his style to the story, showing the influence of Japanese manga, and actually integrated Chris Claremont’s overly lengthy text into the art.
If you’re looking for a good Wolverine stories, there are few that can beat it, and more importantly, I think it could make a great film. Seriously, imagine Kill Bill Vol 1., but with High Jackman slashing his way through Yakuza agents trying to win back his honor.
That could actually make up for what they did in the last film.