If Cornell’s previous volume was the breaking down of the character, then this is the start of building him back up. Right? Wrong. With Wolverine’s death only months away, that was just the setup for the destruction of his self and morality as things kick off here with the revelation that he has joined a group of criminals and is now willing to kill innocent undercover reporters to show how far he’s fallen. Anyone who believes that may also be interested in meeting my friend, the Prince of Nigeria, for a token sum (just send me your bank account info by e-mail). Even if this is a big trick, Cornell is a very crafty writer and he makes the unpacking of it pretty interesting to watch. Lots of bridge-burning on Logan’s part is involved, along with an effective use of the Superior Spider-Man. More impressive is that the writer does a good job of getting us to care about Wolverine’s new partners in crime as their fates are far less certain than the title character’s and will likely provide most of the drama in the next volume.
However, with “The Death of Wolverine” almost upon us, what I’ve read here and elsewhere has actually done a pretty good idea of selling me on the idea beyond its existence as a sales-boosting gimmick. Logan having his ass handed to him by Sabretooth in the previous volume was bad enough, but the way he cuts his ties with his fellow X-Men in this volume only grinds him down further. Then you consider what Rick Remender is doing with the character over in “Uncanny Avengers” (picked up vol. 3 at Comic-Con -- will be talking about it later this week), and raking him over the coals with his reliance on killing as a problem solving tool. Bringing back his son Daken to call him on that is an extremely effective way of doing this, and it also has the side effect of making Jason Aaron’s similarly themed “Wolverine’s Revenge” look extremely misguided in retrospect. Do we really want a Wolverine who has murdered (a lot of) his kids running around pretending to be a hero without accounting for such a thing at all? I think that his death, should it be sufficiently heroic enough, may serve that function and as a way to get the character away from these kinds of destructive developments. We’ll find out soon enough if it has the potential to work.