Graphic Novel Review: Wolverine: Killable
11:16 12 May 2014
The loss of his healing factor takes a mental and physical toll on Logan...
You take away one thing, one intrinsic aspect of a person’s make-up, and everything changes. For more than a century, the Canadian mutant James “Logan” Howlett, aka the Wolverine, has relied on his healing factor to survive potentially fatal wounds, to slow his aging and to turn him into one of the world’s deadliest fighters.
But nothing lasts forever…
A mind-controlling, sentient virus from the sub-atomic Microverse has arrived on Earth with the objective of ruling the planet, and when Wolverine attempts to prevent its machinations, shuts down his healing factor, apparently for good.
Now not only is he aging normally, at risk of dying from any mortal wound, and can no longer fight in the relentless, reckless way he is used to, but his hands bleed every time he uses his famous claws, he is at risk of adamantium poisoning from his metal skeleton without constant treatment, and his otherworldly senses have been stifled by an anti-virus shield aimed at preventing him from being taken over.
To make matters worse, Logan’s sense of identity has been undermined by the loss of his powers, his self-control is dangerously eroded, leading to him lashing out violently with no thought of the consequences, and even his code of honour has been shattered.
Enter old foes Sabretooth and Mystique, who have stolen a sword he inherited from a Japanese traditionalist after the Second World War, part of a scheme to torture him mentally at the same time he is falling apart physically.
Surprisingly, it is global peacekeeping force SHIELD, under the auspices of Director Maria Hill and Agent Nick Fury Jr, who save the day and rid the world of the Microverse virus – while Wolverine is busy having the snot kicked out of him in a shopping mall built on the site of his old family home… Hardly the most heroic day for the clawed Canadian, but then that’s the point.
Instead of focusing on the real threat at hand, he is duped into hunting down a worthless old sword, endangering the lives of innocents, and subjecting himself to further physical and mental abuse in the process.
With the very real threat of death hanging over him for the first time in decades, Logan is shaken, exposed and weakened, and that makes the character far more interesting than he’s been for a very long time. Whether the bell will finally toll for the Wolverine, however, remains to be seen…
A very strong instalment in writer Paul Cornell’s long-term story arc, again featuring the sublime artwork of industry legend Alan Davis. Highly recommended.