Return Of Wolverine #1 Uses The Hero’s Past To Save The Future

by Tony Thornley

The man called Logan has been lurking in the background of the Marvel Universe for almost exactly a year now, after being dead for about three years. It’s a story that’s unfolded off and on for the past year, but we know nothing about why or what he’s doing – which Return of Wolverine #1 promises to uncover.

We know the story. A man with no memory wakes up to chaos. He’s told that’s he’s the only one who can stop it, and that the keys lie in his past. What’s interesting here is in the telling, which Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, Laura Martin and Joe Sabino ably do here.
Logan wakes up in extreme pain, his claws burning, his costume in tatters. He doesn’t know what’s happening, or who he is, but he’s quickly told that he’s a hero, and the key to stopping a mysterious woman known as Persephone. In his head, he finds himself in a prison, filled with aspects of his personality – some represented by his past costumes, some by his enemies, and some by his friends.

Soule structures this story like a spy thriller. I was instantly reminded of the Bourne movies. The story picks up in media res, and the hero has to catch up. But the difference here is that the readers and the supporting characters know who Wolverine is, and in the latter case want to help him regain that.
Soule also shows a great grasp of who Logan is, and what makes him what he is. The mental prison is a great device, and populating it with more than just his past selves, or those he loves, deepens the conceit. I’ll look forward to seeing the puzzle pieces coming together through the story.
McNiven and Leisten switch up their style a bit here. Instead of the smooth, textured style we’re accustomed to seeing from this duo, we get pencils that are wilder and more harried. It works with the horror and disorientation that the character is feeling.
The change also evokes one of the most famous Wolverine artists – Barry Windor-Smith. This Logan is almost a direct homage to Windsor-Smith’s work with his wild eyes and angry screams. The look carries over to the violent confrontations we get, a fantastic blend of McNiven’s smooth line and an homage BWS’s wild ferocity.
Martin steps into the story without any hesitation. She fills the page with brilliant flashes of primary color, immersing us in this violent and kinetic action quickly. Her reds definitely get worn out this issue, and it’s great.

We’ve been waiting for OUR Logan to return for four years now, and the team sets up quite the journey ahead.
Welcome back, old man.
Return of Wolverine #1 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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