WOLVERINE ANNUAL #1
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Geraldo Borges
Colorists: Marco Menyz & Miroslav Mrya
Letterer: Cory Petit
Rating: 8 SNIKTS out of 10
It’s been a while since the original Wolverine was brought back to life in the main Marvel continuity, and to be perfectly honest, the House of Ideas hasn’t really utilized our favorite claw popping Canuck greatly, or given us a good solo story. He’s been mostly wrapped up in the main X books story arcs, and the mini-series they gave him to explain his glorious return fell flat on its face. It was confusing, and underwhelming and most of the intrigue they were trying to build pretty much lead to nowhere, and eventually washed away by the following main X arcs in Matthew Rosenberg’s run and eventually in Jonathan Hickman’s House / Power of X. But enough of my fury on the current state of the X world, I’ll save that for another long winded rant, where I’m yelling at the skies with tears of rage, let’s get to the matter at hand.
Wolverine Annual #1 brings us a story that cuts to the core of Logan’s character. It brings us the basics of what makes a good wolverine story, a hard lived man just trying to do what’s right, and atone for his mistakes. The issue starts off with one of my favorite team up pairings ever, Spider-Man and Wolverine, IN HIS BROWN COSTUME!!! The unlikely duo is dispatching a rampaging horde of glass monsters courtesy of the Tinkerer. Spidey’s slinging webs and irreverent quips, as Wolvie does what he does best. Broken glass monsters are shattered to pieces, and in the aftermath Spidey invites Logan to burgers to celebrate and of course the forever grump refuses and rides off into the horizon. He makes his way to an old folks home, lamenting the fact the he always has a reason to leave and how apologizing is not one of the things he’s good at. He’s there to see someone from his long and storied past, a former flame Celia and someone he feels he needs to do right by. The story takes us back to the 1930’s, Logan and Celia are in a small mid-western town packing up their lives to move out west, to Hollywood, to fulfill Celia’s dream of movie stardom. They do and it goes well enough for her, Logan on the other hand is having a rough go at, and as it is wont to do, she leaves him to further her success. Logan toughs it out, understanding that she needed to do that, because the further away she is from him, the better off she’ll be, because in his mind he’s not deserving of someone so great, not deserving of love, all he brings is ruin.
He sticks around doing hard labor around the studios, having nowhere else to go, until one day a freak accident severely injures him, exposing his secret to her, his healing factor. He runs from the situation, ready to leave town. She knocks on his door, fascinated by what she’s discovered, expressing her desire to be with him again and to introduce him to her friends who would be similarly interested in his gift. She takes him to them only to be ambushed, where it’s revealed that they’re a cult lead by Morgan Le Fey possessing Celia, and they need him for their evil magical machinations. Morgan Le Fey reveals that she knows his future and has tangled with him and the Avengers at another point in time, and she casts a spell on Logan that puts him in his future self’s body, yellow and blue costume, adamantium and all, against his greatest foes in his mind, with his rage fueling Le Fey’s magic, which backfires for Morgan Le fey and her ilk in the most gloriously snikt filled way, and Wolverine does what he does best. He breaks free, limbs fly, blood splatters and Wolverine mows them all down. He gets to Morgan-Celia and slashes her across the chest, which breaks her from Le Fey’s spell and snaps him out of his berserker rage in horror. Logan runs seeing that he’s harmed the woman he loved, and he leaves her there in shock. It flashes forward to the present, where Logan tells a now 100 year old Celia his regret and apologizes to her for hurting her. She reels back and laughs in his face, revealing that she knew exactly what she was doing and made a deal with Morgan Le Fey, sacrificing Logan for eternal youth, for immortality. She wanted power and she loathed him for taking that away from her. She screams at him calling him a coward for not facing her amd Logan stand and tells her that he’s just there to speak his piece. He leaves and monologues that he himself has been in darkness and has clawed his way out of it time and again and he’s made his peace with it, but sometimes you’re in so deep that darkness is all that’s left.
All in all, Jody Houser and Geraldo Borges brings us a solid story, steeped in what makes Wolverine awesome. A lonesome man, dealing with his past, filled with rage and regret, but also someone who has a lot of heart and compassion. It’s these type of stories that have been missing from the greater X picture when it comes to Wolverine in particular. It’s these type of stories that I have greatly missed reading. This story is reminiscent of Claremont’s run on the X-Men, or Len Wein’s solo Wolverine, and for a moment it took me back to when I was a kid reading those amazing books. It’s these type of stories that endeared Logan to the hearts of many and made him a fan favorite (also the whole claws and being a total badass thing, but I digress), I know because it’s what makes him MY favorite superhero. While this issue may not have been a groundbreaking story, to me it’s a step in the right direction, and I am hopeful that we’ll get many more like it, especially from a great duo as Houser and Borges. Despite all my X-Men scepticism, Wolverine Annual #1 can finally make me say, welcome back to the one and only Wolverine.