It’s been a while since Wolverine – the original Wolverine – headlined his own ongoing series. Now that Jonathan Hickman has built the foundations for a bold new era of X-Men storytelling, X-Force writer Benjamin Percy explores how Wolverine fits into that new world order.
Wolverine #1 is a double-sized issue divided into two stories: “The Flower Cartel” and “Catacombs”. Both tales detail Wolverine’s attempts to protect the mutant island nation of Krakoa on off-the-books black ops missions. In that way, Wolverine is very much an X-Force spin-off because it deals with Logan eliminating threats to Krakoa.
Benjamin Percy has a strong grasp of Wolverine’s character, with the mutant hero approaching Krakoa and all the island nation offers from a place of skepticism due to his own dark past. Logan isn’t comfortable in this new world built by Professor X but has no problem working to maintain it.
The first story, “Flower Cartel”, is an interesting exploration of how Krakoa’s scientific wonders can affect the rest of the world in adverse ways. Wolverine and X-Force confront a drug cartel using the flowers from Krakoa in their enterprises, in a story that feels like Narcos mixed with high-concept science fiction. While the premise is full of promise, “Flower Cartel” doesn’t work nearly as well as Percy’s second story in Wolverine #1.
Wolverine’s discomfort with Krakoan society is at the core of Percy’s first issue on the title, and is most effective in “Catacombs”, with the return of Omega Red making Logan question some of the laws established by Krakoa’s quiet council. Percy is playing with the familiar trope of Logan confronting villains from his weapon x days but uses the X-Men’s new status quo to put a fresh spin on the traditional Wolverine tale.
Whereas in the past Logan would just cut down whatever enemy crossed his path, the new Krokoan laws neccesitates a change in how Logan handles his rogues gallery. Percy’s use of Omega Red and the difficult position it places Logan in is largely the reason “Catacombs” is a more compelling read than “The Flower Cartel”.
While “Flower Cartel” doesn’t hit the same emotional beats as “Catacombs”, both stories show that Percy is the perfect writer to steer Wolverine into a post House of X/Powers of X status quo. In fact, I admire that Percy manages to explore the global ramifications of Krakoa while still telling a very intimate and personal story about Wolverine. The list of threats facing Krakoa continue to grow, and I’m curious to see how Percy’s Wolverine series will impact other titles in the ever-growing Dawn of X line-up.
The artwork in both “Flower Cartel” and “Catacombs” is stunning. Adam Kubert is a legend and his pencils for “The Flower Cartel” are great. Along with top notch character work and detailed action sequences, Kubert also employs some experimental page layouts that make the first story in Wolverine #1 a visual treat. There are, however, some lettering choices that make Kubert’s wild page layouts difficult to read – largely due to poor word balloon and caption box placement.
Viktor Bogdanovic draws “Catacombs”, and his style is a perfect fit for the story. Bogdanovic’s art is gritty and atmospheric, an excellent choice for a comic about Wolverine hunting Vampires underground.
So far, Wolverine’s new ongoing series is off to a great start, and is well worth the price of admission.