We all share some sort of affinity for Wolverine. I mean he’s immediately interesting given his brooding attitude, hopeless romance, and badass abilities. But at his core he represented something timeless about superhero comics, and perhaps that’s why “Death of Wolverine” could be important.
WRITTEN BY: Charles Soule
ART BY: Steve McNiven
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics
RELEASE: January 7, 2015
Now, I know Wolverine has died multiple times. I know that death is far from permanent in the world of superheroes. But, this has the ability to be a great bookend on a character’s long history if its made longstanding and permanent. The mind-boggling thing is with a story as important as this, Charles Soule seems to believe that a greatest hits doesn’t need to have any resonance in it’s ending.
I’m lost between love and hate. I believe killing Wolverine in the way they did was an interesting and poetic way for the character to be enveloped by permanent death. I adore the fact that he’s encased in adamantium because it has a true resonance for the character. In a way Wolverine had always been trapped in the substance, and it was the only thing left to claim him. But, I can’t for the life of me reason why he had to die in Nevada and why in the world he had to go up against a scientist who really meant nothing to him in the final pages of the story.
It’s a shame that the story went in that direction, because for the first three chapters you get the impression that we’re dealing with something that is more storied and reflective. It’s more about who Wolverine was, and the many lives he’s lived than his death. He should be ready to die, and upon accepting that fact Soule makes sure Logan stops to say goodbye to his favorite acquaintances.
Who he says goodbye to, and who he visits are a little bit of a conundrum, since they don’t seem to have much meaning to the story itself. Each issue feels varied and mildly reflective, but ultimately lacks any resonance because they are so incohesive. The first issue has Nuke, of all villains going up against Wolvie. While the battle is amazing, it fails to really pack the punch of say, a battle with Sabertooth. Which is featured a little later and manages to wrap itself up almost as quickly as it started.
The truth is, no matter what way Soule decided to kill Wolverine, there would be flak from someone. It didn’t particular resonate with me, or feel in character with Wolverine. But, that isn’t to say the collection isn’t well written, it is. Soule manages to capture a side of Logan that I’ve never pondered before with separate captions for each of Wolverine’s senses. It does more to humanize the character than I ever thought possible, and what better time than at his death to do so.
Steve McNiven is clearly a powerhouse of thin line work and clear action. Every one of his panels is clean and energetic. He’s able to capture the end of an icon with such beauty that I can’t imagine anyone else doing a better job. Seriously the spread in the first issue of all the dead bodies on the beach should blow you away, and the opening page is as beautiful as comics get. McNiven truly understood Wolverine, and he brings his death to life with such skill that you can’t help but be blown away.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if Wolverine’s death is permanent, because it won’t be. The character’s selling power prevents him from being off the shelves for too long. The thing that matter is if this is a good story, and I’m not sure that it is. It’s an event comic, and by those standards it’s the best event comic of 2014, but as a story it’s incredible dispersed and its focus is haphazard. Perhaps this is by design, but I can’t help but feel like a more focused story of loss and acceptance would have made for a trade worth talking about for years to come. As it stands, this may be forgotten as quickly as it was released, but only time will tell.
It should be noted that this collection has a ton of extra features that actually push the score a little higher for me. If you ever wanted to see how to make a comic book as beautiful as this, then purchase this collection. You’re bound to learn a thing or two about structuring a killer action scene.