Wolverine: Not Dead Yet, by Warren Ellis ISBN 9780785167105
Five out of five stars
This graphic novel depicts Wolverine as a more unsavory character than the heroic member of the X-Men. The story opens ten years in the past and he is with McLeish, an assassin for hire. McLeish openly brags about having killed approximately 450 people, starting when he was thirteen years old. There is no remorse in his statements, he takes great pride in his work and the efficient way that he carries out his assigned tasks.
In other circumstances, Wolverine and McLeish meeting for drinks and conversation would simply be two guys sharing stories over a beer. However, there is clearly tension between them and when McLeish kills someone close to a close friend of Wolverine’s, the battle is joined. Wolverine believes that he kills McLeish, but that turns out to not be the case. Hence the title of the book, where the action temporally moves back and forth between the past and the present.
This is a battle to the death between two efficient killing machines, McLeish has no qualms about sacrificing others in his attempts to kill Wolverine. Naturally, it comes down to a one-on-one matchup between them.
Wolverine is depicted as capable of engaging in great rages, where he is no longer the controlled hero, but is a man that will slash through any and all opposition. Whether it is machine, structural or human. Truly a wild man, other than the power, there is little of the hero here.
The key characteristic that makes the Wolverine character so attractive is his volatility and checkered past. He is powerful, unpredictable and a mystery. All of which combines to make a great story that is morally ambiguous.