Marvel Comics has released new “The End” one-shot stories across January which include characters likes Venom, Doctor Strange, and Miles Morales and Deadpool, but did you know full miniseries for other characters came out years ago? Reprinting these adventures in February, readers can recount the end for Iron Man and Wolverine to name just two. Back in 2003 Paul Jenkins and Claudio Castellini told Wolverine’s final tale and in it, we learn he has a secret family, a close connection to Xavier, and more.
The biggest revelation in this story is the reveal that Wolverine has an older brother. This brother also has bone claws and a healing factor, which would explain why he’s still alive even though we’re far into the future. It all kicks off when Wolverine finds out Sabretooth is dead and attends his funeral. This gets Logan all wisful for the past and soon he learns someone is out there who knows all about his childhood. Jenkins makes it clear Wolverine doesn’t remember his brother nor much of his past when he was James Howlett because his healing factor erased memories. With that out of the way, we get a full back story on this character who is basically a foil to Wolverine and a likely path Logan could have gone on if he made a mistake or two.
There are other colorful additions to the timeline, like a future X-Men that’s more of an army than a school for gifted youngsters. When we first meet the team they are in awe of Wolverine, but after he gives them some lip they quickly turn to ridicule. In a bit of dialogue, we learn Wolverine may have even killed Xavier. Another interesting reveal is how Xavier is somehow bonded to Wolverine spiritually. They can actually converse inside Wolverine’s head–which must be annoying over the decades–which adds an interesting wrinkle to this Elseworlds tale.
Castellini was a good choice as artists as they capture the brutal and animalistic qualities of Wolverine. A few different times we get to see Logan’s fever dreams of the Weapon X program–cast in pinks in purples well by color artist Paul Mounts–and they look accurate to previous depictions of the time. Environments do well to capture how society has changed–the narrative doesn’t comment on it much–and you get a slightly futuristic vibe that’s not too hard to believe. Wolverine’s musculature is quite strong too and it’s nice to see attention being spent on how Wolverine is thinner and a bit more grisly due to his age.
As a “The End” story this doesn’t quite feel like an ending, but more of a beginning to the end. The final page is certainly not a period on Wolverine’s life. It actually reads like Jenkins might have had an idea to continue the story forward, but alas it ends on a sorrowful cliffhanger. Wolverine’s brother even details a bunch of things that could be explored further–via a rather dense word balloon–which includes a hint that he has a son with his powers somewhere in the world. Another downer in this collection is how Wolverine is pretty depressed and morose for much of the narrative. If he’s not sulking about he’s brooding on what to do. It’s not an action-first sort of tale.
This is a pretty fun look at Wolverine’s later years packed with a lot of non-cannon story ideas that work in different ways. Sadly it doesn’t read like a proper ending, but what it does do well is capture your imagination just enough to keep you interested.