Not content with having him in almost every book it publishes, Marvel has released a sequel to Wolverine’s Origin story.
THE only thing more annoying than Wolverine’s presence in almost every Marvel comic book out there is the company’s neverending attempt to inject more depth into his past.
Considering the character’s immense popularity, it’s no wonder that most writers would want to leave a mark on his constantly evolving history; but why does it have to be at the collectors’ expense?
Whenever a major “revelation” is made, it ends up dividing the comics fraternity. On one hand, you have die-hard fans who welcome any form of expansion or solidification to the Wolverine mythos; on the other, you get the “died hard” collectors whose finances have been gutted by years of trying to keep up with the Ol’ Canucklehead’s myriad of appearances.
Me? I’m on the fence on this. While I struggle to figure out how Wolverine manages to juggle his multiple X-Men, Avengers and solo escapades, I welcome any origin-refining effort ... provided it comes with groundbreaking content.
Unfortunately, most attempts to demystify Wolverine’s past have been duds with lame angles, ranging from memory implants to him being Sabretooth’s son (*groan*).
After Wolverine made his debut in 1974’s Incredible Hulk #180 and #181, Marvel made a laudable attempt to keep him an enigma for 17 years. This was especially so considering his meteoric ascension to be, hands down, the most popular X-Man (sorry, Cyclops).
To date, the two best efforts to define Wolverine’s origin have been Barry Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X (inMarvel Comics Presents #72-#84), and Paul Jenkins and Adam Kubert’s six-part Origin.
The 1991-92 Weapon X 13-parter gave us some long-awaited insight into how he got his adamantium-laced skeleton, with details on the event and the ordeal he went through. At that time, fans were easily appeased and the level of detail (i.e. name, social security number, etc) really did not matter.
Then came the first X-Men movie. The movie not only made the X-Men a household name, but unsurprisingly made Wolverine popular with a wider audience beyond fans of the comics.
While this paved the way for a wider range of comic and movie appearances, it also gave the powers at Marvel a big headache concerning the character’s true origins – that Hollywood might eventually reveal Wolverine’s origins before they did!
Thus, they made the decision to reveal Wolverine’s past with Origin, which featured a stellar creative team comprising Paul Jenkins, Bill Jemas, Joe Quesada, Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove.
A must-read for all Wolverine fans, Origin is probably THE definitive source of information on the character’s past. It revealed almost everything significant about the man – his name (not Logan, but James Howlett!), his parents (offering permutations to his biological and possible stepfather), his age (born circa the late 19th century), and even the reason behind his fetish for redheads.
However, despite the wealth of information on the character, Origin still left some unfinished business, specifically on his years in the wilderness. And so we come to the latest attempt ….
Origin II #1 (of 5)
Creators: Kieron Gillen, Adam Kubert, Frank Martin
After accidentally killing his childhood friend/crush Rose during his battle with Dog Logan, Wolverine went on a self-imposed exile from civilisation. Living with a pack of wolves, his days were spent hunting and providing for his newfound family, thus discovering inner peace in this most unorthodox fashion.
Even this peace doesn’t last long, however, because the animal kingdom is a savage place, and there are always animals (normal or genetically engineered) around with a penchant for destruction!
From a lone wolf to a great white bear, Wolverine’s newfound challenges here are a clear departure from his past confrontations with mankind, as well as his future battles to save the world. In fact, with all the animals and fights between bears and wolves, the first issue of Origin II seems more like an issue ofNational Geographic than a superhero comic!
But if you’re worried about the series turning into a Nat Geo: Wolverine Special, don’t fret – if the ending ofOrigin II #1 is any indication, things are about to get a lot more sinister for our feral hero.
Plot-wise, Gillen certainly has his work cut out for him on this project, because he has to work within the confines of the character’s existing mythos.
This could seriously hamper any intention he has to wow readers with groundbreaking revelations.
For a US$5 (RM16.40) comic, mere fancy covers will not easily appease expectations, and Gillen only has four more issues in which to stamp his mark on this character whose overexposure has negated any mystique he once had.
Art-wise, the trademark family quality is evident in Adam Kubert’s output, matching his brother Andy’s efforts in the first Origin.
Here’s hoping both brothers eventually team up in the upcoming issues, or at least release some pin-ups to commemorate the event. Also, while I was initially disappointed that Richard Isanove was not the colourist here, Frank Martin justifies his hiring by breathing more life into Adam’s work with his colours.
Based on this first issue, it is still too early to judge Origin II. But here’s hoping that it will at least equal the first volume’s success in giving Wolverine a whole new dimension.