COMIC REVIEW: The Death of Wolverine #1 & #2 [Spoiler Heavy]

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The Death of Wolverine #1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

The Death of Wolverine #1 (Image: Marvel Comics)

The Death of Wolverine #1
Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, Justin Ponsor
Marvel Comics
September 2, 2014

It’s been said that the only Marvel character to ever stay dead is Spider-Man/Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben. With Marvel’s newest four-part event, The Death of Wolverine, that list will supposedly get one name longer.

Now this might come as a surprise for some because Wolverine was one of the toughest sons of a bitch out there in the Marvel world! To see why Marvel would do this click here.

If you’re not that familiar with Wolverine then let me give you a little background info. He’s a mutant with special powers that include super healing and regenerative abilities, he’s got superior strength, heightened senses and claws that protract from his knuckles. Oh, and to make him even more invincible his skeleton is completely coated and covered in an indestructible metal, called adamantium.

By the time we meet Wolverine he’s recently lost his healing and regenerative abilities, but he still has his heightened senses and strength. Plus, at a ripe age of just over 200 he’s got decades worth of fighting skills and martial knowledge.

The book begins with Wolverine, soiled and bloody from a recent fight, contemplating his past few days and looking utterly exhausted. His appearance gives off a sense of Shakespearean introspection. It almost seems that old man Logan is ready to die. His healing factor has prolonged his life past that of many of his friends and loved ones and he appears ready to go. This acceptance lends him a sense of clarity in his final duties.

The problem for Wolverine is that after 200 years of fighting he’s made quite a few enemies. And with his healing ability gone he knows that at any moment his past enemies are going to come out in droves looking for him. As he says, “Open season on Wolverine.”

In the next scene, we see Wolverine a few days earlier consulting with one of the smartest individuals on the planet about his healing problem. He’s told that his problem can be fixed but it will take time. Under advisement, Wolverine decides to go into hiding or at least go far enough from others so that there won’t be collateral damage to those who he cares about.

So where does someone like Wolverine go to find solace? Some place like a second home, maybe a place where everybody knows your name. For good ‘ol Wolverine, that of course is a bar. After a drink and a quick call, presumably to be traced there, Wolverine leaves but asks for a favor from the bartender.

We come to find out that Wolverine’s speculations were true and find out that someone, the star spangled tattooed faced Nuke, has come looking for him. After a brief reunion that includes scenes of assorted violence, explosions and destruction, which were sweet, Wolverine finally finds out who is putting the hit out on him. Even more surprising is that he finds out that not only is the hit not a hit but a contract to bring him in, alive.

Nuke, looking for Wolverine. (Image: Marvel Comics)

Nuke, looking for Wolverine. (Image: Marvel Comics)

On the final page, we find out that the contract on Wolverine’s head is coming from the island city Madripoor. Madripoor is a fictional island located in southeast Asia. And guess who’s in charge of Madripoor? Why it’s Wolverine’s brief old ball and chain, Viper. Also seen with Viper is Wolverine’s greatest enemy chained up, Sabretooth!

Which makes you wonder many things, like why the hell is Sabretooth chained up? How did Viper manage to subdue Sabretooth? If Viper has Sabretooth couldn’t she send him to get Wolverine for her? Also, if the name of the book is The Death of Wolverine, why would the contract on Wolverine be for him to be brought in alive? I guess you’ll have to wait to find out in the next issue.

From an art perspective the first issue is great. The focus of Steve McNiven’s work appears to be that of the beaten down and depleted look of Wolverine. From his tattered and torn appearance to the trickling of blood from his body.

Bonus material (Image: Marvel Comics)

Bonus material (Image: Marvel Comics)

The only thing that I didn’t like about this issue is if Wolverine is going to die I want to see his greatest enemies and not C-list characters like Nuke. Because you would think Wolverine’s demise would probably come at the hands of one of his greatest enemies like Sabretooth (while not chained up), Deadpool, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike and/or Silver Samurai.

One of the parts I liked about this book was the bonus material. The bonus material includes sketches from the book before they were completed and filled in with color. Also, Steve McNiven explains what he originally wanted to do with each section versus what we end up with in the book. It comes off almost as a director’s commentary on a DVD.

 

 

The Death of Wolverine #2
Charles Soule
Marvel Comics
September 9, 2014

The Death of Wolverine #2 (Image: Marvel Comics)

The Death of Wolverine #2 (Image: Marvel Comics)

The book opens up with one of Viper’s henchman being escorted into a club. After entering a private room we see a completely different Wolverine. To be honest the only reason I even realized it was him was because of the bandages around his hands.

As we first see Wolverine he’s wearing a tuxedo with an undone bowtie, his hair slicked back into a ponytail with each arm around a pretty woman surrounded by chilled bottles of champagne.

This is a complete turnaround of how we last saw Wolverine. Maybe he’s feeling better because he’s found out who put out the contract on him? Or maybe he’s finally healed up from his last battle? Or maybe it’s the fact he’s in an exclusive club, with beautiful women and expensive champagne? Maybe it’s all three.

A conversation begins between the henchman and Wolverine. It quickly becomes evident that the henchman has no idea with whom he’s speaking with. Wolverine informs him that he has something that Viper will pay for.

Intrigued, the henchman finds out that Wolverine has a working Iron Man helmet. Wanting to test it he tries it on and finds out all type of information about the other people in the club on the heads up display. Which includes facial recognition software, a metal detector (for weapons) and it can even detect narcotics and gold bullion when concealed.

They decided to throw out a little Easter egg, as the helmet can also detect mutant DNA. As the helmet happens to recognize Raven Darkholme, who’s none other than Mystique!

Iron Man helmet heads up display. (Image: Marvel Comics)

Iron Man helmet heads up display. (Image: Marvel Comics)

Once Wolverine is taken to see Viper all the shit hits the fan. He easily handles all of Viper’s muscle, after which Sabretooth is brought out in chains. They begin to talk and Wolverine finds out that Viper didn’t put the contract on him, but that she was more of a subcontractor for someone else.

Viper goes on to say, “He’s keeping me busy. Quite a little project he’s got going. Hijacked airliners, kidnappings, robbing museums—he wanted a statue of the Hulk, if you can believe that.”

After all of this Viper informs Wolverine that she’ll tell him whom she’s working for if he kills Sabretooth. And to make it interesting she tells Sabretooth that if he kills Wolverine she’ll let him free.

After a quick attack by Sabretooth, Wolverine is left with only one eye. Wolverine grabs the Iron Man helmet, presses a button and tosses it to Sabretooth. Who before he realizes explodes in his face. Even more enraged he attacks Wolverine but is saved by none other than Lady Deathstrike! As she’s ready to give the deathblow to Sabretooth, Wolverine stops her and lets him go.

Speaking with each other we find out that Lady Deathstrike was also on this list as Ogun attacked her. She as well has adamantium in her body, as her father was the one who bonded the adamantium to Wolverine. I found this interesting because I now remember in the first issue Wolverine was informed that another superhero, Battlestar, had his adamantium shield stolen from him.

Lady Deathstrike sees that he’s not healing and is weak. She believes that she may be able to trade her life for Wolverine’s. But before she can attack Wolverine, Shadowcat of the X-Men attacks her from behind.

Shadowcat attacking Lady Deathstrike (Image: Marvel Comics)

Shadowcat attacking Lady Deathstrike (Image: Marvel Comics)

I liked this issue more than the first one because we see more of the characters of Wolverine’s world. It’ll be interesting to see who is trying to collect all of the adamantium and for what purpose.

Again Steve McNiven did the art and he doesn’t disappoint. I like how he drew Lady Deathstrike. To me she appears more like the character in X2: X-Men United, more real and less cartoonish.

There are still many questions left. Who’s behind everything? Will any other X-Men show up to help? Or Avengers? How will Wolverine die? When will Wolverine die? There are only two issues left in the series, look for the penultimate issue on Wednesday!

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Creator and host of the podcast Beer, Bros & BS, teller of stories, drinker of beers, reader of (comic) books, watcher of sports, devourer of food, mostly entertaining. From Miami. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @thebiglibrarian.

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