A Death of Wolverine #1 Review – Old Story, New Consequences

Death of Wolverine #1, 2014TITLE: Death of Wolverine #1
AUTHOR: Charles Soule
PENCILLER: Steve McNiven
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE: $4.99
RELEASED: September 3, 2014

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

While I haven’t exactly had my eye on the man called Logan lately, two elements attracted me to Death of Wolverine. Firstly, the notion that it would be a (more or less) self-contained story, told in four weekly issues. You wouldn’t need to do any research or back tracking to get into the story, and it wouldn’t drag like a lot of event comics do. Secondly, Charles Soule is the writer. Soule impressed me with this work on Superman/Wonder Woman, so I was interested to him work with Wolvie in a story that’s pivotal, to say the least.

When we open the book, Logan has lost his healing power. The issue doesn’t dive into the how and the why of it, it simply sets that notion on the table and keeps moving. (FYI, Logan got infected with a virus that suppressed the ability.) But now that our hero is vulnerable, a price has been put on his head and the bad guys are coming out of the woodwork to take him down. The question is, who has their sights set on Logan? Who is it that’s put him in harm’s way like never before? We find out at the end of this issue, and it’s someone we know quite well.

Death of Wolverine #1, interior, 2014, Steve McNivenOf course, Death of Wolverine isn’t a new concept by any means. There’ve been a lot of “Logan fights his way through a lot of people” stories before. Hell, a few years ago we actually had Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine. So it’s not an uncommon story motif. And let’s not even get into superhero deaths. Coming into Death of Wolverine, we’re not even asking who or what will kill him, but rather how long he’ll actually stay dead. Still, the Wolverine vs. The World plot is as good as any to use if you’re going to kill off Logan. It’s a perfect way to give us some of his trademark violence and rage along the way.

We open the issue with a quiet scene, a calm before the storm (shown left). The reveal on pages four and five then gives us a strong sense of foreboding, and just what that storm will consist of. Soule stays pretty quiet from a narration standpoint, letting McNiven’s art do the talking. Considering the character we’re dealing with, and the quality of artist we have, that’s a wise move.

Soule also uses red, one-word caption boxes with white lettering to indicate intense pain, which Logan isn’t used to feeling the way normal people do. He simply tosses a body part out there (“Neck, “”Head,” etc) and lets the reader fill in the blanks. I’m interested to see how this trend progresses as we get closer to Logan’s demise.

Death of Wolverine #1, Steve McNiven, Logan, NukeOur villain for the issue is Nuke, a character created during Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil run. I’d just as soon not talk about Miller after Sin City: A Dame To Kill For bombed so badly. But the character serves his purpose here. He’s a meathead and a brute for Logan to beat up and get information from. He’s the kind of character Logan wouldn’t necessarily bat an eye over if he was his normal self. But now a fight with Nuke takes a different toll. Plus, McNiven and the artists make him look pretty good.

While it’s hardly a work of stunning originality, Death of Wolverine does what it sets out to do: Make me want to see how Logan dies. Soule’s writing rings true to the character, and the art sets the tone nicely. I’m curious to see where we go from here.

Image 1 from comicbookresources.com. Image 2 from author’s collection. 

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A Captain America #1 – A New Beginning…Again

Captain America #1 (2011)TITLE: Captain America #1
AUTHOR: Ed Brubaker
PENCILLER: Steve McNiven
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: July 11, 2011

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

“That’s right, folks. This is it. The FIRST issue of Captain America! The very first! And when we say first, we MEAN first! That’s why we put the big number one on the cover, so that you you know didn’t miss anything. We at Marvel have heard your cries over the big numbers on all of our issues, and we sincerely apologize for assaulting your brains with double digits, and tea-bagging them with triples. That’s why we’ve brought your ol’ pal Cap back to #1! Because of all the numbers out there, 1 is the most accessible! It’s the most fresh! It’s the most hip! It’s an apple pie straight out of the oven, a new crayon out of the box, a fresh page in the notebook! One is the friendliest number that you ever did see! One is marketable! That’s why Thor was renumbered this year, and X-Men was renumbered last year! And if you think THAT’S groovy, did you hear about our friends over at DC? They’re renumbering EVERYTHING! That’s not just fresh, it’s funky fresh! They know what readers want! They’re fly! They’re dope! They’re way cool, man! And next month, be sure and come back for a NEW Captain America #1! We gotta keep it fresh, ya’ll!”

Captain America #1 (2011), Steve McNivenWhew. Okay, I’m done…

We start the issue with Steve Rogers, Nick Fury, Sharon Carter and Dum Dum Dugan (whose identities are never explained to the reader, which seems odd, as this is supposed to be a jumping-on point for new readers) at the funeral of Peggy Carter, Sharon’s aunt and an old flame/partner of Captain America’s from World War II. While at the funeral, the group comes under attack from a mystery assailant, who Steve recognizes as an old ally from the war. Little does he know that his old friend is now working with one of his worst enemies.

Ed Brubaker rarely gives you much to complain about. This issue is no exception, and that shouldn’t be a surprise, as he’s been writing Cap for quite some time. The only complaint I have regards (forgive the repetition) new reader accessibility. We get Steve’s backstory, and obviously that’s the most important one. But we don’t know how Fury and Dugan can look the virtually same in 1944 as they do today. Also, new readers likely won’t know who the villain revealed on the final page is. Thank God for Wikipedia.

Captain America #1, 2011, Steve McNivenSteve McNiven hits this issue out of the park. There’s a moment in this issue where Cap does one of his trademark shield throws, and the way he frames it from release to return is simply beautiful. You can almost feel the impact. The issue is almost worth it for that moment alone.

This certainly isn’t the best first issue I’ve ever read, but it’s nice. Hopefully it’ll do well, what with all the press for Captain America: The First Avenger. If it doesn’t, it should certainly be good enough to impress Cap’s current fan base.

Image 1 from comicbookmovie.com. Image 2 from scansdaily.dreamwidth.org.

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