Marvel Comics Weekly Event Review & Spoilers: Death of Wolverine #4 by Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten & Justin Ponsor With 6 Covers Including Variants!

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DEATH of WOLVERINE #4 (of 4) Review“History” (23 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

FINALLY!! The end is here. How does it all play out? Stay tuned!

Grey is the color scheme for this final issue. Very fitting considering that there are a few interpretations to this ‘dreadful’ tone. More on that later.

Never has a double-page spread been more panoramic in its view or cinematic in its scope. This is where it is properly executed. Logan driving through the Nevada desert as he reaches Cornelius’ facility with the massive mesas in the background perfectly depicts the landscape. I’ve never been to this part of the U.S. but I wouldn’t mind checking it out. I doff my hat to the entire creative team for these two pages!!

Logan cuts to the quick (pun intended!) Not only is he a man on a mission, he’s mad as hell and displays dire determination to dispose of Dr. Cornelius once and for all. Those guards had less than a split-second to even attempt to stop the killing machine.

Nightmare alley revisited. Page 4 eerily illustrates a representation of Logan. For a fleeting moment, I actually thought that this might be a clone of him and that Cornelius definitely went off the deep end in succeeding to fabricate a never-ending source of Adamantium. Of course a sight like this would make any buried traumas resurface. How emphatic it is for Logan to say “No” three times. That’s the magic number, don’t you know? The next three pages (what’d I tell ya?) reveal all. To put it in a nutshell, Cornelius doesn’t want Logan’s Adamantium skeleton, he wants his healing factor! Duh duh duh!!! Makes sense, no? All other guinea pigs have needlessly perished. It’s only natural that Logan’s one-in-a-gazillion status would make him valuable beyond compare for Cornelius.

The crazed doctor touches on some raw nerves. (1) Cornelius did make The Wolverine. Without that Adamantium, Logan was already unbeatable but having a skeleton coated in unbreakable metal made him truly invincible. (2) Cornelius has been following Logan’s heroic exploits his entire life. Maybe he is speaking to all level-headed readers and thinkers out there when he states that Wolverine has never been about pomp and pageantry nor bright colours. Truer words have never been spoken!!

Ask and you shall receive! Logan ‘gives’ Cornelius what he wants — his blood. Wait…he’s not healing. Cornelius is flabbergasted. WHAT A TWIST @_@ Surprise, mother f****er! At least the doctor deadpans his flawed insight: “I always did have a problem with tunnel vision.” Being a four-eyed freak definitely doesn’t help in that department.

The next five pages have the obligatory fight scene. Someone new steps into the arena to try to take down Good Man Logan — Major Sharp, the culmination of all combat expertise backed by men with very deep pockets. Raw nerve #3: Cornelius debases Logan by calling him an animal in every sense of the word. ETYMOLOGY 101: the origin of the word ‘wolverine’. Its Latin nomenclature is gulo gulo which literally translates as “glutton glutton”. Aside from the deadliest creature alive (man) that kills simply for pleasure, the wolverine is a scary second. Cornelius attempts to equate Logan’s end result of existence to the AK-47, the most perfect weapon designed by man. This of course has now been thrown upon Major Sharp, the supposed example of perfection. It’s true that Logan has a ‘taste’ for death murder but by no means is he a plague upon the planet! I disagree entirely!!

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Cornelius is both: too meek and crafty wrapped up in his experiments, and too cruel for justifying the decades of bloodshed in the name of science. How ironic that his ‘imperfect’ Logan managed to dodge his ‘perfect’ conditioned specimen’s killing blow. I gotta hand it to Cornelius. The man just doesn’t know when to quit. He triggers the machines that will infuse Adamantium into all the unfortunate subjects.

A sea of scarlet flows steadily through three pages. Logan unsheathes his claws one last time and slashes the entire depository of Adamantium only to have it fall on him. One epic heroic act: he injects the patients with the cure to rid them all of a torturous existence.

Three more pages give Cornelius his just desserts. A shard of glass has pierced his side. No better stage directions could be given — “Blood trail”, “Pierced intestine”, “Fear”, “Dead Man”. Logan does look scary: a burning heap of liquid metal making him a most grotesque golem. Cornelius takes one last pot shot at our protagonist: he sees Logan as nothing but a killer. The ‘good’ doctor ‘saved’ people. Yeah, right!!

A quick series of six panels highlight the major accomplishments in/of Logan’s life: 1. fighting the horde of ninjas known as The Hand, 2. his life as Patch in Madripoor, 3. kissing Jean Grey, 4. a battle-honed soldier in several wars, 5. the headmaster of the school named for his unrequited love, 6. his Samurai life with Mariko. Ever the honourable man to the very end, Logan walks around Cornelius since the man is already dead. With a grunt, and a final one-word thought overlooking the Nevada desert in the blazing sunset, it is truly OVER. Finis. Lower the curtain. Fade to black (or in this case silver).

I cannot extol Charles Soule’s writing enough. The man produced a very tight, condensed, fast-paced story. Yes, there’ll always be questions, the urgency for answers, and the need for wanting more but let it be. Mr. Soule took the most essential aspects of Logan/Wolverine and touched upon them magnificently without throwing in endless exposition or forced flashbacks. The journey has ended.

Steve McNiven’s pencils are the very best they’ve ever been. I’ll repeat what I said in my last review: despite another two-week delay, McNiven surpassed all expectations and overdid himself. It’s a testament to his work that he leaves this issue on a very high note to make up for his ‘transgression’. Logan looks equally man and animal. Be it by coincidence or by design, he really lived up to his moniker of The Wolverine. Case in point: page 1, panel 1. Logan’s mutton chops and hirsuteness bring out the small beady eye and pursed lips in contrast to his big nose and the rest of his face. Logan strikes his classic attack pose on page 3, panel 1 as well as another established action on page 15, panel 7. His human side comes out beautifully on page 3, panel 9 and page 21, panels 2, 3, page 22, panels 1, 3, and 5. I really liked Logan reflected in Cornelius’ left lens of his glasses on page 6, panel 4.

Jay Leisten faithfully complimented McNiven’s overall work. Nothing is more chilling than page 4, panel 2 when one of the guinea pigs reacts to the Adamantium injection. The pouring of the Adamantium onto Logan was no easy feat. Despite the red all around, the liquid looks extremely gelatinous and quite heavy.

Three (there’s that magic number again!) main colours shine through this issue. The blue-grey of the lab, the damasked splashes of the danger/bloodshed and the orange of the desert and sun. Justin Ponsor, you can do no wrong!!

Chris Eliopoulos is the last cog in the completion of this opus. Dialogue, description, and onomatopoeia. He makes it all look so easy. BEST PART OF THE ENTIRE BOOK — we see/hear SNIKT one final time.

 

Addenda:

• I mentioned grey earlier. Not only is this colour the middle ground for black and white but symbolically, it represents the unclear aspects of everything in life. This applies to both the protagonist and antagonist. Logan was born and bred to be a killer and that’s what he truly was but he managed to rise above that primal nature to emerge a hero countless times. Even at his worst, he literally was the best at what he did. In contrast, Cornelius deemed himself a saviour via scientific means when in reality he was everything he despised of Logan — a butcher, an animal of the utmost degree. He was the inferior one and the flawed individual despite his many accomplishments. Man vs. nature (animal): the most epic of battles. You tell me who is the victor.

• The title: “History”. This is obviously a double-entendre. Must I really explain it? It kinda ruins it. OK, fine. Logan’s whole life flashed before him as he heard Cornelius’ last words. Also, the four issues have encapsulated his century in the Marvel Universe as well as the forty years he has existed in real time. His characterization is one of the most extensive of any fictional personage in all of literature. As I also wrote earlier. This is it. No more. A new saga begins but not with James Howlett in the spotlight. I guess this could be a triple-entendre since what you’re holding in your hands is sure to make it in the annals of pop culture as one of the most significant, game-changing books in comicdom.

• I can’t help but notice that Logan’s look harkens to that of the Silver Surfer on page 22, panel 5 and the entirety of page 23. The way I see it, this is to honor the most “noble savage” of all characters and to demonstrate the purity inherent in this individual despite all the odds and obstacles.

• Marvel Wikia states that Cornelius died in X-Men vol. 2 #7 (published in 1992). If that’s the case, how the heck is he alive? Maybe he faked his death.

• The creative team chime in on producing this monumental masterpiece. Each offer a different perspective but I LLLOOOVVVEEE Chris Eliopoulos’ commentary the best!!! He likens himself to Logan as well as Puck (two Canadian heroes) although he regretfully states he’s American, at least he identifies himself as short and mysterious. Here’s to you, bub 😉

 

R.I.P. Logan. As an icon, you live on forever.

I was waiting til the very last second to see if I could rate this properly…….10/10. No more. No less.

Up next… Logan’s Legacy!

Logan Legacy #1 Death of Wolverine Ohio Comic Con variant

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