Sunday, January 18, 2015

X-Men Forever by Chris Claremont issue #10 (2009)

This is going to be a very indelicate confession but I think that a funeral is the most awkward social gathering I will never attend especially if the person who passed away is not a loved one. I've only been to one funeral so far and that's for my grandfather when I was ten years old. I wasn't necessarily close with him but I did miss him and got appropriately sad when he died.

The second time I could have attended a funeral was when a mother of a high school classmate died and the most recent one is when a co-worker's mother also died. I opted not to attend either because I seriously found the idea of me staying in a place of bereavement and being sympathetic with people's grief is stressful. I honestly have nothing meaningful and consolable to say to these people because don't know them. I wouldn't even entertain the notion that death could happen to any of my friends at this point so it's safe to say that, at this time of my life, I won't be attending a funeral where the person who passed away is someone I love. I think no one ever wants that for sure.

That said, funerals in fiction like in a television show or a book do move me deeply especially when it's a character I love and adore who died. Logan, famously remembered and fiercely loved as Wolverine, is arguably the most fan-favorite of all the X-Men. He started as the underdog who challenges questionable authority figures and doctrines. He has shown his softer side whenever he interacts with younger people (especially girls) who truly saw him as a big brother they can count on. He's a survivor--having the ability to heal fast and age significantly less throughout decades which also gave him the advantage of outliving and outlasting certain terrifying passages in life such as world wars but he always devoted his superpowers in such conflicts where he always fought for the good of his fellowmen.

With the X-Men, Wolverine was a remarkable team player who may not always agree with Cyclops as their leader about particular scenarios during combat but will always fight alongside him when push comes to shove. A recluse and a loner, Wolverine is not the easiest person to get along with--but only to a certain extent. Once you prove yourself worthy of his loyalty and friendship, he will be with you until the end. It comes to no one's surprise then, given his fanbase in the comics and the multitude of other characters he bonded with from other Marvel titles, that Logan's wake is filled with familiar faces and loving comrades who came from different places to pay their respects to their fallen ally. Everyone who knew Logan believed he will outlive all of them, given his powers, so it was such a shock that they have to bury him now. I don't think anyone wants to talk about the fact that it was Storm who ended him because it's so traumatic and incredulous even when the X-Men saw with their own eyes that Storm was not the person they came to now and trusted all these years. It was so painful for me too because Storm is one of my top faves and seeing the teenage Ororo (who may or may not be a clone--gah, when are they going to clarify this?) attend this funeral and look so uncomfortable because people keep staring at her--it only makes me even sadder because she has no idea who she is and what she means to these people. I don't think anybody blames her for what her doppelganger did, of course, so she has no reason to feel responsible.

Still, it must be tough to live with these strangers and see them grieve a man who, in another lifetime, was one of her best friends. If only she knew how awful this death truly is because of what it represents. The X-Men are not just mourning the loss of Logan but that of Storm as well. They may not say it aloud or talk about it but that mutual understanding hangs in the air. Of all the bereaved colleagues, it's Jean Grey who is taking it hard. She only came to terms that she was in love with him but now it was far too late to tell him exactly how she feels about him. I remember that scene from issue #5 with Scott when he finally decides to ask her about it directly and she surmises that all their hearts are broken at this point; Jean for losing Logan too soon when she was finally ready to accept him in her life; Logan for not knowing that Jean has loved him back after all; and Scott for knowing that the woman he once loved and perhaps still loved doesn't share his feelings the same way anymore. Yes, their hearts are fucking shattered and I'm so sad for them. I thought that it was a saving grace then that the old gang with Iceman and Angel came back and comforted Jean and Scott. It was such a nostalgic scene and it definitely made me more enthusiastic to read X-Men First Class and All-New X-Men titles (where the original five are the central figures) in the next months.

But how awesome was Scott's eulogy in the ending pages? It was a sincere, heartfelt and overdue summary of his strained relationship with Logan, as well as what Wolverine means to the people he befriended and fought for throughout the years. I know Logan is probably going to get resurrected at some point but I still allowed myself to grieve him after reading this.


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