In his final moments, Wolverine stands out as a monument for popular culture. Death of Wolverine #4 offers:
- Cinematic artwork that manipulates time across the pages
- Frankenstein themes, and insight into Wolverine’s character
- Scientific information: binomial classification of animals
- Themes of time passing, and milestones
- A comic suitable for older readers, particularly at college level
Cinematic artwork with clean design choices appear throughout the comic book. Wolverine receives a fitting end rendered expertly in the comic’s opening and conclusion
Throughout this comic, artwork is cinematic. Moment to moment transitions are expertly rendered. watching each panel progress the story feels like watching a moving image. Wolverine acts on instinct. Only small internal dialogue boxes appear. This design choice keeps the artwork flying through to the conclusion.
Another strong artwork choice manipulates time. Wolverine steps into a room, and sees the space as he knew it decades ago. The page artwork, a memory, is saturated in peach light. Turning the page warps the reader to the present day. Everything is in the same place as it was in Wolverine’s memory: only decades have passed. The light is now cold blue. A man standing behind a console has aged, his beard now white when it was once brown.
Age, time passing, and milestones that mark the passing of time, are a key theme of this comic. In setting chosen for Wolverine’s final appearance is Paradise Valley, Nevada. Monolithic stone mesas standing in the red sand for thousands of years are literally milestones. It’s fitting that Wolverine, a milestone in the Marvel Universe and popular culture, receives his ending, interred and laid to rest, here.
The core character conflict introduces Frankenstein themes. The villain of the comic brings scientific information into the core conflict.
The confrontation that marks out the action in this comic is between a scientist and his creation. Another tie back to Frankenstein themes. A now elderly scientist associated with the military program that created Wolverine wants to correct his mistakes at all costs.
Without spoiling the characters identity, the confrontation provides some insights into the Wolverine. Scientific information appears; mammalian taxonomy – sometimes called “latin names” – the binomial names for living creatures appear at the centre of the core character conflict.
A wolverine is called Gulo Gulo. This is Latin for Gluttonous Glutton. Wolverine’s have insatiable appetites and is apparently the only animal that “kills for pleasure”. The scientist criticise Wolverine, and tries to take one last swipe at his confidence.
The villain’s plan is horrific. It’s worth pointing out these scenes contain semi-graphic surgery artwork.
Milestones in Wolverine’s life appear in the final scenes. The weight of time passing – Wolverine’s long history – receives an acknowledgement
A bright sunset closes the comic. Panels featuring key moments from Wolverine’s life are placed along the top of a two page artwork. The sunset panel acts as a base. Milestones in Wolverine’s life are laid out here. His time as a soldier in World War Two, His time in Japan, His time at the Jean Grey School.
Despite capturing moments in time from across the Marvel Universe, The comic takes place in about an hour or less. Despite such a short amount of time passing, Death of Wolverine #4 manages to show the significance and weight of time and milestones.
- Wolverine is eventually trapped in a downpour of molten adamantium. Inside the metal, entombed, Wolverine himself is turned into a milestone – a metal monolith.
The final pages of the comic contain a gallery of cover artwork collecting the variant covers of all the Death of Wolverine comics. Finally, a page at the end of the comic provides the creators space to reflect on the passing of Wolverine.
Death of Wolverine #4 is published by Marvel Comics ($4.99 USD). Charles Soule (W). Steve McNiven (P.) Jay Leisten (I.) Justin Ponsor (C.) Chris Eliopoulos (L.) Cover artwork by McNiven, Leisten, and Ponsor.