So, here’s the thing: I’m generally pretty open about my distaste for the X-Men. What I generally don’t let on to my comic-loving chums is that I find Wolverine to be one of the worst of the lot. I’m still not sure exactly what it is about Wolverine that I don’t like – though I must confess that I really enjoyed Wolverine: Origin and Origin 2 for the sheer tragedy of Logan’s early years. I suspect the root cause of my dislike for the clawed Canadian lies in his frankly annoying and overdone “grumpy anti-hero with a heart of gold” persona. It’s easy for Marvelphiles to argue that Batman is similar in that regard – and we all know how I feel about Batman – but I feel that at least ol’ Batsy has a particularly interesting rogues gallery to offset his grumpiness. But I digress – this is going to be a Marvel-centric Pulp, dammit!
With all that in mind, it probably seems unusual that I picked up Wolverine: Hunting Season, the first trade of Paul Cornell’s (Captain Britain, MI13) Marvel NOW! run. My reasoning? Well, it quite literally came down to “it’s there and I need something new to read”. Given that Wolverine is one of Marvel’s more iconic characters – known for his superb pouty face and penchant for violence – I hoped that Cornell was allowed to let him off the leash a bit and craft a story that was both violent and entertaining. What followed, however, was a frankly rather strange story centred around the Microverse.
The story opens with Wolverine finding himself smack bang in the middle of a hostage situation with a killer who seemingly has no regard for human life, no exit strategy and a gun that disintegrates people. Wolverine does what he does best and saves the hostage-takers’ distraught son, only for the boy to go on a rampage with the weapon. The boy’s strange behaviour begins to spread, and it soon becomes evident that New York is under biological attack – and not even S.H.I.E.L.D. is safe. With Nick Fury, Jr. in tow, Wolverine has to solve the mystery without taking innocent lives.
While it does a great job of setting up the basis for the current ‘Death of Wolverine’ arc, the story seems a little generic; you could swap out Wolverine for any of Marvel’s “dark” characters (e.g. Black Widow, Punisher, Winter Solider) and still maintain the story with next to no problems. That said, there are a few moments that really stood out: Alan Davis’ opening page with Wolverine regenerating from disintegration makes for an excellent opening and a scene where Wolverine faces drowning actually brings some real danger to a story featuring an otherwise almost invincible hero.
All in all, it’s not a bad story. Cornell proves that he can write well when he wants to, but the overarching Microverse plot leaves a bit to be desired. Perhaps I’m not the intended audience – I will openly admit that I wouldn’t normally pick up a Wolverine book – but the story arc doesn’t excite me like a number of other Marvel series. One for Wolverine fans!
By Alastair McGibbon