Snikting Through Time: Reviewing ‘X Lives Of Wolverine’ #1
by Scott Redmond
The next stage of the X-Men’s Krakoan Age begins as Wolverine takes center stage on a journey through time to protect a mutant that has a major part in how far mutant-kind has come. It’s a very Wolverine-like story, one’s mileage will vary with that, that has some intriguing components that could make it work as a bigger X-Men story as it continues.
As with most popular franchises, there are certain characters that stand out or get promoted enough that audiences of all types will shout them out when asked to name someone from that franchise. With the X-Men, there is little doubt that most non-comic book fans’ minds are likely to settle on Wolverine as one of the possible characters as the clawed one has been a popular fixture of other media adaptations for a good long time now.
Fair warning going into this review, my feelings about the Logan version of Wolverine are quite divided. As a character and concept, I like him (though I like Laura in the role a whole lot more), but at the same time I feel that he often gets far too much spotlight compared to other characters and often can get stuck in a rut of the same types of stories being done over and over (much how I sometimes feel about Batman too).
All that being said, a Logan story that is essentially Wolverine meets Terminator (or more accurately Terminator 2: Judgement Day) except with jumping through far more time periods is right in my wheelhouse. Two beings built as weapons of death clash as one of them wants to kill a great leader as a child and the other is there to save said leader.
Such comparisons are unavoidable in many regards as stories like this where a character tries to protect others by going through time is very common, even amongst the X-Men itself. It doesn’t take away from the story, because the execution of these common ideas is where things can and do begin to stand apart.
One era of the Krakoan age of the X-Line has come to a close and a new one is beginning, X Lives Of Wolverine, and its soon-to-launch companion X Deaths of Wolverine, are meant to kick off that new era. There are obvious parallels to 2019’s House of X/Powers of X event series not just in the naming conventions but also in the weaving the two books together aspect, the weekly release schedule, and it being meant to kick off an era.
There are interesting scenes and bits here and moments, but at the moment it very much feels like what a Wolverine story would feel like normally rather than something that will define the line’s new direction. This is only the first issue though, so that very much can change (HOX/POX itself really blew up once it reached the Moira retcon issue, which was the third issue overall).
Ben Percy picks up quite a few threads that have been weaved through his work on X-Force and the Wolverine solo book and gives us some interesting narration from Logan and how he views time. His feelings about watches/clocks and time does make a ton of sense for a man that has lived a ton of lives over the more than a century he’s been alive, especially these days when he can remember all those lives. Overall it very much just feel like a combination of those titles but extended, where some of the things like the Xavier reveal feel like they are too easily telegraphed or given away rather than being a real surprise.
There are a few bits and pieces that point to why this all is happening, as Omega Red learns about what was done to him in X-Force previously, while a lot of the hows are left unexplained for the moment. Mostly we get right into it with a return to the beginning of the life of one Charles Xavier where an Omega Red that is body-hopping/possessing people tries to kill Sharon Xavier and her babies (we also witness the moment where Charles’s sister Cassandra is stillborn after Charles tried to kill her in the womb) and Logan comes to the rescue. A big extended scene of the two old foes duking it out in the past is worth the price of admission alone.
This fight scene and every other piece of the issue are brought to life by Percy’s X-Force collaborator Joshua Cassara and colorist Frank Martin. There is an almost delicate detail to Cassara’s work that at the same time perfectly brings to life the roughness and brutality that is bound to walk hand in hand with a Logan-centric story. Just the double-page spread we get showcasing so many of Logan’s lives is stunning and is almost poetic in a way. This character has lived a long time in this universe, but also just in his almost 50 years of existence in comics has seen him filling so many roles that are very important to so many people, both fictional and real.
Martin’s colors help bring a lot of this home, especially the very nicely added aspect where the scenes in the past have more muted and almost antique-like colors to speak to their taking place in the past. While the few pages we get of the modern-day era are brighter alongside a lot of shadows, indicating the darkness that surrounds these characters because their entire current existence depends on Logan achieving this mission. Those muted color palates change though, taking on a more yellow tone, once the past portions of the book leap to another time period as the quest continues.
There is a lot done with the lettering from Cory Petit to match the tones set by everything else in the book. Omega Red’s dialogue bubbles are dark and ominous and a bit spooky, while there is a plethora of really well done and fun SFX dotting the pages. Despite my aforementioned conflicted feelings about Logan, I will always love the variety of ways that a good ‘SNIKT’ can be rendered.
There was skepticism on my part when this storyline was first announced, and I’m not sure if this first issue has really shaken that feeling. With nine more issues to go that feeling could change, and hopefully it does.
X Lives Of Wolverine #1 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.