Graphic Novel Review: Death of Wolverine

Death of Wolverine

Death of Wolverine - Credit: Archant

Wolverine bites the big one. ‘Nuff said.

(Panini Books)

This four-issue collection does exactly what it says on the tin. It kills off long-term X-Man James “Logan” Howlett, and takes him out of the Marvel Universe for the foreseeable future.

But what it also offers is a celebration of the diverse life of the clawed Canadian, touching on his many friends and foes, his experiences as a superhero, Ronin and secret agent, and ultimately who Logan is as a man.

Having come to terms with the loss of his healing factor, and his resulting mortality, Logan has lost the self-destructive attitude which was driving him away from his allies, and has resolved to make the most of the time he has left, no matter how long that is.

But of course, this being drama there’s no way Wolverine’s going to be allowed to slip into retirement, and he is forced to take what will be his last stand when a contract is issued for his apprehension by the man responsible for giving him his adamantium skeleton and claws – the long-believed dead Weapon X scientist Abraham Cornelius.

Cornelius is sourcing adamantium from across the planet, and kidnapping suitable test subjects for his twisted experiments, as part of an insane scheme to rectify his mistakes of the past.

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Logan’s quest for his “creator” takes him from the criminal empire of Madripoor to Japan, and back to the Nevada Desert, and finds Logan encountering various faces from his long past, including ex-wife Viper, the assassin Lady Deathstrike, and fellow X-Man Kitty Pryde, but at the end of the day the final confrontation was always going to be between Logan and Cornelius…

This was the inevitable clash between the “father” and the “child”, an opportunity to revisit the reasons behind the Weapon X programme, and why Logan was chosen as its guinea pig. It’s a shame that many of these ideas aren’t examined in the detail they deserve, and we’re left with a resolution that basically comes down to building a better Wolverine, and Logan’s self-sacrificial efforts to thwart this scheme.

Of course, everybody knows that Wolverine’s death is only going to be a temporary affair, which makes something of a mockery of this entire arc from the reader’s perspective. He’ll be back eventually, and it’s just a matter of when.

After over a year of build-up in Paul Cornell’s run on the main Wolvie series, this finale is over very quickly, with an unfeasible ending that certainly needs to be seen to be believed! It’s not a bad story, but in no way compares to the epic nature of the “deaths” of Spider-Man, Captain America, Superman or Batman in recent years, and doesn’t really do justice to such a seminal character of modern fiction. He deserved more.