Marvel Comics decided to write the origin of
Wolverine before some comic illiterate from Hollywood
did. I’ve written my (spoiler-free) opinions on how
it turned out. Would you like to add yours?

General Information

Title: Origin

Author: Paul Jenkins, with input from Bill Jemas and
Paul Quesada

Illustrator(s): Andy Kubert (pencils) and Richard
Isanove (digital
painting) on most pages, with Richard Isanove and Joe
Quesada on the
covers.

Original Publication Date: Published in a six part
series through 2001
and 2002, collected in a single hardcover that hit
shelves June 5, 2002.

ISBN: 0-7851-0866-1

Cover Price: $34.95 US, $55.95 Can

Premise

The origin of Wolverine.

High Point

This is handled as a back story. The modern Wolverine
is not seen
anywhere. In other words, the readers know where he
came from, but
Wolverine doesn’t. That, I think, is a very good
thing, and an
excellent way to handle it.

Low Point

Wolverine’s first introduction to the ways of the
samurai felt a
little forced to me.

The Questions That Get Answered

I hate giving spoilers, so I’ll list the questions
that get answered
without revealing the answers. (Well, some answers
are merely
strongly implied.)

Is Logan Wolverine’s first name, or his last name?

How old is he, really?

What aroused his interest in the samurai?

Where was he born and raised?

Why does he have a thing for busty redheads? (Like
that one needed a
special answer…)

When did he first pop his claws?

We know most mutant powers emerge after a trauma of
some form, while
others (like Shadowcat’s) just sort of happened; which
way did it
happen for Wolverine?

Does Wolverine have any family?

Why was Wolverine living off the land in the Canadian
wilderness for a
while?

Why can’t Wolverine remember his past?

The Questions That Don’t Get Answered

These are the questions that aren’t answered here. If
I know where
the answers are, I’ll point you to them.

How is he connected to Sabretooth?

How did the Weapon X project become interested in
him?

The Scores

The originality here is fairly impressive.
The writers knew
they were working with a prequel. Like
Smallville or
Star Wars: Episode III, the reader knows
where the story
should end. That makes it a little tricky to present
something
original and unexpected. That said, they did a great
job of keeping
things fresh, and providing enough surprises to make
sure the story
felt new. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is excellent, particularly on the
covers. My
only complaint is that the faces sometimes shift from
panel to panel.
I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is excellent. The story starts in
a setting that
I’d never imagine finding Wolverine in, and then does
a great job of
delivering him to where we know he should end up.
Even knowing the
answers to the questions above, I still like the story
as it’s told.
It also held back. Reading the extra materials
discussing the stages
of the project made it clear that they wanted to
answer everything
about Wolverine when they started to do this, but
decided to leave
some questions out for fear of crowding the story.
They found an
excellent balance. I’ll reread this one a few times.
5 out of 6.



Those of you who read my review of
Essential
Wolverine Vol. 1
know that I wanted strong
characterization for Wolverine. It’s in
here. Not only do
we see him develop into the recluse he is, we see why
that was the
best thing for him to do. We see where his rage comes
from. Most
importantly, we see who he was before he became this,
and how he
became what he is. I give it 5 out of 6.

My emotional response was good. This really
brought me in.
Issue two hits pretty hard, as well. I give it 5 out
of 6.

The flow was excellent. The pacing while
cutting between
multiple scenes and during the battles was excellent.
The
conversations and actions all played out well. If Fox
chooses to
option this story as a movie to go along with the
X-Men
franchise, the adaptation will be extremely simple,
and most of the
director’s work will already be done. It really plays
out well. 5
out of 6.

Overall, this is the kind of comic that will
bring new
readers into the genre. I wouldn’t recommend it for
the very young or
the soft-hearted, but I’d definitely recommend it for
anyone else.
It’s not quite perfect, but the flaws hardly stand
out. (The Low
Point was the only point that nagged, even a little
bit, throughout
the story, and that’s about two panels worth of a
rather lengthy
book.) I give it 6 out of 6.

In total, Origin receives 34 out of 42.