The Comic You Should Be Reading This Week: 'Wolverine' #1

Before we begin, we can’t highly recommend Batman And Robin #18 nearly enough, but we also heaped a bunch of praise on that book yesterday, so this week we turn to Marvel’s favorite publicity machine.

This book opens with Wolverine, half his body turned to plasma, lying on a pile of bones, telling a child “It’s OK. I’m a superhero.”

Things proceed to get worse from there.

Paul Cornell is probably best known for his recent work on DC books like Demon Knights and Saucer Country, and he was an interesting choice for Marvel to put in charge of arguably one of their most marketable characters.

Cornell doesn’t screw around, either. The book opens with a man, the father of the child we’d previously mentioned, has taken hostages with an energy gun that turns flesh to dust. And he’s not shy about using it.

What makes the book gripping right off the bat is the vivid stakes Cornell lays out. People are being killed, a child is at risk, and while Wolverine can’t be killed, it’s obvious he feels every death he fails to stop.

That’s really what’s important here. Cornell’s characterization of Wolverine isn’t some swaggering tool, or meatheaded stabbing machine: At no point does he utter something about being the best he is at what he does. Wolverine is genuinely empathetic here, giving the book weight.

Oh, and before you ask, yes, there’s plenty of action.

Alan Davis is key to this. What really sells certain moments of the book is the fact that Davis, working in the industry since the ’80s, can easily handle an action scene, but more important are his faces. Take this crop from the opening panel:

More intense are the faces he uses for the hostage-taking antagonist, not a sneering villain but a bored man, playing a role he finds tiresome. Not that Davis doesn’t have fun elsewhere, like hitting Wolvie with a car.

Davis is always a joy to see in action, and he and Cornell start this book off with a bang. We can’t wait to see issue #2, and while we’re at it, we recommend reading Cornell’s author commentary when you give the book a second read-through.

What about you? What was the book you think everyone should be reading this week.