An all new Wolverine comic series launches today for the first time in six years!
Today I’ll answer:
+ Where’s Wolverine been in the Marvel Universe, and why hasn’t he had a comic series since 2014?
+ Where the new Wolverine series fits in the X-Men: Dawn of X!
+ Who are the villains of the new Wolverine ongoing?
Wolverine #1 is an over-sized, excellent (and $7.99) special with two full stories written by Ben Percy. The first, with art by Adam Kubert and colors by Frank Martin, is an extended continuation of the Dawn of X X-Force run Percy’s been writing as well.
The issue kicks off with an opening reminiscent of Old Man Logan, with X-Force teammates Jean Grey, Domino, and Quentin Quire apparently dead at the hands of a badly wounded, amnesiac but healing Wolverine.
Really since X-Force #1, Percy’s shown a clear desire to explore concepts of safety on Krakoa, and in the case of Wolverine, this character surrounded in generations of violence, the idea of ever letting go enough to truly be at peace.
Calling back to the imagery of Hickman/Larraz in House of X #1, there’s something remarkably sweet about Wolverine playing hide-and-seek with a bunch of young mutants, and only having his spot revealed by a teasing Jean Grey.
In the pages of Wolverine #1’s first story, black market Krakoan flowers are driving increases in religious cults around the world like the ‘Order of X.’
Percy’s shown an eye for exploring the impact of Krakoan drugs in X-Force, and Wolvy continues that trend with more conversation about pollen than you can shake an allergist at. As Jean Grey states later in the issue “They believe if they consume enough pollen, then Krakoa will bind with their DNA and make them… something more. Not quite human and note quite mutant. A hybrid life-form. A new species. They think the same is true of our blood.”
This all drives to an “X-Force” assemble moment, with Wolverine enlisting Sage’s aid to uncover an Order of X cult hideout, and bringing Jean, Domino, and Quentin (with Gateway’s chauffeuring aid) to explore the mistreatment of Krakoa’s pollen.
The mystery revolves around how we truly get from this point to Wolverine surrounding his teammates dead bodies in the snow, and running headfirst into the CIA operative we also see tracking the pollen trade throughout this storyline. More to come of course, and I’m excited to see how it all plays out, including the revelations of the mysterious “Pale Girl” behind it all. My first “Pale Girl” thought jumped to Miss Sinister (yes I just read “Dead Man Logan” why do you ask?), but that seems unlikely from the story ending slight reveal.
The second story by Percy and Viktor Bogdonavich plays in more familiar Wolverine comic territory, but still tackles several Krakoa questions, such as the policy of inviting truly every mutant onto the island regardless of their past deeds and inclinations towards serial killing.
The appearance of a bloody Omega Red – a longtime Wolverine nemesis, dating back to 1991’s X-Men #4 in comics history, but even further back into Wolverine’s back story – requesting amnesty sets Wolverine on edge, and leads to a confrontation with Magneto (who joyously tosses Wolverine through a Krakoan gate like a rag doll).
Wolverine and Magneto get into a pretty interesting debate about the dangers of a presence like Omega Red on Krakoa – remember back in House of X #5 it was Wolverine who expressed the most vocal objections to Apocalypse joining the island.
Magneto argues the dangers of deadly mutants are nullified by Krakoa’s resurrection protocols, and Wolverine counters with “immortality don’t erase trauma.”
This is a very compelling argument in theory, but it raises the question that has come up a few times now – How much would a mutant actually remember about their death? After all, Professor X’s backups occur weekly, not down to the second, so it’s actually very likely that the circumstances surrounding a mutant’s death would be unknown even to them. This comes up in the pages of X-Men #6, where Magneto, Professor X and Mystique can’t quite be certain Mystique’s goals were achieved prior to her death in House of X #4.
If that’s the case, isn’t Wolverine’s point kind of null and void?
Regardless, Omega Red’s presence and manipulations send Wolverine on a journey to Paris where he runs into a swelling Vampire Nation, who literally hang Wolverine upside down and stick a faucet in his neck like a Keg-arine.
As it’s ultimately revealed, the Vampire Nation seeks Wolverine’s “Endless” blood to feed their leader, Dracula, who is very much in league with Omega Red. Dracula gives Omega, real name Arkady, the carbonadium synthesizer he is literally always looking for – usually because Wolverine and Maverick are playing keepaway with it! – in exchange for his loyalty as a mole inside Krakoa.
Appropriately, there’s been a lot of theorizing about a mutant mole in the pages of X-Force and Omega Red could certainly fit the bill. It almost seems too easy, and perhaps misaligned with Dracula’s goals, but I do love the idea of Percy continuing to weave threads between Wolverine and X-Force.
Likewise, Wolverine and the X-Men have a long, entertaining history battling both Omega Red and Vampires, so I frankly love the inclusion here. There’s also been some compelling work with Dracula and the Vampire Nation in the pages of the Jason Aaron / Ed McGuiness run on Avengers that may be worth exploring any crossover as Wolverine continues. If for no other reason than to showcase the panel I keep on hand of Captain America carrying a giant cross and yelling “So come take a big bite! If you’ve got the stomach for it!” at a crowd of vampires.
I loved the heck out of Wolverine #1 more than even anticipated, and am thrilled to have this new series as part of the Dawn of X. Between this and the regular excellence of X-Force I’ve been really impressed by Percy’s contributions to the Dawn of X.