The 400-plus page trade paperbacks collecting Daniel Way’s epic Wolverine: Origins run comes to an end this month, which is fitting given Logan is back in the Marvel universe alive and well. This collection doesn’t mark the character’s death, but it does mark the last stories that revealed more about the character’s past than any other. This collection comes with an ending to a major player in Wolverine’s past named Romulus, which serves up the most satisfaction, but these three reasons are really why it’s worth a look.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Daniel Way’s revelation-filled run concludes, as Wolverine searches for the shadowy string-puller Romulus! Meanwhile, Wolverine’s son Daken is on the hunt for the deadly Muramasa Blade – and in his way stand the X-Men! Repeated setbacks lead Logan to a radical change in tactics, but his new plan needs the help of unlikely characters from all corners of the Marvel Universe. And some of them may not be so willing…including the Hulk! But one way or another, Romulus will be revealed -and Wolverine’s vengeance will finally come within reach. And with their final confrontation on the horizon, Wolverine reaches out to the most unpredictable ally of all…Daken! But now that his origins have been revealed, can Wolverine break free of the vicious cycle that has defined his hundred-year life?
Can I jump in easily?
It’s tricky business jumping in here without knowing who Romulus is, where Daken is at in this story, or what Logan has gone through up until this point. There are some flashbacks and some reflection to catch you up to speed, but this isn’t the best place to start. If all you know is that Romulus has been messing with Wolverine’s life for centuries and that he’s of the same species, you can probably make do. To help you catch up read our review of volume 2 and volume 3.
Reason 1: One last major revelation about Wolverine’s past.
This collection doesn’t house too many reveals which is one of the major reasons anybody read Wolverine: Origins, but it does have one big one. I don’t want to spoil it, but let’s just say Logan’s family has been very closely tied to major events in his life. This is due to the manipulation of Romulus to basically make Wolverine’s life a living Hell and to also direct him and control him indirectly. It’s a good reveal to start this book because it gives Wolverine a hell of a good reason to take out Romulus for good.
Reason 2: Daken is changed forever.
Daken is used quite a bit in this book and that includes teaming up with Wolverine, double-crossing him, and a major battle that changes Daken forever. Maybe not forever in comic book terms, but he’s changed in a major way. He’s currently attempting to kill his father after finding out he came back to life so this is a good place to read if you want to know why he hates him so much. Part of that reason falls on Romulus who has pitted Daken against Wolverine so as to determine who will replace him.
Reason 3: This has some great brawls against some major villains.
The art in this collection is downright fabulous at times, which allows the fight scenes to really sing. Doug Braithwaite draws many of the chapters, with Will Conrad, Scot Eaton, and Antonio Fuso chipping in too. The biggest fights involve Omega Red with more than a couple tussles in this book and Wolverine fighting Romulus too. Daken is another prize fighter who goes toe to toe with Logan with various other villains popping up like Silver Samurai and Ruby Thursday (who I did not know existed until reading this series). The fight scenes are well choreographed and help convey why Wolverine is a different sort of fighter. One example of this is some good captions that get inside Logan’s head and have him strategizing by using his shortness to win a fight. There are other fights in this book that are excellently rendered–like the X-Men taking on Daken–and overall the action does not disappoint.
Reasons to be wary?
The second half of this trade paperback drags quite a bit, as if Daniel Way had an ending, but needed to get to issue #50 to hit a milestone. The problem is Romulus is completely out in the open during this last half and yet is never killed or taken out even though Daken and Wolverine have plenty of chances. It’s as if they want his constant meddling to continue. It doesn’t help matters that Romulus comes off as some kind of Wolverine fanboy. We never get to see why he’s so powerful–or even good at strategy–and instead he’s mostly begging characters to tell him what Wolverine is going to do next. For a guy who has been a master at manipulating Wolverine’s entire life he sure does struggle in this final stretch to even know what is going on.
Romulus’ eventual defeat is also not very satisfying. In order to take Romulus out and give readers the ending they deserve, Way uses a variety of characters who serve more as fun cameos than helpful to the plot or story. Skaar, for instance, was the flavor of the month at the time and while he does act as a character who understands difficult father issues, that’s never explored very well. Instead he’s sort of just in the story long enough for Wolverine’s plan to play out. The eventual take down of Romulus is also rather ho-hum and doesn’t feel like a definitive end by any means. Clearly someone at Marvel didn’t want to put to bed this character for good and that makes the story suffer. There is a sense that Logan must come to grips with who he is, and thus not kill to solve his problems, but it’s still a limp way of ending things.
Is there a rationale to the reasons?
I liked portions of this book with some major fights taking place that are highly entertaining. Make no mistake, reading this book made me wish Wolverine was back in full force, and we won’t have to wait much longer. That said, pick this up to get some old school cool Logan back in your life.