"Wolverine" #1 from Paul Cornell and Alan Davis is the latest ongoing series for the world's most popular mutant. There is no attempt to revamp or reinvent the Canadian hero, he's a tried and tested character that generally works as is. Instead, this #1 issue jumps straight into the action and places Wolverine into the middle of an action-filled mystery set to last for four issues.
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.
There is one major continuity element raised that does feel like it needs to be reconciled. The aspect of Wolverine's healing factor becomes a large part of the narrative as it allows things to move smoothly without jarring gaps while he heals from graphic wounds. The weapon used against him is dramatic without a doubt, and yet it doesn't seem to affect him as greatly as it should. Is his healing factor being treated conveniently for the narrative and thus negating established understanding of it? It's not that it's being changed, continuity should be allowed to flow, but is it being done for convenient reasons or with higher purpose? This is a major factor and one capable of taking readers out of the story a little too much as it feels a little simplified purely so things can happen at the writer's desired pace.
Alan Davis renders a Wolverine that feels a little old school, and I like that. His bruiser looks like the little hairy man we first fell in love with. His style is classic and while some will read that as a little staid, it also means it's clinically sound at all times. Davis knows how to make the story dynamic and he cleverly steers clear of graphic moments in a script calling for people to be fierily incinerated and Wolverine's claws to do what they do best. The colors from Matt Hollingsworth work relatively well, especially because they go from everyday Logan to a mystical gun intruding the tale, but this is an instance where two great tastes don't taste great together.
"Wolverine" #1 is a solid mystery story, but it doesn't feel like there's anything special about it to make it something that would only work for Wolverine. Some writers dig to the base of Wolverine and write from what they find, while others tell cool tales that lack deeper themes. This feels like the latter but that doesn't mean it won't be a fun ride along the way. Alan Davis drawing such a classic Logan is definitely a sight for sore eyes and the mystery is an intriguing hook. For solid Wolverine shenanigans, this is your book.