This issue is the true beginning of the end for Wolverine. With only one issue left in the series, and then the ‘Death of Wolverine’ mini-series to follow right on its heels, things are starting to really get final for the feral mutant.
As Steve McNiven and Laura Martin’s beautiful covers have been counting us down, this one shows all three claws blown apart, leaving only a bloodied fist and shards of adamantium. Very powerful imagery for kind of a weak book. Paul Cornell has been doing what I am sure is his best to craft this final adventure for Wolverine, but it doesn’t really do a lot for me as a reader. The big bad is Sabertooth, and he has Mystique by his side, but they both seem to be just going through the motions. I mean, at one point, Sabertooth runs off to secure his plans because he thinks Wolverine came alone to face him, just like ‘he knew he would’. These two have been doing this dance for a long, long time, and each has grown and become better at it. This seems like a step back, almost a lazy play on Sabertooth’s part. This is the same guy that would show up on Wolverine’s birthday every year to just beat him senseless, finding new and inventive ways to do it.
Sabetooth’s plan is to keep Wolverine’s new teammates hostage, and to use the reality-altering device to create a world that thrives on survival of the fittest. That can definetly reside in Sabertooth’s wheelhouse, but it seems more of an Apocalypse idea, or possibly a Stryfe or Mr. Sinister type plot. Sabertooth is usually more of a slash and grab kinda guy, and this almost seems like he is slightly out of his depth. Wolverine does his best to infiltrate the lair and save the innocents, but is faced again with his own mortality and his inability to really be the best at what he does. He seems castrated, which is totally the story beat the writer is going for, but it is depressing knowing this is the swan song of such a great character.
The issue ends with Wolverine ending up in a mall, with many innocent lives all around in immediate danger from The Hand ninjas and from Sabertooth’s diabolical plan. For the lead in to the very last issue in the series it really falls flat as a “I can’t wait for the next issue” kind of cliffhanger. But hopefully, everything is just leading up to the ‘Death of Wolverine’ mini-series and the character will be able to achieve some redemption before his ultimate demise.
The “Best There Is”:
The art, done by Pete Woods and David Curiel, is the saving grace of this book. The colors really pop off the page, and the way Pete Woods can bring the action from panel to panel is excellent. The character designs down to the backgrounds are well thought out, and the two make a great team to portray Wolverine in a good light.
The “Isn’t Very Nice”:
I, for one, am just tired of this character. I love Wolverine like an old friend but I can’t bear to see him limp though the end of his life like this. I welcome the last issue and the finality it brings, and look forward to the death of this once great character. Also, I am really annoyed by Wolverine’s new ‘teammates’, and glad that I won’t be seeing them for much longer. Every time the character named Lost Boy uses his powers and says ‘Boom’, I die a little inside.
CBH Score: 2.5 out of 5. Bring on the final curtain.