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Monday, 13 September 2010

Wolverine: Origin

One book, released with 3 different covers.  I believe only the top right image is still in print.

Script: Paul Jenkins
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Digital Painting: Richard Isanove
Lettering: John Roshell, Comicraft, Wes Abbott, Oscar Gongorra, Saida Temofonte
Publisher: Marvel

What's it about?
It's Wolverine's origin story.  Wolverine is a mutant, that is, like many other people in the Marvel universe he has evolved from homo sapien to homo superior.  Individuals who evolve gain abilities or superpowers and can do things the rest of humanity can't.  In Wolverine's case, he has retractable bone claws on each hand, an enhanced sense of smell and a healing factor that makes him very, very difficult to kill, or hurt.  In the Marvel Universe he is part of the X-Men - a group of mutants put together by telepath Charles Xavier, who fight against evil, for humanity and for mutantkind.

Prior to this book, all we knew about Wolverine was that he was a loner, he was trained as a killer by Weapon X (who also laced his skeleton with adamantium) and he's travelled the world over.  We didn't know his name, his age, where he was born, where he grew up or what he was like as a child.

This book answers those questions.  Other than that it's a bit difficult to go into too much detail about the plot, as I don't to provide any spoilers.  It's true that this was written to clear up Marvel comics greatest mystery, as such the unfolding of the story and the journey it takes you on should be kept secret until you have the book in your hands are reading it yourself.  It could be argued that the book was written for established fans.  However it is still a great story on it's own merit and so is suitable for new readers - I read it with very little knowledge of the Marvel universe, or of Wolverine, beyond what anyone watching the films would know.

Don't expect the plot to be the same as the recent X-Men Origins: Wolverine film.  It's not.  It's much better.

What's good about it?
It's a heartfelt story.  For someone as dark and violent as Wolverine this is appropriately tragic with a fair few surprises thrown in.  It's solidly put together and I'm sure for those with knowledge of the Wolverine mythos there's a lot of foreshadowing going on.  For someone with no background knowledge (a.k.a. me), nothing seems out of place or shoehorned in. This book covers Wolverine's early years until he is about 17 - this leaves plenty of mystery and means that the right amount is covered without it feeling rushed or dragged out.

What's bad about it?
The first time I read this I found one scene not particularly clear, artwise.  Unfortunately this was a rather crucial scene and it took me a few minutes to work it out.  Other than that, this is overall a pretty impressive book.

What's the art like?
Delectable!  It's chaotic where the story is chaotic, peaceful when the story is peaceful, desolate when the story is desolate, and so on.
There are some absolutely cracking scenes of young Wolverine coming to terms with his new abilities.

 The background to the panels is black throughout the book, adding to the sombre, ominous tone even where the art itself is dealing with something positive and uplifting.
Other information
Price: £12.99
ISBN: 0785137270
*Please note this ISBN and price is for the 2009 edition, which if the cover on the top right at the start of this post.

In terms of further reading, Marvel have helpfully produced several recommended reading lists.  From one of these is the following reading chronology for Wolverine solo titles:

Wolverine: Enemy of the State Ultimate Collection (paperback)
House of M: Wolverine, Iron Man & Hulk (hardcover)
Civil War: Wolverine: Blood & Sorrow (paperback)
Wolverine: Evolution (hardcover, paperback)
Wolverine: Death of Wolverine (hardcover, paperback)
Wolverine: Get Mystique (paperback)
Logan (hardcover, paperback)
Wolverine: Dangerous Games (hardcover, paperback)
Wolverine: Weapon X Vol1: Adamantium Men (hardcover, paperback)
Wolverine: Weapon X Vol 2: Insane in the Brain (hardcover, paperback)
Wolverine: Weapon X Vol 3: Tomorrow Dies Today (hardcover)
Wolverine: Old Man Logan (hardcover, paperback)

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