Wolverine: Prodigal Son Volume 1
Author: Antony Johnston; Artist: Wilson Tortosa
Release Date: April 2009
ICv2 rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Found abandoned on the doorstep of a martial arts school in the Canadian wilderness, young Logan has an uncanny fighting ability, heals quickly from even the worst wounds, and has no memory of his life before the school. After besting all of his fellow students, Logan is allowed to visit the city, provided he can pass a series of tests. Logan does, but his greatest secret, the claws that extend from his hands, is revealed and his fellow students reject him. When Logan and his sensei arrive in New York City, Logan finds he is unready for the pace of the big city, and when a challenge fight comes from a rival martial arts school, Logan discovers he isn’t quite the best there is at what he does. Logan feels his defeat is a betrayal by his teacher and is ready to set out on his own. But when a team of ninjas appears and their leader offers to tell Logan the truth about his past, Logan must chose between going with them or trusting his sensei and returning to his school.
Right from the introduction, the reader is warned that this is a brand new Wolverine. There are some familiar characteristics: the super-healing, the crazy hair, the claws. But this story doesn’t mesh with any of the continuity from the Marvel Comics or movie versions of Wolverine and fans will need to divorce themselves from what they know about the character before beginning Wolverine: Prodigal Son. It is its own story.
This does not mean it’s bad. In fact, this incarnation of Logan is quite fun. He is brash and temperamental like the original version, but making him a young man of fourteen removes the world-weary been-doing-this-longer-than-you’ve-been-alive complacence often found in Wolverine stories and replaces it with the hot-headed immediacy of frustrated youth. The disconnect Logan feels moving from the forest to New York City is convincing and his naivety remains consistent throughout. The artwork is a nice blend of traditional superhero and shonen manga art styles, and manages to not offend fans of either. There are situations that come off as too convenient and at times Logan’s reactions to those situations are extreme, but these instances are more annoying than unreadable. Overall, this is an interesting beginning to a brand new spin on an old favorite.
-- Eva Volin