Review: Death of Wolverine (1 of 4) by Charles Soule | Fanboys Anonymous

Review: Death of Wolverine (1 of 4) by Charles Soule

Posted by Sean Hamilton Friday, September 5, 2014
Art by Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, Justin Ponsor
Death of Wolverine -
Cover by McNiven, Leisten and Ponsor
The End.

It is the beginning of the end.

One of the greatest X-Men ever has only limited time left. Wolverine is going to be killed.

But this is just the start.

Reading the Death of Wolverine made me feel like a kid again. It's not just one aspect of the finished book, but the collaboration behind it that will absorb you into its covers and leave you wanting more at the end.

So how does it do this?

It may sound gimmicky, but let's start with the cover. The foil inset sets this apart, making it stand out as a special comic, which it is, ultimately.

The interior has been well laid out with a lot of thought apparent in the design for the finished product. Advertising is kept to a minimum, only one noted in the actual story itself. The internal covers boast uncolored art by Steve McNiven (pencils) and Jay Leisten (inks).

Marvel Death of Wolverine #1 Review
Death of Wolverine - interior
by McNiven, Leisten and Ponsor
The internal material for the Death of Wolverine #1 is split in half. The first portion is the story proper. The second is bonus material, which includes commentary by McNiven on his art in various parts of the process, an interview with Wolverine co-creator Len Wein, and a Directors Cut take on the first 10 pages of issue #1. The Directors Cut shows the script by Charles Soule accompanied by the pencils by McNiven, inking by Leisten, and then final coloring by Justin Ponsor. This provides readers a good insight into how this, and by extension, other Marvel Comics are made.

It is this entire package taken together that is a major stroke of marketing work, providing us with an ultimate Marvel comic event that is meant to be remembered for a while. It just goes to show that it doesn't have to be an Avengers vs. X-Men or Original Sin to be done so very well.

However, none of the above would be worth much if the story for Death of Wolverine wasn't any good. So how does it read?

Death of Wolverine interior art
The beauty of gore -
it hurts to be the best.

The narrative is well balanced. Soule has honed his storytelling techniques to deliver maximum impact for enjoyment. The story is well paced, the average number of panels per page being roughly 4 or 5. Despite this, the story speeds up for action with quick grids and more panels or slows down to 3-panel arrangement. This variance helps the reader linger on the art and be pulled in with gravitas.

Death of Wolverine is not a dialogue-heavy book. Logan has always been more of an "actions speak louder than words" type of character and Soule uses this to drive the story from the outset. A brilliant technique of using Wolverine's sense to guide narration is a clever ploy. Soule guides the artists to color hearing, smelling, and feeling in different colors to indicate what Wolverine is feeling as the story progresses.

The bonus material at the end of the book is a great tool to compare the original intention of the writer to the artists. Much of what was sought for the feel for the book has been translated well onto the finished pages.

This is evident from McNiven's pencilling, much of which is displayed around the story proper in extra material provided. However, it is when Pomsor and Leisten add their skills that we are given moving images to visually immerse ourselves in.

There are great full- and half-page splashes that showcase the artistic quality brought together for this event. The opening 4 pages do just what is needed to hook the reader straight away.

Ponsor's colors are spot on for defining the feel of the art. I am always struck by how a badly colored page can seem to pull so much away from the art, but these pages turn smoothly in your hands. What this means is that the artists have collaborated well enough to make you forget that you're reading about the imminent death of a make-believe character. You are lost in the story until it finishes.

Finishing it is a must; we know this much to be so. The last couple of years have been tumultuous for the Marvel mutant community. Always a staple for this maligned group, the death of a major character such as Wolverine will have profound ramifications for the future. Marvel is not missing a beat; the following series, The Logan Legacy, explores some of this in more detail.

However, before that all hits shelves, we have another three issues in this limited series to conclude. I am looking forward to the weekly installments. It's more than an excuse to visit my local comic book shop more often (they even had an event last night complete with a fake wake to "celebrate" the Death of Wolverine). As always, how did you find this book, did you like how this put together? Is it living up to the hype built up so far? Let me know you thoughts and leave a comment below. Be sure to come back next week for part two of the review for the Death of Wolverine.

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