Warning: This article contains spoilers for Return of Wolverine #5, by Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, Laura Martin and Joe Sabino, on sale now.
Of all the X-Men, Wolverine is the one who has been most strongly defined by questions. For the majority of his existence, Logan has tried to uncover the details of his notoriously mysterious past, or figure out how to control the berserker rage that lies within him.
After Wolverine lost his healing factor and died in 2014's aptly-titled Death of Wolverine, real-world fans and the residents of the Marvel Universe were left wondering how Logan would return. After all, even being totally encased in a solid adamantium shell couldn't;t be enough to keep the fan-favorite hero down for good.
While Logan and his scalding new, rage-fueled hot claws have been bouncing around the Marvel Universe and reuniting with some of his old X-Men teammates for the past year, the full details of his mysterious return were left largely unexplained, until now. In Return of Wolverine #5, by Charles Soule and Steve McNiven, Logan finally gets some answers regarding not only how, but why he was resurrected.
Over the course of this miniseries, Logan already learned that he was revived by the villainous Persephone, a mutant with the ability to resurrect the dead. As she stated in Return of Wolverine #4, her powers can turn the dead into mindless monsters, drones who are obedient to her or "clones" who are near-perfect replicas of the people they once were.
As Logan learns in this issue, Persephone wants to kill the entire human race and revive them as her drones. From her orbital space station, the mutant necromancer plans to watch over the dead Earth as her drones run things with cold efficiency. Like her mythological namesake, Persephone thinks of herself as a bringer of death and new life. To that effect, she already picked a handful of creative and scientific geniuses to continue their work on her station.
To help her usher in this new world order, Persephone revived Wolverine, along with a few other superpowered individuals like Omega Red and Daken, Logan's son. While Logan was effectively resurrected in an amnesiac state, he apparently operated as an assassin for Persephone's organization, Soteira.
However, Wolverine's healing factor apparently kicked in at some point after his resurrection and freed him from her control. While he was still highly-suggestible and easily manipulated, Wolverine began having flashes of his old memories and personas as his mind tried to mend itself throughout previous issues of Return of Wolverine.
After Persephone brings Logan up to her space station and reveals her master plan in this issue, Logan tears through the base in an epic display of claw-slashing action that pushes his healing factor to the absolute limit.
As Logan gets ready for his final confrontation with Zagreus, Persephone's brother and main enforcer, he seemingly regains most of his memories and embraces almost all of his personas.
While this issue seems to show Logan regaining all of his memories, his subsequent chronological appearances have revealed that Logan still has some meaningful holes in his recollections.
During his recent appearances in Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine: Infinity Watch, which Return of Wolverine leads directly into, Logan openly says that he has gaps in his memory. He seems like he's recognized most of the people who were in his life at one point or another, but he's still fuzzy on several particular details, including what he did while under Persephone's control.
These gaps could very well be explored in future stories, and they put Logan in an unfortunate but familiar position.
Villains like the Weapon X Program, Apocalypse, Hydra and the Hand have tampered with Logan's mind and memories many times over the years. While these organizations have all manipulated Logan into using his killer instinct for their own ends, the X-Man are usually able to reconstruct the details of his past and come to terms with what he did.
With that in mind, Return of Wolverine isn't just the story of his rebirth; it's the story that's haunted him for most of his adult life.
When Persephone threatens to haunt Wolverine during their final fight, Logan shrugs off her threat with the unimpressed attitude of someone who already lives with ghosts, as he puts it. Since Wolverine has been alive for over 130 years, he treats this resurrection as another chapter in a long life story that should've come to its natural end decades ago. Despite the weight of those memories, Wolverine perseveres, ready to face whatever the Marvel Universe has in store for him next.
Wolverine's adventures continue in Wolverine: Infinity Watch, by Gerry Duggan and Andy MacDonald, and Uncanny X-Men, by Matthew Rosenberg and Salvador Larroca, on sale now.