After wandering around in various mini-series and X-Men titles it is finally time for Wolverine to return to his solo adventures. Benjamin Percy wasted no time getting things off to a hot start with Wolverine leading his X-Factor teammates against a new pollen drug . Now with the blood of those he holds most dear to him on his claws how will Wolverine react to all this? Let’s find out with Wolverine #2.
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colorist: Frank Martin
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere in the Pacific Ocean Bishop notices his Marauder teammates acting weird on their ship. As they all get on a boat with The Pale Girl, Bishop is attacked from behind by Storm, who sends Bishop into the water.
Bishop is then pulled further underwater by a zombified Kate Pryde.
Elsewhere Wolverine faces off against Sabertooth, Lady Deathstrike and Dr. Abraham Cornelius. Wolverine tears through them all. As Lady Deathstrike hangs on Wolverine’s claws she suddenly turns into Jean Grey. Wolverine is horrified as he sees that he killed all of his X-Factor teammates.
Wolverine suddenly wakes up in Krakoa’s Healing Garden. Healer reveals that killing X-Factor was all a dream. He goes on to say that CIA agent Jeff Bannister dropped him off at Krakoa’s gates.
Healer then reveals that others are having similar dream experiences. Wolverine sees Bishop is in one of the Healing Garden tables, showing the Marauders attack on Bishop was a dream.
Over in Baltimore Jeff Bannister is woken up by his daughter in a hospital that he has a call coming in for him. Jeff takes the call from one of the agents in his Pollen Task Force that one of the two members investigating a lead killed themselves while the other, Agent Bell, cooked the skin half off her face. As that Agent Bell is being loaded up into an ambulance Jeff is told all she keeps repeating is “A pale girl….”
Jeff isn’t sure what to do. Jeff’s daughter suggests he get the mutants to help since they have medicine that can heal them. Jeff promises to get the mutants help.
Over at Krakoa’s Hatchery Wolverine reflects on what he can remember and the things that are hazy. He then promises Cyclops he is going to make the people responsible for what happened to Jean pay. Cyclops walks away without saying a word.
Over at a shooting range Jeff tells his fellow agent he wants to fake the shut down of Pollen Task Force as he believes the Flower Cartel has an insider in the CIA and Krakoa. The agent shows Jeff video footage they got of the Pale Girl. Jeff wants the footage deleted. He goes on to say he wants no trail of what they are doing available.
Later, Jeff meets with Wolverine and talks while drinking some beers. After some talk of what they would do if they found a mole in their respective groups Jeff reveals the scar on his face came from being caught in the crossfire of a mutant showdown. He then blames the mutants for the current crisis with the Pollen. With that said, Jeff says they have to work together on this case. Wolverine agrees.
Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, Wolverine and Jeff are tracking a shipment full of petals through terrible weather. Jeff’s partner calls him to the inside of the boat to look at something. When Jeff does that Wolverine suddenly stabs him.
Jeff’s partner suddenly transforms into the Pale Girl. Wolverine, whose eyes are glowing read, takes over command. Wolverine drives the ship forward with an evil smirk on his face and the Pale Girl right behind him. End of issue.
The Good: Wolverine #2 wastes no time continuing the main plot of this series’ first story arc. That is what is most appreciated about this. From the opening to the end, the issue moves with a purpose of getting over the urgency of this mission Wolverine and others are on.
One of the most important things that Wolverine #2 establishes Logan back on the path of doing things on his own. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Logan acting on his own as Wolverine. He has been in a team setting much longer with the X-Men that it has become his place of comfort more than he realizes. But with this latest Pollen crisis we are Benjamin Percy is quickly reminding Logan that there are missions he has to take on alone.
Using his X-Factor teammates to propel him towards working solo again was a good choice. With each of these particular members he shares a unique connection that is not the same. With Jean, we all know the history with her. But then there are characters like Quentin Quire that Logan has had a direct hand in teaching from their days in Wolverine and the X-Men. Those connections made how Logan reflected on Jean and his X-Factor’s teammates dying even more powerful. It gave weight to how even though the X-Men can now be brought back to life the impact of their death is still felt by those that survive.
Making an exclamation point on that particular scene was Cyclops presences. Cyclops not saying a thing as Wolverine promised to avenge his Jean spoke volumes to where both characters are. It was also a good way to show that while impacted by Jean going through the resurrection process he didn’t just tear into Logan. As the Captain Commander, Cyclops understood Wolverine was already beating himself up over what happened. There was no need to say anything in that moment, like was normal for them in the past.
That set things up well to get Wolverine back to being a solo character once again. As we see in his bonding experience with CIA agent Jeff Bannister, Wolverine is getting back to his “best there is at what I do” mentality. He is back to being someone of few words. This is appropriate to not only set up the stakes for this story arc but also set the foundation for Wolverine’s new solo series.
The Pollen crisis that the Flower Cartel has caused has also been well developed as one that not only threatens mutants but the entire world. The Flower Cartel continues to come across as a completely unique threat compared to what the X-Men have faced in the past. We see that in Wolverine #2 as the effects of Pollen caused two CIA agents to severely injure themselves. Seeing Agent Bell’s horrific injuries worked well into how stomach churning the effects of Pollen are.
Through all this Percy does a solid job developing Agent Jeff Bannister’s character. Percy fleshes out Jeff Bannister’s to be someone who is basing his antagonism for mutants on past experiences. At the same time, Jeff Bannister is not letting that experience cloud what is best to take down the Flower Cartel. As his daughter told him, Jeff understood that secretly teaming with Wolverine was for the best of the world.
That development for Jeff Bannister’s character made the moment when Wolverine stabbed him in the heart have greater impact. That closing moment put over how the Pale Girl is such an unknown part of the Flower Cartel’s plot. The mysterious powers this character has as she seems to be able to manipulate others to do whatever she wants makes her incredibly dangerous.
Adam Kubert once again delivers his high quality artwork in Wolverine #2. Kubert is at home drawing Wolverine. He gets over the rough, gruff persona of Wolverine as Logan begins striking out on his own. The artwork also gets over how big this crisis involving the Pollen is with how he drew the injuries to the CIA agents. It was a brutal visual that hit the right note to get the reader to understand why Pollen is such a big threat Wolverine and the CIA need to stop.
The Bad: Nothing
Overall: Benjamin Percy and Adam Kubert deliver a strong follow up to the debut issue with Wolverine #2. The mystery around the Flower Cartel’s Pollen deepens and pushes Wolverine to go back to working solo to defeat this threat to the entire world. The way things are developed, especially with the mysterious lead villain, provide a lot of intrigue as to where Percy and Kubert will go with this story next.
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