I don’t know a lot about comic books and superheroes. I enjoy the stories, I’ve seen almost every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and can throw around the names of different superheroes from DC and Marvel to a handful of X-Men whose powers I learned about who I thought were pretty cool. But I’m not an expert by any means, just some basic knowledge.
Of course some of my Facebook friends are much more into comics than I am, sharing articles and pages from different comics online for discussion. It was this way that I found out something about one of the X-Men Wolverine who before seeing this post I only knew three things about: 1) He has silver claws that shoot out through his hands, 2) He’s played by Hugh Jackman in the movies, and 3) He’s Canadian.
What I learned through a Comic Fun Fact and a page out of a comic book through one of my Facebook friends was that Wolverine’s claws aren’t actually claws, they’re bone. Bone that elongates through his skin, strong enough to kill people (must be those mutant genes), and they’ve been dipped into some sort of metal to make it stronger.
I’m probably missing a few key details, again I’m not an expert on all things superheroes, but how terrifying is that? And how painful? To have the bone from your hands grow long and through the skin, to see your bones in front of you, to dip them in a metal coating and have all of that go back into your body?
It’s like something out of a horror novel, but at the same time it’s refreshing. Instead of being like the superheroes from the 50s and 60s who’s powers make them superhuman, where no wrongness in their abilities can be seen X-Men tries to show the downside to being super. Yes, Wolverine has an amazing superhuman ability, but his powers stem from an unnatural, painful, and terrifying way. Somehow it makes him and other superheroes like him (I’ve heard a lot of the X-Men have pretty tragic backstories related to their powers, or pretty crappy powers) both more and less human. They can never be like normal humans because of their strange abilities, but they feel pain, they feel different, they feel like outliers because of them. And don’t we all have something that makes us feel like we stand out, or in turn, something that makes us feel invisible? It just seems so real, this loneliness attributed to being extraordinary.
Maybe it’s time for me to read some more comic books.