Jun 8, 2010

Wolverine: Origins Vol. 1-4 Comic Review

Vol. 1 - Born In Blood (issues #1-5)The first couple of issues are a chore to read through, as there isn't much to glorify. The artwork stays consistently great through the entire series but other than that, things don't spell good for the first volume. In the first issue Wolverine is armed with a mega-samurai sword that can cut through anything, which seems so needless and excessive since he's got his claws. As for storylines, you're given the impression that Wolverine has his full memory back only to find out he's just as confused as the reader. There's an epic conspiracy going on that Wolverine, the US government all the way to the President, and even Shield. Nuke gets sicked upon Wolverine and looks like he's going to give him the fight of his life, only to get owned pretty hard, then get saved by the X-Men and Captain America to calm Wolverine down. Wolverine vs. Cap is pretty decent and Wolverine's flashbacks do get exponentially better with each issue that you go through, but the later issues in this volume are way better than the early ones. So if you buy this volume and start feeling buyer's remorse when you start reading it, I advise you keep reading because it's at least a decent 3 *'s out of 5 overall.

Vol. 2 - Savior (issues #6-10)
Omega Red attacks Wolverine in his hunt for answers and Logan has to turn to Black Widow for help finding an artifact that can beat Red. How do you beat a Russian? With a Russian. Wolverine shows intelligence, masterful planning and self-sacrifice rather than using Black Widow's added strength to fight, and it comes off beautifully. Wolverine's flashbacks however especially become intriguing and very shaping of the man he is today. Black Widow's childhood gets delved into as well through Wolverine's flashback and isn't half-bad. This volume is greatly better than the previous, making Born In Blood look like crap. 4 1/2 *'s out of 5, especially for the ending where Wolverine meets eye-to-eye with the man he's been looking for: His son.

Vol. 3 - Swift and Terrible (issues #11-15)
Another great volume, primarily spending all five issues getting to know Wolverine's son. It turns out he's a sick and twisted serial killer of sorts who's just given a direction by his handlers; the same handlers who made Wolverine into the animal he is today. We're also introduced between Logan's story and his son's story to a new villain: Cyber, with a fascinating backstory of military authoritative abuse and malice. There are two downfalls in this volume, both relating to Cyber. The first downfall is how quickly Cyber becomes allies with Wolverine, albeit just for information about their common enemy: Wolverine's son and the puppeteers who pit family against each other. It really softened Cyber's malicious and vicious nature built up in his backstory. The second downfall was how Cyber is written out, as he doesn't return in the next volume. Cyber's waffling could have been redeemed with a great ending for the character, but it fell really flat. Fingers crossed that Cyber returns in a later issue with more strength and conviction to kill Wolverine and/or his son, but if he does, it's beyond my knowledge. On the positive side, this volume is FILLED with gore, bloodshed and action. I'm talking a big number of extensive fight scenes which helps it out. The total score for this volume is 4 *'s out of 5.

Vol. 4 - Our War (issues #16-20 + Annual #01)
A little confusing in terms of continuity. Issues #16-20 completely drop the on-going stories and goals of Wolverine for an extensive dedication to Captain America. Wolverine details how he was something of a double-agent in World War II, taking orders from his handlers but by orders trying to gain the trust of Cap, but frequently butts head with Cap's sidekick Bucky. Things get gritty, intense and full of swerves, especially when Logan finds out his orders have changed. As it turns out this volume was full of Logan's memories of his time with Cap due to his death, which was the hot button topic at the time of print in the Marvel universe. While completely useless to continuity, holy crap what an awesome story! I greatly recommend everyone check out this graphic novel because it doesn't require any catching-up or understanding of on-going events. It's strictly in flash-back form, only jumping to modern day Logan getting drunk and thinking about things in retrospect. Then the additional Annual issue at the end of the volume goes back to Wolverine's story but is pretty meh and repetitive to anyone who's followed up to this volume. But I'm actually going to completely omit it because it doesn't add or subtract to the on-going stories built up in Origins and appears to be done by completely different writers and/or artists. Story continuity aside, this volume gets 5 *'s out of 5!

Overall Rating:
Averaging all the ratings, this collection gets 4 *'s. The first volume is really, undoubtedly the weakest, but it's not the worst thing I've ever read. Ironically, the worst thing I've ever read was Wolverine: Worst There Is. Check this series out, at the very least volume 4 because Captain America has never looked more amazing to me.

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