DEATH of WOLVERINE #1 (of 4) Review & Spoilers
part 1 (22 pages)
bonus material (24 pages)
Story by: Charles Soule
Art by: Steve McNiven and Jay Leisten
Colors by: Justin Ponsor
Letters by: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover by: Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten and Justin Ponsor
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
“The End”. What a way to start an issue! This is what you see right after turning the cover. An attention-grabber for sure! Simplicity at its best!! Is this Marvel’s way of saying that Logan will never ever ever ever come back? Highly unlikely! Is this the last story for Wolverine as we currently know him before there’s a radical resurrection and obligatory overhaul? Time will tell. I give it a year, tops.
The first page is a full spread. It’s rich in colour, beautiful in design, haunting, and tragic all rolled into one. It would have been more effective without the narration or inner dialogue. In fact, it’s a bit confusing. There are three coloured boxes. I assume blue is the exposition, the yellow is narration? and the blue is Logan. What’s the point of all that? The next three pages are mainly art. Page 2 has no text, just images divided into three panels. The first has Logan’s silhouette facing the sunset. The second has him with his head down and a demolished domicile. The third still has his head hanging low with a dangling corpse above him!! Only the legs are visible. Talk about a vainglorious use of a two-page spread on pages 4 and 5. The title couldn’t be any bigger and all you see is Logan’s torso along with a small caption and the customary credits for all those who laboured on this book.
The next two pages are by far the most out-of-left field scene I’ve ever read in all my 30 years of reading/collecting comics. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I did a double-take and thoroughly enjoyed this tête-à-tête between the pliable Reed Richards and the worrisome Wolverine. This vignette is set in the recent past. I laud and applaud Charles Soule for using such convincing science to explain Logan’s perilous situation via Reed’s voice. It’s beyond convincing!! I’m no rocket scientist by any means. Therefore, I ate up everything Reed had to tell Logan and read it three times over to process it all just like Logan did. That being said, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty!!
Observation #1: Since Adamantium was unwillingly inserted into Logan, it literally is a heavy burden for him. If it weren’t for Logan being a mutant with superhuman strength and speed, that metal would weigh him down until he became completely immobile.
Observation #2: Wolverine has mild levels of radioactivity in his body. Makes complete sense with his time in Nagasaki. This is obviously a reference to the 2013 movie The Wolverine.
Observation #3: take your pick of an incurable ailment: leukemia or endocarditis. Who’d have thunk that the metal in Wolvie’s body could eventually adversely affect him or that he would bring in bacteria every time he retracts his claws?? Brilliant!! Kudos to you, Mr. Soule. This is my abso fave part of the entire story. Logan admits that he went to Tony Stark and Hank McCoy first. They couldn’t help. Reed is his third choice. Reed steps up by saying that he will help Logan but time is the enemy. Better yet, Reed flat-out says that there’s no closeness between them but he emphasizes that Logan has a place in the world and that all the feats he’s done are of utmost importance.
Back to the present. Logan sheathes his claws after what is obviously a bloody battle. With whom is irrelevant. He walks into a local, ordinary pub in B.C. named Eric’s. Logan asks the barkeep (presumably the owner) for a whole bottle of booze, some clean bar rags, and a phone. Interestingly enough, Logan isn’t going to drown his sorrows in alcohol. He’s going to disinfect his wounds. How could I not realize that? Duh!! When I read the term ‘rotgut’, I assumed it was a by-product of booze binging or really bad breath but after having researched I discovered that it’s fusel alcohol a.k.a. fusel oil. Look it up yourselves! Who is Logan talking to on the phone??? Is it a past love or a good buddy? Talk about ambiguity!! I would like to assume it’s a woman. What makes that one-minute convo even more eyebrow-raising is the mention of Battlestar, former sidekick to John Walker (U.S. Agent) when he was Captain America. What makes this convo even more curious is the mention of Battlestar’s shield which just happens to be made of pure Adamantium. Connect the dots!! Logan abruptly hangs up after wanting to hear a friendly voice and having said party state that it’s okay for people to worry and care for him.
It isn’t long before someone comes a-hunting for The Wolverine. Pointing out the obvious, right? I was completely floored by another left field character appearance: Nuke!! I didn’t realize that Nuke had some past history with Logan. Being the ever inquisitive individual, I decided to look into this and lo and behold: Nuke was in the opening arc of WOLVERINE: ORIGINS #1-5. Charles Soule, you certainly do your homework!! I’m in awe of his encyclopedic knowledge! I’m going to summarize the next nine pages in one succinct sentence: Logan kicks his ass in a savagely effective way. He sure knows how to use his head. Get it? Adios to that American flag tattoo!! I read between the lines and I’m sure you did too. Canada will trump over the U.S. every single time!! Could you not see the symbolism here?!? It does my heart good to see a ‘midget’ in peak performance take down a tall beer-bullied wife-beater-wearing all-American man. All of Canada is grateful for your allegiance to us, Mr. Charles Soule!
Last page. The big reveal. The cliffhanger. The WTF moment. The villainous, vengeful, vindictive Viper is the one placing the hit on Logan. Man, does she have a mad-on for Wolverine! What’s a bit surprising is that Sabretooth has a chained collar around his neck. This is obviously intended to whet your appetite and have you salivate until next week’s installment. To be honest, I’m not shocked that it’d be someone close to Logan and familiar to long-time readers. Not much suspense there but the real story is why?
Major props to Charles Soule for having the setting be in beautiful British Columbia. Len Wein also gets a needed nod via the label of the whiskey bottle that Logan is holding. If only that brand actually existed! *sigh*
For an over-sized issue there sure is a lot of bonus material. There are two pages dedicated to cover sketches, and seven for interior sketch pages. There’s an extensive interview with the co-creator of the Canucklehead: Mr. Len Wein, totalling five pages. Hulk is bound to show up in this story. No doubt about it! The remaining ten pages are dedicated to the Director’s Cut.
Given the gimmicky foil cover as the regular, as well as the nine variants for yet another number-one issue, this issue was an easy, enjoyable and thought-provoking read. I admit that I was only going to buy the first issue because it’s obviously a number-one and because I wanted to purchase the Canadian variant (yeah! yeah!). That being said, I was quite pleased with this book. I’m not the biggest Wolvie fan nor do I read/collect his monthly (and all previous volumes) but I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been suckered into reading the other three parts. Thanks to the Director’s Cut, you can probe into Soule’s though process as well as analyze each sketch.
Steve McNiven works better on bodies than faces. The eyes don’t have it when he illustrates as well as faces. He draws bodies accurately and appropriately for the five major characters in this read. I’ve never seen Jay Leisten’s name in any of the books that I read but expertly encapsulates Steve’s sketches. Justin Ponsor has been a Marvel mainstay for quite some time. He gorgeously depicts the nature scenes as well as the battle on the beach. Chris Eliopoulos has been awarded several times for his lettering. He continues to knock it out of the park here.
P.S. I now realize what those captions were on page 1 thanks to the Director’s Cut.
I give this issue 5 claws up (out of 6). SNIKT!!
Tags: Death of Wolverine, Marvel, Marvel NOW! (All-New Marvel Now!), Wolverine, X-Men