Comic Book Review – Hunt for Wolverine #1 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I picked up Hunt for Wolverine #1 from Marvel Comics, written by Charles Soule with art on the first story ‘Secrets and Lives’ from David Marquez and Rachelle Rosenberg, and on ‘Hunter’s Pryde’ from Paulo Siquiera, Walden Wong and Ruth Redmond. Lettering was provided by VC’s Joe Sabino, with cover art from Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten and Laura Martin.

Cover art by Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten and Laura Martin

Wolverine has been dead for a couple of years. Spoilers I guess. We reviewed the final issue of Death of Wolverine here. back in 2014 While the revolving door of death in comic books made his eventual return a certainty, it isn’t like the Marvel universe has been devoid of a Wolverine in the meantime. It’s had two in fact – Old Man Logan, deposited into the regular universe following Secret Wars for reasons I don’t remember, and X-23 who took on Logan’s mantle while he was dead. For whatever reason now though, he is in the process of returning. Logan has been popping up in several other teasers to tie in to the Infinity Quest upcoming event, but Hunt for Wolverine kicks off his return proper.

The first story is action heavy and involves the Reavers turning up to try and steal Wolverine’s body, encased in the solid adamantium shell that led to his death when the molten alloy was poured over him. The X-Men turn up to foil this attempt, that turns out to be largely pointless anyway. They took the body out after his death, essentially leaving a metal shrine to Logan. Cue a big fight, followed by more confusion as to where the body actually is. Part 2 of this issue leads on from the realisation on the part of the X-Men that the body isn’t where they think it is either. What follows is Kitty Pryde recruiting several disparate groups to join the search for Wolverine, including Tony Stark and some past and present Avengers, Daredevil, and one of the other groups of X-Men.

There is a consistency with Soule that leads on from Death… to Hunt… that shows clearly through the two stories. However, as this issue focuses more on the X-Men than Wolverine himself, Soule is given the opportunity to stretch out here and does it well. A few of the characters have little to do or say, but voices like Kitty Pryde come through as strongly as that character should. The first story, ‘Secrets and Lives’, is the meat of the issue here. The action is a lot of fun, the dialogue not too distracting or overblown. While there is interesting material in the second story, ‘Hunter’s Pryde’, that part of the issue unfortunately plays out like an advert for the 4 separate series that will continue the story of Wolverine’s return and as such is less strong.The characterisations there as still great, and overall this is a well written issue.

Art by David Marquez, Rachelle Rosenberg and Joe Sabino

The main draw for me to check out Hunt for Wolverine was David Marquez’s art. Civil War II, while a bit of an unnecessary mess from a story perspective, was a gorgeous book. As was the recent Defenders series. Here Marquez has the opportunity to flex his artistic muscles with some great fights that seem grander than what was on show in The Defenders without being weighed down by the sheer number of characters in Civil War II. He also manages to draw everyone as distinctly beautiful, even Reed Richards with his weird neck. I was a little disappointed when I realised Marquez wasn’t drawing the whole book, but Siquiera’s art in the second shorter story is still good, despite no action taking place, with the strengths there on the character work and some very nice backgrounds.

Hunt for Wolverine is worth picking up if you are a big Logan fan and want to know where he has been and what is coming next. The art is great, and the characterisations and dialogue from Soule are good too. At times it reads a lot like an advert for what is coming next, which is pretty typical for comics, but the fact that what is next is 4 separate series, it seems a little far and unfriendly to the wallet. Even so, I think this is a good issue and worth your time.

Score: 6.5 Adamantium shells out of 10

Comic Review – Death of Wolverine #4 (Finale)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of his favourite one, with potential minor spoilers.

After what seems like one of the longest death scenes in history, fictional or otherwise, we have finally arrived a the finale of Death of Wolverine. Spoiler alert – Logan dies. That’s been teased for months, and given that there are a slew of comics coming up dealing with the aftermath of his death it seemed like there really was no way out for Wolvie. A fake out would have been a mistake, and while there is absolutely no chance that Wolverine will actually stay dead in the long term (this is superhero comic books we are talking about, and one of Marvel’s most popular and enduring characters), if the story is compelling then it is still worth telling.

Death of Wolverine follows on from various arcs that led to Logan losing his healing factor, making him question both his mortality after being rendered killable, and his place in the world as a hero. This four-part series involves Abraham Cornelius, one of the leads on the Weapon X program that was responsible for lacing Wolverine’s skeleton with the adamantium metal alloy. Seeking to leave a legacy, and seeing Wolverine as a failure of the program, Cornelius seeks out more adamantium to infuse and graft onto new subjects. He also needs Logan’s healing factor to succeed, and seeks him out not knowing that Wolverine no longer possesses the ability. This final issue is all about the confrontation. Logan arrives at Cornelius’s facility in Nevada, lays waste to all the guards, and finds a scene shockingly similar to his experiences in Weapon X. After Cornelius discovers that he is no longer of any use to him, and Logan defeats his super-powered muscle, he flees and starts the infusion of molten adamantium into his remaining subjects. We hear the ‘SNIKT’ of claws extending for the last time before Logan goes into action. By the end of the issue we arrive where we expected, with Wolverine dead. It is worth reading for yourself though, so I won’t go into detail on how.

Charles Soule crafts a strong, tight story around the demise of Wolverine. His dialogue is pitch perfect, and this issue is an exhilarating ride. I think my favourite element that they have brought in to this story is every time Logan sustains a new injury, the affected area is highlighted in a single small red text box. When he draws his claws for the last time, it simply says ‘HANDS’. Steve McNiven’s art is superbly detailed and dynamic, and the inks from Jay Leisten and colours from Justin Ponsor finish up the art to make a really strong overall direction. The double splash of Paradise Valley, Nevada is breathtaking and does a great job of setting up the start of the issue, the calm before the storm.

This was a great end to a strong mini series, and while it was a long time coming and may only be temporary, the story was worth telling and will hopefully set off a few more compelling arcs in the aftermath of Logan’s death. My only complaint is the price point of $4.99 for 24 pages of story, the same cover price for all 4 issues. That is fairly steep, and while it has a nice quality shiny cover and contains a free digital copy, there should be an element of choice in that, perhaps knocking a dollar off the price for a standard cover. Nevertheless, this is still a series very much worth reading. There were copies of all four issues available at my LCS so you can still get the whole story physically, or pick it up digitally (where I actually believe it is a bit cheaper!).

8 SNIKTs out of 10