Comic Book Review: Wolverine: Origins #5

The Revolution just has not been able to get into Wolverine: Origins. I like Wolverine and have a complete run of his title as well as all of his mini-series done before he got his solo title. So, the complete-ist in me is struggling with the common sense side of me. The complete-ist is telling me that I have to buy every Wolverine comic book in order to have a complete run of all of his titles. However, the common sense side of me is telling me that I shouldn’t waste my money on a comic that I find to be very below average. While this internal war rages one, let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Daniel Way
Artist: Steve Dillon

Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue starts with Wolverine brawling with Hellion, Cyclops, White Witch and Captain America. White Witch uses her psychic powers to end the fight. Emma then tells Wolverine that “they” are now using his son like “they” used Wolverine. Evidently Wolverine’s son with Mariko lives. That the child was taken from Mariko’s womb after she was killed. “They” figured that Wolverine’s healing factor would enable the child to survive. (Oh man. This is what I was worried about. Wolverine now has a son. Great.) Emma doesn’t know where Wolverine’s son is located. She only knows that he has no mind or any thoughts of his own. He is just a weapon.

We then flash back to Wolverine’s past where he was just a weapon with no thoughts of his own. Wolverine then thinks about one of his old wives, Silver Fox. She was a Blackfoot Native American that Wolverine married. One day he left their house and when he came back he found that Sabertooth had killed her. Sabertooth whups Wolverine’s butt. Sabertooth then tells Wolverine that the townspeople are scared of Wolverine and wanted him out of their town. So, they hired Sabertooth to get rid of the one thing that was keeping Wolverine in their town: his wife. Sabertooth leaves a defeated Wolverine in a deep hole outside of town. When Wolverine finally claws his way out of the pit, he sees that Sabertooth was gone, but he left behind an axe. Wolverine takes the axe and uses it to murder all of the townspeople. (Ooookay. Way continues to unimpress me.)

We then cut back to present time with Wolverine. Wolverine blah blahs about how “they” are using his son like they used me. And that when he gets close to “them” then “they” will use his son against him. “They” will force him to kill his own son. Wolverine thinks how he is nothing but an animal and that he cannot be trusted. Wolverine then gives Cyclops the Muramasa blade. Logan tells Cyclops that this blade is the only thing in that world that can put him down for good. (Whaaaat? Wolverine is now so powerful that this sword is the ONLY thing that can kill him from good? Jeez, even Superman has a more weapons that can be used against him to kill him.) Wolverine tells Cyclops that he is giving him the Muramasa blade, because he knows that when the time comes, Cyclops won’t hesitate to use it. Wolverine continues that he refuses to be forced to use the Muramasa blade against his son. That “they” are probably going to take him down and brainwash him again. That he is counting on Cyclops to make sure he doesn’t live like that anymore.

White Witch then tells Wolverine that his son hates Wolverine more than anyone on the planet. Logan responds that “That makes two of us.” End of issue.

The Good: Let’s see, the Revolutions rule of always saying at least one thing positive about each issue means I have to find something I enjoyed about this issue. Well, Way certainly dropped the bomb on the reader by revealing that Logan and Mariko’s son is still alive. I don’t know is that is good or bad, but it certainly was a major plotline and a large retcon to Wolverine’s history. This certainly wasn’t a boring issue where nothing happened.

I thought it was a cool touch that even with Cyclops, White Witch and Hellion on the scene, Captain America was still the unquestioned leader who was calling the shots in their conflict with Wolverine.

I thought the pacing was fine. This issue moved along well and was nicely constructed. Way laid the foundation for a new plotline involving his son. This issue had a good flow and nicely shifted back and forth from the present time and the past.

The Bad: I will freely admit up front that I simply have never been impressed by Daniel Way’s writing. I have never thought of him as anything more than a poor man’s Garth Ennis. He emulates Ennis’ hardcore and ultra-violent style of writing, but without any of Ennis’ talent.

Way’s dialogue was weak. His dialogue has a generic feel to it. With the exception of Hellion, all the male characters talked in the same “tough guy” voice. Hellion’s dialogue had its own problems. Does Way do any research at all before he uses a character? He comes across as a 15 year old dweeb. Honestly, the line by Hellion, “J-Jeez, Mr. Summers” was just terrible. Overall, the dialogue just wasn’t that interesting. It was more of a contest of who could talk tougher than the other person.

I’m not a fan of Way’s Wolverine. Basically, Way has made Wolverine a parody of himself. He is so unbelievably amoral, hardcore and violent. It makes his seem more of a caricature than an actual interesting character. Plus, anything that was original or interesting about Logan’s personality is lost on Way. Logan does actually have a sense of right and wrong. Logan does have his own set of morals. Logan does actually have a pretty sly sense of humor.

Wolverine has always struggled against the animal inside of him. But, Wolverine isn’t an animal. He is a man. Yes, he has lost that fight against the animal inside of him, but Wolverine, the man always wins out in the end. Way ignores Wolverine the man and only focuses on the psychotic Wolverine. And in doing so, Way turns Wolverine into a very one-dimensional and shallow character.

I’m not really thrilled about the retcon involving Wolverine’s son. Now we learn that after Mariko was killed, Wolverine’s son was ripped from her womb and taken by Wolverine’s enemies. I guess having his wife killed wasn’t “hard-core” enough. Way felt that adding in having his unborn son ripped from the womb and raised as a killer to be used against Wolverine was a great idea. I can’t say that I agree.

I also don’t think that the idea of Wolverine having a son who is a mindless killer is really something that the Marvel Universe really needed. I think we have more than enough mindless killers running around the Marvel Universe. Plus, I don’t think Wolverine, Jr. is a character I ever really want to read about.

That leads me to my other issue with Way’s writing on this title. Way feels that he has to have at least one “shocking” scene in every issue that he writes. This issues “shocking” scene was Logan taking the axe and chopping up the townspeople who hired Sabertooth to kill his wife. This is a perfect example of overkill. Way’s obsession with having to “shock” the reader leads to the reader being totally desensitized to anything considered “shocking.” These ultra violent scenes have an extremely reduced impact on the reader. It becomes so over the top that the entire issue reads like it is a parody of the ultra-violent type of super hero.

When I read the scene with Wolverine chopping up the townspeople with the axe, I actually busted out laughing. I thought it was hilarious. And that is my point. I don’t think that is the reaction that Way wants to elicit from the reader. But, that is what he gets from me because his writing style is so heavy handed that it is coming off as a total joke rather than something serious. Less is more. That is why a Hitchcock movie that has almost no gore or violence is vastly more frightening than any modern violent filled movie being made currently.

Then you have the overly dramatic scene with Wolverine giving Cyclops the Muramasa blade and telling him to use it to take out Wolverine if he gets brainwashed by the bad guys. Again, everything has to be to the extreme with Way. Plus, now we learn that the Muramasa blade is the ONLY thing that can put down Wolverine for good? Combine that with the fact that Wolverine regenerated from nothing more than a skeleton after Nitro’s nuclear blast and now Logan is practically invincible. I dig that Wolverine is a tough guy to put down. And I like that he can heal from some massive wounds. But, now Wolverine is unstoppable unless you happen to be sporting the Muramasa Blade. Great.

Personally, I am not a fan of Dillon’s style of art. I think it is too static and boring. Having said that, Dillon’s style works on titles like Punisher, Preacher or Hellblazer. But, I definitely don’t think Dillon’s style is dynamic or interesting enough for a mainstream super hero title like Wolverine. Plus, I think Dillon is the first artist who has actually been able to make super hottie White Witch look ugly. That is tough to do, but he manages to do it. I still don’t like Dillon’s Wolverine. It is one of the least interesting versions of Wolverine.

Overall: Wolverine #5 was another below average issue. So far, I’m still waiting for an issue that I have genuinely liked on this title. I still don’t know what I am going to do will my common sense side finally prevail and have me no waste money on a title I just am not impressed with at all. We shall see. Does anyone else out there collect a title that they no longer really enjoy, but they have an attachment to the character or don’t want to ruin a complete run?

If you enjoy Way’s writing and Dillon’s artwork and you like Wolverine then this is definitely a title that you will love.