Writer: Charles Soule
Art Team: Declan Shalvey, Laura Martin, VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: January 16, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
The Return of Wolverine is something that started back in the spring of last year with a few announcements I was genuinely excited for as everything was first revealed. However after that announcement, Marvel and the creatives involved have not done too much has right handling of Logan/Wolverine’s return, except bringing him back. The main problem as I see it is the story line has dragged on for far longer than it ever needed to be. Its been spun out into four mini-series, a couple separate one shots, and now a delay riddled Return of finale with multiple artists doing work on the five issue series. If they simply followed the formula that the Death of Wolverine did, even with delays, I’d have no complaints. Anyway enough about my issues with ol’ Wolvie and how he’s coming back to us (hot claws and all) lets get into this penultimate issue of this series and discuss whats going on.
There have been some interesting moments and great cliffhangers throughout this mini-series so far, but none of those ideas are ever explored much or capitalized on, and what reveals we get here feel just lackluster in comparison to the ideas presented at the start.
For example last issue we end things on an awesome cliffhanger with Wolverine finally coming face to face with the X-Men, before they fight for a bit, it even ends on the note with Wolverine having the upper hand, and IceMan in half! Not too bad right? Here we see Wolverine wake up in a hospital, and although we’re told why, which contributes to the big reveal here, it would have been more powerful to see how that happened, and why the X-Men would just leave a team member behind who’s just back from the dead. Instead we get snippets in a flashback from an unreliable narrator and no conversation or anything between Logan and the team whose been hunting for him for what feels like ever. I just don’t want to think the X-Men would give up and leave him after spending entire Mini-Series looking for him, if anyone jumps into this here, why would they go back and read those books now? It invalidates what came before it.
The other thing I found really interesting at first is how Wolverine was at times going into his mind and unlocking his different personas, depending on the situation at hand. However we still dont know why he’s doing this yet, its totally ignored this issue, and instead we get hints that his Hot Claws drain from his healing factor. I’m still not quite sure why he has them to begin with, unless its something I’ve overlooked in previous issues. Is it a second mutation as a result of coming back to life, was it added by the villain, just a nugget or hint of information would be nice at some point in four issues. (Feel free to comment below and let me know if Im missing something.)
This issue also struggles at points because it just isn’t very captivating. The art looks rushed, flat, and just doesn’t suit a return to grace for one of Marvel’s most popular characters. Most this issue Logan is strapped to a wall, while this avatar of Persephone drones on all about herself, before she eventually get to the point we’ve all waited five issues for, getting this story to have a purpose. She offers Wolverine a deal, come to where she really is to kill her, or find out why he was really brought back to life … and then also probably kill her. With Wolverine being who he is, he accepts the offer, and now seems to be headed into space to sort this all out in one last final issue, that’s now delayed until the end of February. I dont understand why the villain had to play Logan for four issues to get him to go to space but here we are.
Overall my main problem with this series is that there were interesting themes and ideas present at the beginning of all this that everyone involved here has failed to capitalize on. Some average run of the mill art adds to the feeling that just nothing special is happening here, which is an absolute shame because Wolverine is one of my favorite characters ever, and I wanted to really like this. I was even warming up to the idea of ‘Hot Claws’, but little to no explanation, or hints at the greater mystery at large mean we’re in for whats likely another huge info dump finale, which just doesn’t excite me.