Welcome, welcome to another Comic Bastards group review. If you’re unfamiliar with the format, its where writers of the site come together and give their opinions of an issue along with their own numeric score for the issue in question. Before that, here’s a summary for Death of Wolverine #1.
IT'S THE BEGINNING OF THE END – 3 MONTHS TO DIE ENDS HERE!
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.
I’m gonna bypass the debate about whether deaths mean anything in contemporary comic books. Like it or not, they’ll happen and eventually the character will return, often with a trendy costume and a different perspective on life. Not having read the lead up to the Death of Wolverine, I was happy to see how accessible this comic was. I really liked how the two page conversation between Reed Richards and Wolverine worked to not only establish Logan’s current health status, but also to show just how much of an impact he has had on the superhero community even to those who aren’t an Avenger or X-men.
The art in this issue was pretty great, especially the way Wolverine’s failing health is depicted. The creators seem intent on making Wolverine’s death as grim as possible with a close up panel revealing how much damage he does to himself simply by retracting his trademark claws.
My biggest qualm with this issue is that the reveal at the end of the issue left a bit to be desired. To someone who lacks knowledge of Wolverine’s complete history, I was a bit baffled about who currently seems to be the person who’s put out a hit on the weakened Wolverine. However, given that this is only the beginning of Wolvie’s latest swan song I’m sure there’ll be a few other twists.
Man, this issue really passes the eye test. Visually, it is stunning, bold, and drawn with every ounce of passion that can be mustered from a perspective of a man who is reaching his end, but isn't quite yet done with what he needs to do. I was knocked out by the detail. And from the artwork alone, the $5.00 price tag looked a little bit less irritating. We have a whole team at work on art with Steve McNiven on the pencils, Jay Leisten on the inks, and Justin Ponsor with the color. Usually when things get this busy, it feels a mess. But these three really brought a nice harmony of contrast and color that fits the "event" status.
But of course, pretty pictures doesn't make a perfect comic. You need a strong tandem of writing with the art to make something memorable. Marvel decided that Charles Soule would be the best man for the job in making it work on the writing side....They freaking nailed it.
Soule is a master of what I call introspective writing. He does a wonderful job in conveying thoughts with the action that allows the reader to really get inside of the mind and psyche of the character. With Wolverine, he excels in it and does a phenomenal job in capturing Logan the Man as well as Logan the Wolverine. It's a wonderful start to what I now believe might just be a really good "event". I'm psyched now. One last thing... The "Director's Cut" and additional extras really help make the price tag diminish too, as you get normally what you would find in a trade. Nice touch and great insight into the process. I loved it all.
Unlike the host of malcontents that would smoke Logan out from his healing factor-less, self-imposed exile in this, the first issue that heralds his imminent demise, I actively try to avoid Wolverine. Throughout his lifespan in comics, he has gone from a compelling badass to a ubiquitous go-to whenever Marvel needs a gruff heart of gold, which seems to be always. Hence, his death - temporary though we all know it will be - piques my morbid curiosity. As a preface to what hopefully won’t be a year-long annoying memorial, Death of Wolverine #1 is a good start to what will hopefully be a great “finish.”
Soule, along with his art team of McNiven, Leisten and colorist Justin Ponsor, do a great job of setup, and not just because the writer touches on the lingering things that have pissed me off about Wolverine still being able to survive without a healing factor (i.e., the medical implications he discusses with Richards this issue), albeit briefly. This is how it should be: Logan sitting in the woods with a drink in hand, waiting for death to come to him. And come it does, in great droves, and with the promise of worse to be loosed. It’s not unexpected, but it is welcome.
The art here matches the tone, which is to say, grizzled, chiseled and blood-wet, with gorgeous figure and color work that gives everything a real feel. In a sense, this story also feels resigned to inevitability, going out with great consequence in a flourish that is well-formed and doesn’t feel as saccharine as the character has been portrayed in recent years. This is a has-been who has met the end of his tether, and for the first time since this whole storyline began, I’m interested in what happens next, with Logan going right to the source of the bounty put on his head. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually looking forward to a Wolverine book for the first time in a while; no coincidence, perhaps, that it is also his “last.”
Looks like I’m gonna watch you die well, you sappy, surly son of a bitch.
Death of Wolverine isn’t going to surprise many of you. It’s well put-together on every level, from the packaging to the writing to the art. You get what you pay for with Soule and McNiven, and it’s generally top-notch. It’s also very new-reader-friendly; you get all the background you need, a great fight, a clear idea of who’s up next. It’s fun, if a little too self-serious.
My biggest issue with the issue was honestly that I thought the “3/2/1 Months to Die” arcs in Wolverine were going to tie into this one, and that I may be lost without reading them. (Not a big solo Wolverine—never have been and at this rate, never will be). Turns out I was super mistaken, because those “Months to Die” books a) sucked (with the exception of the Kris Anka issues), and b) were five months’ worth of books I could have done without. I guess that’s a critique of the marketing more than the book itself, but still. It got stuck in my craw.
This is a good book for pretty much anyone—casual comics fans, new to the medium folks who liked Days of Future Past, die-hard readers who just want to see Wolverine fucking eat it. It’s probably not going to set the world on fire, since we all know Wolverine will be back, but it should be fun while it lasts.
If there’s one thing you don’t want your big “Death Event” book to be, it’s boring. The reason this issue is so terribly boring is because everything you think will happen does and that’s bad. That’s fan fiction on the page and there’s a reason it’s called “fan fiction” and it’s because it should only exist as that.
The dialogue was pointless. No one says anything worth a damn. Wolvie meets with Reed Richards and through their conversation we learn that he’s the last genius on his list… then why are we there? Seriously as a reader why do I want to see him talking to the last person on the list? Just so we understand that all the other geniuses have tried and failed? Well that didn’t make me more excited and as a reader all I need was for one person to say, “You ain’t got no healing factor.”
Nuke is in the issue. I fucking hate Nuke. I think even Frank Miller hates Nuke. He’s the shittiest Wolverine character there is and so it’s not a fucking treat when they dust the dude off every five years to use him. Also, the fact that Wolverine lets him live is pathetic. He was the only “brand” character so of course he was going to live. After all, the mini-series isn’t called “Death of Wolverine and Friends.”
I’ve never liked McNiven’s Wolverine. Dudes supposed to be short, but McNiven illustrates him normal size and then illustrates everyone bigger as if that makes Wolverine smaller in stature somehow…. It doesn’t.
Lastly the different narrative caption boxes for Wolvie’s senses sucked. It didn’t work and only because the other two senses where never used again. It was a bad gimmick.
Writer: Charles Soule Artist: Steve McNiven Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: $4.99 Release Date: 9/3/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital