Aside from “Who would win in a fight?” no debate gets comic fans more heated than the question of whether or not superheroes should marry. In this mini-feature, former Bride Rebecca Henely-Weiss and Bride-to-Be Kayleigh Hearn take a trip down memory lane to the most significant times comic companies took the plunge and got their characters hitched! Did we like the couple? Did we like the dress? And, more importantly, why did (or didn’t) the marriage last? Today we look at the wedding of … WOLVERINE AND WITCHBLADE?!
The Couple: Logan and Sara Pezzini
The Issue: Witchblade/Wolverine #1
Published: June 2004
Today: … This is an intercompany crossover comic. What do you think?
Rebecca: We’ve been covering our share of novelties and stunt weddings this past year, but to me this is definitely the strangest. Wonder Woman marrying a literal sexist monster and Gambit stealing Colossus’ wedding is all well and good. But somehow that all pales compared to the time Top Cow and Marvel stole some 12-year-old boy from the 1990s’ fanfic scribblings and had Wolverine and Witchblade get married in a Las Vegas wedding in which Sara Pezzini wears a white strapless bustier bra and mini-skirt. Romances during inter-company crossovers aren’t unheard of (Marvel vs. DC had me shipping Tim Drake and Jubilee for a bit), but this is a bit extreme.
Kayleigh: Wolverine! How has Wolverine not been a subject of our column yet? He’s a character who feels like he’s been married a shit ton of times, right? And yet, even when we cover other X-Men weddings, he skips town. I’ve thought about covering Wolverine’s almost-wedding to Mariko Yashida in the classic Uncanny X-Men #173, but Mariko calls off the ceremony before it starts, so it doesn’t really fit. But ahhh, god bless WWAC’s own Claire Napier, who alerted me to the existence of actual cursed object Witchblade/Wolverine #1. I wonder what minor early-2000s Top Cow scrub was lucky enough to get his one shot at the big time here.
Rebecca: To be brutally honest, it’s hard to imagine a crossover that could hold less appeal to me than this comic. The first comic I ever bought was a Jim Balent-drawn Catwoman issue where the cover featured her fighting a giant snake while wearing a strategically ripped costume, so I can’t judge any woman for buying a could-double-as-pinup-fodder book like Witchblade for the story. Still, I’ve just never had any interest in her. As for Wolverine—I really hate him. I think he’s one of the least interesting X-Men, I dislike his personality, and I detest how every woman in the Marvel Universe becomes either his little sister mentee or love interest. So I wasn’t that fond of him developing a new tragic love story with a woman who doesn’t even share his universe. Despite all that, the comic was a bit better than I expected, if not really that good. Even if he’s not at his 1970s peaks anymore, Chris Claremont’s script at least has a decent hook that combines the Witchblade and X-Men lore in a fun way. Artist Eric Basaluda occasionally gives Sara inexpressive faces, but his art is still pretty dynamic, and I love his design of the villain. Furthermore, the Witchblade/Wolverine one-shot was better than the Wolverine/Witchblade comic, which I accidentally read first. Oops!
Kayleigh: This is a very silly comic. I mean, I get why they thought this would be the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut of comic crossovers, as it’s a 15,000 calorie meal for readers who want to see Wolverine pop his claws and Witchblade pop…something else. I’m more fond of Wolverine than Rebecca is, though I’ll say he’s the “little girl with the little curl” of superhero comics and leave it at that. (Bet you didn’t think you’d see a Longfellow quote when you clicked on this link, did you?) Witchblade I’m less familiar with. I’ll assume that the vapid “this so sucks” characterization at the start of the issue was due to the plot reasons we’ll explain below, as that was really annoying to read, but by the end, Claremont has Wolverine doing that thing where he nobly watches and narrates a woman’s godlike expression of power, which must be more her speed. Guys, this is a comic where Wolverine and Witchblade almost fuck.
Rebecca: The Witchblade/Wolverine one-shot immediately opens with the wedding at a chapel in Las Vegas, which is sadly not officiated by an Elvis impersonator. The couple tries to consummate the marriage in a limo, but Wolverine is shot through the chest by a familiar-looking spike. The couple is almost able to ignore Wolverine’s healing factor closing up the wound (especially after they get a mysterious briefcase full of cash as a gift). Unfortunately, Sara calling Logan “Scott” sends Logan into a claws-popping rage (because of course it does) and ends the illusion of marital bliss for good. Logan and Sara share some drinks at a hotel bar afterward and begin to piece together their true names and memories, but are interrupted when Odessa Mafia Boss Simyon Lebedev attacks. A young mutant named Kaylie had attempted to take revenge against Lebedev for killing her father by stealing the Witchblade and creating false memories for its original owner. However, Kaylie ended up being taken over by the blade and subsequently put under Lebedev’s control. After fending off an attempt to make her commit suicide and seeing Logan hurt, Sara is able to wrest back control over the Witchblade and Lebedev is defeated. The couple has a bittersweet talk in which they go their separate ways, but decide not to give up on their temporary dreams of happiness.
I do like that Claremont creates an emotional through-line between two characters who don’t have a shared history, but perhaps are similarly alienated and lonely. Also, a mutant girl getting Witchblade powers is the stuff of crossover heaven. I just wish a lot of stuff in this comic was explained a bit better. So, Kaylie’s mutant power implants false memories in the heroes’ minds? How did the Witchblade taking Kaylie over mean that Lebedev was able to control both of them? Where was the source of that money, and why are they just able to keep it at the end, anyway? Also, why didn’t Kaylie get to talk in this? For such a cool character concept, it’s a bummer she’s basically a silent plot device.
Kayleigh: I can appreciate the brevity of the comic’s premise. There aren’t any belabored dimension-hopping antics here. We just accept that Wolverine and the Witchblade co-exist in the same universe. Opening an inherently ephemeral company crossover comic with something as bold as the two leads from rival publishers getting married (a.k.a. “none of this is ever going to be mentioned again, so let’s just go ape-shit”) is impressive, but what follows never catches up to the crazy momentum of that first scene. A single flashback sequence would have worked wonders. I made a PepeSilvia.jpg wall in my head trying to tie random plot points like “federal witness” and “Digitabulum” together to understand things, like Sara apparently being jobbed off-screen by a random mutant kid. (And lest you doubt that this is an early 2000s Chris Claremont comic, the only other X-Men character with dialogue is Sage.)
Rebecca: I think this may be the first and possibly only time a comic book bride ever sported a diamond navel ring at her wedding. I’m torn between wanting to give props to Sara’s WWF Divas-esque wedding outfit for being memorable in a tacky way and wanting to roll my eyes and call it pandering. (Especially since she even keeps the entire outfit on—including the veil—during the fight scene.) On the other hand, I do really like that veil. As for Wolverine … ehh, I could see him wearing jeans and a suit jacket to his Las Vegas wedding, but given that he also has a fancy white dress shirt and cummerbund, I’m having a little trouble believing that he wouldn’t spring for a rental on some nice pants.
Kayleigh: Sara’s getup is the “Sideshow Bob steps on rakes” of wedding looks. When I read the first page, I laughed at what a piece of Maxim magazine male gaze bullshit it was. Then my reaction turned to boredom as I realized she really was going to wear the veil, tiny bra, and huge platform boots the entire issue. Then it became hilarious again when the comic tries to wring some genuine emotion out of the situation—like, say, Sara sitting alone at a bar, realizing that what she thought was her life was a lie, still wearing that fucking outfit. On the last page, she adds her NYPD badge as an accessory, and I was hollering.
Rebecca: Like several stunt weddings of yesteryear, the marriage of Witchblade and Wolverine plays better than expected. Unfortunately, it isn’t as good or fun as it could be, so I can see why it’s mostly forgotten over a decade later. But as you know, I’m pretty biased against these two. Maybe if someone wants to write the wedding of Tim Drake and Jubilee one day I’ll be a little more amenable.
Kayleigh: So hey, Wolverine and Witchblade don’t get an annulment at the end of this comic. Are they still married? I will say that Witchblade/Wolverine #1 does wring more pathos than it probably deserves out of that last page, where Logan and Sara say goodbye to their shared dream and go back down the lonely roads that destiny has set out for them. That I feel any emotion at the end of this at all is a testament to Claremont’s strengths as a writer; even in a book as lightweight as those mini-comics, they used to pack with, like, X-Men: The Last Stand DVDs. He was certainly smart enough to know that Las Vegas was an ideal setting for a company crossover comic where the events would never be mentioned again. If only there were a a soulless marketing catchphrase that could summarize all that. Oh well.