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Review: Death of Wolverine #1
Fred  |  September 3, 2014

The Death of Wolverine. A once in a lifetime event, at least until his inevitable resurrection and the demise of another Marvel hero to make headlines instead. Personally, I was not excited about the Death of Wolverine event for two reasons:

  1. He’s my favourite character so I don’t really want to see him going anywhere. However, taking into account the fact that he’s suddenly part of every superhero squad in the Marvel universe (on top of cameos in other books out the wazoo), I can understand why fans (and creators too, more than likely) are suffering from Bub fatigue.
  2. Rumours say that Marvel found a legal loophole to get the movie licenses for X-Men/Wolverine and Fantastic Four back from Fox Studios. All they have to do is not publish the characters for a set amount of time and then bring them back “all new” to regain the rights for film. Not sure how true that is but it did sour the whole Death of Wolverine premise to me.

“Enough jibber jabber,” I can hear you already saying, “review the damn comic!” In keeping with the theme of Death of Wolverine #1, I’m giving you LOTS of information you may or may not need (or enjoy), and some of the good stuff to keep you happy. While the comic looks like a large issue, the actual story is only half the book, with the rest made up of interviews and process pages. That was a little frustrating at first because I want to know what’s going to happen, but upon pouring over all these little factoids and original art, I jumped on board.

DoW is many things, and chief amongst them is absolutely gorgeous. Steve McNiven has outdone himself in this issue, a fact further reinforced by the oodles of behind the scenes pencil and ink examples. McNiven’s Wolverine harkens back to a slightly less wild (and dated) Barry Windsor-Smith style, a fact McNiven touches upon in his commentary. He looks like a furry tank of a man that you don’t want to mess with, without looking mean or like a wild animal. After everything he’s been through, Logan deserves depth and the creative team gives him that. Justin Ponsor does a great job colouring the story, and for the most part, Jay Leisten's inks are spot on. Ironically, it’s only when you compare the original pencils with the inks in the extra material that you can see how some of the subtlety and nuance is lost from McNiven’s original lines. But don’t get me wrong, it’s still a stunning book and a respectful approach to the death of a Canadian icon.

Charles Soule has a real knack for dialogue that’s made obvious with every word Logan and the rest of the cast says. The bad guy in this issue came as a complete shock, and initially a bit of a disappointment as it’s not a character I ever enjoyed, but Soule uses him well and it ends up being a perfect fit for the story. The final reveal did feel a bit predictable, through no fault of Soule. I love Logan but his enemies are not always the best, and even worse, they’re often overused. That being said, it’s a really strong start to the story and I have complete faith that Soule will see it through in an interesting, respectful way. I keep mentioning respect but that’s something the entire creative team shows both in the treatment of the character through the story, as well as when they talk about him in the process pages.

I went into this book with little to no excitement and ended up being impressed for many reasons. Not everyone will like the fact that the story feels short (though it's technically the standard 24 pages), but if you take the time to read all the extra creative process breakdowns and interview material, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of both the medium, and those who work within it.

Overall, Death of Wolverine #1 is absolutely worth picking up: whether you’re already mourning the character, just want to see how he goes out, or simply want a solid story from Soule.

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