Return Of Wolverine #2 // Review
Wolverine battles a Soteira-controlled Daken in Return Of Wolverine #2, by writer Charles Soule, artist Declan Shalvey, color artist Laura Martin, and letterer Joe Sabino. After the lackluster homage to Weapon X that was the first issue, this one just presents an all-out brawl that, while satisfying, does little to progress the plot forward. That said, it’s a vast improvement over the first issue of the book.
Wolverine and Ana chase down the Soteira kill team that took Ana’s son. The kill team releases Daken and Omega Red, who attack Wolverine and Ana’s boat. Quick thinking from Ana evens the odds a bit, and Wolverine is left battling a son he can’t remember. Elsewhere, another group discovers Wolverine is back in the land of the living.
Soule reminds readers of the stakes in this book, even having Logan put forward a frightening reason that Soteira kidnapped Ana’s son, then gives readers an extended fight scene. It’s welcome, because the story so far is pretty much a boilerplate Larry Hama-style Wolverine story with Logan battling evil scientists with little to no memory of his past. The fight doesn’t overstay its welcome and is well paced. It even features a novel use of the hot claws. Soule again uses Logan’s mental image of his memories in prison in this issue, and it’s still a clever piece of imagery, giving readers a visual of him denying the berserker inside of himself that they don’t usually see.
Unfortunately, the issue is still saddled with some clunky dialogue, and Soule’s characterization of Ana is still pretty strange. Her goal of getting her son back is the same, but she’s all over the place as a character, even at one point throwing herself at Wolverine. It feels like it’s only there to remind readers that Wolverine is mystifyingly attractive to the ladies, but it’s just weird and out of place. That said, it also kind of throws the likelihood that she’s what she seems to be in question. What better way would a Soteira plant try to ingratiate herself to a memoryless Logan than through sex? That’s a better theory than the alternative, which is just bad writing. The end scene of the book sets up something that is exciting for fans, but also firmly plants this book in a certain time frame without explaining anything about what Wolverine was up to before he awoke in the Soteira facility with no memory, even though in Marvel: Legacy and the back-up shorts he definitely has all of his memories and was nowhere near Soteira.
The art by Declan Shalvey and Laura Martin isn’t as uneven as McNiven’s art in the last issue. The action scene is dynamic and exciting, and Martin’s bright coloring matches what one could expect from a fight under a cloudless sky on a boat. However, as good as the art is, it doesn’t have the big feel that Steve McNiven’s does. It’s more consistent, but going from McNiven’s more realistic style to Shalvey’s almost cartoonish style is a bit jarring, and doesn’t really fit the tone of this book. That might have more to do with Martin’s bright colors than Shalvey’s pencils, but the stylistic change in art in this book feels strange.
Return Of Wolverine #2 is a better comic than the first issue because it focuses on a well-drawn, well-written fight, instead of the cliche early-90s Wolverine story that Soule is laying out in the book so far. The end of the issue sets up a reunion that many fans have waited years to see, but that’s really the only thing to look forward to with this story if you’re a long time fan of Wolverine. This one still has a few of the same problems as the last issue, but it also does a few more things well.