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Wolverine: Origin

August 26, 2008

Last year, at the national Luxembourgish comic festival, I bought Wolverine: Origin by Bill Jemas, Joe Quesada and Paul Jenkins. The illustrations were made by Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove.

There were six issues and the book I bought had all six combined. The issues were published between November 2001 and March 2002. The sixth issue event took the second place in sales of January 2002, pre-ordered 166,997 times. After a big hole in the Marvel budget, the company really needed a story people were waiting for: the story of Wolverine, one of the most popular mutants of the X-Men universe and comic character in general. Some people might just acknowledge the movie version of the Adamantine skeleton, but fans of the original comic series wanted more, another answer to Wolverine’s background.

The story takes place on a noble property with a giant mansion, approximately around the late 19th century. Three generations of gentlemen, the Howletts, lived there. The youngest, Master James, meets his new companion, Rose, at the beginning of the book. The 12-year old girl gets sent to the house to keep Master James company, who suffers a lot from allergies. She learns at her arrival, that the house is a sad place to live in. A tragedy has torn the family apart. Master John’s wife, James’ mother, returned from a mental institute and since then she has been locked away in her room, most of the time. We get to meet the family and see the whole story through Rose’s eyes. She starts to like Master John, the man of the house. But his father is an old and rude man. She also meets “Dog”, the boy of a farmer named Logan, who often has bruises and whose father drinks a lot. The whole story seems like a simple cliché, but it does take some interesting turns. And in the end you do understand why Wolverine turned out the way he did…

The illustrations by Kubert (pencils) and Isanove (colors) are very powerful and dynamic, though dark at times, when they need to be. The art varies from very detailed in close-up views to very vague in wider images. This is one of the first works to feature Kubert’s “enhanced pencils” technique, which later on also uses in Marvel 1602 (review here).

Story                  8

Art                      8

Reread Value     6

Overall rating    7.5/10


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