Wolverine has always been one of Comic’s most interesting characters. Chris Claremont and Frank Miller: some of it’s most interesting creators.
Surely this is a match made in heaven?
That’s what I’m here to find out!
Whilst this story has a stellar reputation it’s been clear from my other read-throughs that a lot of the earlier Marvel work has become dated by today’s standards. Anxious as always I’m desperate to find out if time has been kind to one of my favourite characters or if this is one thing that even his healing factor can’t save.
As with all my reviews, there will be spoilers so it may be worth skipping to the score if you want to remain unspoiled.
With that out the way, let’s dive into Wolverine by Claremont and Miller!
‘I’m the best there is at what I do’
We join Logan, The Wolverine, as he travels to Japan in search of his long-lost love: Mariko. Finding her now married and beaten by her husband, our protagonist is rightfully enraged. Seeking to end his soulmates unlawful wedding, the man previously known as Weapon X tears through the country on a quest for revenge.
Awash with Japanese iconography and the theme of honour and duty, it’s clear that the creative team wanted to make this as authentic and close to Japanese culture as possible. It’s an inspired choice and throughout the book, the setting has just as much impact on the reader as the characters do.
Wolverine is truly at home here (even if the villains don’t want to make him feel welcome) and from the off I was hooked not only by the aesthetic but by the story of the Ronin that Wolverine is clearly a metaphor for.
Not long after meeting Mariko, Logan is introduced to the villain of the piece, her father: Lord Shingen. Besting him in combat, Shingen humiliates Logan in front of Mariko and showcases that he is merely an animal this is not worthy of her hand. It’s a neat touch that elevates the antagonist above the typical ‘I want to destroy the world’ villain that is prevalent throughout comic books.
Because this is such a personal story it is a smart move to have our hero unable to get the one thing in the world that he truly wants and his defeat at the hands of Shingen feels like a real kick below the belt that destroys the character on a psychological level.
This makes his quest ever more endearing and I was besotted by the character arc that he goes on throughout the graphic novel.
After meeting the strange Yukio, Logan gains an ally in the battle. Things aren’t quite what they seem and the storyline does possess a few twists and turns that I won’t spoil here. Whilst they aren’t mind-blowing and are rather predictable in their outcome they still add layers to the violence that surrounds them and it helps to keep the revenge story from being completely by the book.
She adds a nice love triangle to the story and I can see many readers siding with her over the more typical damsel in distress portrayal by Mariko.
‘Shingen spent years building his organization
I spend hours rippin’ it apart’
The final chapter is packed with action from the off and it’s definitely a satisfying climax. I loved watching Wolverine get his claws into things and it feels like a fitting finale. This is definitely some of Miller’s best work and as an artist, he really sets a bar for himself here that his later work would struggle to live up to.
Overall it’s a great end to a brilliant story in the history of Weapon X.
Wolverine is great. I’m pleased to say that this book stands the test of time and it’s a keynote story in the characters rich history. Balancing the human and animal side of the hero brilliantly, it feels like the quintessential story for the man and showcases some of Claremont and Miller’s best work.
Whilst it could do with being slightly longer and having a slightly less predictable plot it still works beautifully on a lot of levels and that’s why it gets a…