Thursday, 5 September 2013

Wolverine: Return of the Native Review

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Darick Robertson

I've been trying to get through as many of my graphic novels, and comics series as I can, reviewing them along the way, whilst also reading the Marvel events that fall in between. I also plan on reading the series at the same time, reading each story that falls in line (e.g. a Spider-Man story followed by an Avengers, followed by something else, then back to Spider-Man). I've finally come to start re-reading my Wolverine collection, with this being my third review from it.


After his first attempt to capture the Native fails, Sabretooth persuades Wolverine to find her, preparing to take them both out once Wolverine finds her, but when he does Wolverine decides to protect her from Sabretooth, and the men that employed him.


This was a brilliant story, and although still not the best Wolverine story I've ever read, it was still amazing, and probably the best that Greg Rucka's produced whilst he was on the series. This story has taken the good bits from Rucka's previous Wolverine stories, and put them together, making for the perfect combination of development, and action. The key difference between this story as opposed to the other two Wolverine stories Rucka wrote was that it was more like a classic Wolverine story, with him defending for himself and others, whilst trying to understand bits of his past, whereas the others were more crime driven, and although they were good, I much prefer this version of Wolverine, with him doing what he does best. The mystery in this story was also brilliant, as although it had Wolverine trying to remember bits of his own past, it had me as a reader questioning other character's links to Wolverine, and mainly the Native's link, which was interesting. Rucka also did a brilliant job with the balance of this story, as he had plenty of action, as well as mystery, and drama, which really made the story run smoother, whereas his last story, Coyote Crossing wasn't like that. I also loved the way Rucka added Sabretooth to this story, and although in many ways this caused the change from the crime style we've been seeing, to the more recognisable Wolverine style of story, that wasn't a bad thing, as although the transition was a little sudden, I'd prefer that any day if it means getting a better story.

The art in this story was amazing, and I was glad that Darick Robertson returned for this story, as although Leandro Fernandez' art on Coyote Crossing was good, it was nowhere near as good as Robertson's was on Brotherhood. In fact I much preferred Robertson's art in this story than I did in Brotherhood, as although his art was also phenomenal in Brotherhood there were small things that bugged me, whereas this time there wasn't. To start with although Robertson did a brilliant job of Wolverine last time round, I felt that his head looked a little too square, and slightly unrealistic, whereas this time it doesn't have this problem, as Wolverine's body's proportionate to the rest of it, whilst still showing him for the small runt he is. Now this may be due to Wolverine spending most of this story with his shirt off, but I just felt that he didn't look as squat as he did before, and more like the lean, muscular runt that he's meant to be. Besides that Robertson also did a fabulous job of Sabretooth, making him look as vicious as ever, and in fact this was probably one of the best drawings of Sabretooth I've ever seen. Robertson also did a brilliant job with the other characters, and especially the Native, as she looked fierce, and similar to Wolverine, which was interesting, as well as awesome. The way Roberston handled the violence in this story was also fantastic, and although again he did an amazing job with the violence in Brotherhood, it just seemed much more explosive, and awe-inspiring this time, as he did a truly phenomenal job.

This story's title character, the Native was very interesting, and although not the most interesting character ever to be created, still very interesting, and different. The fact that she was similar to Wolverine was probably what interested me the most, as although over the years there have been multiple character's similar to Wolverine come out of the wood work, including the likes of X-23, Daken, and Sabretooth, but it's still interesting whenever there's a new one, whether they're a likeable character or not. Now the only real question I had over the Native was if she was a decent Wolverine type character, and although the mysteriousness of the character, plus the fact that she clearly had some history with Wolverine, I'm not sure if she'd have worked as a long term character like the other Wolverine style character's I mentioned.

Although Native was probably the most interesting character in this story, due to her mysteriousness, it was however the addition of Sabretooth that I loved the most, and what I was looking forward to the most before I first read this story. Now there have been ton's of great Wolverine stories that have had Sabretooth make an appearance, and although this isn't the best one, it is probably one of the more unique ones, which also made it one of the more interesting ones. Now I love a good Wolverine/Sabretooth battle, and we get to see a couple in this story, but I feel the thing that made this appearance of Sabretooth more unique was the fact that there wasn't quite as much fighting between him and Wolverine, and the interaction between the two was very entertaining, and at times dramatic.

This story would also feature an offshoot of the Weapon X, who hired Sabretooth to track the Native, and return her. Now anything that has Weapon X involved grabs my interest, but at the same time that gives a lot to live up to, as there have been some great Weapon X stories in the past, as well as some terrible. Like the story in general this was also more to the middle of these two options, as although I've read better Weapon X stories, I've also read much worse. Anyway, the fact that these were an offshoot of Weapon X was also interesting, as it gives more room for creativity, as although you've got to keep to the basics, it still gives much more room for uniqueness. The fact that they were working with Sabretooth, also seeing him as expendable was interesting, and showed what type of character's they were. I also found the fact that this was a offshoot of Weapon X interesting, as it added to the question over the connection between Wolverine, and the Native, and what Weapon X had to do with it.

This story would see Wolverine continue his relationship with Cassie Lathrop, but quickly get into one with the Native. Now I found this all a little too sudden, as although I know Wolverine's been known as a womaniser in the past, he's also good hearted, usually caring about people's feelings (even if he doesn't show it), so for him to move onto someone else without even properly dumping Cassie was a little sudden. I also questioned what happened to Cassie, as when Wolverine started tracking the Native she just disappeared, and as far as I recall never made an appearance for years, which although I'm not upset, it's still annoying.

As I said there was a lot of action in this story, with Wolverine fighting Sabretooth, Wolverine fighting the offshoot Weapon X guys, and even Wolverine fighting the Native at one point, and this made for a very exciting story. At the same time it didn't take away from the development of the story, as there was plenty of time for slower moments, to give more depth, but the action was amazing. The fighting in general was brilliant, and it's really hard to pick out what of the mentioned fights was the overall best, as there were moments from each that I loved. Although there wasn't a lot of it the fighting between Sabretooth, and Wolverine was outstanding, and the sort of thing that you expect when these two meet, and although it wasn't the best fight between Wolverine, and Sabretooth, it was far from the worst. The small fight between Wolverine, and the Native was also brilliant, and very interesting, and even emotional, and although this was probably the weaker of these fights, it was also probably the most unique. The fight between Wolverine and the guys from the Weapon X offshoot was also amazing, and there was one sequence that had Wolverine jumping and destroying a helicopter that amazed me.

Final Verdict

This was probably the best story out of Rucka's run on Wolverine, and a nice way to end it. It's development, and action was blended nicely, as Rucka's previous stories had one that was either too much of one or the other, but this managed to do both. The appearance of Sabretooth, and an offshoot of Weapon X was also brilliant, and enough to drag any Wolverine fan to buying this, and although it's not the best story to feature these two, it's not the worst. Cause of all this I'd highly recommend this story, as it was very interesting, and exciting, and well worth the read.

Rating: 4/5

The next Wolverine book I'll be reviewing will be Wolverine: Enemy of the State.