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Mmmm, it's OK
on 10 November 2013
Thirty years on from purchasing multiple copies of the original four issues that comprise this 1982 Frank Miller/Chris Claremont mini-series, this solo Wolverine tale is a good attempt at delving into Marvel's 2nd most popular character but it ultimately falls short in establishing Logan-san as an archetypal hero in the same mold as Batman or Spider-Man.
The loss of a parent/guardian or parents, in the case of Batman, are the most powerful motivations in a hero's psyche. Spider-Man is driven by feelings of guilt and Batman driven by vengeance. Wolverine only has his amnesiac past , his berserker rages and his in-built Adamantium claws that can cut through almost anything to attract the attentions of readers.
In one scene in this story, Wolverine restores the loose pebbles in an ornamental garden back to a state of order, a metaphor for his own rage driven, chaotic temperament; it doesn't quite work. It tries to be a profound Lone Wolf & Cub moment but doesn't pull it off too convincingly.
Another weak point here is the villain, Lord Shingen. Despite Wolvie being drugged on their first encounter, this sadistic and surprisingly skilled fighter defeats Wolverine in both of their encounters, with Wolverine resolving the final stalemate in a none too noble manner.
Writer Chris Claremont returned to this plot line in the X-Men comic itself a little later, circa issues 170 -172.
There are positives, though - Frank Miller's pencil art (inked by Joe Rubinstein: not Miller's best inker. That'd be longtime Daredevil collaborator, Klaus Janson). The opening scene tracking the careless bear hunter is fantastic and er,, the original comic covers, especially #1, are all terrific!
If you're coming to this from seeing 2013's The Wolverine, this story and artwork will seem a little unusual but this is decent Wolverine fare. It's not brilliant, hence my 3*** rating, but it's good enough.