Hunt For Wolverine #1 // Review
Hunt For Wolverine #1, by Charles Soule, David Marquez, Paulo Siqueira, Rachelle Rosenberg, Walden Wong, and Ruth Redmond, begins the tale of Logan’s many friends and enemies searching for him. Who will find him first?
The Reavers, Wolverine’s old cyborg enemies led by ex-Hellfire Club member Donald Pierce, track down Logan’s grave site. They hope to be able to sell his body so they can afford some much needed upgrades, but run afoul of the X-Men. There’s some flashbacks to right after Logan died that answer a few lingering questions readers might have about what happened. The X-Men soon realize his body is gone and Kitty goes out to recruit some of Logan’s friends from around the Marvel Universe to help her locate him, be he dead or alive.
David Marquez’s art is the highlight of the book. His pencils are a little grittier in places than they’ve been in other books, possibly because of the inking, but it fits here, giving the action that most of his part of the book is made up of a nice frenetic pace. It’s like when an action movie has shaky cam, but the scenes are clearer and easier to make out than that. The fight with the Reavers is so well paced and choreographed as well, with only one exception that’s more of a failure of the script than anything else (it’ll be addressed later). His Wolverine leaves a little something to be desired, though. He draws him a bit too lanky for a guy Logan’s height and weight. The second part of the book is pencilled by Paulo Siqueira and, while Marquez is a hard act to follow, Siqueira does a solid job. It’s not perfect (he tries to make his Iron Man look like RDJ, but screws up the facial proportion in a few places), but it’s better than a lot of second artists in a book like this. That said, it’s a little disappointing that Marquez wasn’t the sole artist, as the book was advertised.
Charles Soule’s script is perfectly competent. Using the Reavers as the villains of the book is a nice choice, one that writers with less knowledge of Wolverine might not have made. He also writes Kitty Pryde very well, capturing the voice of command she has developed. She’s the focus of the book, doing the narrating and acting as the MVP of the battle against the Reavers, her phasing powers playing merry hell with their cybernetics. Kitty is a good focus for the book. She was Wolverine’s first sidekick on the X-Men and their relationship has always been more like an older brother and younger sister than the one Wolverine shared with Jubilee; as time as gone on, they’ve grown to be on equal footing. Having her be the impetus behind the heroes’ search for Logan is perfect and fits who she is. Unlike readers, she doesn’t know that Logan is still alive, so it makes sense that she would want to find out what happened to his body, whether it be to welcome him back or to take revenge against whoever took him.
That said, this book is really disappointing. Soule seems to get what points to hit in the book, but none of it has any gravitas . Nothing really important happens, since only the people in the book itself don’t know that Logan is back to life. The only thing that makes this book a must read is if the person who buys it is going to buy the four follow up mini series. Much like The Logan Legacy after Death of Wolverine--both of which were written by Soule and both of which are perfectly competent yet completely underwhelming--this book is an advertisement for what comes next, but it doesn’t really do anything to make what comes next seem interesting enough to buy. Fans looking to find out more about the hows and whys of Logan’s return won’t find it here and probably won’t even find it in the four follow-up mini series. All of this seems like a blatant cash grab by Marvel, just like the “post-credit” scenes with Logan were. It’s sort of a slap in the face to fans of Logan.
Speaking of the “post credit” scenes, this book has some rather wonky continuity going on in it. The book ends on the scene from Marvel Legacy #1, but the one appearance by Logan in the book seems to take place after he gives up the Space Gem. It raises the question of where most of this book takes place in the time scale of the Marvel Universe. If the Wolverine scene takes place now, it raises questions about how long that part took place from when he gave up the Space Gem, which wouldn’t have been very long ago in a relative time frame. Is Soule doing some kind of Bendis-style retconning or did he Pulp Fiction up the book’s time frame for an artistic purpose? The script doesn’t make it clear and, for continuity minded readers, it feels a little weird and disjointed. A smaller complaint is during the fight with the Reavers, the X-Men are attacked by Starshine, a cyborg in control of a giant helicopter. They take care of Starshine off panel, which is a huge disappointment. It would have been cool to see the X-Men tangle with a cybernetic helicopter, especially the group in the book (consisting of Pryde, Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and, strangely enough, Firestar). An even smaller complaint is the inclusion of Reed Richards in one of the flashbacks, which seems just to be there because Reed was in Death of Wolverine #1 for a page or two. With Reed not around right now, it doesn’t seem like something that has any pay off other than Soule reminding readers that Death of Wolverine was a thing that happened and that he wrote it. Finally, on McNiven’s cover of the book, Logan’s claws are way too long. It’s a very minor nitpick, but for a connoisseur of Wolverine, it’s an annoying mistake.
Hunt For Wolverine is a commercial that fails to sell the product it’s for. It’s not a bad book, but it’s also not worth it’s $5.99 cover price. It’s hard to pinpoint who this book is for. Readers who really love Logan aren’t going to get what they want out of it and lapsed readers aren’t going to care very much because Soule never succeeds in making anything feel interesting. It might draw some new readers who don’t know much about Logan, but most of the standout stuff in the book (the Reavers as villains and the focus being on Kitty Pryde) won’t mean very much to them. The art in general, and Marquez’s art in particular, are the main selling point of the book and keep the whole thing from being completely forgettable (another thing the book has in common with Death of Wolverine). That seems to be the story of Soule’s work on Wolverine and his mutant brethren. This book, though, is way better than IvX or Astonishing X-Men, but those are pretty low bars to get over. Wolverine fans deserve better than this aggressively average book.