Comic Review – “Origin” (Hardcover)

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.

9 replies on “Comic Review – “Origin” (Hardcover)”

  1. galatian says:

    Sabertooth
    I’m pretty sure Sabertooth’s connection was explained in the Wolverine comics later on (I think it should be in either Essentian Wolverine 2 or 3). They were supposed to be teammates before they got their memory implants and they (they as in the in the conspiracy they) made it look like sabertooth killed Wolverine’s lover at the time.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Sabertooth

      I’m pretty sure Sabertooth’s connection was explained in
      the Wolverine comics later on (I think it should be in
      either Essentian Wolverine 2 or 3). They were supposed to
      be teammates before they got their memory implants and
      they (they as in the in the conspiracy they) made it look
      like sabertooth killed Wolverine’s lover at the time.

      Ah. Well, I’ve ordered Essential
      Wolverine Vol. 2 and bought Vol. 3. I won’t read 3 until
      I’ve read 2, though. When I read them, I’ll review them,
      and I’ll let everyone know if the answers are there.

    • jayhawk88 says:

      Re: Sabertooth
      OK, maybe I took way too big a leap on this, but from reading it I was under the impression that Sabertooth was Dog?

      BTW, this series is available for a read on Marvel’s web site. You have to register with them though, and you “read” it via some annoying Flash app, but still kind of nice.

      • fiziko says:

        Re: Sabertooth

        OK, maybe I took way too big a leap on this, but from
        reading it I was under the impression that Sabertooth was
        Dog?

        I didn’t get that impression, but it’s not prohibited by
        what I read there, either. There’s an issue in
        Essential Wolverine Vol. 1 that has Wolverine
        fighting with Sabretooth before the Weapon X project, but
        that issue is a flashback narrated by Logan that also says
        he didn’t have his claws at that time, so at this point we
        pretty much have to assume he was lying about (at least)
        some of it to prevent
        wrecking the continuity.

        • galatian says:

          Re: Sabertooth

          OK, maybe I took way too big a leap on this, but from
          reading it I was under the impression that Sabertooth was
          Dog?

          I didn’t get that impression, but it’s not prohibited by
          what I read there, either. There’s an issue in
          Essential Wolverine Vol. 1 that has Wolverine
          fighting with Sabretooth before the Weapon X project, but
          that issue is a flashback narrated by Logan that also says
          he didn’t have his claws at that time, so at this point we
          pretty much have to assume he was lying about (at least)
          some of it to prevent
          wrecking the continuity.

          All that get’s answered in Essential wolverine #3

      • galatian says:

        Re: Sabertooth

        OK, maybe I took way too big a leap on this, but from reading it I was under the impression that Sabertooth was Dog?

        BTW, this series is available for a read on Marvel’s web site. You have to register with them though, and you “read” it via some annoying Flash app, but still kind of nice.

        I didn’t think it was dog because when he shows up he still had the scars of the time that wolverine slashed him. I would have though that sabertooth’s power would have healed him by now. Course, maybe sabertooth’s power hadn’t kicked in yet (?)

      • pythor says:

        Re: Sabertooth

        OK, maybe I took way too big a leap on this, but from reading it I was under the impression that Sabertooth was Dog?

        BTW, this series is available for a read on Marvel’s web site. You have to register with them though, and you “read” it via some annoying Flash app, but still kind of nice.

        Just read this through the website. Thanks for the tip…

        I could believe that Sabertooth is Dog, but I’m kinda more leaning to wondering about James’s older brother. Sabertooth and Wolverine have such similar abilities, and this Origins left that particular plotline wide open.

        Of course, they also made it quite possible that Thomas’ first son is Dog.

        • sabretooths abby says:

          Re: Sabertooth


          I’ll tell you how it really happened:
          James (wolverine)’s mother had an affair with “Mr. Logan” and tried to pass the child off as the son of her wealthy husband. Dog is Sabretooth. They are brothers, that’s why they have similar abilities, but Sabretooth got the short end of the stick and was driven insane by his father’s vicious beatings and his resentment towards Wolverine for escaping that fate.

          • fiziko says:

            Re: Sabertooth

            I’ll tell you how it really happened:
            James (wolverine)’s mother had an affair with “Mr. Logan” and tried to pass the child off as the son of her wealthy husband. Dog is Sabretooth. They are brothers, that’s why they have similar abilities, but Sabretooth got the short end of the stick and was driven insane by his father’s vicious beatings and his resentment towards Wolverine for escaping that fate.

            The editorial commentary in the hardcover says the character is like Sabretooth but not him, just as the redhead is like Jean Grey but not her, and the guy who ran the mine was like Cyclops but not him.

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