Writer – Paul Cornell
Pencils & Inks – Pete Woods
Colors – David Curiel
Letters – Cory Petit
Review by Joey Braccino
Paul Cornell’s run on Wolverine has traversed two volumes, 25 issues, and the game-changing “Killable” story arc, which took away our titular hero’s mutant healing factor and set him on the road to this Fall’s Death of Wolverine mini-series. Wolverine #12 sees an end to the most recent volume, to “The Last Wolverine Story,” and, unfortunately, Cornell’s run on the character and title. The last dozen issues of Wolverine under Cornell’s pen has been a relatively self-contained, single narrative, seeing our eponymous hero, sans healing factor, go “rogue” (i.e. – undercover for SHIELD the whole time!!!) in an effort to root out his arch-nemesis, Sabretooth, and uncover his diabolical scheme.
In regards to that story (and to Cornell’s 25 issues as a whole), Wolverine #12 delivers an action-packed, emotional finale. Sabretooth has Pinch’s daughter and a whole mall full of hostages trapped inside a fancy reality-altering sphere bubble, and Wolverine is the only one inside with the power (?) to stop him. Cornell has deftly humanized Logan over the last two years; in stripping away the healing factor, Cornell has forced Logan to confront not only his mortality, but his notions of heroism as well. The final confrontation with Sabretooth in this issue is the culmination of the self-evaluation, and Logan makes a moving choice in the heat of battle that capture this operant theme perfectly.
Pete Woods and David Curiel deliver a visually engaging, kinetic experience from start to finish. Woods’ dynamic aesthetic matches that of series’ starter, Ryan Stegman, and it strikes the perfect blend between cinematic action a la Olivier Coipel and emotional realism a la Stuart Immonen. Curiel’s colors are vibrant, particularly in the stark reds and oranges he chooses for the backgrounds. The climactic battle is deftly staged, with the action clear and crisp.
When all is said and done, however, there are some drawbacks in this issue. First, Cornell includes a bizarre third-person narrator for a few pages that editorialize Logan’s choices in the battle. It seems out of place—perhaps not for the series as a whole—but certainly for the few pages it appears. Second, while Cornell gets to wrap up his story relatively neatly, he does have to shoehorn in a tease for the upcoming Death of Wolverine mini (which, btw, he is not writing, despite his work in building it up), which does little for the story told within. And finally, the two back-up stories (one about Marcus Harold, an in-universe comic book writer from earlier in the Wolverine run; one about Guernica, the bar that Wolverine and other heroes frequent) allow Cornell to touch on some of the background characters from his run on the title, but they offer very little to justify the $5.99 pricetag.
For readers of Cornell’s excellent run on Wolverine, this final issue will not disappoint. It’s a fitting climax for his Wolverine story, and it’s a great visual experience from start to finish. Nevertheless, given the price-tag and the ultimate inconsequence in relation to the upcoming Death of Wolverine, I don’t think this issue is required reading for anyone looking to get a jumpstart on next month’s mini-series.