Death, at least in the four colour universe, isn’t as permanent as it once was. So when Wolverine, one of the staples of, and most enduring characters in the Marvel pantheon, died, it was a matter of when, and not if, he’d return to the land of the living. And while Return of Wolverine doesn’t fill in all the blanks or dwell on the minutia of how he escaped the embrace of the grave, it does reintroduce the man he used to be to the world as Logan hasn’t exactly been himself since he started breathing again.
Having been used a vessel to do the will of Soteira and its leader, Persephone, Wolverine, thanks to his unique physiology, breaks the hold that both had on him and in Return of Wolverine begins the long, slow, painful and incredibly violent journey back to reclaiming the life that he lost. The odyssey he undertakes is not only a struggle to rediscoverer, and come to terms with, who he was and is, it also bears witness to the turmoil and chaos he faces as he searches for answers and those who would use him as a weapon on the gore soaked path to redemption.
While writer Charles Soule provides some of the long awaited answers to why Logan is back in Return, slowly drip feeding them to his audience as his avatar gradually finds his way home, both personally and psychologically, he doesn’t reveal all of secrets and plays his cards incredibly close to his chest. As much an exploration of individuality and the way personality is forged and shaped by circumstance and surroundings as it is about bringing Logan back into the X fold, Return of Wolverine possesses an innate complexity and depth that at times feels like it might have been better served had Soule been given an extra couple of issues in which to tell his tale. Because of that, Return, every now and then, feels a little rushed and the conflicting styles of McNiven and Shalvey, both supremely talented artists in their own right, means the narrative flow occasionally stutters slightly between issues, but as the opening chapter in Wolverine’s new life, Return is an impressive beginning. It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day… Tim Cundle