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"All-New Marvel Now!" Review: "Wolverine" #1!

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This new volume of "Wolverine" featuring the adventures of everyone's favorite mutant berserker really didn't have to happen. This is the next issue of an ongoing story disguised as a new #1.

RECAP:

Wolverine has lost his healing factor and gained a scar. He'll age, heal, and die normally from now on. This issue shows Wolverine with a small team of mutant criminals busting out a Hand ninja from space prison for a mobster named The Offer. The Offer's power is to always gives someone the best possible offer at the time, which he's apparently given Wolverine.

The story is split in the middle by a flashback to Storm convincing Wolverine to get back out there, with some new tools. We find out Logan now wears armor Beast developed for him, guns the Black Widow supplies him with, and prosthetic claws. Like Brock Sampson before him, he needs to learn how to duck.

The break out goes well, even though Logan takes a blast to the chest. When his team returns, a Daily Bugle journalist posing as an operative of Sabertooth has his cover exposed. He's there to do a story on Wolverine being mortal again. He begs for The Offer not to kill him, and Logan prevents that...by grabbing a gun and blasting the reporter in the head.

REVIEW:
I didn't read "Killable," the arc in the previous volume of "Wolverine." So I'm approaching this as someone who would say "Hey, a new Wolverine #1? I like that guy." As that guy, I'm saying this is not the first issue in a brave new direction or storyline, this is the continuation.

Writer Paul Cornell is in the middle of an epic addressing the problem most fans say they have with Wolverine; he shows up in a ton of books to be an invincible badass. So with his healing factor previously removed, he has a more realistic approach to death and dying. The problem I have with this is that he's still the lead character in a story called "Wolverine," a story that's been going since the 70's and will probably continue for a few more decades. Wolverine isn't going to die. If he does, he'll come back (resurrections are a daily occurrence in comics, especially Marvel). Cornell isn't really selling us on the "Wolverine as a mortal" angle by having him take a laser to the chest and having him brush it off as a dent in his armor a few pages later; we're shown that Logan will still live a long time, just for different reasons now. We do have X-Men and his new villain team constantly fawning over him and making sure he's okay, which makes it feel like Logan might die any second, not at the normal rate that people usually do. He's wearing armor and carrying several kinds of armaments while his teammates run as fast as they can with their shirts open.

The arc Logan is on is closer to asking what he'll do to be the best there is at what he does again. The last page features Logan blasting away the journalist, apparently without a care. However, earlier in the issue Logan makes sure his new running crew doesn't off anyone needlessly in the satellite prison. I'm guessing if the execution gets addressed next issue, the journo will be fine or they'll find a reason to justify it. Anti-climax.

Ryan Stegman's art runs somewhere between Art Adams and Scott Kollins. Logan is short, mean, and scruffy looking, and everyone is full of highly kinetic action. If someone isn't in motion, we're seeing the effects of the action they just finished. People are thrown across rooms, smoke hangs in the air, lasers fly from point of origin to an impact at their target.

The weird part of Stegman's art is that Wolverine seems out of place in his book. He's wearing a variation on his classic yellow and blues, but his team are all subdued colors and youthful vigor; the first one we see is a tan pile of man candy wearing a tattoo of his abs instead of a shirt. Back at base, The Offer is silent menace in a dark suit. At the center of all this is supposedly Logan, a little feral ogre in blue and gold.

So in both tone and design, "Wolverine" is not a Wolverine book. This is "Super-Villain Team-Up" featuring a character named Wolverine who sticks out like a sore thumb and has a premise that goes against logic. It's a "first issue" the way the first 15 or so minutes of "The Empire Strikes Back" are Luke and Han's first adventure together. If you're reading Paul Cornell's run already and wish to continue, by all means continue. The rest of us will have to back up to the start of "Killable" or read the plethora of Logan's other appearances. Because this book is not for us.

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