In Marvel Comics’ Wolverine #1, on sale February 19, Logan is back, and he’s better than ever. But writer Benjamin Percy brings him down to Earth; Logan’s back at square one, and Percy starts to the elements involved with an intriguing two-pronged mystery that features everything from tragic deaths to wild battles with vampire hordes. The whole issue functions as a love letter to Wolverine’s past and as an explosive new beginning for the character.
Story 1: “The Flower Cartel”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Adam Kubert
Color Artist: Frank Martin
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Back To Logan’s Roots
The beginning of Percy’s run on Wolverine paints a familiar picture. We see Logan battered and bloodied, and his friends’ dead bodies lay scattered around him. The mangled corpses of Jean Grey, Domino and Quentin Quire are striking; artist Adam Kubert uses three jagged claw marks to emphasize that Logan killed them. Logan, similarly maimed, gradually heals and color artist Frank Percy captures both the durability of Logan’s Adamantium skeleton— it’s unblemished amidst the carnage — and the grotesque image of his body putting itself back together. Immediately juxtaposes this tragic scene with a flashback to the newfound happiness Logan has found on Krakoa. Naturally, we’re left wondering what happened. Percy slowly reveals the course of events, but by the end of the issue, we still don’t know what went wrong. By starting at the end and working backward, Percy quickly draws us in because we’re desperate to fill the intentional gaps.
The shift to the recent past, where Logan was happily playing hide and seek with children on Krakoa, is heartbreaking. Martin uses tranquil green grass and a calm blue sky to set a peaceful tone that’s cut with an underlying sense of dread. Kubert shows Logan sincerely smiling, both here and while he shares a drink with Kitty Pryde. Kitty notes that being surrounded by his loved ones has fulfilled Logan; “You’re you, but a better you.” Of course, she’s right. We rarely see him enjoy sustained happiness — there’s always another threat right around the corner. That’s why it’s disappointing that Logan is immediately pushed back to his typical self. Later in the issue, in another desolate scene, he walks through a snowstorm by himself and narrates, “People should stay away from me. I don’t have family. I shouldn’t have friends.” In the span of roughly 30 pages, Logan has taken a few major steps backward. Hopefully, Percy is merely breaking the character down before he builds him back up.
Story 2: “Catacombs”
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Viktor Bogdanovic
Color Artist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
And Now For Something Completely Different
In “The Flower Cartel,” Percy crafted an emotional story about Logan’s loss of his new lease on life. “Catacombs” features Wolverine fighting hordes of vampires. Sure, a sizable chunk of the narrative has nothing to do with bloodsuckers. First, when Omega Red arrives in Krakoa, we get a compelling debate between Logan and Magneto, as they butt heads over who deserves Krakoa’s amnesty. Even before they say anything, their costumes hint at the clash in their beliefs. Color Artist Matthew Wilson gives Magneto’s outfit a pure, white shine that represents his idealism. On the other hand, Logan’s wearing his usual brown-and-yellow suit that implies his traditional outlook, which is open to interpretation; either Logan is too stubbornly old-fashioned and old fashioned, or he’s more of a realist. Magneto’s and Logan’s words only confirm these mindsets.
Logan calls Omega Red a “one hundred percent grade-A psycho” who doesn’t deserve rehabilitation. Magneto sagely responds, “There are those who would say the same of us both.” Magneto loses some of the moral high ground when he dismisses Wolverine’s concern that Omega Red will kill mutant children by saying, “Resurrection will be available if any become his prey.” Percy explores the issue of mutant amnesty throughout “Catacombs,” and it’s a safe bet that he’ll continue to do so moving forward.
But let’s get back to the main event — vampires. Percy quickly transforms the story into a horror movie when Logan winds up in a hellish nightclub in Paris. Wilson uses blood-red lightning and pitch-black shadows to tease the presence of vampires, and Logan quickly finds himself hung upside down with a tap draining the blood from his body. Of course, he brutally decapitates a vampire to escape; artist Viktor Bogdanovic shows us the victim’s shocked face flying through the air. From there, Logan wages war with another horde in the Catacombs of Paris. The claustrophobic nature of the space strengthens the foreboding mood of the scene. Here, we also get one of the issue’s most visually exceptional panels.
As a swarm closes in on Logan, one of the vampires says he wants, “a taste. Only a taste,” of Logan’s blood. As the bloodsucker says the line, Bogdanovic closely zooms in one of his eyes and shows us the eye’s tiny pupil. Framed by the vampire’s sunken eye socket and combined with Wilson’s use of a scarlet sea for the eye itself, the image is terrifying because it captures the monster’s sheer hunger.
The ending of the issue makes it clear that Wolverine’s issues with vampires are just starting; in fact, we could be looking at an all-out war between mutants and vampires in the near future. Count this writer as someone who can’t wait for that story to develop.
Wolverine #1 allows Logan to do what he does best — look like a total beast while he fights monsters and investigates a captivating mystery. The creative team hits a bullseye, and the whole issue is a powerful tribute to one of Marvel’s most iconic heroes.
What’d you think of Wolverine #1? Where do you hope to see the story go from here?