Wolverine seems to be a comic that gets rebooted on a regular basis. Most of the time, let’s be honest, it’s rebooted when they want a spike in sales, change direction or just change creative teams. It’s the way of Marvel these days, I’m afraid. So this time out, I take a look at the first story arc of volume 6, a story that largely sets up this current run, called Rogue Logan.
Is it good? I guess you’ll have to read on to find out.
After Wolverine lost his healing factor, he came back to the Jean Grey school and declared that “Wolverine is dead”, but it wasn’t long until he got into a life-changing fight with Sabretooth and ended up in the employ of a man called “The Offer”, leading a team of misfits on any mission that made money. But it was all a ruse, he was really working under deep cover for Maria Hill to take down Sabretooth’s criminal organization, but to do so, he might get in too deep with his own team…
A lot of this comic points out the general problem I have with modern Wolverine. Without his healing factor, he really becomes a very silly superhero. Even popping his claws puts him at risk of sepsis and serious bacteriological infection. Anyone with half a clue would just give up the superhero life and become a teacher at the Jean Grey school, but Logan is haunted by Sabretooth, he desperately wants to have that one big fight that will prove who is better but he knows that without his healing factor, he’s desperately outmatched. And so, he gets mad, he lashes out at his friends, he seeks to separate himself from the people who remind him of the man he’s become and what he’s lost.
From a business perspective, Marvel simply cannot allow him to retire to a life of administrative luxury, he’s one of their biggest cash cows, they have to keep him active and they hope, wrongly I think, that making him a conflicted character seemingly bent on self-destruction, that he’ll be interesting to comic readers. I don’t get that though, they’ve largely taken what people liked best about Wolverine and made that impossible, then threw in a lot of angst that he can’t be the man everyone wants him to be. It gets tired pretty fast. This is true across all of the Wolverine stories, not just this book and it is especially bothersome because we all know that they’re going to reverse it sooner or later, they have to, this isn’t the Wolverine that makes them a ton of money.
The funniest part, I think, is that Wolverine thinks everyone is treating him like he’s a broken man, when in fact, none of his friends are actually doing that. They are recognizing that his situation has changed and that he has to be a different man than he was, but certainly not that he’s broken and useless and somehow less worthy of their admiration or friendship. The only person who sees Wolverine as a broken man is Wolverine.
Now I admit I’ve been pretty hard on art in recent reviews but not here. Ryan Stegman has done a fantastic job on the artwork duties, I have absolutely nothing to complain about at all. The writing is actually strong as well, Paul Cornell is doing the best he can with what he’s been given and seeing Wolverine in a book-long series of flashbacks talk to his former colleagues and friends about his new situation was great, if a little confusing at times.
I’ll stick with this title for the time being, it’s really pretty decent, hampered not by anything within the control of the creative team, but by the direction Wolverine is going in right now. Hopefully, that will change in the near future and we can get back to the Wolverine that we all know and love. Of course, when that happens, I’m sure they’ll just reboot the book and we’ll see all of that in volume 7.