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Wolverine stands on a battlefield, claws out and snarling. A butterfly is perched on his right fist, on the cover of Wolverine #1, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Adam Kubert/Marvel Comics

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Wolverine #1 puts two claws forward, one claw back

Percy and Kubert’s kickoff is a good start, but could be better

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The X-Men have never been the same, and you might wonder if there’s even a place for the snarling animal inside Logan in the current Krakoan utopia. That’s the question that Benjamin Percy and Andy Kubert plan to answer with their new Wolverine series, which kicks off today with Wolverine #1.

Who’s working on Wolverine?

Writer Benjamin Percy and artist Adam Kubert are a great team for a Wolverine book. Percy is a novelist and comics writer whose first project for Marvel was writing the Wolverine: The Long Night podcast, and he joined the X-books formally with the first wave of Dawn of X titles, writing X-Force. And this doesn’t really have bearing on his writing, but the man’s natural speaking voice sounds like someone auditioning for the role of Sabretooth.

Kubert, meanwhile, is among the best known draftsmen in superhero comics today, and his first work at Marvel was in 1993’s Wolverine series. He’s seen the character through a lot of big changes, including the time Magneto ripped out Logan’s adamantium, so long-time Wolverine fans should feel in good hands with him.

Wolverine #1 also has a lengthy backup story from Percy and artist Viktor Bogdanovic, who’s worked on quite a few DC Comics titles of the past few years, including Action Comics, New Super-Man, and The Silencer.

What’s Wolverine #1 about?

This first arc seems to be about figuring out how to fit stories about Wolverine — one of the most tragic, traumatized, and violent X-Men — into the new paradise of Krakoa. As the official solicit text for the issue says “With his family all together and safe, Wolverine has everything he ever wanted … and everything to lose.”

Why is the standalone series happening now?

Wolverine is the first solo series of the post-Krakoa X-Men titles, which feels like a conservative choice in a time when the mutant stats quo is in such flux. There are many X-Men fans who remember the days when Marvel comics wielded Wolverine’s popularity to bolster the sales of any X-book editors could shoe-horn him into, and even more who watched the X-Men movie franchise become increasingly Wolverine-centric as time went on.

It probably doesn’t help that the second solo series of the new Dawn of X is for another Character-Who-Saw-X-Treme-Popularity-in-the-’90s, Cable. Fortunately, X-readers are also getting a handful off Giant-Size one shot issues that’ll focus on single characters or duos, like Jean Grey and Emma Frost, and Magneto — and the creative team on Wolverine is probably going to do a great job overall.

Is there any required reading?

If you’re interested in reading any X-Men book right now, you really owe it to yourself to read House of X/Powers of X, which set up the new mutant status quo. Also, it’s one of the best comics of 2019.

Is Wolverine #1 good?

Wolverine #1 takes 67 pages to tell two stories in one issue (which is good, because it’ll set you back $7.99). The main story places Wolverine among the mutants of Krakoa and the island’s concerns, and one classic noir Wolverine yarn on the streets of Paris.

The first story, drawn by Kubert, has a lot of visual pop, and sets up Logan to address a problem unique to the new mutant status in an emotional state that’s new for him: feeling content and safe. But without spoiling the traditional cliffhanger ending, Logan winds up in just about the most classic Wolverine situation possible. It feels like a step back, but one easily corrected in issue 2.

The second story, drawn by Bogdanovic, is a little more contained. It’s also playing on classic Wolverine tropes: He tracks down trouble in a spy-movie locale, meets a pretty lady who turns out to be at the center of the trouble, and a lot of blood is spilled. This story is also clearly a tease for future events, but extremely specific, exciting, gloriously ridiculous future events. I look forward to them with relish.

One panel that popped

LTR: Domino, Wolverine, Gateway, and Jean Grey ready for battle in a cave in Wolverine #1, Marvel Comics (2020). Image: Benjamin Percy, Adam Kubert/Marvel Comics

Mmm, that’s a good splash.