It's the 1900s and, since the end of the first Origin book, Wolverine's been running with wolves in the Canadian wilderness. That is until he came across a polar bear who'd been experimented on by Nathaniel Essex (the future Mr Sinister). Wolverine escaped Essex and his men but was captured by Victor Creed (the future Sabretooth) and caged as part of a travelling circus' show. Poor Wolverine. It's so difficult to find a book for him that's any good and, as much as I usually like Kieron Gillen, Origin 2 is a bust. Since the first issue of this run - and even earlier, to the Jenkins/Kubert/Jemas mess that was the first Origin - I've been wondering why Wolverine's origin needed to be told, and none of the three issues in this series have convinced me otherwise. Wolverine gets into some scrapes with Creed and Essex and this shows... what? That he has a history with them? So what? Why're they so important? Disappointingly little happens in this issue. Creed's girlfriend, Clara, tries to get Wolverine to talk to her, Essex tries to buy Wolverine and, when that fails, steals him for vivisection to find out how his healing factor works, and then we find out that (shocker!) Essex is up to no good. Anyone who talks seriously about "ubermensch"s especially in the run up to the two World Wars are instantly evil and probably mad. I understand what Gillen's doing with his story. This series is about "animals" and Gillen's asking the reader who the real animals are: Wolverine and the wild animals who run around the woods, or the humans who'd cage animals and exhibit/torture them in a circus for profit? Worse is Essex who thinks nothing of murdering whoever stands in his way and blindly pursues torture and vivisection on every living thing. He's worse than an animal - he's a monster. But really, a whole series about how Wolverine is more human than most of us and most humans are animals? It seems like a very weak idea that's been stretched too thinly - it's definitely not enough to sustain a mini-series. Adam Kubert's art isn't bad - I think I prefer it to his brother Andy's - and I liked the close up of Essex operating on Wolverine, showing panel by panel how his healing factor works. It's gory but it's something that you rarely see in Wolverine comics where his healing factor is a given: he gets badly hurt, rests for a bit and everything's good as new! There are two more issues in this mini-series but I don't expect it'll get better. If anything, this second round of Origin underlines how dull Wolverine's beginnings were and how much more interesting his present is. Published by Marvel, Wolverine: Origin 2 #3 by Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert is out now
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