Saturday, 6 September 2014

Death of Wolverine #1 Review (Charles Soule, Steve McNiven)

So, Wolverine’s going to die because what else do you have planned for him, right Marvel? He’s got no big quest or purpose, he’s just there - so let’s take him off the table, let him build up anticipation off-screen, like the Joker did when he disappeared for a year at the start of the New 52, and then bring him back in a big spectacle! Or maybe this is a ploy to minimise attention to the character so that Fox will relinquish rights to the character back to Marvel Studios? (Totally implausible but I wish it would happen!)

Anyway, Marvel’s latest exclusive contract signing, Charles Soule, joins artist Steve McNiven for this 4 issue miniseries that kills off Wolverine forever (read: a year, two tops). Viper’s put a hit out on Wolverine’s head, a big pile o’dough for the first one who brings him in - alive. After taking out dozens of Hand, AIM and other bad guy lackeys, Nuke steps up to take on Logan (Nuke’s the big brawler with the American flag tattooed on his face). 

The story’s interesting enough with Soule drizzling some thoughtful details on top of the expected action - whenever Logan uses the claws and they retract, they bring in all kinds of germs that, without his healing factor, make him vulnerable to all kinds of illness and disease. There’s also this unexpected weariness in Wolverine’s voice, as if he not only knows the end is near but that he’s ready for it. 

McNiven gives us some great images too, like of Wolverine watching the sun rise, exhausted, on his front porch with dead bodies surrounding him. The title page is excellent and very cinematic, and the fight between Wolverine and Nuke is very bloody and violent. McNiven seems to thrive on big bombastic comics and Soule gives him some choice scenes to draw in this issue. 

All in all, a very decent comic - but not worth the $4.99 cover price. This is Marvel price-gouging at their worst. The actual comic is half the issue, the rest is 9 pages of McNiven’s sketches, a 5 page interview with Len Wein (Wolverine’s co-creator), 10 pages of breakdowns including sketches and script excerpts, and a metallic cover. 

All this excess crap ain’t worth it - I’m paying to read the comic, I don’t need to see any of this extra stuff. If there had been a cheaper, alternate issue without this nonsense tacked on as filler, I’d have bought that. As it is, Marvel went to make an extra buck or two on an event comic they know will sell and it comes off as brazenly cynical. 

I’d give Death of Wolverine #1 a higher rating but the extra bullcrap that got pointlessly added on brings it down. The comic is good, Soule and McNiven are working well together and I’m interested to see how this tale goes down; but I’m wondering if this is one to read in the trade rather than the bloated single issues.

Death of Wolverine #1

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