Not every dead superhero gets a second, or third or fourth, chance at life. Not every superhero gets a chance to reestablish their identity and reaffirm themselves as the hero they once were. Thankfully for Wolverine, he has been given another chance at life. RETURN OF WOLVERINE #2 by Charles Soule, Declan Shalvey, Laura Martin, and Joe Sabino continues our titular hero’s resurrection tale as the former X-Man begins to see himself as a man capable of being a hero once more.
Lost and Found
RETURN OF WOLVERINE #2 kicks off with Wolverine and his new ally, Ana, pursuing a boat. A new villain, known as Persephone, has kidnapped Ana’s son, Perren. So, Wolverine has taken it upon himself to find and safely return Perren to Ana’s care. In fact, he promises Ana that he will rescue Perren, no matter the costs.
Now, though Wolverine has set this objective for himself, he is still struggling to come to terms with who he is post-death. During his pursuit of Persephone, he engages in battle with one of her minions. In the midst of the battle, he seems to remember his opponent. This ultimately results in a sudden, unnerving series of flashbacks. As a result, Wolverine succumbs to an uneasy state of mind and to his rage, an event that almost leads to him attacking Ana.
However, he does not. Following his fight, she reminds him that despite his past and the experiences he cannot remember, Wolverine has always been a hero.
Interestingly, the issue does not conclude here. We come to learn that sometime after this event, Jean Grey has located Wolverine using Cerebro.
To be totally honest, not much happens in RETURN OF WOLVERINE #2, and that’s not a good thing. Its ending is undoubtedly the best part of the issue as it sets up exciting possibilities. Despite this though, the issue as a whole lacks any significant plot or character development to be a substantial, meaningful work.
The Many Hues of RETURN OF WOLVERINE #2
Unfortunately, the static nature of RETURN OF WOLVERINE #2’s plot bleeds into its artwork. The content of the panels feels one-dimensional as it lacks much-needed complexity. As a result, there really is not much to engage in with this issue’s imagery.
The coloring is also quite one-note. It is hard to get a grasp on the issue’s tone as contrasting colors dominate each and every page and fall short in establishing a diverse, captivating blend.
Perhaps the greatest and most disappointing flaw in this issue’s imagery lies in the execution of its fight sequences. In general, they lack fluidity as they tend to come across as stagnant. Thus, there is ironically a great void of action in these fight sequences. There is no dynamic atmosphere nor a desire to engage, which is particularly disappointing for an issue depicting Wolverine’s return to form.
Sure, there’s blood and fire and chaos present in these sequences, elements that catch the eye. Unfortunately, those elements are not enough to detract from the fact that the imagery of RETURN OF WOLVERINE #2 is incredibly, and so unfortunately, monotonous.
What Lies Beyond
I have plenty of thoughts about RETURN OF WOLVERINE #2. Among them is the idea that this series, and this particular issue, has failed to embody an authentic story about Wolverine’s return. This series hasn’t even scraped the surface of what a story of this nature could be like.
With that being said, the ending acts as a source of hope.
The X-Men’s inevitable reunion with Wolverine is surely a highly anticipated one. It also will be interesting to see how he is reintegrated into the team, particularly with everything that has happened in the world of the X-Men since his death. However, we are still witnessing Wolverine’s personal journey. We are also still witnessing this journey through his perspective.
As a result, I am curious to see how this series continues this personal, introspective adventure, especially when it has some ways to go before it hits the nail on the head.