Marvel Comics Weekly Event Review & Spoilers: Death of Wolverine #2 by Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten & Justin Ponsor With 5 Covers Including Variants!

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DEATH of WOLVERINE #2 (of 4) Review

“Poison” (21 pages)  bonus material (6 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

Released as “The End” last week, I wasn’t sure if that was the actual title of the story. This week, after turning the cover, my suspicions are confirmed!! This mini has an official title for chapters one and two. Very apropos considering what transpires within.

Madripoor: the cesspool of all that is corrupt and criminal in the Marvel Universe. Anyone with a solid knowledge of Marvel history knows who runs this town, or should I say Lowtown? 😉 The intrigue is set up immediately as some shady individual sporting a serpent-etched ring comes seeking an audience with V—-. Since I read the preview pages online last week, I know who. Three guesses and the first two don’t count. HINT: he’s the main character of the story!!

Enter: Wolverine, Logan, Mr. Makeover. He is pretty much unrecognizable if it were not for the X-shaped bandages covering his hands. Truth be told, if I saw this double-page spread with no info whatsoever and no subtle clue, I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years. He makes The Most Interesting Man in the World seem downright lame in comparison. Suave is the best way to describe our man here. Nonchalant and laissez-faire are two other distinct descriptive words.

The dialogue between the two brings up some very noteworthy points:

  1. Koro is new to me and readers in general. His name refers to an island in Fiji, a sea in the Pacific Ocean, cities in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali, as well as a language in India, New Guinea, Vanuatu and Côte d’Ivoire. Just some semi-sharp-dressed shyster trying to make mucho moolah and earn a big rep for himself.
  2. Viper doesn’t know Logan is on her home turf. If she did, she obviously would’ve hunted him down weeks ago.
  3. Mystique is running Madripoor? That could be a red herring by Charles Soule or a ruse by Logan himself to determine Koro’s ‘legitimacy’.
  4. I flipped my lid when I saw that the item Logan has for sale is a bona fide Iron Man Mark IX helmet. Say what?!?! What a way to indirectly allude to Tony Stark himself!
  5. Three major baddies among the crowd of partygoers when Koro takes a peak from behind the curtain — Raven Darkholme a.ka. Mystique herself (presumably disguised as the man), Kristoff Vernard a.k.a. adopted son and ersatz heir of Dr. Doom, and lastly Mallory Book. She is new to me but after looking her up, I see that she was a rival to Jennifer Walters in Dan Slott’s run of SHE-HULK vol. 2. It’s safe to say she’s not an honest lawyer.

From one end of the city to the other — Hightown. This is where the Emerald Queen a.k.a. Viper a.k.a. the former Madame Hydra slithers in her pit. LEARNING MOMENT!!! Logan smells various types of poison: cyanide, arsenic, strychnine, belladonna, tabun, and batrachotoxin. What makes this all the more curious is that almost all of them are odorless, tasteless, and colorless, virtually undetectable by standard human senses. Logan also smells someone. Astute readers who leafed through last week’s book know exactly who is coming up. Viper is surprisingly irritated at the invasion of her lair. Logan’s identity is confirmed (mainly to the readers) stating that he and Viper have quite the past, the most outstanding point being their former marriage. It’s good to know Logan is worth his weight in gold, platinum, or whatever other valuable material is out there for the bounty on him.

Obligatory fight scene. Not much of a fight since Logan dispatches of all assailants easily and quickly. And he did it without his claws or going berserk!! The layout is pure genius — two pages of twelve panels each of equal length. Short and sweet. Brief and concise. Viper acquiesces a convo with her ex-hubbie. Logan tries to break the ice by appealing to her feelings for him. As cold as an actual snake, she flat out denies this by telling him not to flatter himself. Logan is ever the altruistic one. He doesn’t care for his own safety. Needless innocents being slaughtered just to get to him is a major no-no. Turnaround is fair play! I love how Viper takes Logan’s own words and twists them to her own in the most mocking, sneering fashion: “I’m the best there is at what I do, Logan. Now, what I do isn’t very nice, of course—” I see this as a face-off between a mongoose and its natural prey: the snake. Fits the bill, doesn’t it? All will be revealed but first Logan must beat Viper’s dog, none other than Sabretooth!! Nice nod to Victor Creed’s quasi-but-fake-out origin in Origin. Mr. Soule, you are batting a thousand here! The culmination of all the poisons around Viper do not disorient Logan from battling his oldest enemy.

Even before the sparring begins, Logan seems genuinely concerned about Creed’s plight. Victor casually mentions that he screwed up, had a get-out-of-jail-free card, and was subjected to the “Viper thing”. There is no better leverage than administering antidote for a perpetual poison. Viper, you are a slippery one! She could care less who kills who. Someone has to simply die. The prize: up to the imagination. The next two-page spread is a throwback to some of the rivals’ epic battles with Logan in his blue and yellow costume. How unfair that Logan can’t beat Victor. Also, a rehash of his former Patch persona emerges once Logan’s left eye is taken out. Logan knows that the Iron Man helmet’s self-destruction won’t necessarily deter Creed but he needs to buy time.

SNIKT. When I first read that, I thought Logan managed to get the killing blow yet again. However, upon closer examination, Logan has his arms wide open with no possible way to impale Sabretooth. Another head-turner for me. Logan is saved by none other than Lady Deathstrike!!! Logan just can’t see Sabretooth die no matter how much bad blood exists between them. He appeals to Yuriko’s sense of honour by explaining to her that Victor is poisoned and chained, an unfair situation. Yuriko frees the gnarly beast. Sabretooth puts Logan on the same pedestal as him. Logan is a killer deep-down inside. He’s just waiting to off Sabretooth himself. Charles Soule ups the intrigue!! Yuriko is also on the ‘hit list’. The connecting thread seems to be Adamantium-laced individuals. While Lady Deathstrike is no slouch it’s surprising to learn that she barely escaped due to the man pulling the strings: Ogun.

Final scene: Yuriko, another spurned lover of Logan, is willing to put aside their differences to defeat Ogun. Interestingly enough, when she sees that Logan no longer has his healing factor or strength, she stands ready to kill him. She twists the concept of honour to fit Logan’s way of thinking. Logan literally has no fight left in him. It looks like it’s curtains until……

……I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY THE LAST PAGE!!! Mr. Soule, I commend your ability to shock (at least me). I’m enjoying this story so much that I’m absorbing each page as it comes and not bothering to overanalyze. Who saves Logan now? Kitty Pryde!!! Has she ever come a long way since her early days! Once again, I praise Mr. Charles Soule. He has woven a seamless tapestry that is slowly unraveling but easy to follow. MUTANT MATH: Wolverine + Kitty divided by Ogun = Kitty Pryde and Wolverine mini-series. It clearly states that the next issue will take the teacher/student pair to Japan to confront Ogun.

Steve McNiven continues to beautify the bodies. Logan is at his absolute coolest on pages 3-4. Sabretooth looks imposing as always on page 12. He captures Yuriko’s ‘sweetness’ on page 19, panel 4 and page 20, panel 4. Lastly, Logan’s face on page 21, panel 2 is destined to become the new PC wallpaper! I still don’t like how he does faces in general. Viper should look a little more sexy and seductive despite her serpentine personality. Kitty seems to have Medusa-like hair. Either way, the Iron Man helmet is so gorgeously designed that you know it’s the real deal whether in the Marvel Universe or our world.

Jay Leisten compliments Steve’s work. He excels at the contours of Iron Man’s helmet, the tattoos on Koro’s arms, and the circular read-outs from the helmet. He also accentuates Lady Deathstrike’s claws, especially on the last page.

Justin Ponsor, as I mentioned last review, is firmly established in the industry. The palette shifts from red-brown on pages 1-7, to green-gray-black on pages 8-12, the ‘dullness’ of pages 13-14, to the multicolours with green background on pages 15-21.

One last thing: Kitty putting her hand through Yuriko is definitely reminiscent of what The Vision does to incapacitate his opponents. As I already stated, she’s grown and changed so much from the timid teenager of days of yore.

Aesthetics:

  1. I was a bit disappointed that the Director’s Cut wasn’t as long.
  2. The foil covers aren’t just a gimmick. As far as I’m concerned, they beautiful encompass what the overall story is about.
  3. The shade of green that is on the flipside of the front and back covers, as well as the technical first page emphasizes the Big Bad’s grip on Logan. Even the title is green. No coincidence there.

In honour of Lady Deathstrike, I give this issue 9 claws out of 10! SHKK!

Lady Deathstrike

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