“Wolverine” #3 by Paul Cornell and Alan Davis is the latest issue of a series intended to keep Wolverine away from the usual suspects and spend a bit more time examining the character’s day to day life — although if issues like this are any indication, his idea of an average day isn’t quite as pedestrian as most.
Cornell and Davis started their run quite slowly, but the intrigue grows with each issue as another idea gets thrown onto the pile, deepening interest in the character and creators. The big addition to the canon in “Wolverine” #3 is a new team of allies for Wolverine, who may yet prove to be a more substantial supporting cast. Admittedly, another team for Wolverine to join might seem excessive given his ubiquity across Marvel’s line, but this one is made up of under-used and obscure characters, which works on two levels: it explains why Wolverine seems so much more interesting than them (because frankly, he is) and makes it possible to present genuine threats to their mortality. I may not know who Marcus Harold is, but that means if he gets into danger he might actually die. In the meantime, all Cornell and David have to do is make readers care.
Buddying up with Logan in this issue is the new Nick Fury, a character destined (some might say mandated) for great things. At the moment, though, his dynamic with Wolverine is all off. The new S.H.I.E.L.D. agent acts as the rookie to Logan’s grizzled veteran, and unfortunately that makes the new Fury seem less like a replacement or re-casting of the current one and more like a different character with the same name. If Marvel was indeed trying to have its movie-verse cake and eat it, the company has made a mistake on two levels. That said, forget about the wider context and it works. It’s a dynamic seen before, but it’s a good one for both Wolverine and Fury Jr.
Davis’ artwork is as solid and reliable as ever, with well-constructed storytelling and a clear, classic style. That said, Davis isn’t the obvious choice for Wolverine, and it’s hard not to feel as though a grittier, more dynamic artist might not be a better choice. Davis’ mid-shots, sparse backgrounds and low-detail characters don’t exactly scream “Wolverine” — and while it feels churlish to complain about Alan Davis artwork, the mis-match between visuals and character doesn’t do either any particular favours.
It’s not the worst Wolverine comic you’ll ever read by a long stretch, and Cornell’s vision seems strong enough that the series as a whole will go somewhere interesting, given the time – but when the character is available in so many other places, it’s a pity “Wolverine” #3 didn’t elicit stronger feelings.