Comic Review – “Essential Wolverine Vol. 1”

Here’s our third comic book review, again from
Marvel’s Essential line.

General Information

Title: Essential Wolverine Volume 1
Credited to: Chris Claremont, John Buscema, Peter
David, Archie
Goodwin and John Byrne
Original Publication Date: Fourth Printing
copyright October 2001,
collects material originally published
ISBN: 0-7851-0257-4
Cover Price: $14.95US $21.95Can


Wolverine, best known as the scrapper of the
X-Men, spends some time
to himself, and gets dragged into various
globetrotting adventures.

High Point

Issues 7 and 8, because of the guest appearance
of “Mr. Fixit.” (It’s
only fair. After all, Wolverine first appeared
as a guest in
“Mr. Fixit’s” book.)

Low Point

The lack of development of Wolverine.

The Scores

The originality of this book is pretty
poor. Two of the four
major storylines were about a magical item that
makes people want to
pursue it and brings out the worst in them. Both
of these storylines
took place in a span of less than two years, too,
thanks to the
bi-monthly releases in mid-run. I give it 2 out
of 6.

The artwork is pretty uneven. Issue 10
in particular, with
its two different artists, really stood out with
a wide range of
quality. Some of the artwork was pretty good,
but a lot of it
suffered obviously from the black and white
reproduction. I give it 3
out of 6.

The story was usually pretty good.
There were a couple of
standalone issues, and four major continuing
arcs. Most were driven
by the characters Wolverine associates with,
which is good, since he’s
a rather bland character in this collection.
Some of them were very
nice to read. The standalone in issue 9 was very
good. On average,
I’d give the stories 4 out of 6.

The characterization was miserable. I
saw more character
development from Wolverine in the Essential X-Men
volumes that reprint
issues from 15 years before this series.
(Reviews of Essential X-Men
vol. 1 and 2 are on the way.) Wolverine was
bland, who kept repeating
that he’s always fighting his inner berserker for
control, and that he
stands up for his friends or his respected
enemies. The characters
who hung around with him didn’t develop, either.
I give it 2 out of 6.

With flat characters and interesting, but
predictable stories, the
emotional response for this is pretty
low. The only interest
I had was in learning how Wolverine would figure
out the puzzles that
were obvious to the reader. Those discoveries
were often a let down.
I give it 2 out of 6.

The flow of the action from one panel to
the next is where
this collection really shines. The dynamic panel
placement kept
things moving and added to the mood when chaos
was needed. The
dialogue was sparse in the heat of battle, but
fine in conversation
scenes. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this was worth the cheap cover
price of the
Essential collection, but I wouldn’t be buying
any issues of the title
individually. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Essential Wolverine Volume 1
received 22 out of 42.