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May 3

Hunt for Wolverine

Posted on Thursday, May 3, 2018 by Paul in x-axis

Wolverine’s return was the great climax of the Marvel Legacy one-shot.  And that was last September.

Now, over six months later, Marvel finally gets around to the follow-up.  Yes, I gather there’s been some “where’s Wolverine” pages at the back of various comics, but they don’t make it into any of the digital editions, presumably because Marvel are classing them as glorified house ads.  Rightly so, by all accounts.  But with Hunt for Wolverine, Charles Soule – who killed off Wolverine in the first place – does the set-up work for a bunch of parallel miniseries that are going to bring him back again.

A cynic might wonder whether the intervening six months has been spent figuring out what the plot is.  Such a reader might well remain just as cynical at the end of this issue.  It does loop back to Marvel Legacy‘s scene of a lone Jean Grey walking into the building with the broken Wolverine statue, reacting, and saying “Welcome back”, but boy, it feels like a dutiful inclusion from a story that has no real need for such a scene.

There are two stories here, both written by Soule.  “Secrets and Lives”, with art by David Marquez and Rachelle Rosenberg, has the Reavers – the old-school, Australia-era Reavers, complete with the likes of Donald Pierce and Pretty Boy – trying to steal the Wolverine statue.  (You know, the one that was formed by the adamantium setting around him in the death issue.  The one that always looked a bit silly but was played as if it was very touching.)  There’s one new Reaver, essentially a living transport helicopter, which is a nice idea, and gets enough page time to suggest that she’ll be back in one of the minis.

Anyway, the Reavers are a bit down on their luck and they figure there’s got to be somebody out there willing to pay for the body of Wolverine.  As it turns out, though, that shack in the middle of nowhere with the Wolverine statue is pretty much a honey trap for dumb villains to get picked up by the X-Men.  We get a flashback of various characters paying their respects to the recently deceased Logan, before Storm finally makes the obvious point that leaving Logan’s body trapped in a lump of metal and sticking it on a pedestal is not especially fitting.  Where this is all heading, of course, is that the Reavers actually do manage to get the statue open, but there’s nothing inside, because it turns out that Kitty phased Logan’s body out of the statute months ago and they took it off to be buried properly.  Job done, continuity duly retconned, and let’s not bother ourselves about that statue any more.

Visually, the flashback scenes are better; the present-day stuff is all a bit chaotic, though the Reavers’ designs work well.  Still, it’s the quieter material that feels stronger on the whole, both the flashbacks and the coda.  Mind you, Marquez pulls off the broken statue as a surprise moment; and the retrieval of Logan’s body doesn’t really work, because he’s both relatively unscathed in a way that makes no sense, and unrecognisable at the same time.

The story ends with a scene “today” in which the X-Men find out that the grave is empty and decide to start looking into it – which is intercut with some enigmatic scenes of Logan in shadow doing stuff that will presumably make sense down the line.  That leads us into “Hunter’s Pryde”, moves on to the real job of getting him back into circulation.  The art here is by Paulo Siquiera, Walden Wong, and Ruth Redmond; since this is more of a character piece, and Soule gives them something to work with in terms of acting, it looks fine.

This one is basically the set-up for the minis, establishing that Kitty is asking Iron Man, Daredevil and the Lady Deathstrike are all independently looking for the body along with the X-Men themselves.  This is where you get the tacked on scene with Jean Grey, who has to stay behind at the shack after everyone else leaves, and even points out that she didn’t actually know Logan all that well (she’s the time-traveller from the Silver Age, after all).  It’s not a very convincing ending when you think about it, though it sort-of-kind-of gets away with sending the “see, we’re going to make it all fit together, we promise” message.

Still, I’m pleased enough to see Soule writing the return stories.  It’s not so much that it avoids somebody else having to undo his story, though that’s nice enough in its way.  But while on the one hand Soule seems to be a writer willing to take on the most thankless of tasks for Marvel, he’s also pretty good – I have a lot of time for his current Daredevil run – and often manages to bring something interesting to the most ill-conceived and spreadsheetish of projects.  Which, clearly, is good news when you’re writing three interlinked miniseries about the return of Wolverine.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    It’s no good, all I can think of is that gremlin that got encased in concrete in Gremlins 2.

  2. Mikey says:

    I was really excited about the Mystery In Madripoor book, because Chris Bachalo was initially announced as the artist.

    Now, it’s actually going to be Thony Silas, whose recent fill-in issues in X-Men Gold were truly awful, so I’m disappointed.

  3. Luis Dantas says:

    I should not be surprised that they are making two specials and three miniseries out of this, should I?

  4. Suzene says:

    I’ve been less than thrilled by the two tie-ins I’ve seen so far. Comes across as strictly filler, more so since there’s not a great deal of tension in tracking down a character the reader’s known is alive for ages now, and some of these books barely feature X-Men. Not that the X-Books have been doing a great job sticking the landing when it comes to cohesive storytelling lately, but this barely even looks worth the trouble.

  5. Chris V says:

    Agreed. Wolverine is playing a role in Infinity Countdown, so this is just an excuse to explain away how Wolverine wasn’t really, actually dead.
    When, everyone expected Logan was going to return in a few years anyway. So, what’s the point, other than a cash-grab?

    I was initially planning to read the Madripoor book, due to Bachalo on art, also.
    Now, thanks to this timely warning, I won’t even be reading that mini.
    I’m sure I’ll end up picking up the “super important” finale special.

  6. Si says:

    Knowing a hero will come back is par for the course, Thor being dead for a while worked brilliantly for the character’s popularity. Superior Spider-Man boosted Peter Parker too.

    The problem is, as Paul and others have said, Wolverine was only gone in a very technical sense. It’s like expecting everyone being excited to see you again because you wore a stetson for a few years but now you’ve gone back to the old fedora you used to wear. Except apparently Old Man Logan’s hanging around too, so it’s like you’ve gone back to wearing the fedora but you carry the stetson in your hand everywhere you go, in case someone liked you in it.

  7. Mikey says:

    Honestly, I wasn’t expecting Mystery in Madripoor to be anything more than a fun little X-Women adventure that had no bearing on Wolverine. But the switch in artists kills it for me.

    Bachalo is so great – I love his time on Mike Carey’s X-Men – but can we talk about his DREADFUL costumes for Bendis’ run on X-Men?

  8. Voord 99 says:

    Just to add to Si’s point (with which I entirely agree).

    It’s only relatively recently (OK, about the last decade and a half) that it’s been accepted that it was absolutely certain that a death never ever counts. Barry Allen was dead for an awfully long time, almost 20 years, and the DC universe was better off for it in my opinion.* Part of what makes it inevitable that no major death will ever stick is our jaded, sophisticated certainty that it’s inevitable that no major death will ever stick.

    Which brings me to the question that I would have about this book. Does it actually try to make the case that Middle-Aged Man Logan is worth bringing back — that there are still stories that are worth telling with the character that haven’t been told better before, or that the world inhabited by the other characters is much the poorer (from the perspective of storytelling) for his absence? More importantly, does it show any awareness that this is a question that it should be answering?

    *Which is obviously the correct one. Goes without saying, really. 🙂

  9. Adam Farrar says:

    “Wolverine is playing a role in Infinity Countdown”

    Played actually. He was in the first two issues and then handed off his Infinity gem to another then presumed dead character.

  10. Thom H. says:

    I’m not reading any of these books, but they sound a lot like the miniseries that brought (adult) Jean Grey back.

    None of that mini was a surprise — it just seemed taken for granted that a) Jean needed to come back and b) they needed a miniseries to do it. And then they figured out a plot to make it happen.

    Such “event” storytelling, even when it’s about a single character.

  11. Brendan says:

    ‘Comic book death’ is a really big problem with mainstream comics. We’ve been trained to assume death is impermanent which devalues its narrative currency.

    While it was inevitable with Logan, what happened with Jane Foster over in Thor is a good example of how comic book deaths undercut the drama.

  12. Michael says:

    Guys, it’s worse: it’s -four- miniseries.

    Wolverine, who’s clearly not dead, requires -17- issues to explain why he’s not dead.

    I miss the days when you could bring someone back from the dead in a single issue.

  13. jpw says:

    @Michael – I dunno, the first major resurrection in Marvel (Jean, the first time) took TWO.

    I agree with the sentiments of most posters above, esp. Voord. It really wasn’t until the mid 1980s or so that every death in comics started getting reversed. Still, it seems like in the modern era, most deaths are undone with a couple years, which cheapens any emotional impact the story may have.

    Jean, of all characters, had been dead for the longest, having been killed back in 2004. I still think she is better off dead at this point.

  14. Loz says:

    It would be nice if characters were brought back from the dead becausethey’d worked out a story to tell with them, not that someone rolled a dice and decided ‘this year we’re bring back character x’ and then tried to work out a story afterwards. At least Jean was gone between her death and Bendis bringing junior Jean back. We’ve had Old Man Logan which has been generally terrible with some… interesting… art choices, and Laura Kinney Wolverine which has been okay to sometimes great.

    Still, I’m looking forward to this rubbish Venom crossover finishing with the Blue Team as they are currently about half a year behind the rest of the x-line in continuity terms so need to free up junior Jean so she can die in her own book and then presumably resurrect her in X-Men Blue so she can then be in this Return of Wolverine mini.

  15. Illithid says:

    “Soule seems to be a writer willing to take on the most thankless of tasks for Marvel”

    I was wondering who had picked up the baton from Paul Jenkins…

  16. Mo Walker says:

    IMO Charles Soule delivered a competent issue, but I don’t believe it needed to cost $6. I just wish the X-titles would get their continuity in check so we know when this occurs.

    I just hope this 17-part series does not lead into a ‘Battle for the Adamantium’ style 6-issue series featuring Old Man Logan, Laura, Daken and Jimmy Hudson fighting for the mantle of Wolverine. I would not find Soule writing an ongoing Wolverine title. He could utilize some of the new concepts introduced in this issue and Wolverines.

  17. Psycho Andy says:

    17 issues aside, why is this in a separate mini series at all? You want to boost sales for the X-books? Make this a crossover story between Blue and Gold.

    That was my complaint about Phoenix Resurrection, too. It was a fine story, but should’ve just been in the pages of one of the regular X-Titles, and not a separate miniseries.

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