Written by Kieron Gillen
Illustrated by Adam Kubert
Part 1 of 5! A few years after the events of ORIGIN finds James Howlett running with the wolves…until something unexpected brings him back into the world of Follow the first “X-Man” as he finds his way back to civilization and falls afoul of someone Sinister, who’s just discovering mutantkind and the horrors he can visit on them. Plus, discover the secret behind James’ greatest enemy! At some point, the mutant who will become The Wolverine must choose: is he man or is he beast? An all-new chapter in the secret origin of one of Marvel’s most mysterious characters is revealed starting this November, by superstars Kieron Gillen (YOUNG AVENGERS, IRON MAN) and Adam Kubert (AVENGERS, UNCANNY X-MEN, WOLVERINE)!
As someone who was only sentient for a year or two of the twentieth century, I have never known an atmosphere in comics where Wolverine’s origin was taboo, something to always be left to the reader’s imagination. Now, a miniseries, an ongoing, and a film that launched the greatest website known to me later, Wolverine’s had almost as much written about his early days as Batman. So how do Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert tackle the problem of telling a fresh story about the early days of a character whose origin has taken up over fifty issues of comics and two hours of Hugh Jackman yelling at Gambit for two hours?
Well for one, “Origin II” focuses on a section of the few sections of Logan’s history that’s never been fully addressed, the era between “Origin” and World War I(?) where he ran around killing stuff while hanging out with his wolf family. Do they translate how utterly metal that is in “Origin II?” Half and half. Logan looks pretty clean-shaven and put together for a dude with bone claws who has hung out with no one but wolves for the past couple of years. In fact, a good majority of the book almost feels too polished when compared to the (excellent) cover which demonstrates the “Grizzly Man” story that Gillen and Kubert are trying to tell.
But in those pages and panels where Kubert does nail it, when he tells a truly feral story, then he nails it right out of the ballpark. Scenes with Logan and his pack clearly demonstrate the new family atmosphere that Logan’s found, along with the menacing threats in the distance. The villain of this piece, more bloody and devastating than Mister Sinister or Sabretooth could hope to be, stands out in particular. Diseased and stumbling, he’s an anomaly in the almost serene life Logan has crafted for himself and when the admittedly predictable scene occurs, well. I’ll go on record saying that the two-page spread in this issue, turned on its side the same way its bloody tragic content disturbs Wolverine, is my favorite art piece of the week.
From there, Kubert definitely delivers what’s advertised when it comes to the grittiness of Wolverine’s early lupine days. It’s also at this point at the story that Gillen really steps up his narration game. Since there’s only one human character in the first issue of “Origin II” and he’s refusing to speak because he killed his girlfriend
Jean Grey Whatsherface, the only text comes in the form of narration boxes that offer interesting insight at some points, but feel extraneous at others. Kubert’s a strong enough artist to deliver the plot by himself on most of these pages, and it’s the ones where there is no caption boxes that the story really comes through. Really, I just went through the whole issue again ignoring the narration and it felt a lot smoother, with all of the story beats intact. This doesn’t mean Gillen’s a bad writer as I am definitely interested in where the plot is going, but he could definitely afford to let go.
Really the biggest problem with the book is the price tag. Yeah, this is “a big event” where Marvel could feel free to inflate the price, but what does that get us? There’s one page of developmental work, with an excerpt from Gillen’s script and Kubert’s process, but that’s only one page in a bonus section full of a cover gallery that I could look up online and an excerpt from “Origin” which I already read (and even if I didn’t, wow thanks for spoiling me the first issue’s big twist.) The story itself might be worth the price of this was from a future issue, but it feels a lot more like “Origin II: Prologue” than a chapter one. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it might relegate “Origin II” to being a better read as a trade than in floppies.Continued below
Final Verdict: 7.3 – Definitely keep this on your radar, but it’ll probably be best to tradewait.