So here it is ladies and gentlemen, the fourth installment and the end of the ‘Death of Wolverine’ series. This is where Wolverine bites the big one. Does he go out with a bang or a whimper? The true question is do they cap off Wolverine’s life on a note worth our time, money, and quite literally for many of us, years of emotional investment? Well I can tell you right now that at the very least this arc ended a hell of a lot better than the last ‘Wolverine’ series.
Once again Charles Soule has proven that he knows Wolverine. He knows Logan. He knows James Howlett. He knows Weapon-X. He knows that Wolverine is the best at what he does. He knows the character’s past and what and how he has transformed into the man that he is today. So how does he end the life of the mutant who was for the longest time thought to be unkillable? How does he really bring things full circle to a man who has lived longer than most of the known Marvel Universe that lives on Earth itself? By bringing him back to where many feel that Wolverine truly started – The Weapon-X program. In this closing issue we see Logan pit against Dr. Cornelius who is the man that bonded adamantium to Logan’s skeleton and helped turn him into the killing machine that he was long known to be.
Art wise Steve McNiven is one of the main pluses to the issue. With there not being a lot of dialogue happening and quite a bit of action leading into the final meeting between these two men, each image counted. McNiven was able to fully pull it off and I applaud his work.
The one thing I salute is that Soule pits Wolverine against someone from his past. Someone who has a huge impact on Wolverine and possibly could be thought of as the man who truly put him on the path to become one of the most popular characters in Marvel. It did end up being one of Wolverine’s greatest enemies but probably not one that almost anyone would have suspected.
So, we see how Logan dies and my one major issue could be seen here. Unless he injected himself with one of the healing needles he saved a few of Dr. Cornelius’s test subjects with there is no way he would have survived to confront the man that turned him into a monster and was responsible for his years of lost memory. Assuming we’re still on the retcon that adamantium is still the cause for so much of his missing memories, I’m actually a little unsure on that one. Still, with what happened to him there is no way his body could have survived to get him to the Doctor. Plot oversight? A clue that his healing factor somehow started to kick back in and that’s how he’ll end up returning down the line? It’s hard to tell.
As a side note having read a few of the tie-in issues, so far the ‘Nightcrawler‘ one from last week is still my favorite.
All in all, I felt that the closure to Wolverine’s life fell a little flat. I understand that they had him die in such a way that didn’t have us up against the wall in annoyance about which villain did it. His death was heroic and in a sense tragic, though it didn’t feel to be in the emotional context that the first three issues seemed to be promising. At the very least, at least Logan got some vengence when he was going out. We’ll miss you, bub.
DEATH OF WOLVERINE #4
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Steve McNiven