Review: An Angry Canadian Walks Into A Bar… In ‘Wolverine’ #4

by Tony Thornley
Cover by Andy Kubert

If there’s anything that defines Wolverine, it’s his ability to get into a fight no matter where he goes. That includes his off time, especially if it’s a bar, because he’s been in more bar fights than maybe any other character in comics. So what makes the bar fight in Wolverine #4 any different?

After a year of Krakoa giving readers a kinder, gentler Wolverine, we get a bit more of his rough edges back in this issue. It’s a welcome change, and comes to us from Benjamin Percy, Viktor Bogdanovic, Matthew Wilson, Cory Petit, and Tom Muller.

After the Flower Cartel ordeal, Logan needs some time away from Krakoa. Using a secret gate he planted, he heads off for some rotgut in a barren northern town. However, trouble always seems to find Wolverine, and this is no exception. But can he face the threat that’s waiting for him inside the bar… before the darker and more frightening threat OUTSIDE the bar strikes?

One thing that concerned me a bit with the launch of this series was that we might see a bit of a greatest hits album, and a bar fight definitely falls into that category. However, Percy is smart about it here. This isn’t just Wolverine picking a fight with a random racist. He uses the story to comment on hate and racism, framing the antagonists as people who think they have good reason to hate, but are really just looking for excuses to justify it. 

He also shows Logan at a level of thoughtfulness and introspection that we don’t see from him very often. This is probably the best use of Percy’s prose-heavy data pages, giving us insight to Wolverine’s state of mind. But he also uses the environment, such as his choice of location, and his pick of Hank Williams Jr. song to get deeper into his psyche.

The art has its ups and downs. In the opening, Bogdanovic draws Logan more like a short Batman, with a thin frame rather than Logan’s short, squat bulk, while •┤Ȧ├• and Magneto are inconsistent from panel to panel. There’s also a confusing choice of perspective, framing the scene with the Quiet Council almost as if half the council isn’t present.

However, once the story ends up in Alaska, he does a great job, especially with Wilson’s fantastic colors on top of it. Bogdanovic creates a desolate frontier town, with a bar that offers the only solace. Wilson, meanwhile, bathes the dusk is frozen blues, and the bar in harsh yellow. It creates a bleak noirish setting that’s the perfect setting for Percy’s story.

Cut off from the X-Men, Wolverine’s in a tough spot. I’m excited to see how he gets out of this jam.

NOTE: Recently the line artist of this issue made comments that blamed the victims of sexual predators, sexual assault and so on. The writer of this article and the staff of Comicon.com strongly condemn those comments and sexual abuse in all its forms. If you or someone you love is a victim of sexual abuse, please seek out resources and organizations to help, such as RAINN or the NSVRC.

Wolverine #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.

Rating: 8/10

%d bloggers like this: