Letterer Cory Petit leads with a strong first impression as he gives readers a two-word phrase repeated twice to open up “Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program” #1. “Wake up,” is the command given, and the repetition adds emphasis and urgency as readers are introduced to Sharp, a foggy-minded survivor of the destruction of the Paradise Facility in “Death of Wolverine” #1.
Writer Charles Soule keeps the script light, stepping out of the way so artist Salvador Larroca can choreograph Sharp’s escape from the facility. Larroca visually describes Sharp and the other survivors in elaborate detail, more often than not sacrificing setting and background for character. The facility is in the final throes of collapsing and Sharp is trying to lead a crew out to safety, which fosters Larroca’s choice to sacrifice the backgrounds. After all, how much rubble and destroyed building needs to be shown to convey that setting? Larroca instead chooses to focus on the shadowy nature of Paradise, making each page darker than the page previous.
Colorist Frank D’Armata doesn’t disrupt the dark, dingy vibe, adding grays and earthtones to the story. When “Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program” #1 introduces readers to Slayback, the Weapon X alum’s yellowish-green tinted skin delivers quite a visual punch. It’s not an impressive visual punch as D’Armata still keeps those tones down, but it is quite a change-up from the grays, browns and blacks that dominate this comic book.
In addition to Sharp, who serves as a point-of-view characters for this first issue, Soule introduces readers to a set of characters who align themselves with Sharp during the escape effort. Sharp rescues the first, Harold Stanch, who exhibits some prowess with analytics, before the duo encounter two more, unnamed individuals. One has goat-like horns and the other is a brawler. The last character introduced during the escape is Meifeng, who apparently possesses superspeed. Soule doesn’t chew up any time getting into the particulars of any of these characters’ pasts, choosing instead to focus on the adventure of trying to escape Paradise. This issue would make a great, high-energy scene in an action movie.
There is not much to take away from “Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program” #1, as this comic is essentially a quick introduction that kicks a longer story off. There is, however, enough promise in Soule being able to forge something interesting with this ragtag bunch in a firefight that bonds them together. At least for now. After all, there are at least two characters readers still have to meet by name. That and a killer cliffhanger final page seem like more than enough to bring readers back for future installments as Soule investigates the legacy left behind by the Weapon X Program.