Wolverine wakes up in the wreckage of a plane floating in the sea with no memory of who he is. After being saved, he begins the investigation into what caused the plane crash and why.
I don't know who Jason Starr is but he's basically just ripping off the Bourne Identity with his book Wolverine MAX: Permanent Rage. Besides the Logan floating in water with no memory scene, there's a scene where he discovers a safe full of passports and false identities! Why does Logan need so many different identities? Because he's some kind of hitman for Sabretooth which is nonsense. Also, most of this book is set in the present day and you'd think Wolverine by now would be pretty famous to the general public, even in Japan. He's an X-Man, an Avenger, he's the headmaster of the Westchester school, yet despite having his picture plastered across 24 hour rolling news, nobody tells him he's Wolverine, and not one of his many supe buddies comes to tell him that either!
If you don't already know, any Marvel book with MAX in the title means that you can expect to see swear words, bewbs, excessive blood from fighting and basically all the grown-up stuff that gets censored out of the main Marvel comics. Starr gets mileage out of Wolverine swearing by having him repeat the f word over and over for the first few pages, and then having a scene in a strip club for no reason other than to show some topless strippers. None of this stuff enhances the book in any way or has any relevancy to the plot, it's just put there because they can do this in MAX books. Blood in a Wolverine title is appropriate given his claws and violence and I suppose the downed plane wouldn't feature in mainstream Marvel stuff, but generally it feels like a lot of stuff in here is excessive.
Starr's writing is truly uninspired. His zig-zag plot has Wolverine trying to first figure out how his plane went down then switches to Wolverine trying to find a sword, neither of which are particularly interesting to read about. It's a Wolverine book so Mariko and Sabretooth both get shoe-horned into the script. Mariko does what she always does and makes Logan fall in love with her while Sabretooth does what he always does and shows Logan his own limits on what he'll do. In other words, nothing we haven't seen in numerous other Wolverine stories, and an utterly snooze-inducing read. Plus the whole plane crash story is garbage - I won't say what the resolution is but it's just garbage.
The writing and story may be pitiful, but by far the worst thing about the book is the art. Somewhere like 6 or 7 artists worked on this book, the varied art styles chopping and changing for no reason at all. After a few pages, we switch to an artist seemingly channelling R. Crumb because we suddenly get cartoony Logan with massive Hulk-like hands! And the character designs are the worst - the Yakuza boss literally looks like the Gangnam style dude. He's supposed to be menacing but I couldn't take him seriously, I kept waiting for him to start hopping up and down, twirling an invisible lasso!
Sabretooth's character design is just plain baffling. When we first meet Victor Creed aka Sabretooth he looks exactly like Sam Elliott, then the second time we see him he looks like Owen Wilson, and the third time he looks like classic Sabretooth - what the hell is going on!? Having multiple artists drawing him doesn't help either, but the way his appearance kept changing was nuts.
The only art that was any good were Jock's covers and is the only positive thing I can say about this book. Everything else about it is a disaster - the writing is dull, the story is completely boring, and the art is messy at best. Permanent Rage would be a good description of how I felt when reading it but it didn't really produce that strong an emotion in me - Permanent Disinterest would be more accurate.
This storyline runs through issues #1-5 of Wolverine Max. I can’t tell whether this is the ‘real’ Wolverine or whether this is an alternate reality, as with the recent Punisher Max series. This Wolverine wakes up in the middle of a passenger plane crash in the ocean near Japan, remembering nothing, just in time to see a shark kill a fellow survivor. He gets flashbacks to his earlier life in a feudal Japan, where he first meets Victor Creed. He goes on the run from the hospital – once his missing legs have grown back – following clues to his identity, as he tries to work out what he was doing on the plane, coupled with a parallel story running through the flashbacks as her remembers his earlier life in Japan. Creed pops up in both stories, as they gradually close in on each other to reveal what has been going on, and give Wolvie his memory back, or most of it anyway. I still don’t know if this is a story of Wolverine before the X-Men, or in another universe; I can’t tell from the look of the ‘modern’ story just how modern it is. However, there is plenty of graphic violence, along with some nudity and sex, just to show that it is a Max series. It is a good enough story, even without knowing the exact setting, though Wolverine fans will probably be able to judge its placement better than I.