You may be wondering why the Death of Wolverine was delayed until October, even though Marvel promoted the hell out of the event running all the way through September. Well we don’t know, if there was a guess it would probably have to do with them getting an early look at the sales numbers and realized that two more issues of Wolverine dying weren’t going to win them the month (they lost to DC), but whatever. We’re here, he’s still dying or trying and now Kitty Pryde is in the mix so let’s review the third issue.
Usually I go last on these reviews because who the hell wants to read the lowest scoring review first? Today I made an exception because I just can’t stand this series anymore. I can’t stand the fact that we’re barely given a complete issue and that the entire thing altogether is going to clock in at about two issues worth of total pages.
What I also can’t stand is the fact that nothing happens… in this issue or the previous ones. I mean stuff happens, but all of the reveals are anticlimactic. It’s the equivalent of just telling us in a tweet what happened rather than there being any real payoff. Point in case spoiler Cyber is dead in this issue. We’re just shown his big stupid body floating in acid and that’s it. The greatest hits of villains continue to roll through this series, but instead of treating them like they’re relevant they feel old and dated. It’s like watching an old wrestler still trying to wrestle. Sure you still like them, but it’s a boring fucking thing to watch and it just makes you feel sorry for them. I don’t know why Soule feels the need to make all of these characters feel as old as they actually are, but that’s not a charming quality in superhero comics.
I’m still wholly unimpressed with McNiven’s art. His Wolverine changes age and design depending on what fucking city the story is taking place in. Last issue he was rocking a beard and looked about right with his age and design, but this issue after being given some regenerative juice he’s suddenly in his twenties.
The last thing I’ll end on was Ogun’s reveal because it was the worst scene in the book. After Wolverine’s “woe is me” bit is over, Kitty kisses him, but wait, it’s Ogun. I’m sorry, but there clearly isn’t any thought behind this because why would a heterosexual male possessing a woman kiss another heterosexual male just to say, “It’s me!” That’s something that would happen in a comedy, but this is a serious story and I found it ridiculous because there was no thought put into how the characters would actually react. What’s worse is that the best thing that Wolvie can muster is, “We’ve never been like that.” Which when you think about it is exactly fucking right, but whereas I’m referring to the entire scene, Wolvie is talking about the snikt in his pants.
After a lackluster Issue #2 and a delay of a week in the series, would it be possible for the Charles Soule, Steve McNiven and company to rebound back with something solid for Issue Number 3? My answer, no, not really. We have some action and some old nemesis issues here. Shoot, we even have a “cat fight” (you will have to read) but I just simply am not feeling the heart in the story. This really does disappoint me as I have always liked Wolverine and Charles Soule is one of my favorite writers in comics today.
Even with those two things in the corner for this title… While reading this… I know that I want to feel for Logan and his plight of not having a healing factor rendering him mortal. But I just don’t right now. Everything feels too rushed through like a checklist is being used in designing this story. It feels uninspired.
McNiven’s art is still quite spectacular and it has been the rock star of this event. But the writing is woefully lacking and doesn’t match the level that the art is bringing. Damn, I hate to say that, but it’s true. It just isn’t.
But fortunately for Marvel, I am a sucker for the comeback and I am hopeful that some of the energy from the first issue will return for #4. The preview picture at least rocks. I am ready to see if Soule can come through in the end. I know that I am pulling for you man.
After Kitty Pryde does a wickedly gory move with her phasing powers nothing in this issue could match up. Not only do we get very little action from Wolverine in this issue, other than a scene of him in full samurai garb leading to a short and lackluster fight, but the comic is starting to show signs of intense editorial oversight, demanding that the story skip between all of Logan’s former haunts whether or not it makes much sense.
For instance, this issue Wolverine along with Shadowcat head for Japan, the two starting off their search for Ogun by just hanging out near a stream. The scene puts Steve McNiven’s talents to good use in a rare moment of peace for Wolvie, cherry blossoms falling around the two as Logan ruminates on the benefits of losing his healing power potentially foreshadowing at this miniseries’ endgame. However, when a character reveal occurs a few pages later, I had to question the necessity for the move to Japan since the locale doesn’t end playing at all into the story, providing only setup for the last issue concerning a villain that I’m not familiar with at all, and refuse to Wiki on account of not giving a crap.
The best part of this comic for me is that I’m now aware of McNiven’s art, and I hope that whatever book he does next has a script and premise more deserving of his talents. Soule can tell great stories, his work on She-Hulk currently one of my favorites, but perhaps his struggle with finding something fresh to say about Wolverine is evidence that maybe the ole’ Canuck can do with sitting out of the comics for a bit.
The gratuitous march of Wolverine’s gallery of various hangers-on continues in Death of Wolverine #3, and as such, it reminds me of all the problems Gotham had in its pilot; at least under the umbrella issue of “trying to do too damn much.” Three new characters are introduced into this issue of Wolvie’s final, fatal arc, and while it does feel like a “This Is Your Life, Logan” routine, it’s cool to see some old favorites and landmark characters thrown back in the mix. Unfortunately, in something this compact, it also feels overcrowded.
As much as I like Soule’s writing, he is clearly being told to jam in a whole lot of exposition here. That’s not to say there aren’t some gems - like when Wolverine tells Kitty his “out-claws,” so to speak - but the story itself is made claustrophobic with back-story. This isn’t even mentioning the convenience it takes in things like magic healing potions and random, yet perfectly-tailored suits of Samurai armor; the latter presumably used to remind us that Wolverine Japans super hard. Like many things in this series, it looked badass, but felt really forced.
The real standout this issue was McNiven’s art, which remains, for the most part, spectacular! Before I get into it, I must first note that Wolverine switches back to his old look this time, so he is no longer jocking my flair. That tells me either Marvel doesn’t want to get into another legal dispute, or simply that, unlike myself, Wolverine just can’t handle it when things get ... hairy.
Whether it’s the sometimes frenetic, sometimes gorgeous layouts; the contentious samurai duds; the neatly choreographed fight sequences; or the chilling scene of Kitty at war with herself, the art falters very rarely this issue. Speaking of that last example, I especially love the way McNiven visually expresses Kitty’s powers, and how devastating they can be ... at least with a certain measure of poetic license.
It was always my understanding that if Kitty solidified her arm inside something else like, say, some fool’s head, she would lose that arm. But apparently, either because of her bout with possession this issue or because she’s received some kind of crazy power-up, she can take out super-enhanced limbs using this technique. I’ll grant you, it looks cool, but I’m not sure it’s what you might call “accurate.”
All-in, Death of Wolverine #3 continues this series’ unfortunate issues with haste, clichéd convenience and downright uneconomical value for money (16 pages of original story this time), but it does enjoy art that really is something special. So far, I love to see Wolverine go, but I’m not overly thrilled about watching him leave.
Writer: Charles Soule Artist: Steve McNiven Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: $4.99 aka Way Too Much! Release Date: 10/1/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital