Group Review: Death of Wolverine #4

Well it’s over, Death of Wolverine is finally over. Let’s find out what our remaining reviewers thought of the issue. Remember when we had like five people reviewing this? Now it’s three!

Death of Wolverine #4STEVE: 2/5

Ding-dong, the SNIKT is dead. Yes, Logan’s last gasp has finally come - in decisive fashion, even - but unfortunately, his final breath was stillborn stale and delivered with a whimper.

This entire story - not to mention the death of Marvel’s arguably most popular character - is built around half-baked, hastily thrown-together, infuriating contradictory grandstanding. To be frank, it’s just not good enough, and only succeeds in further devaluing superhero deaths; not that they didn’t leave plenty of “outs” for this one not to stick, mind you.

Given time, I am convinced that this same, otherwise very talented creative team could have made Wolverine’s death rattle ring as something truly memorable in comics. Unfortunately, the bulk of his swan song has been set in the convoluted rush to Death of Wolverine’s finish line, smacking as it does of editorial intrusion. His final nail was hammered in without patience or finesse, leading to a conclusion that makes everything heretofore completely pointless. Pun intended.

I will give this to Charles Soule: he found an interesting way to kill Wolverine. The problem is, it is one of the only ways to do so where it doesn’t matter whether he has a healing factor or not. This method would presumably kill or otherwise permanently incapacitate a fully-powered Wolverine. So if that’s the case, why spend so long making him “killable” in the first place? Does he go down swinging like everyone wanted him to, or die for something spectacular? Nope. He briefly fights some throwaway enforcer with a winking name (probably a Wolvie clone), and then suffers a Solo fate.

It’s more of a glaze than a blaze of glory, and it just didn’t feel worth it in the end. Ironically, that final scene sums up in one image how I feel about this miniseries itself; it may be shiny as hell (I still love McNiven’s textured, chiseled work here), but it’s also leaden, lumpen and ugly. Polished though it may appear, the Death of Wolverine is just another pile.

death-of-wolverine-doe-3e7e4jpg-2e3fb9ANDRE: 0/5

I’m really tempted to go full-on hate for this one and give it Dustin’s WTF score. However, after reading the issue for a second time I don’t even think I can muster the energy required for any intense ill feelings. In fact, at the end of Death of Wolverine #4 I felt mostly indifference, with a tinge of confusion thanks to a final page that had me momentarily wonder whether Comixology had cut off the last few pages. I then saw ‘End’ at the bottom of the page with an adamantium-covered Wolverine as the sun rises off-panel, and uttered a silent ‘huh.’

It’s hard to believe that of all the possible ways Wolverine could have gone out, Soule and his editors decided that this was the best there was. After three issues where we saw some of Logan’s major villains come and go, he goes out on account of operating on pure instinct and then not having the forethought to get out of the way of an adamantium bath. Granted, he did it to spare three people from being fused with the super-strong metal, but it all felt so forced. We didn’t at all know who those people were, and other than some gory panels that showed the beginnings of the adamantium-bonding process, there was a definite lack of sympathy on my end.

Even the story’s big bad Cornelius and his masked lackey just read like two lazy archetypes, the egomaniacal scientist and the silent killer. Soule doesn’t even bother showing us Cornelius’ death, and each exchange between him and Wolverine read like bad James Bond movies (looking at you Die another Day). Steve McNiven, while competent as always with what he’s given, doesn’t get to illustrate anything interesting, with the most striking page looking like a poor attempt at drawing Colossus on acid.

I know he’ll be back within a year or two, but Wolvie deserved better than this. Hopefully ten years from now when another team gets a whack at it, they’ll give him the badass death he deserves.

Death_of_Wolverine-4_Canada-VariantDUSTIN: 0/5

Yup we’re finally there. It’s the bottom of the fucking barrel. It’s worse than Axis #1 in my opinion and I had a pretty low opinion about that issue. This entire series has been a mess of fan service and a story that makes zero sense as it's only goal is to somehow kill Wolverine. Adamantium is no longer the rarest metal on the planet, it’s just the most expensive because anyone can buy or find it. Dr. Cornelius… the Red Skull… probably some other dickhead… Sabretooth? Probably.

I’m going to keep this short because it’s not worth hammering home again, you can listen to the podcast for that, but there’s three things to discuss.

The first is the fact that there was zero emotion to the ending. Wolverine showed none and all those that give McNiven credit for his art should look at that final panel of Wolvie’s memories. Do you feel anything looking at them? Does it even look cool to see Wolverine’s past redrawn for the billionth time? No it doesn’t. In fact it’s so bad that you have to guess what emotions the scene are supposed to represent. Love? Auto insurance rates being lowered? Finding a good Chinese food restaurant close to your house? Could be all of the above.

The second is the stupid ass color caption boxes for smell and whatever the others were. Not only does it limp to the finish line, but it was clearly never thought out fully and definitely wasn’t executed properly. It still added nothing and I mean nothing to the story other than to enrage me with how lazy and meaningless it was.

The third and final thing is Cornelius… “I’ve been keeping tabs on you.” He says a billion times, but then he didn’t know about the healing factor? But in the beginning there was explicit directions not to kill him… why would that be the instructions if none of the people who were sent after him were previously ever close to killing him? The mother fucker came back from a drop of blood and you’re telling C and D list villains to not kill him and I’m to believe he has no idea that he’s lost his healing factor? Then there was the regeneration serum... right? It was a shortsighted opening and the ending covered its ass, but I’m not buying it.

I’m ashamed that I gave this money just so that we could group review it. If Marvel ever hands out refunds I’ll put this at the top of my list and frankly these creators are now at the bottom of mine.

Writer: Charles Soule Artist: Steve McNiven Publisher: Marvel Comics Price: Who Gives A Fuck Release Date: 10/15/14 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital