For whatever reason Wolverine was the first superhero that really captured my attention and drew me to his standalone comic book as a child. For years I spent all of my allowance on Wolverine comics and I have most issues between 1 and 150 of the original run. The art was great and the variety of stories kept the comic fresh for years. I loved that he had so many aliases and despite being the antithesis of what a super hero should look like, he was still facing down the baddest villains Marvel had to offer. Flash forward three decades and the little runt is still doing what he does best: kicking ass and taking names.
The Amazing Immortal Man and Other Bloody Tales was originally released as a comic of three stories ten years ago: one where Wolverine is paraded around as a zoo attraction, the second showing his influence on a bus driver causing him to seek his own super identity (with failed results), and the last being a bizarre chase of a violent serial killer that ends in head scratching with a little mouth vomit. None of the stories are particularly great and its initial release wasn’t well received. However, this rerelease contains about ten times that many stories and does a much better job of providing the kind of content that you would expect from a standalone Wolverine story. It has been a long time since I picked up anything Wolverine, but it was still a surprise to me that when I finished the last pages of this book, all but one of the stories I had not read before. The one exception is the opening which retells his first encounter with The Incredible Hulk.
Logan has had beef with a lot of characters in this day, so you’d expect some of them to show up in one of these stories. The only moment that really features any of his typical adversaries such as Sabretooth or Lady Deathstrike ends up being not quite what you think. The closest we come to retreading any of those paths is a conflict with the Yakuza or a birthday celebration featuring Spider-Man. This is what makes Wolverine such a special figure in comic books, though — his stories aren’t just hunting down the bad guy or a conflict with an old acquaintance. He has run ins with the likes of Thor, is fending off Lycans and Vampires, getting into bar fights, playing detective, or using his priceless Adamantium claws to chop sushi (you read that right). You will find him traveling the world though, and having to deal with other people’s bullshit when he just wants a little R&R. His versatility in storytelling is really second to none, so a random compilation book lends well to a character like this. One thing that is consistent in almost all Wolverine stories is that his adventures tend to have a big impact on those around him; more often than not, it’s to their disadvantage.
Not only are the chosen stories multifaceted to Wolverine, but several of these were probably selected for the variance in art. Logan is one of those characters that you rarely see drawn the same way twice and if you were ever looking for examples of that, this book has plenty of them. Even the art styles I don’t particularly enjoy are a nice addition because it isn’t heavy with any one of them. The only one I actively dislike is the “Modern Primate” story because the art is exceptionally silly and the story just isn’t all that good. It was definitely chosen because it stands out from the rest of the pack.
My favorite tales have always been the ones that explore Wolverine’s past. The guy is over a hundred years old so he’s bound to have some interesting stories to recount. Just too bad he can’t remember any of them. There’s a World War II story that’s particularly good which involves him trying to earn his platoon mates’ respect. Another of a solo mission where the only thing between him and his objective is the best sniper Hydra has to offer. Some of the most notable inclusions are ones that don’t focus on Wolverine at all, like a Wendigo attack. Instead it focuses on the story and events around his part.
While I think there are a lot of better Wolverine standalone stories, any one of them would require multiple entries. The Amazing Immortal Man and Other Bloody Tales does a great job of pulling together many one-offs that stand on their own. This isn’t an in-depth arc, but a collection that embodies the type of tales you can expect to read when picking up a Wolverine comic. If you prefer complete beginning to end storylines, this isn’t the book for you. However, If you’ve never really delved into any of his stuff, this might be a good place to start to see if you find any type of connection with the character. I would also recommend this if you’ve been a Wolverine fan but haven’t picked anything up in the past decade or so. Coming from a lapsed fan, this book has reignited my desire to see what the ole’ knucklehead has been up to.
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