Wolverine is one of Marvel’s most popular characters, so when they decided to kill him off in 2014, it raised eyebrows. Four years later, everyone’s favourite Canucklehead isn’t just back for SNIKTs and giggles. (A giggling Logan is a scary image) Return Of Wolverine #1, written by Charles Soule, sees the character grappling with his resurrection and the emergence of a new villain. Soule looks to send Wolverine in a fresh direction, while also building on his mythology.
The story opens with Logan confronting a scientist who claims to be at the mercy of a mysterious figure called Persephone. Before Wolverine can get any further information, he’s attacked by a saber-toothed cat. The fight triggers flashbacks of Kitty Pryde and Sabretooth, with memory being an important theme of the comic.
Soule presents Wolverine as a man struggling to remember who he is, a classic interpretation of the character. Logan’s memory loss is depicted as a physical prison within his mind. Different aspects of his personality are locked behind bars and there’s an implication that he needs to set them free to become the person he used to be.
Soon enough, Wolverine encounters a woman named Ana and agrees to help her retrieve her lost daughter. The exchange between them led to my favourite sequence in the comic. Ana recounts a story about why Wolverine chose to wear a blue and yellow uniform. She said it reminded her of a weaverbird, a creature that demands your attention as soon as you see it.
Wolverine’s bright costume caused him to be a beacon and allowed him to protect people. Every time he jumped into danger, all eyes were on him, ensuring he became the target instead of innocent people. I thought the weaverbird comparison was a great addition to Wolverine’s backstory.
The first issue also reveals a brief glimpse of Persephone. It feels like Soule is building her up to be more than a one-dimensional villain, so I’m interested to see what her motivations are.
Steve McNiven’s art elevates the comic through colourful, gritty panels. Wolverine spends half the issue covered in blood, turning the fight sequences into gory masterpieces. Logan’s mental prison is also rendered in beautiful detail. The green shading gives off a sombre feeling, reflecting the character’s hazy mind.
Return Of Wolverine #1 is a promising issue that puts the X-Men’s feral powerhouse back into the spotlight. There’s also the implication that Wolverine has returned with new powers, so that’s going to be intriguing. Soule remains faithful to the character’s roots and it’s good to see Wolverine getting back to being the best there is at what he does.