Return of Wolverine #3 // Review
Wolverine reunites with the X-Men violently in The Return Of Wolverine #3, by writer Charles Soule, artist Declan Shalvey, colorist Laura Martin, and letterer Joe Sabino. Much like the last issue, Soule pays lip service to the overarching plot, and instead focuses on the conflict between an amnesiac Logan and the X-Men.
The X-Men have discovered Logan’s location, and dispatch a small team consisting of Jean Grey, Storm, Iceman, and Nightcrawler, to see what’s going on with him. They end up at Soteira’s island city, but are met by the authorities and inhabitants, who are virulently anti-mutant. Logan notices the commotion, and goes and attacks the X-Men. The fight goes badly once Iceman gets involved and Logan releases his inner berserker.
Focusing on the X-Men and their battle against Logan is the right call for this book. Even with all the set-up in the Hunt For Wolverine mini series, Soteira is such a generic evil corporation with a leader willing to commit to genocide that they just aren’t interesting. What is interesting is Logan combing through his memory prison and using his X-Force self’s memories to put up a fight against his former friends. Soule uses the memory prison very well in this book, and this issue is no exception. It’s a bit weird that none of the memory avatars tell Logan anything about his relationship with the X-Men, but that could be chalked up to whatever Soteira did to him before his revival.
The Soteira main plot is definitely the weakest part, and it doesn’t really get any padding in this issue, which is good because it’s lackluster, but also doesn’t really help sell them as any kind of actual threat. Their plans are so nebulous as to be opaque. Their goals are…evil science and genocide? The question mark is because it’s not really made sure, and there’s no motivation. Their leader, Persephone, is evil and inquisitive, and at least that’s two dimensions, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t a cliche. It doesn’t mean that Soteira isn’t either. That’s the biggest problem with this book--even when it’s entertaining, it’s still very rote.
Much like last issue, Declan Shalvey just isn’t the right kind of artist for this book. His Logan has very little consistency. Sometimes he likes a serious bruiser, and other times, especially his facial features, he looks like a caricature. In fact, Shalvey has a problem with faces throughout the issue. Sometimes the proportions are off, and other times there’s just something odd about them.
The Return Of Wolverine #3 is a good single-issue comic, but does very little to progress the plot of the book, which, while not a great plot, definitely needs some polish. This is the third issue, and things aren’t even remotely clear. The villains are so generic, it hurts. If Soule wanted to do a greatest hits Wolverine book, he didn’t need to include anything about Soteira in it at all and would have had a much better comic. Shalvey’s continued wrongness for the art doesn’t help matters much either. If it was just to be judged on the strength of Wolverine/X-Men confrontation, this would be a better book, but this is the middle of a five issue mini series with a plot and stakes that are still unclear. It feels a little too indulgent and that’s a problem.