Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wolverine: Origin (2009)

Authors: Paul Jenkins / Bill Jemas / Joe Quesada | Illustrator: Andy Kubert | Page Count: 200

There's cruelty in his eyes now, make no mistake. When I catch him looking up at my window, it frightens me.

I've already reviewed the story in which Wolverine got his adamantium skeleton (Weapon X (2009)), but this one takes place before that. Like the title says, it's the character's origin story, not his transformation story. It lifts the veil from his past by following him from childhood, through adolescence and into maturity.

I was hesitant about reading it because the mystery of the character was a large part of his allure. Filling in the blanks was a bold move by Marvel, one that could've sent ripples of derision and disappointment through the fanbase, but, in my opinion, it paid off. The book is by far one of the best that the House of (regurgitated) ideas ever commissioned; at least, of the ones I've read.

Part of the reason it stands head and shoulders above many of the others is because it dares to break free from the typical comic book format. It draws from other sources, primarily classic women's literature. It's Wolvie’s story but it unfolds through the eyes of a young girl, who is herself moving from adolescence into maturity. As she sits atop a symbolic hill, her diary entries record her thoughts; they strip Wolverine metaphorically naked, enabling the reader to forget the assumptions and biases formed by his chronologically subsequent exploits. Her observations show him instead as a troubled youth being shaped by a world of divided social class; a world that isn't a happy one for either of them.

The art was coloured straight from Andy Kubert's pencils by Richard Isanove, leaving out the inker completely. The rich candlelit oranges and earthy browns, contrasted by the dark bluish nights and the cold grey of winter give the book an organic, less rigid appearance that's incredibly complementary to the historical setting. The volume of textless panels vs exposition is perfect and lets the story's strengths rise to the surface early on.

The book collects together Wolverine: Origin, issues 1–6.

5 fearful symmetries out of 5

1 comment:

Neg said...

I might have to track this down. I adore bone claws. Believing he was just a wild-haired youth with accelerated healing was just very unfulfilling for me and I squeed so hard when they were introduced in #75.