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    “Death of Wolverine” #1 is One Bloody (Short) Affair [Review]

    By | September 4th, 2014
    Posted in Reviews | 13 Comments

    It’s finally come. Starting with yesterday’s “Death of Wolverine” #1 we begin the long, over-priced march towards the demise of one of Marvel’s most popular heroes. Check out our spoiler-free review below!

    Written by Charles Soule
    Illustrated by Steve McNiven

    • The beginning of the end is now here … THE DEATH OF WOLVERINE!
    • THREE MONTHS TO DIE, the loss of Wolverine’s healing factor–all led to this, the single most important X-Men event of the decade.
    • Logan has spent over a century being the best there is at what he does…but even the best fade away eventually.
    • Over the years, Logan has been a warrior, a hero, a renegade, a samurai, a teacher—and so much more. But now, the greatest X-Men hero will play a role he’s never played before in this special weekly event brought to you by industry superstars Charles Soule and Steve McNiven.

    Wolverine. Helluva guy, right? I’ve never been that much of a Logan fan aside from the recent adventures under Remender and Aaron but he’s still a widely popular superhero and the blueprint for plenty of characters that have come since his introduction. It’s only natural that Marvel would make his passing a huge event; so huge that I thought he had already died, actually. Thankfully he didn’t, despite his last series being about how killable he was. In spite of the build-up, “Death of Wolverine” #1 acts as a really great event comic that exists in a bubble. You really don’t need to read any preludes as the first few pages give you everything you need to know.

    McNiven’s long been one of the go-to names when it comes to event comics and he really does excel when it comes to this comic, especially in some of the quieter moments. There’s a large scale in comics that can make a story feel worthy of being an event and with his grand yet grounded style, McNiven definitely has it with some beautifully implemented splash pages and panel layouts. If we’re going to be upfront, the best part of “Death of Wolverine” is the art, which is impressive considering Soule’s clever narration. On one hand, McNiven’s Wolverine is clearly a worn down man, one who’s lost his healing factor. Yet the insights we get from Soule only heighten that thought and really seed it into your head that this is it: these are Wolverine’s final days.

    Of course, Wolverine’s final days are really similar to his usual days: trying to make a peaceful life in the Canadian woods until mercenaries come after him; explosions; stabbings; Frank Miller villains. If you took every one of Wolverine’s solo comics and put them into a blender, it’d read like this issue. There’s not many twists besides Wolverine’s lost healing factor and even that’s been a thing for a year now. How much more effective would this comic have been if Wolverine suddenly lost his healing factor in his darkest days, not just when The Wolverine came out?

    Even though a lot of this is stuff you’ve seen before (or had stuffed down your throat for the past year), Soule and McNiven’s execution still make for an intriguing story. Even though it’s been around for a year, Soule uses his narration to dig deep into how Wolverine’s lost healing factor is affecting him in a way I don’t believe we’ve really seen before. Plus, the confrontation that makes this book comes to a boils with what is a badass reveal that culminates in an even more badass beatdown. If we’re just going to be frank, there’s nothing really wrong with this comic aside from it being 22 pages in a $4.99 book.

    I know, comics are awful and it’s a system that none of us can solve so we might as well just give up and appreciate what we can get. And believe me, I actually do appreciate the story Soule and McNiven are telling. It’s like a lot of Wolverine stories but in a way that’s quintessential, not derivative. And while the story is great, the book is not worth having more behind-the-scenes material than actual material. Even in cases like the “Miracleman” reprints it sort of makes sense to have a lot of bonus material since that’s a universally-acclaimed story that’s withstood the test of time. “The Death of Wolverine” came out yesterday and half of it was spent congratulating itself.

    Continued below

    I hate to be vulgar, but imagine if you went to a really hyped-up circus and fifteen minutes into the show the clowns came out and started jerking off to themselves. Then, before anyone finishes, they zip up their pants and claim they’ll continue the show next week at the same extravagant price you already paid for with the intent of seeing two hours of circus. Now you have to go home and wait a week for the rest of the show knowing full well that you’re still going to have to sit through another round of carnies jerking each other off. There’s no promise of what the actual show will entail for the next three rounds; the only certainty you have in this situation is clown cock being waved in your face. Sure, they may get the circus’s founder to come out and say some words about the show’s early days but that doesn’t excuse the group of clowns circle jerking around him.

    By itself, “Death of Wolverine” #1 is a pretty good comic and one I really want to like, excessive price point aside. It’s just insanely presumptuous to talk about how great a storyline is before the second issue’s even come out. It’s like they forgot trades existed.

    Final Verdict: 6.4 – If you like Wolverine, I’m sure you’ll be pleased as punch with how they tie up his story as well as all the talk about his legacy. If not, you can spend the $4.99 on coffee or something. Or give it to me. I don’t care.


    James Johnston

    James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.