Thursday, 14 March 2013

New Beginnings - Wolverine #1

British writer Paul Cornell (known for DC titles such as Demon Knights and Saucer Country, episodes of fan favourite TV show Doctor Who and various books including the acclaimed London Falling) is now the writer for Marvel stalwart, Wolverine. Combining his efforts with Alan Davis on the artwork, we have a new series in what can sometimes feel like an ocean of Wolverine titles.

The story opens with Logan in an unnatural situation where his clothes are partially gone, his ribs showing and there's nothing but bone on his right hand. And yet throughout it all, he is still trying to reassure a frightened boy. Even in a exceedingly dark moment, he still acts like the superhero he tells the boy he is. Logan is caught in the middle of what appears to be a hostage situation, but with the number of hostages rapidly decreasing there is obviously something more going on.

To his luck, Wolverine's mutant ability to rapidly heal from virtually anything means that when blasted again with an energy weapon, his “murderer” thinks he is gone for good. Seemingly no longer a threat, this gives him the opportunity to rescue his attacker's son and end the siege.

It’s only after this that the real threat becomes apparent. The boy remember that his Dad changed when he came into possession of the weapon, yet no one sees the same change in the boy until it’s too late. Fleeing the scene - and in the process hitting Wolvie with a car - the boy escapes. Wolverine’s natural instinct is to protect everyone he can and so the hunt begins...

I found the writing of this issue really strong. It would be very easy to have just let the story tell itself, but Cornell has taken great effort to differentiate the characteristics and language between the father and son. The difference in them both does make you think about things, without spelling it out. Who is controlling them? How? Where did the weapon come from? There are plenty more that spring to mind as well. Somehow I don’t think that this is going to be quite the hunt that Logan expected and we'll have three more issues to find out some answers.

As I mentioned at the beginning Alan Davis provides the artwork. There is no denying that the characters convey their feelings well, even when they are meant to be emotionless and clinical. This is also something that emphasises the point of change in the little boy, further supporting the story. However, I find the style a little too retro for my particular taste. It is also a style that concentrates predominantly on the forefront of the story, often leaving a lack of background to the images with only the wide angles being given more information that just the immediate. It still works well with the writing and the raw feel to the art also fits in with the whole Wolverine persona so the package completes itself.

Although not a story that visually grabs me, this is still a very strong start and I think that Wolverine fans will enjoy the new solo title. It’s getting back to his instincts without having to be out in the wilds. He's a hero again.

Matt Puddy is aware that many consider Alan Davis to be a comic book legend.

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