After eighteen issues of prelude comics, a dozen ‘post-credits scenes’ and a presence in Marvel’s latest cosmic event – Wolverine is truly back. The road to this book was unnecessarily long and complex, but this issue should make it a worth all the time and effort, right? Wrong.
Opening in a dark cave with an amnesic Logon, the premiere issue spends most of its page count starting an examination into the character’s psyche and teasing the larger plans of Persephone. Wolverine leaves the cave after an interesting fight and hearing several cryptic words about the series’ main villain, later venturing near an internment camp. Run by Persephone’s cronies, Logan fights one of them before meeting a doctor who wants to hep him defeat their mutual enemy.
Having Logan return with memory gaps recalls the aspect of the character that led to his immense popularity but also adds a new spin on it. Soule wants to take us on a journey where we will hopefully discover the answers and his approach is very interesting. The different parts of Logan’s personality have been locked away in a prison mental prison which he visits through the events of this comic, seemingly built by Persephone. There’s the superhero, the killing machine made by Weapon X, the Madripoor criminal and various others — all locked away in Logan’s mind.
What makes this approach great is how Logan’s own perceptions of himself are contrasted and compared to how others view him. Soule wants to create a comic that analyses what kind of person Logan is deep down after having been so many people throughout his long life. The biggest question behind this series at the moment seems to be: who is Wolverine? A very smart approach to the lead character — though the main plot of this comic doesn’t do quite as well.
The problem with this comic is that there isn’t any plot development. Under normal circumstances and given Soule’s characterization of Wolverine that would be somewhat forgivable, but there were four mini-series and two one-shots to set this whole thing up. Soule’s had so much build-up to get to this point, so it is a shame that he is not getting right into the meat of the story on page one. This event was tedious enough already and the last thing it needs is another slow build.
Persephone was shown to be a deadly villain in Dead Ends, but Return of Wolverine doesn’t build on that. Rather than giving another great example of how evil she is, the issue relies on characters explaining how bad she is for Wolverine’s benefit. A series of cryptic sentences in an issue that ends with her being called the devil. The audience knows Persephone is evil. The exposition is unnecessary, but some development is desperately needed for her character. Readers have been teased enough, so just put her in the book.
The story is meh thus far, but I’ll be damned if this is not a good-looking comic book. Steve McNiven’s art is fantastic, both at depicting the confusion Logan is feeling and the brutal violence written into this comic. Logan’s a mess both physically and mentally, all of which is portrayed excellently in McNiven’s artwork.
Not the perfect start to the true return of Marvel’s most famous mutant, but there is a lot of potential in this series. Hopefully the creative team can make it all work.
Rating: 3/5 — Okay