After months of teases and "post-credits scenes," the story of Wolverine's return is finally ready to be told. What you get out of the first chapter of that telling will be entirely dependent on what you're expecting going in.
The Hunt for Wolverine #1 is a comic that is hard to divorce from the context behind how Marvel has marketed Wolverine's return. The issue is comprised of two stories, and both are written by Charles Soule. The first is "Secrets and Lives," which Soule writes with the art team of David Marquez and Rachelle Rosenberg.
"Secrets and Lives" is an excellently crafted story. Marquez is among the best artists in the industry currently, and, with help from Rosenberg's well-pitched colors, he shows serious range here.
The premise of "Secrets and Lives" involves the Reavers -- a band of mutant-hating, cyborg mercenaries whom the X-Men have a long history with -- seeking out the hidden location of Wolverine's adamantium-encased corpse. The Reavers are down on their luck and in dire need of money for repairs or they'll all be going offline. However, the X-Men have the place under pretty significant surveillance and soon arrive for a battle between a classic X-Men roster and some of their oldest foes.
Marquez and Rosenberg bring so much atmosphere to this scene. We've seen Marquez do street-level combat before in Defenders, but this is something different -- mutants and cyborgs battling it out in a secluded forest on a snowy night. Marquez uses the snow to give some texture to the composition of cinematic wide shots, and Rosenberg knows exactly when to punch up some of the close-ups shows with a sudden influx of color.
The fight is put into context by an unidentified narrator from the future and is cut with scenes of the X-Men visiting Wolverine's tomb shortly after he died. Soule builds a little mystery around where all of this going and how it fits into Wolverine's return. Without saying too much about how these pieces fit together, Marquez and Rosenberg get to produce a handful of pages that are a far cry from the snowy combat scene.
In the end, though, the mystery may not be quite the payoff that readers hope for. It doles out some context for the clues to Wolverine's return that we've seen so far, but raises even more concerns about how the larger "return of Wolverine" narrative puzzle fits together, especially those "post-credits" scenes. If you're looking for answers, this story will give you some, but raise even more questions as it does. If you can divorce yourself from the story's place in Marvel's meta-narrative, it is extremely enjoyable. If you're primarily concerned with the long arc of Logan's resurrection, it may be frustrating by the end.
The second story is "Hunter's Pryde," which teams Soule with the art team of Paulo Siqueira, Walden Wong, and Ruth Redmond. This story feels a bit more perfunctory, essentially serving as a teaser for the four miniseries spinning out of Hunt for Wolverine as Kitty Pryde seeks help from the larger superhero community in finding Logan. The story is decently crafted, though not near on the same level as "Secrets and Lives," but ultimately offers little of substance.
On the macro level, the story does provide context to the Jean Grey scene from Marvel Legacy #1, through that in itself raises entirely new questions about when this story takes place in relation to the "Where's Wolverine?" post-credits scenes and Infinity Countdown. Unfortunately, there's not enough going on with this story to make it a worthwhile read even divorced from larger continuity questions.
Taken altogether, Hunt for Wolverine is a frustrating book. It's one part expertly crafted comic book, and two parts promotional material in disguise. If you're a completionist that wants the absolute full story behind Logan's resurrection, then you're going to be pre-sold on this. If you're only casually interested in Wolverine's return, this is probably skippable. If you're in it for the craft, then the work that was done on "Secrets and Lives" may be worth the inflated cost that comes from being bundled with "Hunter's Pryde." Maybe.
Published by Marvel Comics
On April 25, 2018
Written by Charles Soule
Art by David Marquez, Rachelle Rosenberg, Paulo Siquiera, Walden Wong, Ruth Redmond