Sometime ago, Wolverine ended up losing his healing factor. That was most certainly not good news. Not for Logan. Not for his closest friends, or the other friends and allies. Not for the world. For a good while now, the character has endured without his greatest ability, and various comics have pointed this out. Most recently, it was Ms. Marvel’s Kamala Khan who remarked on it when she teamed up with the most famous X-man ever to fight a humanoid cockatiel and its super-grown alligators in Jersey’s sewers. And when I heard that this week was going to start the much anticipated Death of Wolverine arc, I got excited.
Having just read the first issue, I’ll say that though not a lot happens here, Charles Soule still sets up an interesting tale of how Wolverine is dealing with this affliction and what some of his friends and enemies think as well. This is a mostly character-driven piece and has some typical Soule-weird moments, but in the end, I think I like where this is going. If there’s a brawler out there, it is Wolverine, always getting into the thick of it, and that’s the kind of character that Soule focuses on here. The art by Steve McNiven and Co. is also pretty much perfect here, complimenting the story very well.
One thing that this issue does really well is address whether or not Wolverine has sought a solution to the loss of his healing factor and whether or not he has had to suffer assassination hits and bounty collects since losing his healing factor. Usually, I’m not all that much of a fan of Soule’s work, but his script and story here in this issue are way above the norm. He focuses on the character almost exclusively and he exposes a hero who is still the same as he ever was, and right at home in the thick of a fight against villains, whether super-powered or not.
I’ll admit that this was a surprise because I wasn’t expecting the issue to be all that good. But that is exactly what it is and now Soule has definitely increased my interest in the meta-story here. For years and years the Len Wein-created character has amazed readers with everything that he can do, to the point that since his transition to animation and live-action, he has become an even hotter property. I would also say that he is quite possible the most popular Marvel character other than the MCU version of Loki, given how many movies he has starred in, and more.
The issue begins on a very quite and sombre and reflective tone. It ends on a very action-packed moment, full of incredible tension, but the fact is that the sombre start really pulled me in. Soule focuses on how the character is slowly dying, rather than the big moments and big revelations. This is a slow-paced story but better off for that because it really pulls you in properly and gives you everything you need to know what is going on. This could very well be a great entry point for the Marvel NOW! version of the character.
And best of all is that Charles Soule’s dialogue is really thin and the story does most of the work by itself. I appreciated this since it prevented me from getting too much into the character’s head. Instead, we dealt with him mostly by his various heightened senses, a great way to tell the story here without going into cliches and what not. For daring to experiment with something so very different to anything else, Soule definitely deserves a hat-tip.
The pencils here are by Steve McNiven, with inks by Jay Leisten, colours by Justin Ponsor and letters by Chris Eliopoulos. The art here was damn good. Since the art pulls so much weight here, it was great to see that the artists didn’t stinge on anything in that regard. They really packed this issue with tons of details on each page and a great sense of visual storytelling. For that alone the artists deserve the highest praise. And the few action scenes there are, they are also well-done in the main, but rather bloody. That is expected since Logan’s healing factor is gone, but damn!
All in all, a great start to a new mini-event from Marvel.