Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Death of Wolverine #4 Review (Charles Soule, Steve McNiven)

Well, that was… underwhelming. THAT’S how Wolverine dies? Eh… alright. 

This is the final issue of the Death of Wolverine mini-series which sees Logan die on the final page. Logan’s in Paradise Valley, Nevada, having tracked down the guy who put the price on his head to bring him in alive: Cornelius. The mad scientist from the Weapon X program which bonded adamantium to his skeleton and turned Logan into Wolverine. 

Cornelius is still up to his old tricks, trying to perfect Weapon X by bonding adamantium to hundreds and hundreds of unwilling participants over the years, all failing because none had Logan’s healing factor. But all that’s gonna change now that he’s got Logan within his grasp right - he can extract his DNA or something, figure out how to replicate his healing factor into his subjects and create an army of Weapon Xs? Wah-wah-waaaaaah - Logan lost his healing factor months ago so it was all for nothing! 

Which is a weird detail as Cornelius repeatedly informs Logan that he’s been keeping tabs on him over the years but not one of those tabs told him that he’d lost his healing factor? It’s pretty big news. So Logan fights one of Cornelius’ successes who’s a glowing guy with a Starlord mask and then… something happens and it’s done. If you want to, you can read how he dies at the end but I’ll keep the review spoiler free. 

I’ll say this about his death: I didn’t expect to laugh at the end! It’s very messy and unsatisfying and I think a more dignified death would have been better, more powerful. Charles Soule does give us a brief look back at Logan’s life in a few panels but it’s not very effective - I certainly wasn’t wiping away a tear at that forced sentimentality. 

The whole mini-series has just been adequate and that’s how it ends as well. I read this issue, shrugged and moved on. But for a character like Wolverine his death and the whole arc has felt really small. It doesn’t feel like it’s been building up to anything and the payoff isn’t great. It’s a big loud thing without much to it. 

You can see why they did it though - turn to the back page and see the number of comics spinning out of this. 3 mini-series - Life After Logan, The Weapon X Program, and The Logan Legacy (not to mention Wolverines launching in the new year) - and 6 tie-in comics! Cash grab indeed! 

Charles Soule and Steve McNiven give us a decent fourth and final issue, just like they’ve done in every issue in this series. But, as a Wolverine fan, I was hoping he would get an epic sendoff and I was disappointed with how he finally went. He’s a tough character to write for and there are so few great Wolverine books that it would’ve been awesome if Death of Wolverine joined that elite group. Unfortunately it didn’t. Oh well. Until next time, you angry, hairy Canuck - see you again when the hype for X-Men: Apocalypse begins and Marvel bring you back in another flurry of average, overpriced comics! 


So if you don’t want to know how Wolverine dies, don’t read this next part - that’s why I left so much blank space above. But if you don’t give a crap, here’s how he went: 

Cornelius has a large vat of adamantium in his lab that he’s figured out how to smelt. When Wolverine tries to free the test subjects, Cornelius initiates the bonding sequence and the adamantium begins its way to them. 

Wolverine slashes at the vat, the adamantium pours all over him, coating him head to foot in molten metal but sparing the unconscious subjects. He saves them with healing factor serum before going after Cornelius who’s trying to escape via helicopter at the top of the facility. Except Cornelius has been hurt - a glass shard has cut into his intestines and he dies slowly and painfully. 

Logan, now a blob of adamantium, makes his way to the edge of the roof looking at the sun set for the last time. The adamantium cools and hardens in his classic pose: on his knees, hands up, claws out, head bowed. Dead. 

Wolverine’s death was never going to be perfect and I didn’t hate it - barring the toxic poo, the classic pose was cool - I just wasn’t impressed with it. It also doesn’t feel final. Sure, that SHOULD kill him because he doesn’t have healing factor but I expect he’ll be put on a literal pedestal as a statue and someone will figure out a way of bringing him back to life with a magical injection through the metal somehow. It’s like Thanos at the end of Infinity or Han Solo at the end of Empire - he’s trapped in some kind of suspended animation but he’s not dead, so it’s like the story doesn’t live up to the title. 

Why’d I say the scene made me laugh? I read it in a room with low light so the colours made it look like the molten metal was brown and the splash page looked like someone had taken a giant poop on Logan and that’s what killed him. Toxic poo!

Death of Wolverine #4

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