WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Return of Wolverine #1 by Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten and Laura Martin, on sale Wednesday, September 19.
Marvel is finally getting down to the business of revealing what is going on with Wolverine's sudden reappearance. After several Hunt For Wolverine miniseries and two one-shots (Hunt For Wolverine and Hunt For Wolverine: Dead Ends), Return of Wolverine will hopefully solve the mystery of how Logan is alive again, along with how he wound up in the clutches of the new villain, Persephone, who made her debut in Dead Ends.
While a typical Marvel preview doesn't give too many important details about an upcoming comic, the preview for Return of Wolverine #1 wastes no time in displaying Logan's new "hot claws," one of the concepts writer Charles Soule plans to introduce during the series. However, as fascinating as it is to see Wolverine with an ability straight out of a video game, the biggest surprise has to do with what Logan does (and doesn't) remember about his past.
This Trip Down Memory Lane Is Mighty Familiar
Return of Wolverine #1 opens with Logan's #HotClaws extended as he's dripping with blood, cuts and bruises all over his body. The machinery and look of the room he's in would lead us to believe Wolverine was being kept in some type of science lab, though the displays holding a woolly mammoth and a sabretooth tiger bring to mind a museum setting. Both animals are currently extinct, which could hold a clue to the overall Wolverine mystery -- the X-Man and Avenger has been dead since 2014's Death of Wolverine, so he could be considered an endangered animal/extinct as well. Perhaps Persephone has a thing for collecting trophies of rare animals, like a former Wolverine?
Among the wreckage of the lab are a bunch of dead armed guards, all wearing the logo of Persephone's secret organization, Soteira. A zoomed in close-up of one guard shows the man to possibly be a mutant, though we can't be one hundred percent certain. The slash marks on their bodies have Wolverine's name written all over them, but he doesn't remember who he is, which Logan may be dealing with a case of amnesia.
The only lab technician left alive is Bernard Delacroix, who works in Soteira's De-Extinction (aka cloning) department, which would explain the extinct animals on hand. When Delacroix begs for Wolverine's help to bring Soteira to the ground, Logan is immediately dumbfounded. How can one man be expected to save the world? Of course, when that man is Wolverine, it should just be another day at the office.
The opening to Return of Wolverine #1 calls back to the experiment that bonded the indestructible Adamantium to his bones. The Adamantium-bonding process left Wolverine in a berserker rage as he lashed out in an attempt to escape his captors. As for the memory loss, that was also a running subplot for many years in the comics, with Wolverine unable to recall key moments in his history.
Persephone and Soteira have manipulated Wolverine to a significant degree, leaving us to wonder what the long-term damage will be. Will Wolverine regain his memories before he's forced to hurt his friends and teammates, who are also out looking for him? Or will he remain a pawn in whatever devious game Persephone is playing? We should get more answers when Return of Wolverine #1 debuts on September 19.