Millar’s recent run on Wolverine has been a depressingly characterless affair. Millar’s writing has especially been hit-and-miss over the last couple of years, and his Wolverine run suffers from the worst of it, all crazy ideas and little relevance to the characters in play. You only have to look at the unlikely pairing of Logan and Hawkeye to see that Millar isn’t getting too bogged down in the specifics and is just creating a world that amuses him from the ground up.
This month, we finally get the story of what it was that made Wolverine turn into Wuss-verine. Mysterio (er…) tricks Wolvey into killing every last X-Man. While it’s fair to say that this sort of tragedy might actually cause Logan to “hang up the claws” so to speak, the scenario suffers from being simply too unlikely. Even on his best day, there’s no way Wolverine could kill ALL the X-Men without one of them managing to slow him down long enough to stop him. It leaves the title character feeling ridiculously overpowered. The appeal of Wolverine is not that he wins every fight – it’s that he gets up even when he loses.
The image of him killing all of his closest friends is an enduring one, but it’s simply that – an image. There’s little substance to it. The only moment that threatens to break through the grinningly self-aware facade is when Mysterio’s trick is finally revealed as a dying “Bullseye” melts away to reveal Jubilee – and despite the acknowledgement of the relationship these characters shared, you’re left with the rather odd suggestion that of all the X-Men, Jubilee was the last to drop. Umm. Okay.
As with any issue in this arc, McNiven’s arc is all that really makes it enjoyable. There’s no character he can’t draw well, and the guilty pleasure here is seeing him illustrate all the villains and X-Men that feature. The Venom-dinosaur from the last page, however, is more than enough to balance that out.
This far into the run, it’s clear that the arc hasn’t really entertained me. The one mystery that kept me interested concerned the cause of Wolverine’s pacifism, and with that revealed – unsatisfyingly so – there’s little left for me to stick around for. The close of the arc will undoubtedly feature the moment when Wolverine reverts to type, but it’s doubtful Millar can do so in a way that reconciles his bizarre future with the core character of Wolverine – which leaves you wondering what, exactly, the point of this arc was…