We’re three issues into Paul Cornell’s new Wolverine series. The reboot was accompanied by much fanfare and a rumour that something big was coming down the pipe for everyone’s favourite Canadian mutant.
So far, the gimmick is that in the wake of losing his mutant healing power Wolverine has put on a suit of body armour and teamed up with a group of super villains, financed by a mutant called the Offer who has the mutant ability to make anyone an offer they can’t refuse.
Cornell is employing multiple timelines, showing us Wolverine’s adventures in the present and gradually filling us in on how the hero got mixed up with this band of d-list bad guys in the first place.
Supposedly, this is all leading up to something big. Marvel has already put retailers and media outlets on notice that Wolverine #12, due out next September is going to be a major event. There have been whispers around the Internet that Wolverine might be killed off.
From a speculation standpoint, collectors should be on notice for Wolverine #12. If this marks the death of Wolverine, Marvel will sell a jillion copies. The immediate resale market won’t be great, because everyone will have a copy. Longterm that’ll be a significant issue, though.
But if this is supposed to be Wolverine’s swan song, it leaves much to be desired.
As a reader I don’t really care about this Wolverine. Placing him in a totally unfamiliar context amongst completely new characters (none of whom are particularly interesting) makes it hard to sympathize with him. Wolverine’s move to the dark side doesn’t feel authentic. Normal superhero Wolverine is darker than this criminal version. It was supposed to be some kind of shock when Wolverine killed a person in cold blood at the end of issue #1, but this is Wolverine! He kills two guys before breakfast every morning!
Wolverine has wrestled with darker demons than the Offer (and Sabretooth for that matter). The arrival of a young Jean Grey from the past seems like it should have a much greater effect on Wolverine than the loss of his healing factor or some tension with Storm, but there you go.
There’s a chance that Cornell is going to keep the surprises coming, and maybe Marvel isn’t planning on killing Wolverine at all, but this series needs to find its mojo fast. Otherwise it’s all marketing sound and fury.
Copper and Chrome