Copyright Marvel Comics

WRITTEN BY: Jason Starr
ART BY: Roland Boschi, Connor Willumsen
COLORS BY: Dan Brown
LETTERS BY: VC – Cory Petit
COVER BY: Jock
PUBLISHER: Marvel Comics

Die-hard fans of Wolverine have been waiting for this book for a long time. Marvel’s MAX series of comics has already seen reinventions and alternative histories and back-stories for characters such as Punisher and Deadpool. The MAX comics are aimed at a more adult audience and the creators can play around with the characters in a way they wouldn’t be able to if they were writing stories in the main Marvel Universe.

I’m a big fan of the character and was really looking forward to seeing what would happen to Wolverine in the MAX universe. The other thing that drew me to this title when it was announced is the writer Jason Starr. I’ve enjoyed reading Starr’s crime fiction titles and also his work on the Vertigo graphic novel The Chill. Starr’s move from prose fiction to comic books has been really interesting to watch – together with The Chill and his work on Punisher MAX his writing translates really well into comics.

Starr’s early crime fiction is noir-tinged and hard-boiled. And given his most recent books have been supernatural thrillers focusing on urban werewolves, it seems that Starr is perfectly placed to take on the character of old man Logan.

Given Wolverine’s violent characteristics and the often extreme storylines he has featured in you would be forgiven for wondering what Starr could possibly bring to the character that hasn’t already been done.

Is this just going to be a typical Wolverine story with a lot of swearing?

After reading issue #1 of this series the answer is no. Well okay, Logan does say f**k in this comic. A lot. But it’s much more than Wolverine with swearing.

The opening sequence of this first issue is suitably bombastic. Wolverine is stranded in the middle of an ocean, the only survivor of a plane crash. He has lost both his legs but still manages to slice a shark in half. This happens within the first five pages.

Wolverine Max #1 interior page – Copyright Marvel Comics

It appears that Wolverine has lost his memory and believes that his name is John Grant. He tells the investigators that he doesn’t remember anything. He is confused and alone.

His legs grow back while he is in hospital in Tokyo and his survival instincts kick in. He escapes from the hospital and soon goes from miracle survivor to terrorism suspect. He tries to hide away in a hotel but is sold out by one of the hotel staff. The final page shows a more than a dozen armed police officers outside his hotel door, ready to strike.

The art duties in this issue are shared between Roland Boschi and Connor Willumsen. When comic books are illustrated by two different artists, especially ones with such differing styles, it can sometimes be jarring and take away from the flow of the story. In the case of Wolverine MAX #1 it really works. Boschi, who worked on Brian Wood’s Wolverine and the X-Men: Alpha & Omega, takes control of the present day action, and he brings a dynamic, clean style to the action sequences and his night scenes in Tokyo look fantastic. Willumsen’s sequences take the reader back in to Logan’s memories, showing him through different historical eras, his violent ways revealed to be ingrained for centuries.

Willumsen’s sequences also introduce Wolverine’s ‘soul mate’, who introduces himself as Victor. In a recent interview with CBR Starr revealed that Sabretooth will play an important part in this series, and the way he introduces himself here I think it will be interesting to see how Starr deals with their relationship.

As first issues go Starr has delivered a solid introduction with plenty of action and intrigue, great pacing and cracking dialogue. The art compliments Starr’s writing perfectly and the issue as a whole is a success. I’m definitely along for the ride.

Published by Mark Brassington

Father and Husband. Works in Corporate Banking. Loves Books, Comics, Cycling, Music, Games, going to the Gym and Writing.

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9 Comments

  1. I agree we’ve seen this story before, but that I can accept, after all as you said it;s hard to come up with an original plot for this overused character. But what I cant really dig is the art on this. Both artists have different styles but none is good… there are several panels I cant figure out what is going on. And Willumsen’s squiggly lines just go beyond of being “original” or having a personal style. I’m a bit dissapointed about this issue but specially about the art. I will get #2 just to see what happens…

    1. Fair comment. I know the art, Willumsen’s in particular, is not going to be to everyone’s taste. I must admit I wasn’t sure about it at first but I think it worked really well and it’s good to see more varied art styles in mainstream comics.

    1. Well that’s an interesting question Faheem. Wolverine is arguably the most popular of the X-Men though he’s also seen as an outsider within the group. My history knowledge of X-Men is limited I’m afraid. I imagine Marvel maniac Mark would know more! All I know is that Wolverine is a great character and one of my favourites.

  2. No doubt it’s Wolverine. At least with the more mature fans, the kids might pick Spidey.

  3. I read this book yesterday and I even put it on the Watchlist (although maybe I should have done as Idolized got pushed back a week). Anyway I was really looking forward to it and its a book with a lot of potential but the thing that ruined the book for me was the awful dream sequences, the art work was so bad. I hope they move away from these. I will carry on with it as I missed Punishers turn as a Max title so I don’t want to look back and see issue 70 on the racks and everyone saying I told you so.

    1. It’s really interesting that Willumsen’s art is so divisive. I knew that people would have a strong opinion on it. I wasn’t sure about it at first and I think it was because it’s so different to typical mainstream superhero art. But that’s essentially why I like it. I guess it’s a bit like Marmite!

      1. Willumsen’s art is unique indeed, but it doesnt make it good. Just like an underground band, some are waiting to being discovered and some are just plain bad.

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