Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Claudio Castellini (p), Mounts (i)
Another series from Marvel focusing on the last days of their most popular characters. This time, it's the end of Wolverine's story.
Marvel's "The End" series is essentially a platform to write a finale to a popular character: a climax that we, as readers, would never ordinarily see, thanks to the immortality and timelessness (and let’s not forget commercial value) of the majority of Marvel characters. This gives creators some artistic licence to make additions to characters, with the added bonus of being free of the burden of continuity. What better person to do this than Paul Jenkins, writer of the immensely popular "Origin" series that defined the opening chapters of Wolverine’s life. Some of the touches added to Wolverine here are predictable: a mane of grey hair, a slightly withered frame, and the sense that his reflexes and physical abilities are slowing down: Wolverine is finally ageing. Other touches are unexpected yet justified: Wolverine's reclusive nature, esconcing himself in the woods as a hermit; his paranoia, and frustration at still being denied knowledge of his past; and the transformation of Sabretooth in the closing years of his life are all interesting approaches to established characters, adding a necessary freshness to the mix here.
Castellini's art is solid enough if nothing out of the ordinary, capturing an atmosphere which owes more than a little to that of Origin - some shots, such as the deer hunting or the painful Snikt!-ing (and having to physically push his claws back in – a nice touch) are clearly nods to this earlier work. Whilst the more simple penciled-inked-coloured style on display here may lack the timeless quality of Andy Kubert's work in that series, the art is adequate if conventional, in keeping with Wolverine's four-colour roots.
The story takes some twists and turns - setting up more of a story direction than many first issues these days - making it clear that the events from Origin are going to play a relatively important role here - so whilst this story isn't indechipherable if you haven't read the earlier series, it will definitely be a benefit to have some knowledge of the events of that series to put this one together. However, Logan's confusion over the discoveries made in this issue may make for less predictable results than a simple rehashing of Origin, his relentless paranoia concerning Weapon X overwhelming any other possible understanding of what the ruined house he is led to or the clues about his past might signify.
It's as yet not totally clear where this story is headed, bar being the 'end' of this character's story. What is clear though, is that the Wolverine presented here is an interesting and logical evolution of the Logan we know and love who is headed for some revelations before the end of his tale. Ultimately, this may prove to be a chance to revisit the threads begun by Jenkins in Origin, giving Wolverine himself the chance to catch up with what readers learnt about him two years ago.
A solid enough, if as yet unsurprising view of the last days of Wolverine which throws in enough new elements to make this story interesting and distinguished from his other titles. It'll be interesting to see how Logan himself reacts to the coming events of this series.
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