The Death of Wolverine is a marketing ploy. It is a calculated decision to sell more books. You’re looking at no less than four variant covers per issue. The books will range from 40-48 pages and will run you $4.99 apiece. That being said I would argue that killing Wolverine, even if he’s just going to be resurrected is a step in the right direction for the X-Men books.
The X-Men books are not accessible to new readers and even for older fans they are a pain in the ass to sift through. Even when a line is re-launched with a brand new collector’s number one, it soon becomes entwined and convoluted with the other ongoing series. It is all but impossible to just pick up one X-Title each month and have a clear grasp the events without reading the adjacent titles.
The most memorable and iconic characters, stories and images in the History of the X-Men came about during Chris Claremont’s legendary run. At this point you bought Uncanny X-Men each month. That was all you needed to do. Longtime fans often lament the over saturation that occurred in the 90’s that is easily symbolized in the mutant milestone X-Men #1 and its five variant covers. But even then you could pick you X book of choice and follow the story easily. Each book offered readers a different take within the X-Men Universe ranging from Factor to Force.
Comics are an industry and just like any industry it responds to consumer demands. If there was no demand for four Death of Wolverine covers Marvel would not be publishing them. I’m hoping that Charles Soule’s book is good, and I hope it works to stream line the X-Men Universe. I don’t keep up with the X-men despite considering myself a longtime fan because I don’t have the will to keep up with the multiple intersecting books. While I’m fine with the occasion crossover event such as Ex-Ecutioners Song, this shouldn’t be a constant overlapping affair making it nearly impossible to read a single title each month.
Charles Soule is one of the strongest writers working in the field today, which gives me hope for the Death of Wolverine, despite it being a clear marketing ploy to be followed by the Resurrection of Wolverine. Wolverine, Savage Wolverine, Wolverine and the X-Men, and so forth the character is everywhere and absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Uncanny-Men, X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor and Excaliber, each book following a different team. Maybe the Death of Wolverine could help us return to this timeline.