'Wolverine' #1 claws its way into stores -- is it the best there is?

Writer Paul Cornell and artists Alan Davis, Mark Farmer and Matt Hollingsworth waste no time dropping Wolverine into the thick of it in the latest first issue for Marvel's merry claw-popping mutant. All is not as it seems when a father shopping for sneakers for his kid goes on a lethal rampage at the mall with a strange gun, leaving us with a naked Wolverine waiting for his healing factor to kick in ... and that's where we start the book.

Carla talked about Wolverine at length on Friday, and here are a few reviews from around the web to help you decide if the latest take on the character is worth your money -- or if you should save it for a new pair of sneakers:

Ryan K. Lindsay, Comic Book Resources: "The major mystery of this storyline is somewhere between shocking, interesting and a little strange. A father is out shopping with his son when he suddenly goes on a murderous rampage with an incredibly deadly weapon. Being dropped into this weird situation is a little jarring and feels incongruent throughout the pages, but this disconcerting establishment of the scene is soon reconciled as part of the actual narrative. The disturbing aspect of this entire scenario is the true mystery that drives the story beyond this issue. On this level, it is well done." (3/5)

Louis Falcetti, Bleeding Cool: "The story is a near perfect blend of writing and art, with Davis showcasing the multiple sides of Wolverine, from charming to crazed with the same ease he draws graphic violence or killer death hand cannons. The story feels very 'Cornell' without the script necessarily feeling so. Cornell is a writer with such a distinct voice that once you hear it, you can’t not hear it (both in writing style and booming physical presence)."

Matthew Meylikhov, Multiversity Comics: "The biggest problem Wolverine #1 has is that in the entire span of the issue, it never really accomplishes anything particularly intriguing. Wolverine has a book with a #1 next to his name multiple times a year, so when picking up a new #1 you tend to want a really great hook, something that the other titles can’t give you. At the very least, perhaps some sort of interesting take on the character that’s ostensibly never been done before, like Jason Aaron did with Ron Garney when they launched Weapon X. This book doesn’t really have either; it’s just pretty run of the mill in what you’d expect to be done with the character: Wolverine is in a sticky situation, a new, mysterious and nefarious villain is introduced and Wolverine becomes the only one who can stop the villain because he’s the best there is at what he does. Or, in other words, the same basic scenario we always see for Wolverine (and if you don’t believe me, check out Savage Wolverine #1, which at least threw Wolverine out of his element a bit). 'Paint by numbers' seems a bit harsh of a term for what this is, but it’s certainly not exactly attention-grabbing."

Aaron Long, Comicosity: "Alan Davis provides some solid art throughout Wolverine #1. There are some panels that are a little inconsistent compared to others, but for the most part the art compliments the story well. Throughout the issue Davis uses character’s eyes to show very dramatic and quick shifts in personality, which I found to be very effective. His art does give this book a 90s feel, which my brain was at odds with. In one sense it provides the comic with a nostalgic feeling, like this is one of the great Wolverine classic stories, but it does also date the book, and may put off some readers looking for a newer style." (7.5/10)

Martin Gray, Too Dangerous for a Girl: While Wolverine does kill in this book, longtime artistic partners Davis and Farmer keep it off-camera, using shadows to great effect, while showing us the horror through the eyes of a child. Whether that was their, or Cornell's, decision, it's a good one, conveying the awful nature of the scene while leaving room for our imagination to fill in the blanks, and paint them an even bloodier shade of red. It's positively Hitchcockian."

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