The first Wolverine: Origin book was weird. Set in the 19th century, Wolverine was given the name James Howlett and made to be a sickly young lad whose family were wealthy landowners. Through a series of bizarre events, James and his childhood best friend Rose run off together and struggle to survive in Canadian mining towns. Through another sequence of bonkers events, James - or Logan as he's now known - is left alone, goes a bit mad, and runs off into the Canadian forests to run with the wolves. The end! Weird maybe isn't the best word to describe Origin - awful is better, or plain stupid. It was an origin story that didn't make Wolverine more interesting as a character, nor did it tell a very interesting or original story, and in fact took away his mystique - there's a reason why we never know Joker's origins, for instance, because not knowing makes them infinitely more fascinating. Anyway, in a year where The Wolverine was a commercially successful film and Marvel have been pumping out comic after comic starring Wolverine, it only makes sense for Marvel to continue Wolverine's origin story. But besides financial reasons, is it necessary? Not really. This time around Kieron Gillen has replaced Paul Jenkins as writer with Adam Kubert replacing his brother Andy as artist. The comic opens with Logan running with the wolves who've now become his family. He's rocking the caveman look, going barechested (hey, the dude works out, who can blame him?) and wearing furry underpants and boots. The issue follows his wildman life, hunting with the wolves, until he comes across a polar bear whose behaviour suggests he's as confused at finding himself in the woods as Logan is at seeing him. Of course the two are destined to tangle, and do. But the strange device on the bear's snout hints at the storyline Gillen's going to pursue in this series, with Logan having his first encounter with one of the X-Men's deadliest enemies. This isn't a bad comic per se; Gillen tells the story competently and the hunting scenes are mildly interesting with Logan's interactions in living with the pack reading like Marvel's version of The Jungle Book. Gillen also makes the laudable choice to give Logan no dialogue, underlining his feral absorption, instead choosing third person narrative boxes which, coupled with the nature angle, feel like you're watching a David Attenborough documentary. That said, the narration reads quite flatly with the words lacking the spark that makes Gillen's work in titles like Young Avengers such lively and entertaining reads. Gillen also ignorantly perpetuates the myth that polar bears cover their noses while hunting to camouflage themselves - which they don't. I kept asking myself the same question I did when reading the first Origin: did we really need this? Do we need to see Logan running with wolves? Isn't this something we can take for granted? It doesn't add anything to the character that we didn't already know - he likes nature and he's animalistic at times - and could've taken it as read that these are qualities he gains over time simply out of survival, being shunned from society because of his mutation and his lack of means. Literally showing it to us feels pointless for being so obvious. Nor would I call it a story worth telling for being predictable behaviour on the part of Logan that longtime readers of Wolverine would expect. The issue feels a bit thin in what you get over what you pay. For a five dollar comic, you'd expect more than just seeing Logan interact with wolves and fight a polar bear, but that is all we get. The credits and title take up two pages, the "Marvel Comics Presents..." takes up a whole page (which is blank besides those three words), and an entire page is used to set the scene which could be done as effectively with "It was 1907 - this is Wolverine's origin" rather than a page of purple prose. Marvel have tried to justify its expense with the double plastic cover, the cover gallery, artist sketchbook pages, and four pages from the first book, but it doesn't hide the fact that the comic definitely feels padded out with a lot of fluff. What gives me some hope about this second Origin story over the first is that it looks like Logan's going up against two X-Men villain favourites - Sabretooth and Mister Sinister. If nothing else, their inclusion might make Origin 2 at least entertaining. Otherwise, Origin 2 #1 isn't a complete failure of a comic but it is a long way from being a good one too. Gillen's writing is competent but uninspired while Kubert's art is good, with neither able to hide the insubstantial story or make a strong case for its relevance. Do we need more of Logan running wild before he gets the adamantium claws and meets Charles Xavier? Snickt no, bub. Published by Marvel, Wolverine: Origin 2 #1 by Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert is out now
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