Marvel Comics recently released a Death of Wolverine companion, which houses eulogy stories about Wolverine, but also the entire run of Charles Soule and Ray Fawkes’ The Wolverines. It’s a series that impresses with unique characters and a journey that’s thought-provoking in a way that makes it stand on its own. This companion when read helps define many characters that rotate in and out of Wolverine’s life and may hold clues as to who might pop up next now that he’s alive.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
In the wake of Logan’s death, friends and foes alike grapple with grief! As Wolverine’s students mourn, Nightcrawler turns to his faith and the X-Men share stories from Logan’s long history! But what will happen to Wolverine’s body, entombed in Adamantium? As the battle for control of this valuable artifact begins, X-23, Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike step forward from the long shadow of Wolverine’s legacy! Sinister strikes, Logan’s vicious son Daken lies crippled, death looms for Shogun’s Weapon X crew -and Mystique is playing deadly chess with them all! But what is her hidden agenda? Plus, meet Fantomelle, the world’s most unstoppable thief! Who is Wolverine’s extraterrestrial friend Fang, and what does he want? And can “the Wolverines” prevail in an assault on Sinister’s fortress?
Can I jump in easily?
I would recommend picking up Death of Wolverine before reading this in part because certain characters have direct connections to his death. Shogun was there before he died, for instance, and said character also has a stranglehold on the other characters seemingly out of nowhere if you go in blind.
Reason 1: Fang is quite a character you may not know
About midway through Wolverines, there’s a five issue run focuses on Fang who is looking for Wolverine so as to go on an adventure. He assumes someone in this party of misfits killed him and whisks them off on solo adventures of their own to teach them lessons and remind them they are no better than Wolverine. Not even close. I had very little knowledge of Fang before reading this, but he quickly became one of my favorite characters. His abilities are so high he’s practically unbeatable and his attitude is all about dropping others in the deep end. He goes on adventures with Daken, X-23, Shogun, and Sabretooth, and each is quite unique. Sabretooth fights aliens in outer space, X-23 has some brewskis in a bar, and Daken fights a Frost Giant. Each chapter is quite different than the last and that’s aided by a different artist for each too.
Fang is most notable due to Wolverine stealing his brown and yellow costume complete with a bone necklace. After reading this it’s safe to say you’ll want to see Logan interact with this character now that he’s alive.
Reason 2: Get a taste of Mr. Sinister’s lair
Mr. Sinister’s power is on full display through much of this collection. He ends up being a major enemy of the main characters thanks to stealing Wolverine’s metal shell (with Wolverine presumably inside) and then later utilizing some of the team members to strike at them. The first time they go up against Sinister they must fight through all sorts of crazy clones. First one of his minions, then later Clor (the clone of Thor), and even Ben Reilly (a bunch of them). It requires the presence of the X-Men (and a badass Storm more than willing to kill) to actually beat Mr. Sinister. Even when he’s super duper murdered he comes back too. The strength of the villain is made more impressive when the final push to the finish line at the end of the book requires a master plan and good timing to drain him of his abilities.
Reason 3: A healthy mix of broken characters
When I started reading this book I wasn’t so sure about the team members. Mystique is one thing, but a few seem slapdash and simplistic. I was wrong. By the end, you’ll feel for the characters that die and understand them quite well. Shogun is a particularly interesting character due to his connection to Lady Deasthstrike. The voice inside his head conceit is also an interesting element and I’d love to see that explored again further. This is also the beginning of Sabretooth’s run of being a good guy and it’s interesting to see how writers Ray Fawkes and Charles Soule explore his guilt and self-doubt in being better.
A stand out character from the team is Fantomelle, a dimension-hopping thief. She has a fox that she can speak to in her mind and she’s a welcome dose of positivity to a group of slowly dying Weapon X rejects. It’s also fun to see how she steals superhero trophies (like Punisher’s shirt) and sells them to the highest bidder. I could see this character easily getting her own book someday.
Reasons to be wary?
This really isn’t a companion to Death of Wolverine, but a spin-off. The opening three issues are excellent eulogy issues focusing on Wolverine and who he was, but the brunt of this collection is about Wolverines and their adventures. They’re after Wolverine’s metal mold for a chunk of the story, but that plan is thrown out the window pretty quickly.
The art can be very jarring when reading this in one sitting. Artists change from issue to issue (and sometimes multiple artists on a single issue) with some art looking so rough around the edges the style is really hard to accept. For the most part, the art is clean and well done, but there are sections where it’s hard to even tell what is going on.
Is there a rationale for the reasons?
A highly entertaining read once you face the fact that this really has nothing to do with Wolverine outside the opening three issues. The beauty of this book lies in Wolverines, a great idea that has a story that’s executed well with interesting characters and great twists and turns.
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