In a world in which Wolverine is almost ubiquitous—he’s my most collected character on League of Comic Geeks, and I don’t own many of his solo books—the man is conspicuously absent from the first issue of X Deaths of Wolverine, which spends most of its time with our girl Moira MacTaggert directly following the conclusion of Inferno.
It’s the sort of thing that tells the reader how big the X Lives/X Deaths of Wolverine story is meant to be—how profound its impact might be—if the titular character can’t even make his own curtain call. More importantly, it tells us that the two-as-one structure of the books is built to tell us a multilayered narrative.
In last week’s X Lives of Wolverine, we witnessed the first chapter of Logan’s story, in which he begins a long jaunt throughout time in order to play temporal bodyguard to Charles Xavier. This week, it seems, we might very well be seeing the modern-day ramifications of those time travels.
Starting the issue with Moira stepping through the portal given to her in the final pages of Inferno #4 further telegraphs how fever-pitched this story is meant to be—there is no room to breathe between stories, as one literally spills into the next.
Federico Vicenti’s pencils feel animated and non-stop, even when Moira’s flight is arrested. She is running at full speed, even as she’s dying. That sense of action and movement pairs well with last week’s all-out brawl between Wolverine and Omega Red, setting the event up with frenetic energy and a forward-leaning pace.
That pace may prove too intense to carry throughout the ten total issues, but I can’t imagine that the story is out to be non-stop action, given the precarious ledge on which Krakoa has been perched. X Lives/X Deaths appears to be the segue from one era to another, so I imagine there’s got to be a moment of quiet reflection.
But, of course, Wolverine isn’t one known for his quiet reflections.
With the two series thus established, the dual sides of the narrative are equally exciting, and each panel seems impactful and driven. It’s got all the markings of a truly great Wolverine story, whether he decides to show up or not.
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