In the second story from Wolverine: Exit Wounds #1, "Aftermath," Logan spends a few pages cooking ramen in a family's home. Kitty Pryde watches her mentor do so in bemusement. She's never seen a domesticated Wolverine (so to speak) and can't wait to tell her fellow classmates back home about Logan's culinary skills. Logan, of course, isn't bothered by any of this. He's been a subject of observation by far more menacing people than Kitty. Logan simply addresses his young squire's presumptions about him by replying, "None of us are just one thing, little girl. Not all our pieces fit neatly together...not sure they're even supposed to."
In this simple bit of dialogue, writer Chris Claremont encapsulates the allure of Wolverine. It is a moment of beauty and truth in an otherwise surprisingly boring comic book. In fact, this contribution from Chris Claremont and artist Salvador Larroca (Uncanny X-Men, Star Wars) is the most entertaining of the trio of stories in Exit Wounds #1 and most of it is dedicated to cooking and Wolverine's roots in Japan. It's short on action, but makes up for it with strong dialogue and tender character moments. However, it doesn't do much in terms of deepening the Wolverine mythos or shining new light on some facet of the roguish X-Man. In fact, none of the stories in Exit Wounds do. It does beg the question as to why this comic exists in the first place?
Well, there might be a solid answer to that: long before the days of Hot Claws and Infinity baseball bats and whatnot, things were much simpler for Wolverine, or at least as simple as things get for him. The three tales in Exit Wounds are glimpses into important periods of Logan's life, each being presented by creators who helped shape the character as we know him today. This might be why it's such a shock that the majority of this issue is boring.
The first story, "Red in Tooth and Claw," is written by Larry Hama, the man who galvanized how comic fans viewed Wolverine in the late '90s, dives back into the world of Weapon X. The story does little to expand on this traumatizing period of Logan's life. Seeing scenes of Barry Windsor-Smith's iconic story arc from Marvel Comics Presents was, admittedly, a treat (mostly thanks to Scott Eaton's solid artwork), but the lack of the events soured the reunion.
The final story in this issue will most likely grab the attention of a lot of '90s comic fans. The Maxx creator, Sam Kieth graces readers with his surreal disregard for anatomy in a tale simply called "Logan." While this is certainly the most visually arresting story in this issue, it is sadly the most mundane and uninteresting. While Kieth's talent for bending the laws of structure and from in the graphic medium are on full display, the narrative lands with a dull thud. It's a story that doesn't house and spoilers or hidden revelations because nothing really happens, but like the other stories in Exit Wounds.
It's hard to say who exactly was chomping at the bit for Wolverine: Exit Wounds #1. For fans who have been following the character since his heyday, it's nice to check in with some of the writers and artists who forge the titular X-Man's legacy, but the pedigree doesn't bring much to the table. It's like getting together for a big annual holiday meal and the guests who flew across country to be there brought terrible side dishes to the event. We're glad they came, but it's hard to choke down what they brought.